April 28, 2008

The Headwind

April in central Illinois is a bitch. Other months are windy, but April is always the worst. This makes for some challenging bike rides.

Clearly it's very nice when you have a tailwind, but you can't do an entire ride with the wind at your back if you have any intention of ending up back where you started. The strong crosswinds are just downright dangerous in that there are times that you really think you're going to be blown right over. You really want to minimize the amount of time you're in a crosswind like this.

Then there's the headwind. Oh, the headwind. It's demoralizing to see a group of 20 strong bicyclists struggling to maintain 13 mph riding directly into a 25 mph (gusting to 40 mph) headwind. Sadly, this has been the situation on the last 10 or so long rides I've done this April.

And then there was this weekend. Somehow I (along with two others) showed up at the wrong time for the Saturday ride, so the three of us headed out to Monitcello (50 mile round trip) straight into a powerful west wind. The first few miles seemed to go on for an eternity.

Monticello Ride Map

On Sunday the situation was slightly better in that there were four of us total, but it was slightly worse in that two of those riders were really fast and made the ride even more difficult. I'm not sure how much more I can take.

On the bright side I set a new speed record two weeks ago on the way back from Pesotum when I hit 39.8 mph on flat land. I've definitely ridden faster down steep hills, but never on the flat. Amazingly, the guy I was riding with at the time was going over 40 mph and he pulled away from me. Speed records aside, I'm ready for April to end.

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