Why bother doing a ride report on a neighborhood ride? Yes, it was just a neighborhood ride, but it was my first ride over 50 miles since the FWBA Bicycles Inc metric century on March 1st. Until today, I hadn’t even ridden the Corsa since that March 1st ride. The only other ride of over 50 miles I’ve done this year was my Arlington-Briaroaks route on February 2nd (several rbenters will remember that as the day I ate a sandwich and showed my roadrashed arse at an Arlington Subway). Up until today, the 20th, I only had 100 miles of riding in April, and I only rode 220 miles in March.
Last Saturday, I had finally started to feel better after the chemo. So of course, on Sunday, I came down with a cold. I hadn’t had a cold since last August. Still, I guess it’s better than having one after surgery or during chemo. Between feeling bad with the cold and all the wind this week, I only rode twice, even though I had intentions of riding more. I left my driveway at 2:30 this afternoon. It was 80 degrees and mostly cloudy with (surprise) a howling south wind.
Most of the first few miles of this route are straight south against the wind, down SH360. At the tough little hill at mile 5, coming up to Broad Street, I was down to 5 mph, as slow as I ever am on either the Nimbus or tandem, so I knew early that I wasn’t going to be especially strong. Around mile 14, as I was eastbound on Grand Peninsula Drive, I passed a roadie who was going the other way. I was about to do a short loop through a neighborhood, then be westbound on Grand Peninsula, hooking up with Seeton Road to make my only stop at Britton Park at mile 21. I figured I would be a half to three-quarters of a mile behind this rider, and because the stretch out Seeton is a popular bike route, I figured this guy would be in front of me the whole way. I had my rabbit…
After my first couple of turns, from Grand Peninsula onto Coastal, and from Coastal onto Grand Way, I barely got a glimpse of the rider as he made the next turn. By the time I crossed England Parkway, heading south on Arlington Webb Britton, though, it was obvious I was gaining on him. He made his first glance back at me (that I noticed) as he turned onto Seeton. Most of the rest of Seeton is wide open, and the wind was brutal. About a half mile before Britton Park, I passed him. As I passed him, I said, “Tough wind today, isn’t it?” He answered with a mumble that was unintelligible; I could tell he was blown up from trying to stay in front of me. I had to smile at that. I may be slow these days, but I’m still not the slowest around (yet).
I didn’t get to smile long. Just a couple of miles further, shortly after turning south on Lakeview, headed for SH287, another roadie appeared behind me. The rollers on this stretch can be pretty tough against a 20 mph wind, and I figured my punishment for feeling good about passing a roadie was going to be getting passed by another roadie shortly afterward. But, he never caught me. He did gain a bit on that last tough hill before SH287, as I was gasping for air. He turned around at SH287; I was already a quarter of mile down SH287, about to exit, to turn left on St Paul Road, and head west under the SH287 overpass.
Most of the rest of the ride was with the wind, and that was certainly welcome. My average ride speed had dropped so low fighting the wind, I spent the rest of the ride trying to raise it. I ended up with 50.2 miles. Overall, it was a flat route, with just 1115 feet of climbing. My average speed was a blazing 16.5 mph, and I was very wiped out by the time I sat down at home. Considering the last four months, though (my surgery was four months ago, today), I’ll be happy just to be able to do 50 miles. Hopefully, with better weather and improving health, I can start getting some miles again.