Steve, Peggy, Nelson, and I left Prosper at 8:00 am this morning to ride Nelson’s Live Long and Prosper 200k permanent. This route is an out and back that goes from Prosper to Sanger, then on west to Forestburg, then back. Like many of these long rides do, this one turned into another epic adventure.
The 20+ mph SSW winds at the beginning were already tough. And the further west we got, the more the wind swung to the west, and the harder it blew. By the time we got to I-35, the wind was almost from straight west, and before we reached Forestburg, we were hitting gusts that I think had to be near 50 mph. It was the toughest winds I’ve ever ridden in.
It’s steady elevation gain from Sanger to Forestburg. When the road headed straight west, climbing against the wind was very tough. But the stretches where the road turned more north were even tougher. The big gusting crosswinds made it tough just staying on the road in many places. Besides being the toughest wind I think I’ve ever faced, a couple of other factors made it even tougher. Once you get very far west of Sanger, it’s rolling hills and grasslands, without many trees to stop the wind. My HED wheels didn’t help, either. Don’t get me wrong. I love my HED’s. But aero wheels are probably not the best choice on days where you run into 50 mph wind gusts.
We made a stop at the Valero in Bolivar, then rode on toward Forestburg. I fell back on this stretch. I knew I still had a long ways to get back, so was trying not to blow myself up too much. I was trying to ride my own pace, keep my heart rate below 150 on the flats and lesser hills, and keep it under 160 on any of the hills. But spinning slowly up the hills made the crosswinds even tougher. It’s hard to keep from getting blown over by these kinds of winds when you’re climbing at 5 mph. Topping one hill, I hit such a wind gust that I had to stop and put a foot down to keep from being blown over. Six miles before Forestburg, my average speed for the entire ride up to that point fell to under 12 mph, and I knew things were getting tough.
Leaving Forestburg for the return trip, it was a lot different ride. The big tail wind and mostly downhill riding made for a much faster return. But there are stretches where you are riding more south than east, and the crosswinds were truly tough on those stretches. I felt bad for Peggy. We were all getting blown around, but she was really getting the worst of it. She’s light enough that she has trouble getting blown around by the wind anyway, and she was running aero wheels today also, and when I would get blown near the center of the road, she’d be blown all the way into the oncoming lane.
We were all glad to make the final turn east at around mile 120, knowing it would mostly be just a tailwind for the remaining miles. I ended up with 126.1 miles. We finished in 10:27, not exactly a blistering time, but it was all I had on this day under these conditions. Thanks for having me along, y’all! It was another adventure we’re unlikely to soon forget.
Live Long and Prosper 200K route