Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Please help me raise money for the MS Bike Tour Cape Cod Getaway. Donate today on my MS Participant page.
…So I encourage those of you not interested in bike ride-related thoughts to disembark at the next station.
For those of you still aboard, I started the 50-mile training rides for the Cape Cod Getaway & STP this weekend. I have three weeks of 50-mile weekends in a row starting today, and by the time I finish with that 50 miles will feel very doable.
Today, though, my route felt more than daunting. I almost turned around and went home about 12 miles into it, to be perfectly honest. I estimate I hit the 12-mile point about an 11:15 or so, and I found myself at Tufts University Veterinary School, which is situated at the top of a big, grassy hill. People take their dogs to play on this hill, and somebody grows corn on it (although now there is only last year’s stubble with fresh green grass just popping out); it is the tallest hill around, and very clear. I mention this because, at the time I was riding west on Route 30 over this hill, the wind was blowing from the west at a steady 25 mph, with gusts up to 37 mph. I crawled along, working like crazy to keep moving forward at all. A couple people on bikes zipped by the other way. I resented their good fortune but held out for the time when I, too, got to turn around and ride with the wind. The wind, by the way, stayed above 15 mph from the west from 11:00 onwards, and from noon to 3:00 hardly dropped below 20 mph steady, with gusts up towards 40 mph.
I knew we had high winds when I left, so we planned a route that took me into the wind on the way out (southwest), and mostly with the wind (northeast, then north) on the way back. It seemed like a good idea to do the hard work on the front end. I’m sure it was a good idea, but by the time I turned northeast I was ready to drop. I had underestimated how cold that wind would feel, and several times I found myself drizzled or rained upon. I had not worn my booties. By the time I got home, my feet had lost all feeling and I just wanted circulation back. My numb feet kept me from really enjoying the fabulous 20-mph tailwind that followed me for about 17 miles. Somehow even the tailwind didn’t make up for the 25 miles of headwind and rain agony I had already suffered through.
With about 10 miles left, I turned north from Hopkinton and rode almost due north home. This felt almost as difficult as riding against the wind, but ended up scarier because the gusts tended to blow me off the road rather than simply slow me down. My bike and I together don’t weigh above, oh, 130 pounds; turns out a good gust of wind can shove us around quite easily. On one particularly memorable downhill, I almost got blown off the road a couple of times, and so I crept down the remainder of the hill most carefully — at which point a big guy on a Bianchi blew by me. He probably never had trouble with the wind blowing him around. Grr. But once he went by, I kept him in sight for miles, until he turned off my route. Big guys like that tend to slow way down on inclines; a couple times I saw him standing up to pedal for hills I consider hardly worth mentioning.
Anyhow, I made it through my first 50-mile ride more out of sheer stubborn stupidity than enjoyment, but I made it nonetheless. A hot shower and warm slippers seem to have revived my feet, thank goodness. Tomorrow should be warmer and sunnier, if still pretty darn windy, much more promising for cycling than today. Thank goodness for that, too.