Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Yadkin, she is my friend.

I crossed her muddy waters twice today on a windy ride through the NW piedmont of NC.  At the outset, a group of CLMers + Rip hooked up at Shallowford Square to roll a 40 miler.  My plan was to ride with the homies until the 40 mile mark, then strike out on my own.  Well, that sort-of happened...

The wind was ferocious today.  Coming out of the WNW at anywhere between 10 and 20 mph, this is the kind of wind that can spoil a well-intentioned ride out of Lewisville.  Many of our loops go immediately west and then loop either south or north before eventually turning due east.  With my plans to go 55 miles on a West - North - East - South - North (hang with me) loop today, I knew I could expect nearly 30 miles of stiff headwind.  Oh boy.

Our small group rolled down Shallowford Rd. and took Conrad to Old 421, then Taylor toward East Bend.  Here, we were really heading NW and just catching facefulls of 15mph wind.  I took a harder pull just before our turn on Baltimore and the group began to stretch out.  The distance so far?  Just about 10 miles. 

On Baltimore, Rip, Duane and I enjoyed a few miles of tailwind.  This allowed us to cruise along just under 30mph with surprisingly little effort.  On the first Baltimore climb, Rip slid back a bit while Duane and I kept steady to the stop sign.  Here, we waited for the rest of the group (and I waited for the verdict that would mean either 40 more miles of solo suffering or a compatriot or two).   Our distance so far?  14 miles.  The avg?  17.4mph.  It was brutal out there.

Wisely, most decided to head back in the direction of town.  Duane came with me and we, enjoying a few more miles of tailwind, rocketed down Baltimore to Dinkins Bottom, easily holding 30mph on the flat through the silent fields that will soon yield tobacco.

D and I then climbed Shallowford (Courtney-Huntsville) heading toward Wyo.  At the top, D let me know he had to get back.  This meant two things:  I would suffer, and I would do it alone.

From here, I weighed my options:  Do a few laps of Wyo to balance out the wind factors (little headwind, little tailwind, etc.) or just keep pushing NW, into the wind, to maximize the workout?  I opted to keep going NW and piloted the trustly Cervelo to Fish Brandon then Old Stage.  Old Stage really is a fantastic road and deserves your adoration.  Mostly flat, smooth, and just curvy enough to keep you smiling even if it hurts.  With a stiff crosswind, I could hang in the 22-24mph range here, but that was it.

On the way back, I slowly began to feel a little better.  I think I pushed too hard just after D and I split, trying to get my average speed back up - which came back to haunt me.  By the time I arrived at the Yadkin River bridge on my way back to Lewisville, my avg. was up to 19.6mph.  I knew I would not meet my speed goal, so I modified the plan and pushed the pedals up and over the rolling hills on Willliams Rd. and Concord Church just to put a little pain at the end. 

So effective were those last few hills that by the time I rolled back into Lewisville, my feelings of recovery were all gone.  I was sitting on 12mph with a heartrate of 172 and a wind that wouldn't quit. 

I loved it.  Bring on the Battenkill.


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