Blowing in the wind and climbing hills
If you live in the Orlando/Central Florida area and at least looked out the window this weekend you’ll know that it was windy this weekend. Really windy. Crazy borderline tropical storm windy. On Saturday (yesterday) the winds were blowing consistently at 20+ mph with gusts over 25. So naturally I decided to go out and ride my bike. Given the conditions I thought it best to forgo my usual weekend mileage ride and take a shorter one focused on riding into the headwind and some hill climbing.
I started on the south end of the Cady Way, which put the wind at my back to start. Just over four miles in you come to the overpass at 436, which is what passes for a hill in Florida. I took a couple of pictures, but neither of them came out, so I totally stole this one from Michelle.
Since I was out to practice some hill climbing, I made a double pass over this each time, which meant I put in three climbs each way, making six total climbs. Not Tour de France quality or anything (or Tour de Bithlo even for that matter), but not too bad for a slug like me. The return climb was made especially fun by the wind gusts.
After the first pass over 436, I finished out the remaining 6 miles on the trail and then turned to head back into the wind. Normally my strategy when dealing with the is to shift down into the lowest gear I can and to try and get my 6’4″ frame as low as possible and pray for 1) the wind to die down or 2) the route to shift. This time out I kept my bike in the same gear and rode as hard as possible for as long as I could into the gale.
I made it about 5 miles before I figuratively cried “uncle” and dropped the gears down a bit and stopped for a quick rest. My legs felt like jello and I may or may not have passed out for a few seconds, but after just a couple of minutes and a few of hits on the water bottle I had recovered enough to make a second group of climbs over the hill and called it a day after 22 miles, six climbs, and five hard miles into the headwind from hell. Not a bad day and something I hope to do again a couple of times even before the MS ride (even if it is simulated on the trainer) in case I find myself pedaling into a wind like that on either one of the ride days.