Wind in all the wrong places
Group road rides. Coach Adam loves making me do them, I always try to beg out. I know it's good for me, that the fitness gains are going to pay dividends later. But I just don't like the road ride - I get nervous with the guys so close and the high speeds. After using my last excuse to bail this weekend (there's a parade and a run downtown - where will they actually meet?) I reluctantly capitulated. Time for a road ride... I wasn't liking the forecast though - low 40s with clouds and wind. The wind was making me the most nervous - gusts up to 50 mph? Yikes. But as ordered, I rolled up to Starbucks, ready to ride. Nick was with me this time, on his Epic, also ready for some good old fashioned pain. Only one other person showed up before 10:00, at which time we decided to relocate away from the chaos and wait on Boulder. Slowly, more riders showed up and we decided to roll out of town. The group would grow as usual between Union and Circle. I positioned myself in the front of the pack, waiting for the attacks. Nick was in the group, and had told me to not worry about him and just ride.
The wind was picking up, and I wasn't happy about it. Southern wind was fine - I would just hide in the pack like I've done on other rides. But this wind was coming from the North. Instead of fighting the wind till the sprint for the Link Hill (which was about as far as I usually get) we would get blown south. Oh oh... We made the right hand turn. I matched the first attack and was in a good position. Two riders took a flyer and I attempted to jump on the wheels. Almost bridged the gap, was about a bike length behind them and went to shift to get that last little bit of speed. And there was nothing. I was completely spun out! The group enveloped me and I tried to match the pace. But there was only so far I could get spinning like a nut job. I was nearly bouncing on my saddle trying to wind it up to stay in the group. Which I couldn't do - I was just out of gears. I watched the main group slowly get blown away from me. Stragglers were already getting spat out the back and I slowly started bringing then back. I had no clue where Nick was but figured he was in the group behind me. If I was spun out, he'd really be struggling with his 1x mountain set up (34 chain ring)
I think the wind was getting to most of the group. I saw half of the stragglers - the ones I can usually organize into a B group - go straight instead of turning South on Link. I would really be on my own, with the wind at my back. Every mike I pedaled south meant another mile fighting the wind on the way home. I caught a few more guys on the Link hill, but didn't get any help. They also turned north on Old Pueblo rd, abandoning the chase. Head down, I kept pedaling, my goal to make it to the bridge over Fountain Creek. That's always my goal. Once I crossed the bridge, it was time to turn around and fight the wind. I knew the boys would catch me soon enough. It took longer then I thought - the wind was horrible. Nick appeared at the top of the hill just before the turn to Hanover and I was so happy to see him. Finally, a friendly wheel to follow! When the group did finally catch us, they seemed in awe that Nick was still there and able to match pace into the head wind. The trip North was miserable. Everyone seemed shell shocked and trying to avoid pulling thru. It was the most disorganized I've ever seen the group.
Nick and I ended up riding the rest of the way home alone - I hadn't realized that they weren't going thru Fort Carson anymore. I'd left the gas station early as usually and they hadn't caught up until the light on Mesa Ridge. I turned left like always last year - but they turned right. Whoops. I later learned that the new commander wasn't as bike friendly and didn't welcome the riders. Now it was back to 85 for the battle home against the wind. There was no catching the group and I'm not sure I would have wanted to ride on that road in a pack. So Nick and I did a TTT back into town and I assumed we were done. Nope. Nick wanted to make sure I was good and tired. No skipping the zoo climb today! All in all, a good days work. Maybe not as fun as a nice mountain bike ride, but some solid pedaling.