Mother nature has been a bit persnickety of late, producing some rather wacky weather here in SW Florida. It all started with thunderstorms over the weekend switching to high winds on Monday and, just to complete the meteorological trifecta, cold temperatures this morning. This weeks weather pattern would have you think we were headed into winter, not summer.
Just as I was starting to aclimate to the heat and humidity of the oncoming summer months, the temperature unexpectedly dropped down to 56°F and the wind whipped up to over 20 MPH. I actually had to break out a base layer for this morning’s ride. Luckily this all looks short lived as forecasts have us back in the 80’s and 90’s the remainder of the week.
All nagging aside though, the cool temperature was rather nice to ride in, but the deep blue cloudless sky was a warning that riding conditions were going to be challenging. Normally our skies in SW Florida are filled with big fluffy white clouds giving us short, but welcomed breaks from our intense sunshine. Lack of clouds means that the winds are going to be strong, and by strong I mean strong enough to issue high wind and surf advisories, which we have had the last couple of days.
Mind you, if you were just out and about you’d probably consider the day idyllic, but anytime the wind gets near 20 MPH, cycling turns into a virtual hill climb. Sure, it’s good for training and makes you a stronger rider, but unlike a real hill, a gusting swirling wind, like we have had the last couple of days, tosses all kinds of invisible wrenches your way, turning your ride into a wrestling match, particularly if the winds are hitting you obliquely.
Today’s wind were out of the north, hence the cold morning temperature, making the downwind part of the ride extremely fast and enjoyable, almost turbo charged. I reached the midpoint of the 40 mile ride in about 45 minutes without even trying, but the return ride would be a very different story.
Instead of maintaing speeds in the high 20’s I was working hard just to maintain anything near 18 MPH. Not being in the mood to fight the wind mano a mano (or would that be pedal to gust), I eventually shifted off the big cog and settled into a high cadence 15-16 MPH spin for the remainder of the ride back home.
It’s never fun to ride against high gusting winds, but it always brings a level of satisfaction when the ride is done, knowing you had gotten the upper hand on Mother Natures shenanigans…even if you had to drop a few gears to do it!
Ride Time: 2:14:23
Stopped Time: 34:13
Distance: 38.37 miles
Average: 17.13 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.04 mph
Ascent: 156 feet
Descent: 463 feet