Wind, More Wind, and Even More Wind

The title pretty much sums up what it’s been like to cycle here in SW Florida the last three days. Sandy has been doing a good job of mucking up our seasonal wind patterns, from a normal 10 MPH NE wind to a blustery 20 MPH NW wind with gusts into the 30 MPH range, making our flat land rides feel more like we were climbing.

I complain a lot less about the wind now days, and actually welcome it…to an extent, as it provides a great workout, but I have to admit, back to back, to back days of in your face 20+ MPH wind can get a little old, particularly as this was our last week to get in some long mileage before our two wheeled invasion of the Conch Republic.

For those not familiar with the term Conch Republic, it’s a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been expanded to refer to all of the Florida Keys. The nations capital is Key West and all territories north of Key West are known as “The Northern Territories”. The Conch Republic celebrates Independence Day every April 23.

Besides the “never ending uphill” nature of a headwind, strong gusty winds bring many other challenges…or perhaps dangers might be a better word…including everything from flying debris, to difficult handling, particularly from strong oblique gusts.   This could not have been any more evident as Mike, one of my cycling buddies took a bad spill during his Sunday training ride, resulting in a trip to the hospital. Luckily he had no serious injuries, but I’m sure he will be very sore for the next few days…the bright side though is he now has “killer makeup” for Halloween! Get well soon Mike…you have a Tri coming up quickly.

As for us NutBags, we had hoped to assemble the group for some long-ish rides this weekend to get our minds an butts ready for our cross state ride. Just a handful of us decided to take on Sandy’s winds, choosing to keep the rides shorter as there really wasn’t much advantage to gain from fighting winds, not to mention for overall safety. Even with that, I caught an eyeful of swarming bugs resulting in some corneal abrasion. Luckily Gus had some eye drops on hand allowing me to flush my eye well. A couple more days of drops and all will be well.

All three rides were our standard North/South Coconut-40 routes to Panera Bread. The predominantly Northwest wind made all our return rides rather challenging, particularly when you were up front leading the pace line. By the way, big kudos to Amy for her impressive, headwind be damned, “heroic pull” down the airport stretch! The gusting and swirling headwind made bike handling very difficult, in fact, it was not out of the ordinary for a gust to push you half a lane over! Needless to say we kept our speed in check and kept a watchful eye out on traffic while pedaling down Tree Line Boulevard.

Even with the windy conditions, we still managed to get in some pace line rotation practice for Tina, and of course the all important mileage. We’re three days away from the big tour, so a rest day is in order. I’ll probably ride an easy 40 miles Tuesday, leaving another full day of rest before Thursday’s start. Thanks again Wis, Jeff, Amy, Jack and Dave for tagging along and helping us battle the wind.

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:28:37
Stopped Time: 1:20:51
Distance: 38.87 miles
Average: 15.69 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.17 mph
Ascent: 1204 feet
Descent: 1141 feet
Calories: 1981

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:23:40
Stopped Time: 1:58:24
Distance: 38.52 miles
Average: 16.09 mph
Fastest Speed: 30.50 mph
Ascent: 2735 feet
Descent: 2747 feet
Calories: 2128

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:19:42
Stopped Time: 1:35:58
Distance: 39.17 miles
Average: 16.82 mph
Fastest Speed: 29.83 mph
Ascent: 1707 feet
Descent: 1680 feet
Calories: 2024


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