Ballinger, Texas April 24, 2010
The wind resistance training season is rapidly coming to a close. In June, all we can think about is the over 100 degree weather and we forget about the wind around that time. To capitalize on the training opportunity, nine from San Angelo traveled to Ballinger to seize the moment. (Of course, I'm being completely ironic.)
Velma Ogan and Christine Jones
Brian Backlund (seated)
Not shown-Roy Jones, Chad Freeze, and Willie Longoria.
Besides the opportunity for wind resistance training, most were able to continue to utilize the chilly weather gear. At start time, the temperature was mid-50's, and the wind was WSW at 22 with gusts of 30.
Some time back I wrote about the wind, and how it feels as if it is in your face for three different directions (ref. Beginners Page #13). Only the "back" 160 degrees would provide some push. I also expressed doubts about 150 of those 160 degrees, at least from my perspective. Once again my observations seemed to be fairly accurate. I was able to get in resistance training in a 350 degree arc. It was my lucky day.
Christine and I had signed up for the 100K route--normally 62 miles, but last year it was 69.82. I understand it was 65.37 this year. Either they shortened the route or some of the road just blew away. Anyway, Christine and I decided that since we had never ridden the 60K route, it would be an experience and new adventure to take that course. (And less "training" time).
By the time we arrived at the first rest stop, our decision to take the shorter route was validated. The wind had been a crosswind off our right shoulder limiting our group's ground speed to 16 plus mph. Turning into the wind at this point provided about an 8 mile "training" adventure, whereas going on down the road and turning into the wind provided the 100K group a 13 mile "training" session. Most of the feedback I have received from the other group indicated they enjoyed about as much as they could stand.
I had yelled for everyone to turn around and say cheese. One can't tell but the wind was coming down that road so fast and hard that my words were blown to East Texas. Willie Longoria is finally shown on the far right. He blocked the wind for me at least for three miles but I couldn't talk him into taking the shorter route to continue running interference for me. I was destined to get the full work out even though we talked Rick and Velma into taking the scenic route with us. I gallantly stayed back with Christine and Liz which freed up Rick and Velma to get a full work out on their own--way up front.
Chad, Brian, and Marlon had passed me some miles back, so I assumed they were going for the 100K. And Willie left us at the rest stop to continue on the longer route. Later, I found out that Brian decided to go the 60K and finished ahead of the crowd.
All of the details are not available yet, but Marlon was buzzed by a truck on highway 83 which caused him to go down. His first report related that he sustained a sprained wrist and road rash. Chad mentioned that after the first rest stop, the drivers of vehicles were less friendly than those closer to town. They failed miserably to show the usual West Texas hospitality.
Going down the FM 1929 wind tunnel, I was able to test another wind velosity theorem. One's speed on a bicycle is cut down by one half the wind speed. Say a cyclist's speed is 16 mph. If he heads into a 20 mph head wind, his average speed is cut by 10 mph, and he will find that he averaged 6 mph. Now that theory is pretty accurate. One can increase the Watts and increase the speed for a while, but he eventually will revert to the recommended higher rpms rather than try to power through the wind.
The problem with the above theory is that if it is a constant, why was I even bothering with resistance training? So I did the logical scientific thing. Took a break.
Theory? "We don't need no stinkin' theory." We just ride for fun.
Last rest stop. Velma, a rider from Abliene, Christine, and an unknown rider. The gentleman in the baseball cap was our SAG driver. He was friendly and helpful in many ways. Really took care of his riders.
Velma, Christine, Rick, Liz. No rush. Enjoy.
Why the smiles? Now we were going to "train" with the wind to our backs--and it was all downhill from this point. The guy taking the picture was a local who had just reassured us that it was fact.
After a pleasant time going down FM 381 with the wind at our back, we turned on to highway 67. After a very short distance, we did the opposite of a normal ride. You know how the event directors want you to go on the access road to be away from most of the traffic? And you know how when no one is watching you go to the highway because generally the shoulder is smoother? Reverse all that. The shoulder of highway 67 put me in danger of chipping my teeth. Trying to talk just made me sound as if I had castanets in my mouth. My words were just clack, clack, clack. So we moved over to the access road. Believe it or not, the access chip seal was better than the highway washboard. The SAG driver thought we were lost but we stopped to let him know that we were sane. It also gave some of our body parts time to recover.
Christine and Liz on the unscheduled stop.
Our SAG gentleman patiently told us what access road to take at the appropriate time to get to the finish line in the event director's planned route. At the authorized finish line volunteers were taking names to verify all participants returned safely.
Christine at the last, last rest stop. It was all over but for the after action conversations.
Couple from Abilene talking with the San Angelo group. I didn't catch their names so I hope to see them on the Tour de Gap to find out who they are.
One more line up. Liz, friend from Abilene, Brian, Velma, Rick, and Christine. "Training" day over.