Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Spring Remains the Same

I know what many will say, "you live in Nebraska, what do you expect?" But, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Not only did it hail ping-pong ball sized stones randomly last week, but we now have a snow in the forecast. Not the early spring riding weather I had hoped for, but I guess that's why they make shoe covers and arm warmers. Not sure what to do about the hail though...

In spite of the weather (chilly with a North wind at 15-18 mph), I got out with my dad, Karl and about 100 other riders on Sunday for a ride to support a local health and wellness expo. The 41 mile route is a favorite of mine, but not one I get to ride much anymore with the usual kid nap time ride window. So when I had the opportunity (excuse) to ride it, I jumped.

Omaha Health Wellness Expo 2013 Ride Route

Elevation Map

Tailwind to Start


The start was chaotic with riders of varying degrees of experience bunched together, and me looking like a complete rookie narrowly avoiding causing a low-speed crash while attempting to put my glove back on. Don't worry, I shook my head fairly sheepishly and avoided most eye contact for a minute or two. Crisis averted, things calmed down a bit and our group was able to find some rhythm with the aforementioned 15-18 mph breeze at our back.


My dad has not been out much at all so far and sent Karl and I up the road to test our legs, while he fell into a group of other riders. He also listens to a lot of Zeppelin while riding, so I'm sure he was not bored while hanging back. Anyway, when we hit the first major climb of the day I decided to have a go of it and to my surprise, I faired pretty well. My heart rate was high but not pinned, and I felt I could shift back down and get the pace back up - something must be working. Karl rejoined and we set a high tempo for the rest of the first half of the ride.

Into the Wind and up a Wall


We half joked, half believed at the starting line that forecast had called for shifting winds and that we might have a tailwind the entire day. I stand by my earlier tweet that cyclists who believe the wind will shift in their favor are a lot like Cubs fans who think every new season has to be the one. Both always end in heartbreak.

As we pulled out of Fort Calhoun and into the steady breeze, we were directed immediately to the base of a killer climb that had me seeing red and a few others hopping off to hike. The rest of the route was more of the same. Wind and hills, hills and wind. It was one of those days where you just have to gut it out, convince yourself you still do love your bike and the act of riding it, and appreciate the good workout and good company at the end.

Dad and I atop the murderous hill. We both look pale.

Not a Bad Start


Overall, I am pretty happy with where I am so far this season. I feel strong in spite of a busy schedule at home and work and of course, the lack of somewhat nice days to ride. All excuses I know, but I think they are pretty good ones at this point in time. If you disagree, you need to read Mike Magnuson's piece Down to the Bone in the May 13 edition of Bicycling Magazine.

Karl and I after the ride in downtown Omaha.
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