50Km/h Winds, Dark overcast with threat of thunderstorm, Impending sunset.
Yeh, I mustered up a long list of plausible excuses as to why I should skip the bike in favour of a run and then a swim. In the end, it had not started to rain yet so in all reality there was no immediate good reason to not do my bike. I suited up and headed out the door...
HOLY FRICKIN' WARP SPEED!
I was easily warming up at a steady 50km/h on the way out of town. I could feel the wind carrying along at break-neck speeds. I didn't let up, I just put my head down and enjoyed the ride. The uphills were amazing, I easily held 35km/h on a steep climb. It was hilarious!
I had to close my mouth. The wind was so strong it caught the inside of my mouth and blew my check up like a ballon. I could feel my big lower lip literally flapping in the wind. All I could do was laugh because it reminded me of just being like a cartoon character.
The most amazing thing of all - the perceived effect of the aero wheels. Even with a headwind, I picked up speed. I could feel the wind grab the deep dish wheel and propel me forward even when it was hitting from a 10 degree angle. Is that possible? Headwind makes you faster? I thought maybe its just in my head and the wind going over my ear made if seem faster but my speedometer clearly indicated I was going faster with each gust to the face.
I screamed down the highways and got to feel the effect of those winds on 66mm deep rims. I recall reading that 66mm is too deep for heavy winds and you will get thrown around on the bike. Well I can tell you that those people probably have very poor bike handling skills. Perhaps I have an added advantage of a mountain biking background so I know how to handle myself on a bike. I was able to lean into the winds, and I mean really lean over to counteract the intense crosswinds. Everything felt great until the wind hit at an exact 90 degree angle. Then I had my first 'Hold $hit' moment. Immediately I got out of the aero position and had to grab the bull by the horns because it took alot of strength and leverage to not get blown over. There was a bit of swerving on the road at that point. This only happened twice throughout the whole ride and I was able to anticipate the cross wind in relation to the direction of travel and seen it coming.
The scarriest moment was crossing the exapansion joints of small bridge at the bottom of the hill. As I approached the 'crack' I lightened the load on the wheel a bit too much. The bike easily lifted off the ground in a 'bunny hop' and while in the air a gust of wind blew me off course! I felt the bike yaw sideways and I immediately shoved it back into the pavement balancing my weight and applying pressure to the wheel that needed traction most. It was a delicate balancing act, I am pretty sure most people would have crashed. After that I decided not to drink anymore water since I preferred to keep the weight on the bike to help with traction.
I did feel the bike 'skate' across the lane a couple of times. The wind must have been closer to 65+km/h in the open country field and while I was pointed straight down the road, the bike was drifting to the center of the lane. There wasn't enough traction to hold a line and the wind was pushing me to the left. Did I mention it was windy?
The return trip was fun. The headwind was irrelevant, while in the aero position it felt like I was still speeding along at a decent pace. I swear the headwind really was catching the wheels and pushing me forward somehow. I am no physics expert so I can only go by how it felt.
It never rained. I barely made it back before sunset due to dark overcast. I made it home alive. What an adrenaline rush! That was very exciting, but I dont know if I'll be doing that again anytime soon. Maybe I'll swap in the training wheels instead lol.
Check out the average speeds on those splits! Wow!
Bike - 1:40hrs Super-Sprint