So, winter just won't stay away from Chicago. (Not that I'm complaining. Light snow sprinkles today are nothing compared to the 7" Minneapolis is supposed to get ...) To make sure I got some riding in this week, I set off on Friday at 8:30am. It was 60 degrees, and was only going to get cooler through the day. Sun was out, and the wind over 10mph from SSW - predicted to change to SW by noon.
So I set off west and south, hoping to ride out 30 miles more or less, on and off, into the wind ... then sail home with the wind at my back! Good plan, and it worked surprisingly well for about 21 miles. Out through Fermi lap and Batavia, then south on Deerpath Rd. The westerly streets were kind of invigorating: the wind was more south than west, so as long as I could stay on the pavement (not a guarantee, it was quite gusty) I could keep up a pretty decent pace. I sort of dreaded the turn on to Deerpath, which is basically a direct N/S road. But there again, I was more pleased than put out by the progress. I should have known what was coming.
Thinking that I would head west get my miles in that direction, I turned on to Talley Road, when WHAM, it was obvious that the wind had shifted and I was now getting it full blast. This stretch of about 2 miles was the toughest slogging I can recall on flat dry pavement. Riding it solo was a bummer. At one point I "drafted a farm house" ... it was uncanny, getting relief from the prairie wind by a lone farm house in a sparse stand of trees; but there is no mistaking: for about a quarter mile there was a distinct respite from the wind. Then back at it until Bliss Rd. And was it ever!
At Bliss, the wind was nearly directly at my back. From an all-out effort to maintain double-digit speed headed west on Healey, within a few hundred yards headed north on Bliss, I was hitting about 25 mph. And so with little exception, I had a great ride for my return leg.
My hoped for 60 miles ended up just under 50. When I got back to Winfield I thought I'd make a loop around and come in from the east, down MacArthur to my 'hood. By this time, I was thinking what a wimp I'd been, and could it really have been so difficult to keep going west out there by Sugar Grove? Well sir, when I turned onto MacArthur headed west the wind again hit me full force, and then I remembered.
And it really was OK to cut the ride a bit short, the better to ride solo another day.
It would have been a good day for a group ride; or even to have a partner to trade pulls into the wind. Oh well, we ride when we can. Which this morning, it was commonly (and wisely) felt that we couldn't. So instead of heading out for our 7am jaunt, we met in a toasty restaurant for a hearty breakfast and talk of bikes and life. And that is really OK, too!