I hadn’t done any serious cycling since last Summer. Though I had gotten out on the bike a few times this Spring, it’s been difficult trying to find time and place to do everything. I was concerned whether or not I was ready to ride 60 miles at the Head for the Hills rally this past weekend. But, I was anxious to get out on a really long ride.
This ride is in Cedar Hill, TX; very near where I live. I think this was my fifth year to ride it, but I’m not sure. It has always been a fun ride that is not too challenging. I even got lost year before last and ended up in Mansfield, TX and had to make my way down a major highway just to get back to Midlothian.
I checked the weather the night before because wind can be a major factor on this ride. My Weather Channel app said that the wind would be out of the north-northeast at 10 to 15 mph. That didn’t sound bad. However, the weather man ( or my weather app) lied about the wind speed.
I actually ran into a couple of folks I knew and lined up with them for the start. They were talking about riding together, but when the start happened, there was too much waiting, so I took off. Times a wastin’, ya’ll.
The whole first 35 miles or so was not only good, it was scary great. We were moving fast. I knew we had the wind at our backs, but it was only 10-15 mph, right? We must just be moving well. NOT. The wind was at least 20 mph, and probably gusting higher. On some descents, it made it white-nuckle scary.
The back roads around Cedar Hill and northern Ellis County can get pretty narrow. Many of these are chosen for the Head for the Hills ride and they are chosen well. The twists and turns make the ride fun. However, when you are dropping into a tight downhill turn on what is really only a one lane road at about 24 mph, the fun dies back somewhat. I was fortunate in that I was in a large group of riders and could depend on them hollering back if any cars were coming.
I ran across one lady rider that was down just after a curve. She had a lot of help around her, but I still thought it appropriate to ask if she was alright as she was being helped to the side. “Nope, not really. Everything’s not quite alright,” was her answer as I peddled away. I saw another guy go down in front of me. I still don’t know what happened to him. He was about 100 yards in front of me with his partner when he just flipped out and went down; on a straight road. He was OK too, so I rode on.
When we made the turn back to the north, all the fun stopped. Facing a 20 mph wind on a bike is a chore. But, I’ve done it before and the ride still had to be finished, so I dropped the gears and the speed and just kept it up. We made it up to the 40 mile rest stop fairly soon after the turn. I decided it was time for a good rest before tackling the wind and the hills back to Cedar Hill. This is a good rest stop because it is at a glider airport. This time I got to see a glider get pulled up into the air. It was a good day for gliding. Lots of wind.
The last 20 miles or so were uneventful. Just slow gutting it out against the wind. Did I mention it’s all uphill back to Cedar Hill? But, near the finish of the ride, things picked up. One guy near the finish that said he was going to draft off of me for a while. I thought that was funny. I’m not usually fast enough to draft from. I also got a crack out of the two ladies that had just decided to stop at the Dairy Queen at the highway and have some ice cream before finishing. Then there was the group of guys that turned back into the ride about a quarter mile from the race. They had stopped to have lunch at Babe’s Fried Chicken before they finished.
I finished up in 5 hours even. Certainly decent and typical for me at 60 miles. However, we took off at 8AM and I was at 20 miles at 9:12 and 40 miles at 10:40, so you can get an idea of how much the wind slowed me down. Five hours put me back in exactly at 1 PM. You can see that it took from 10:40 to 1 PM just to get the last 25 or so miles done. Whew!
Cedar Hill is always a good ride. I’ve hardly ever had any rain beyond just a few sprinkles. It is often windy in one way or another. A north wind in May is unusual and its a little better on this ride to have a south wind. In addition, this ride helps a lot of folks in their area with the proceeds. I’d recommend this one to anyone in the DFW area, especially because it’s close to us. Most rides are much further out.
I’m probably going to be writing less for a while. I’ve got several things I would like to work on besides just this blog. I’d like to get a tech blog going and see how that works. I’ve lost some of the motivation I used to have for writing, but thankfully, people keep actually reading what I write. That always helps me remember that there is a good reason for what I’m doing.
I think I’ve finally gotten together a workout plan that works for my new schedule. I run on Monday and Thursday mornings before work. I spin on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to take off a little of the pressure from running. I am doing my long runs on Saturday mornings (unless I have a ride). That has helped in getting the longer miles in without getting up at 4 AM. Now, I ride on Sunday afternoons when I can by taking the bike to Campion Trail. I’d rather ride out myself, but the traffic just doesn’t work well. I round this off with one or two evening swims, if I can. That schedule should keep me fit and ready for whatever I want to do.
That should be enough for now. My next ride is the Tour de Pepper in Dublin, TX in early June. I’ll probably write again after that ride. Happy running and cycling!