It has become a habit for me to check the weather radar just before a long ride. I do this regardless of the forecast. You never know when a surprise shower can pop up and ruin a ride. This morning we planned to ride to Jenkinsville at 7am. I knew the hurricane was going to be in the vicinity, to our east, but I had no idea how close. The above graphic doesn’t do it justice because it was snapped after the ride, hours later. When we began riding, hurricane bands were literally right next door.
The only fallout from Hurricane Irene for us was a little bit of wind. It was a lot worse early, probably around 20 mph with higher gusts. It calmed down a bit later to probably around 10 mph. There were a couple times I would be riding casually and be blown about two feet sideways. And of course, the winds were straight in our face for most of the day.
I feel guilty saying this, but despite the wind, it was a beautiful day to ride. In fact, the storm might have even helped take the edge off otherwise hot temperatures.
This was a lengthy route, approximately a metric century with a few climbing sections. This was my first time to Jenkinsville and I heard it was a good training ride for it’s climbs. They were good, but did not quite live up to expectations. The biggest stretch was on Highway 215 where there was approximately 12 miles of rollers, with the elevation gradually getting higher. After leaving from Jenkinsville on Highway 213, there were a couple short and steeper climbs. The toughest was in the 6% range, nothing too difficult.
On this occasion we had two tandems with our group, which helped a lot with the winds. The tandems did most of the pulling and made for a nice draft going downhill. I was able to achieve speeds in the low 40s drafting off them, which is impressive for country roads. Overall speed was right around 18, very good for a windy day with or without tandems.
With today’s ride, I have put 260 miles on my legs in 8 days, including Blue Ridge Breakaway and a highly spirited (and painful) group ride on Thursday. It is time for a break. I plan to take a little spin on Thursday before another upstate century on Saturday. More on that later.