So yesterday, feeling all refreshed and ready (uh, kidding) after the previous day’s 20 mile trail run, I decided to go on a group ride with one of the cyclist groups in the area. To make it all the more appealing, I noticed it would be cool and windy. Sustained winds around 15mph, and gusts up to 30 mph.
OK, not hurricane strength or anything, but enough to notice. Besides, with the rolling terrain around here, there are always areas that are much windier than the published wind speeds (i.e., down by Jordan Lake in the appropriately named Crosswinds Marina area). I knew that if I went riding by myself, I would wuss out way earlier than I would with a group, even if I did get spit out the back early on. And it’s time to switch from run to bike focus.
So off I go to the Spin Cycle store in plenty of time for the 10am roll out. Well…I did make some accommodations for leg soreness. I took a few capsules of White Willow Bark and slathered my legs down with Tiger Balm. I no doubt smelled extra good, but it took the edge off of the aches and creaks. I was pleased that the temperatures were above 40 degrees, and put any considerations of wind chill factor firmly out of mind.
This venture, I decided, is about being tough. Hanging in there in conditions that are difficult and still doing what it takes to get through it. Historically, I’m not great at riding in the wind. Tends to bounce me around and make me nervous, which is a waste of energy in a race situation.
I’ve been working on core strength to help with this problem, so I looked forward to seeing if there was any improvement. There was great improvement. I was relaxed in the wind, even the cross winds. I wasn’t so relaxed trying to stay on the pack during some moments of the ride, but I only got dropped once, and was promptly bridged back on (thanks tall guy in navy & black!). Ride lasted about 3 hours and we covered over 55 miles. No, I wouldn’t have ridden that far by myself.
Heck, the whole weekend was about building mental toughness. I think it’s good to force oneself out of one’s comfort zone. You never know what race day is going to bring, so if you’ve run and ridden in all sorts of non-ideal conditions, you can relax if race day turns out similar because you know you’ve done it before. You know, I feel GREAT having done what I did this weekend. OK, mentally & emotionally great. My muscles are a little tender.