" You can ride wherever you live but nothing will prepare you for the Kona winds." - Al Trautwig on the 2008 Ironman highlight show.
Al I got news for you buddy...ride at Lake Waramaug in winter and you'll be in for an icy prequel.
Today I skipped Mass and after breakfast I made my way up to the Lake for the Second Straight day. As I drove up I could hear the wind blowing...shouldn't be too bad I thought to myself. The temperature was about 45F(7.2C). I threw on an extra long sleeve jersey and my rain jacket to guard against the wind. It was really blowing along the easiest part of the loop, and not in a small annoying normal wind way. At the most unprotected section of the ride I was going sideways and forward, as the wind was blowing me across the yellow line. In my head all I could think about were all those Kona highlights I watched growing up. All the stories of people being blown off bikes or blown sideways or being in the low gears spinning their legs going nowhere rang true. "Riding in shit like this builds toughness" I muttered to myself as I pushed along. For as brutal as the wind was approaching the state park, it shot me out like a cannon on the otherside of the lake. Barely pedaling going 20mph(32km/h) and for 9 laps, 70 miles (112km) or 4:14 min I rode my loops. A lot of runners were out and a couple more cyclists, but no one was doing near the mileage I was. I felt bad for one guy who rode for a mile into the wind, said "Fuck this" and rode back to his car. On one of my loops I had a Lt. Dan moment cussing at the wind asking it this was all it had, as my bike was going more of a left to right instead of a forward direction. I had initally planned to go 10 loops or 77 miles but as I completed loop number 9 it was already 4:40PM and I didn't want to be riding into the dark ( although I kick myself now because I had another 20 minutes of daylight.) Despite not being the distance I wanted I reflected alot as I rode. I had gotten more long rides in than I had last year. 2x 70 milers instead of the one last Jan. Part of me reflected on the injury, it has been a blessing and a curse., but probably more of the former. Had I been able to run more I would have focused on that, and let the bike collect dust, instead I have been forced to become a better rider, I have had to devote time to cycling to stand a chance, and instead of seeing it as work I'm actually starting to enjoy being in the saddle. For the first time since childhood I really enjoy going out and riding, and this summer I'm expecting some more improvement in the few races that will grace the reign of terror. But for right now I have 140.6 miles ( 226.2km) awaiting me on March 7 and I'm feeling pretty confident, just need to get a couple of long runs in to make sure.