Squeezing Between Pickups to End Dog Chase Bike Ride

I checked the airport weather before leaving on today’s bike ride at 12:20 and wasn’t surprised to see the wind from the south at 20 mph and 30 mph gusts. I knew it would tough bicycling on the “Atascocita – Walden – Huffman” route until I made the turn north at Old Atascocita Road and FM 2100. It lived up to that thought. I fought the wind most of the way with tired legs managing to keep my speed at 16 to 18 mph unless I was out in the open where the headwind could get at me. The 31.18 miles I biked moved me to only 94 miles left to hit my March goal of 586 miles.

The temperature dropped a few degrees from yesterday as a front approaches from the northwest later today. I decided to wear a light long sleeve jersey under a short sleeve jersey in case the wind chill was cooler than I like. Generally that was a good choice when I rode into the wind and a little warm with a tailwind. The overcast sky probably contributed to the cooler temperature.

Excitement arrived as I rode south on Fairlake Drive just before the left turn onto Old Atascocita Road. I ride these roads several times a week and never had a dog chase but today a man was sitting out front of the house on my left with a dog. The dog saw me and started racing from the house towards me with the man calling the dog’s name but the dog ignored him setting his gaze on me. I started pedaling faster and was concerned about turning the corner because two City of Houston pickup trucks were driving slowly to the intersection possibly blocking me and giving the dog a chance to catch me. The first truck moved through the intersection and I went in front of the second pickup which had slowed with me making the turn beside the truck. By now I could not hear or see the dog but I kept pedaling fast until I reached the railroad track and crossed it. I hope the dog is not outside tomorrow morning when the Clay Walker Band Against MS bike ride comes on this road.

After that cycling east on Old Atascocita Road with wind coming from my right seemed not so hard. Making the left turn onto FM 2100 the wind became a tailwind and my speed jumped. I stopped at the Huffman Chevron for a couple of minutes to rest my legs, wipe my brake levers off and drink some water before pulling back on FM 1960 for the 11+ miles to finish the bike ride. Crossing Kingwood Drive wasn’t hard as I beat the Kingwood High School dismissal by 10 minutes or so. The bike ride ended at 2:43. The wind held me back at times but I made it. When I went inside I looked at the airport weather and saw the wind from the SSE at 31.1 mph.

I went to Bike Werks yesterday to see about my rear wheel bearings. The set I had would not fit so Jeremy will order the bearings. They should arrive on Tuesday and I will take my wheel back to replace them. He tightened the bearings some to reduce the side to side movement in the meantime.

A front is supposed to pass through later today and this may impact biking on Saturday.

Links to RideWithGPS.com and Strava.com metrics and maps.

Home weather at the start and airport weather at the end of the bike ride.

SportTracks ride summary (click the image to enlarge it).

Ride summary

30 MPH Wind Gusts and Loose Rear Bearings Bike Ride

Another fabulous bike ride day with scattered clouds and mid 80’s temperature. The wind was another story though. I guess March wind is supposed to be gusty and today’s bike ride lived it. I knew it was windy while I biked the “Kingwood – SH 242 – Kingwood” route but I didn’t know how windy until I got home and checked the weather: from the south at 21 mph with 30 mph gusts. I flew riding to SH 242 but as I rode over US59/I-69 to return the wind hit me and the speed dropped while the pedaling effort went high. I should’ve shift down one gear but after the initial thought I concentrate so hard pedaling I forgot to shift. My maximum average speed got up to 14.8 mph but riding into the strong headwind took its toll and it started to fall the longer I rode into it.

The weather at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Airport WEather

Making a slight alteration to the usual route on this ride I biked through the Azalea District in Valley Ranch back to US59 and then stayed on the service road to Kingwood Drive. Typically I ride through Briar Tree and Oakhurst on the way to Kingwood Drive. MY goal was to skirt around the schools since my timing was close to when they dismiss. I started the ride at 12:38 and finished and 3:13. The total miles came to 34.21 putting me with 126 miles of my goal for March.

Yesterday during my brief rest stop at the Huffman Chevron I checked my wheels for some reason and found the rear one moved side to side about 1/8″ when I pushed on the tire. Today during the ride I stopped at Bike Werks to see if they could diagnose the problem but Jeremy, the mechanic, was not there so I am taking the wheel back later this afternoon when he should be there. I don’t know if the bearings are loose or need to be replaced. The wheel has 20,300 miles on it with no maintenance done. Hopefully it is a quick fix. I have a set a bearings I bought for another wheel but I don’t know if they fit this one.

The beautiful weather is forecast to end tomorrow so I may not be able to ride.

Links to RideWithGPS.com and Strava.com metrics and maps.

SportTracks ride summary (Click on the image to enlarge it).

Ride summary

Thankful for Fences and Gate Bike Ride

Today’s bike ride is the longest one for March coming in at 41.54 miles. It has several months since I biked the “FM1960 to FM686 – Back” route and I had to look it up to see the distance and route. The last time I rode this route was July 19th last year. Two later bike rides follow a similar route but were longer distance when I added the Fairlake Drive and Old Atascocita Road portion.

With the route running mostly east and west the SW wind wasn’t too much of a problem. Checking the wind at the end of the bike ride I saw it was stronger than I expected 8 mph with 18 mph gusts. One place where I really noticed the wind was the riding over the railroad overpass on FM 1960 east of Huffman. Once I topped out the ride back down allowed me to get back up to speed. About a mile later I needed that speed when a dog spotted me from my ride and raced from the front porch to the open gate barking but by then I was beyond his territory and he didn’t pursue me.

At FM 686 I stopped a few minutes at the Dayton Food and Fuel store in the shade before bicycling back to the west. I expected the wind to be more of a problem but it wasn’t too bad. Cycling past one house two big dogs saw me and raced to the wood fence but the gate was closed and they stood barking on the other side while I rode by. Once I was out of sight they stopped barking. This was the first time these dogs had come to the gate in the times I rode this route.

A 20 minute rest stop at the Huffman Chevron was needed for my legs to recover some while I drank ice water and ate a Kashi trail mix bar. The breeze felt good as I sat in the shade. Back on the bike I rode the 11+ miles to finish the ride at 3:24. I started earlier today (12:02) than yesterday which allowed me to bike farther.

I am at 426.64 miles for the month leaving 160 miles to reach my goal. With more favorable weather in the forecast for tomorrow (Thursday) I plan on bicycling to get closer to my goal.

Links to RideWithGPS.com and Strava.com metrics and maps.

Home weather station at the start of the ride and airport weather at the end.

SportTracks Ride Summary (click on the image to enlarge it)

ride summary

What A Tailwind, What A Headwind Bike Ride

A late start (1:22) on today’s bike ride but the weather was still fantastic like yesterday. The bike ride followed the “New Caney – Tavola – Valley Ranch” route enjoying the nice tailwind all the way to Tavola. The return trip was not so friendly. I thought my legs were just tired from riding four days in a row but when I got home and checked the weather I found out the wind was gusting to 20 mph and steady from the southeast 7 mph. No wonder the legs had trouble turning the cranks! The 33.90 mile long ride was challenging with the wind. I should’ve ate more before leaving to have energy reserves.

I am moving closer to my mileage goal for March with only 200.9 miles to go, 66% of the way there.

No donkeys or free ice cream cones on today’s ride, just the normal stuff.

Links to RideWithGPS.com and Strava.com metrics and maps.

Home weather and the start and airport weather at the end of the bike ride.

SportTracks Ride Summary (click on the image to enlarge it)

ride summary