Head Down, Pedal Hard Bike Ride

I looked out the kitchen window as I ate a snack before leaving on today’s bike ride and heard the wind blowing in the trees and bushes. I knew the ride would be hard. I chose the “Stroker Road – Huffman” route for miles and because it would be the first time this year. I biked 41.32 miles, the longest ride this year replacing the ride on Monday. This put me within 27 miles of my February goal of 345 miles.

Out the door at 11:36 am the wind was all that I figured. I checked the weather on my phone and saw south wind at 16 mph with 30 mph gusts. The weather for the ride: start 77 (humidity 80%), wind S 16 mph gusts 30 mph. Finish 80 (71% humidity), wind S 9 mph gusts 21 mph, overcast.

I battled the wind all the way to turning north onto FM 2100 from Stroker Road. At the church on Fairlake Drive south of FM 1960 another cyclist was start his ride from the parking lot. I lead him to FM 2100 where we stopped to cross. I was ahead of him for a short time and as he pulled beside me to pass he told me the wind was tough and I said it was a killer. At the time we rode east with the wind from our right and I held onto the handlebars to keep the bike straight. As he rode away from me I dreaded the right turn onto Ramsey Road where the wind would be very strong riding into it. Another cyclist rode west on Old Atascocita and I waved as we passed in opposite directions.

Once I was on Ramsey Road I put my head down, shifted to the 36 x 14 gearing and watched the speed go from 17 – 18 mph to 9 and 10 mph with some time lower than that. Slowly making my way south to Peters Road when I got close to the intersection a group of 5 or 6 cyclist sped around the turn and one shouted “How did I like the headwind?”. I waved and faintly said I did not like it. They were by me in a few seconds with the tailwind helping them while the headwind side was stomping on me.

Finally getting to Stroker Road I turned right and the wind let up some since it was from my left. It wasn’t as bad as Ramsey Road and I made decent time to FM 2100. I kind of rest while riding on Stroker Road but riding on FM 2100 was much better with the strong tailwind helping me get to Huffman.

After all of the hard pedaling I stopped at the Huffman Chevron for a 10 minute rest. When I went inside for a Greensheet the lady behind the counter said they have been missing me and wondered if I was okay. We chatted about the lousy weather so far this year. She said she saw me ride by yesterday and figured I didn’t need to stop. I told her today’s ride was longer and the wind much harder. I went outside sitting on the Greensheet paper to eat a fig bar and drink some water. Resting my legs I hoped would make the rest of the ride not so hard.

I headed west on FM 1960 and the ride wasn’t to hard until I got to the causeway over Lake Houston. The wind was from my left but it seemed to be as strong as Ramsey Road and my speed dropped to about the same level. Thankfully this lasted only 2 miles and the right turn onto Atascocita Shores Drive meant the tailwind was back. The 8 miles from there to the finish was easier and I finished at 2:57 pm, 3 hours and 21 minutes after the start.

Sunday’s weather looks wet and I will take the day to rest my tired legs from today’s bike ride.

SportTracks Bike Ride Summary

 Bike Ride Summary

Link to Strava Ride Summary

 

Fog Then Sun Bike Ride

Fog hung around until after 10 am today delaying my ride start until 11:57 am. I set off on the “Atascocita – Walden – Huffman” route heading south into a stiff breeze. Later I found out the “stiff” breeze was from the SE at 17 mph. No wonder it was hard to pedal into the wind. The plan was to ride at 32 miles to set my miles left to reach my February goal to 70 miles or less. I rode 34.3 miles doing even better leaving 68 miles to reach my goal.

Weather: Start 79 (82% humidity), finish 80 (75% humidity), partly cloudy, wind SE 17 mph.

After riding through Elm Grove Village and into Sherwood Trails Village I passed the house where a former church member lives and he was in the front yard so I stopped and we caught up on our lives. I have been on the look out for him but the timing never matched us up. It was a great visit. After that I rode back to Hunters Ride Village where I spotted another cyclist ahead going south on Woodbridge Drive about 1/4 mile in front of me. Our speeds matched so I didn’t get close enough to say hi. We passed Bear Branch Elementary school and our paths diverged. I made a loop back to the Bear Branch Park and saw another cyclist coming towards me. We exchanged hellos as we passed.

Fighting the wind heading south kept my speed lower than I usually ride but the power was higher. The clouds started to thin out and the sun came through. It rained the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday) so sun and warmth is much needed.

With the overcast sky as I got ready to ride I chose a long sleeve/short sleeve jersey combination in case the temperature and wind were cooler than I liked. With the sun coming out I probably was overdressed some but that was okay. Maybe I burned more fat.

Still seeing Hurricane Harvey construction work along the route. Some offices are starting to get fixed and a few houses.

Saturday weather should be like to day and I plan on taking the Stradalli out. I bought a new hose nozzle and when I finished today’s ride it was good to hose the bike off and not get sprayed by the frozen cracked one.

SportTracks Bike Ride Summary

Bike Ride Summary

Link to Strava Ride Summary

 

Stout Wind, Slow Bike Ride

More wind on today’s bike ride this time heading south on the “Atascocita South – Walden – Kingwood” route. With the threat of rain, and maybe somewhat tired legs after yesterday’s long ride, I chose the shorter route staying west of Lake Houston. The ride totaled 27.32 miles boosting February to 242.8 miles on the road. I don’t count trainer miles towards my goal of 345 miles.

Generally I battled the headwind until I got to Aerobic Drive where the route turned to the east and began making its way to the north. My average speed was slow riding into the headwind but the watts were high. Biking north was much easier thanks to the tailwind. This allowed me to improve my average speed some but there weren’t enough miles left to make a big difference.

Ride weather conditions: Start 77 (85% humidity), overcast sky, finish 76 (88% humidity), wind S 18 mph gusts 25 mph. The ride started at 11:26 am and finished at 1:35 pm. I felt a few light sprinkles of rain a few times but they didn’t materialize into any significant moisture. As I write this a few isolate showers are in the area with a heavy line many miles west of Conroe heading this way.

A couple of other cyclists were out “enjoying” the wind and mild temperature.

Forecast for Wednesday: lots of rain, no bike riding.

SportTracks Bike Ride Summary

Bike Ride Summary

Link to Strava ride summary

 

Oh What Strong Wind You Have Bike Ride

During today’s ride the weather reminded me of fall but then I realized instead of going away from warmer weather we are getting closer. Starting the “New Caney – Roman Forest – Valley Ranch” route at 11:36 am I hoped to put in a long bike ride and succeed with 40.35 miles, the longest ride in 2018 so far. This moves February to 215.5 miles, 129.5 miles away from reaching my goal.

Getting to Roman Forest was the easiest section of the ride thanks to the strong wind: south 20 mph , gusts to 29 mph. Whenever I went into the wind it I struggled to maintain my speed of 18 to 19 mph. Over all the weather was good for biking: start 78 (humidity 76%), finish 79 (humidity 72%), mostly cloudy.

No rest stops during the ride but I almost took one at the new Exxon station at Roman Forest Blvd. and the railroad tracks. I stopped to get a paper towel to blow my nose but they didn’t have any so I continued riding.

Bicycling south on the I-69/US59 service road the wind came at me strong. I knew it must be above 10 mph but I didn’t find out how strong it really was until I checked the weather after finishing the ride at 2:36 pm.

Wardrobe choices for today: shorts, long sleeve jersey, short sleeve jersey. The long sleeve jersey was for sunscreen purposes as much as warmth from the wind. This selection kept me comfortable.

Rain chance increases on Tuesday and higher on Wednesday which may keep me indoors. I may attempt a short ride on Tuesday to get some miles.

Link to Strava ride summary

SportTracks Ride Summary

Bike Ride Summary