First Long Ride: Lessons from a Headwind

Heading out on the road for an hour long ride on my new bike I found out a few things.

First, you cannot always apply the logic of having the same time going out as coming in. I planned on riding for about an hour to take it easy and break my legs in gently, and while this is a long ride, I also run and swim on a regular basis. My legs should be able to handle it. So, I did the logical thing that I do hiking and running and swimming – headed out for half an hour and then turned around.

We made great progress for the first 13 miles, just around 30 minutes. There were a number of good reasons to turn around at this point besides being the half an hour mark. After 10 miles, this was the longest I had ridden any bike in distance for 12 years. This committed us to doing well over 2.5 times the distance I had done last year once on my mountain bike. It also happened to be the end of the very nice shoulder.

The average speed was close to 25-26 mph on the way out, and as we turned, we found out why. There was a lovely breeze coming the other direction, a 15 mph headwind with occasional gusts. Coasting down hill the first 100 yards or so after the turn around, the bike was actually being blown to a stop.

The 1 hour ride ended up taking nearly an hour forty to finish up.

Part of that was a gentle cruise and conversation, but we had a couple of sections where we pushed our selves against the wind. Our average speed dropped back down to a much more reasonable first timer speed of 16 mph.

All in all it was a fantastic day – it never got above 70 F despite setting off after 9 am. Not bad for the last day of July in the Panhandle. I’m looking forward to my next ride, although I will be checking prevailing winds before I head out.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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