You know, I pondered a bit about the title of this post. Ya see, the challenges I am going to talk about are really NOT unique to those of us lucky enough to ride on the coast.
However, since I AM an Oregon Coast Cyclists and these were the challenges for me today, the title stands…
All day long I have been watching the winds. It’s been pretty breezy out there. Straight out of the north heading south. Those who read yesterday’s post know I am on a borrowed bike, with a hard seat, and it was one hard ride.
But I am LOW on miles for April, and in 3 weeks the first big ride happens. So. with encouragement from Michelle, I went out for a quick 20 mile ride to Depoe Bay and back.
Quick he says….Yeah right….
Lets talk about the winds. I checked when I got home and they are steady on 20 MPH. That’s a decent little blow there.
Funny thing about the coast, and one of the challenges, there are microclimates. Rivers, bays, inlets and creeks all have their own weather. I will be traveling south with a head wind, and suddenly its a HARD side wind trying to push me over for 100 yards or so.
Or, I can be fighting headwinds and hit thick stand of trees and dead calm. That can be like the stumble when you think there is another step. Keeps you awake!
That was a the ride south 10 miles of mostly tail winds, but fickle terrain kept me on my toes!
Can’t complain TOO much though, wind makes cool waves.
Yet another challenge for your heroic coast cyclist. I can sit and watch waves crash on rocks for hours. On days that I KNOW its going to be s slog into headwinds to get home, it would be WAY too easy to stay there and watch. But watching waves does NOT make for strong legs. I drug myself away!
By the way, windy does NOT mean it aint pretty. Check out the view from the ride.
Well worth it!
Alas it was time to head north, into the face of the winds. I have met cyclists who like climbing, racing, extremely long distances and even those who don’t mind the rain or cold while riding. NEVER, EVER have I met one who likes headwinds. They will suck the life right out of you.
I know, I know, I have ended many a blog with “Like the wind!” and this is my favorite saying ever
But 20 mph winds are hard! The secret I have found is this.
- Point your nose into the wind. Face it head on.
- Start the pedals, getting started is the hardest part.
- Accept the fact you aint gonna go fast. You will get there, eventually, but there will be no land speed records set.
- Find the right gear. You paid for your gears use them. Gear down to the gear that lets you make headway without working too hard. If you can’t find that, find the gear that doesn’t make you work TOO hard, you may have a lot of miles to go, so sustained headway is a must.
- If the winds are TOO strong for #4, find a bar, order a drink, and call your gorgeous wife to come get you!
So far, I haven’t had to institute #5. Today was tough though. There were a few spots when I was geared ALL the way down, and moving slow, but move I did! After a while I hit the cut off that adds miles, but takes me inland and out of the wind.
I was enjoying the back roads and calm air. It adds 4 miles to the trip, but well worth it tonight.
Until the final challenge.
I honestly do not remember any time since I was a kid in high school that I was chased by dog. Well tonight broke that streak.
I was on an uphill stretch (of course) and passed the driveway of one of the few houses out that way. Suddenly I hear barking and snarling and a lady yelling at a dog.
It had to be an uphill….
Well my quick glance of the dog before I stood on the pedals told me 3 things.
- He did NOT look friendly
- He had short legs
- He was fatter than I was!
I powered up the hill, he gave chase, and his person kept screaming his name, but after about a quarter mile I topped the coast and flew down the other side. Left him in my dust!
I could hear her screaming for him for the next half mile though….
That was the last challenge of the night. In the end I rode 24.5 miles on a really a pretty night.
Being an Oregon Coast Cyclist aint always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Like the wind!