I did the Lake Dalrymple Loop this morning, a 50 km ride north to the relatively undeveloped lake best known for fishing. Muskellunge fishing. The largest member of the Pike family. A big freshwater fish.
As soon as I hit the rode, I had a strong headwind. Due north. I was heading north for 25+ km. This was going to be a tough ride. I thought of stopping. Or, taking another route. But no. I wanted to do this ride. Part of it would be over several rough sections of road where I couldn’t travel quickly anyway. I persisted.
I am glad I did. It was more a challenge of the mind and spirit than the legs. The wind let up some mid-way to the lake and I thought, as difficult as it may be, it is beautiful and, I will have a tailwind coming home. A tailwind coming home? Good luck. Why is it that wind prefers to face me? How does it know when I am turning around? It wasn’t an easy ride back either. At times I struggled to maintain 16-18 kph.
I thought cycling in this area would be easy, that I would be able to work on speed. There were sections, a few sections, where I was able to wind it up to 35+ kph. But they were few. I overlooked that it can be windy here in the fall. Very windy. All day. So, instead of getting faster, I have gotten stronger, more aerodynamic and more efficient. The short climbs that I do encounter seem easy. I race up them faster than I can cut through the wind at times.
The interesting thing is that the wind doesn’t bother me. I expect it. I enjoy it. It is a challenge just like a long, steep climb. Like rain, wind keeps many cyclists off the road. They don’t enjoy it. It is hard work battling a persistent, never-ending headwind. I don’t mind. It not only builds power in the legs but between the ears as well. It strengthens a cyclist’s resolve. We can’t always cycle in ideal conditions and, I would rather ride than sit on the couch.
I have been at the cottage two weeks today. During that time I have clocked almost 500 km and cycled all of the loops out of the back door that I have enjoyed for years. They never disappoint. Challenging. Quiet. And, scenic.
I have ten more days left before packing the bike and heading back to Vancouver.