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Easy, Hard: Always a Headwind

July 19, 2011

Today’s Ride: 85km—Middleport, Onondaga, home along 4th Concession Rd.

Weather: Sunny, hot

Cycling is as easy or as hard as you want it to be. That might sound like an open invitation to take it easy. And, on the one hand it is: cycling is inclusive, and on the right kind of bike, most people with a reasonable degree of fitness can manage just about any kind of ride—at their pace. But even at a fiercer level, cycling can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. By this, I mean that while turning a bigger gear and pushing greater speeds, efficiency on the bike can ensure that energy reserves don’t get too depleted too quickly. Picking up speed before a climb, or rolling over some good momentum from a downhill into the uphill portion of rollers. These make riding easier. Riding hard and riding smart are two very different things. I think I managed both today. Very hot, but enough of a breeze to keep things civilized, and I was aided by a tailwind as I rolled through Middleport and Onondaga—with the Six Nations Reservation on my left—before turning northward just before Brantford. I know I had a tailwind because I felt the headwind as I turned onto Jerseyville Rd., which led me to write up a new rule:

The homeward leg of a ride is always into a headwind.

Which can be taken two ways, too. There’s something Murphy-esque about it: no matter which way you go, you’re always riding into a headwind at your most tired (although geography, and living on the western tip of Lake Ontario might have something to do with this). But you can also interpret into it that even on the homeward leg, you should be pushing a big enough gear with enough speed to leave any remnant of a tailwind well and good behind you. Just sayin’.

Not that I was. I was actually pretty spent. Feeling fitter on the bike, though, and better at making the ride easier, too. I leave for Vancouver on Thursday: hoping to have 1850km in my account before I leave. One more ride Thursday morning.

Shade was most welcome. Tree-lined roads go by way too fast. But they're pretty.

Pretty common sideroad view on my rides, rolling through farm country.

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