Sunday’s training ride for The Ranch Ride was called off because of the very cool progressive dinner ride taking place in Conway. But, I’ve got dinner plans with my wife, so I planned to set out on a little ride of my own.
After yesterday’s return to the Tour de Toad route, I knew I didn’t want to do anything too grueling today. I wanted to get in a good number of miles, but just kind of take it easy after a long week of riding. Taking it easy this year isn’t what it used to be. Before when I “took it easy,” I looked for the flatest and easiest way to pile up 20-30 miles. Now, I don’t mind a few hills on an easy day and I’d rather go 30-40 miles.
I decided to head back out to the Lollie Bottoms. I thought about taking an alternate route out there that would involve a section of rolling hills, but after prepping dinner, eating lunch and then laying on the couch watching the final stage of the Tour of California, I got lazy. It was also getting late. So I just rolled out my usual way. If I go this way out and back it’s nearly 35 miles, often I will come back and add a 10-mile loop to get to 45.
This wasn’t happening today. For most of the ride out, I was riding into a head wind and I was just miserable. It was made more miserable when I pickup truck gave me a honk and then flew by me at about 55. This is on a road out in the country folks. Nevermind me, if someone had been coming down the other way, there would’ve been no time to react. These roads aren’t exactly as wide a a regular highway.
So that happened. Round Mountain Road is rough as all get out, riding into a headwind and nearly being run over just deflates you. But, toward the end of Round Mountain, you get a nice little swoopy decent that you can fly around. That was a welcome sight on today’s ride. Then once you hit Old Military Road it’s like heaven because it’s real pavement!
I was feeling good again, then came the biggest climb on the trip out to Lollie. It’s not the most horrible thing in the world, though, and I remained in good spirits as I topped out and started the trip down the other side. Then it was off to the Bottoms and all was well once again. Sure the cross/headwind was still wreaking havoc on my average speed, but there was a brilliant lack of traffic and other than the temperature hovering around 92, it was a beautiful day.
As I rolled through the cornfields I was thinking about how great it would be once I turned around and headed back with the tailwind. And boy was it ever, The trip back was fantastic, even though the wind seemed to shift in some spots.
I was even flying back down Round Mountain in the 20s. I thought for sure I’d be going the extra 10 miles. Then I turned onto Stanley Russ Road, not far from home and BAM! The wind hit me harder than it had all day, and I thought, nah, I’m going to just head back home and call it a day.
There’s no shame in it. I’ve ridden 277 miles the past two weeks. Way more than compared to these two weeks a year ago. I’m way ahead of where I was last year. I’ve got plenty of riding ahead of me this summer. Why ruin what turned out to be a pretty nice ride with a battle against the wind. I pulled back into the garage after exactly two hours of riding. I’d say it worked out perfect.
Now, it’s time to get a shower, a wonderful dinner with my bride and a beautiful, relaxing evening. Life is good.