During the drive on Hwy 195, every flag I saw looked like it was two minutes away from being shredded and the wind turbines were spinning like pin wheels blown upon by hyperactive five-year olds.
At Wawawai landing I was relieved to see the out part of the out-and-back time trial would be into the wind. Getting the hard part out of the way first suited me just fine. Then I could fly home to the finish. The route followed the Snake River in a southeast direction before turning back.
I signed up for men's masters 50+ category. Not that it made any difference since I was going to have my ass handed to me anyway. I just needed to know, once it was all over, who to see so they could hand it to me. My departure time was set for 11:25.
Trainers were set up and riders started warming up. Me, I stayed warm in the van. The symbolism associated with being in a van down by the river was not lost upon me.
A little after 11:00 I got on my bike and pedaled up and down the road for a while to warm up. I rolled up to the start a couple minutes before my time and checked in. Following instructions I put my front wheel on the white line. The official counted me down. With five seconds left a dark cloud covered the sun and the wind suddenly picked up. It was blowing right in my face. I took off as best as I could with the wind letting me know this wasn't going to be easy. I leaned over and braced myself for six miles of fighting the wind.
A quarter mile down the road and it was getting easy. I kept shifting up until I was in the top gear. I spun my pedals for all I was worth to make the most of it. Of course, I made it to the turnaround point in excellent time--just like everybody else since we had the wind with us.
One word describes the ride back. Brutal. This was one of the strongest headwinds I've ever
I shifted between to the top chain ring when the wind eased, which wasn't often, but mostly stayed on the middle ring. I was amazed at the guys who started behind me and rolled right on by like the wind wasn't a factor. My fortune changed with one kilometer to go and I was able to kick it into high gear and look good at the finish. Hence the smile on my face.
Photo by Bryan MacDonald
I had intended to do the hill climb race as well, but I had the start time wrong. Since it was later than I thought I wouldn't be home by the time I needed to be so I had to miss it.