Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The gravel, my friend, is blowing in the wind.....

Yay! I got let out of jail, oops, I mean work early today. There's only one thing for it when this happens, to the hills!

After a quick spin home on the new slicks (more on those soon) I got my real bike on the back of the Starlet and whizzed round to Rapaki. Legs were a bit tired from this morning and slightly sore, but nothing to make me think it was going to be anything but a great ride.

We break briefly for a short description of this morning. A couple of weeks ago I put slicks on my hardtail (mtb with no suspension at the back) with the idea that this would make commuting quicker and encourage more road riding over winter. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances I haven't really got to try them out. So this morning I took the slightly longer, with some little hills in it, route to work on my new slicks. It was gooood. I was faster. Powered up the wee hills in gears I've never been up them in before and arrived at work sweaty and happy. I was so encouraged by this ride I've started a graph to measure my improved fitness. (see bottom of page)

And now back to our feature presentation.

So when we left our intrepid cyclist was just heading up Rapaki. It should be noted at this time that I was well aware that a southerly front was approaching and was hoping to get to the top before it hit. I had a really strong ride (for me, probably painfully slow for most people) up to the flat section, and had fun doing wee jumps over the rocks on the down hilly bit. Now for that horrid last bit of climb to the top. I noticed that the wind had picked up and was now pushing at me stubbornly from one side. I also noticed some fairly impressive looking dust plumes further up the track. Onwards and upwards. My legs were quite sore now, but I wasn't too worried, but as I got higher I was battling the wind to stay on my line. I made it up past the little seat and up further to the corner. Now I was really struggling in the wind and was getting pelted with small bits of gravel occasionally. After I'd been blown off the bike twice, luckily I managed to unclip, I decided that I really couldn't be bothered (very slack, I know) with the last few hundred metres, so I turned around (getting another face full of small bits of gravel in the process) and headed back down. It was a pretty hair raising descent. I like to go really fast down that bit of Rapaki, saves pedalling up the other side, but I was being whipped all over the place by the wind and had to carefully reduce my speed from the 50ish kph I was doing down to a old womanly pace to avoid having the bike whipped out from under me. Once up on the flat again the wind propelled me on nicely and I had a nice rest till the downhill. Watching the front come through the city was pretty cool too.

I'm feeling fairly chuffed with my ride, I don't usually go up Rapaki if I've done other riding in the day. It was cool riding up there before it turned into a highway at 5, but I suspect chances of this happening often are very low.

No comments: