Despite the crazy winds that the Twin Cities have had recently, I was able to sneak in a ride last weekend. I mapped out a nice route, which is silly because I almost never follow a pre-determined map. True to form, I went north when I should have gone south, but I found a new route!

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As I was cruising along a random road I debated turning around, but I hate out-and-backs. It was nice being out in the middle of nowhere with very few houses and people around. About 45 minutes in I had to stop and shed a layer. Being alone, I also took the opportunity to do a quick farmer’s blow. Just at that moment another biker passed me. I was embarrassed, but also glad to see another biker.
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I quickly snapped this picture, stuffed my jacket in my back pocket, took another swig of water and took off after him. I kept him in my eyesight for several miles, but after turning back south (and into the dreaded wind) I could no longer keep up. Squint and you can see him still.
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I made it to Hammerheart Brewery when I was about 1:15 into my ride, so I stopped over to have a Honey Stinger Gel. I tested this out after reading about them on Gretchen Runs. I’ve always had stomach problems, especially when it involves working out. At my old job I would do lunch rides with my coworkers and once we stopped at McDonalds. I almost puked several times on the < 3 miles back to the office. So, I’ve always been cautious about what to refuel with, especially in the middle of a ride or run. So far the honey stingers have worked really well.
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Then I headed west, past the correctional facility. It’s not the most scenic, but it’s a relatively flat, quiet road with a large shoulder. My average was around 15mph, but I ranged in speed from 11 to 20mph, that’s how crazy strong the wind was. I kept going west, hoping that by the time I headed south again the wind would have died down.
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Then I almost quit. I had set myself a goal of at least 2 hours in the saddle and somewhere between 30 and 40 miles. I was nearing 2 hours when I turned south again to face a headwind for what felt like forever. There was no one around and I was yelling “ARE YOU [blanking] KIDDING ME?” For the first time in my cycling “career” I wanted to quit mid-ride. I kept saying “This isn’t fun anymore.” Then, I realized how childish I was being. I downshifted, got as low as I could on my drop bars, and slowly road the rest of the way home. Endurance sports require as much mental determination as physical ability. My attitude shifted to thinking about how much this was benefitting me. And boy did it!! I bowled my first ever turkey later that day!

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