Monday, May 18, 2009

3/16 Black Forest 300k - Wind A-Plenty!

Tim "Foon" Feldman reports on a darned windy Black Forest 300k!

The Black Forest 300k took some perseverance. The day started with driving through rain to the start, and I had not a minute to spare to get ready. No rain fell during the ride, just some spray from wet roads for the first hour or two. By the time we got to Sedalia the winds had picked up. We had 20 to 40 mph winds out of the south for the next 8 hours until we got back to Sedalia once more. For a while we had seven rolling down the road with a quartering headwind from the left. I barked enough to get the lead riders all the way onto the yellow line so that the rest of us could echelon properly. I am getting used to my mirror which allowed me to monitor overtaking traffic and get the group back to the right side of the road before obstructing traffic.

From there to the finish I was able to ride with three others, but that was as often a psychological comfort more than a physical advantage as there is just not much shelter in such blustery conditions. The gusty sidewinds were just as problematic as the headwinds that usually dropped our pace to about 10 mph.

On the way to Elbert we had dangerously foggy conditions for a while, luckily only on lightly traveled roads. A tailwind section heading north to Elbert proved that the wind was over 30 mph. When the speedometer showed low 30's it felt like still air. Upper 30s was required before feeling wind on our faces. Here the clouds lifted and visibility improved through the remainder of the day. The route takes a u-turn at the Elbert control. Turning back into the wind, the 11.7 miles back to Sweet road took well over an hour for our lead group of four. But even then the route was not done sending us southbound into the teeth of the wind.

Finally at the southern most part of the route we arrived at the next control. The new Black Forest General Store has a soup kettle in their hot food section. This day followed their Kids Day theme with macaroni and cheese. A bowl of that and a few minutes sitting at the most welcomed small dining area readied us for the final third of the ride. We gladly turned the chairs over to the next group to arrive (Peter Hoff, Andrea Koenig and Dick Wiss). From there the temperatures finally started to climb and we got sections of coasting at 30+ mph while northbound as well as the sidewind on the westbound legs. After Sedalia though the wind shifted we returned to the day's theme of headwinds.


1 comment:

  1. Many thanks to Eric Simmons for getting us started, meeting us in Larkspur and greeting us at the finish. He also went above and beyond by obtaining RTD parking vouchers for all of us.

    And thanks as always to our inestimable RBA (even if I am jealous that his pre-ride enjoyed better weather).