The Monday after New Year's Day saw Kevin C. and me riding out at Zube, Kevin's maiden voyage in that neck of the woods. I took MC to IAH that morning so we rode after lunch, a rare event for me. Kevin was constantly on the lookout for traffic but I assured him that the country roads around Zube were pretty quiet. That's true on a weekend morning, not quite so accurate on a Monday afternoon, but most of the drivers were very considerate. We had a tail wind all the way out and a cross-wind all the way back, but managed to work together quite well. I was pretty much beat at the end of the run.
I managed three commuting rides in the week, and it was my Friday off, so I decided to take the fixie out for a spin in Terry Hershey. The weather appeared to be picture-perfect, temperature in the mid-60's under clear skies, and Susan and I had lunch in the garden (in January! This time of year is why we live here). Unfortunately once out of my sheltered back yard and on the open road I realized that there was a good stiff breeze blowing. The fixie is no fun going into the wind - it's heavy and you can't change gear. The wind was out of the west and the route goes due west so I struggled until the turn. The run back was a lot easier but the damage was done and I was a very tired puppy when I got home.
This morning saw me getting up early and heading to Zube for a Mules run. Once again the weather appeared perfect - clear skies, temps in the high 40's, heading for the 60's later - but of course the wind was blowing pretty sharply from the North. For once I'd brought enough gear - tights, arm warmers, jacket - and felt pretty good as we set out. Quite a good turn-out, even though Paddy is away in Vietnam - Kevin S, Gregor, Kenny, Lee (a new mule), Dani (a new face for me but she has a Mules shirt) and a young geo from the office, Mitch. The latter was not well prepared - he was riding with toe-clips, no gloves and a big pack on his back - and couldn't keep up with the usual 18-20 mph pace. We fought the wind on the way out and the group split up, with Kenny and Gregor disappearing into the distance in front, and Mitch falling off behind. Once we turned around life got much easier, and we were dieseling along in high gear without breaking a sweat. It couldn't last, of course, and after the usual break at the Exxon we had a much tougher time. The first mile or so was directly into the wind and I really struggled. At the turn onto Business 290 we quickly got fragmented again - Kenny, Gregor and Lee legged it out at the front, Dani and Mitch were dropping back so Kevin turned round to help them, leaving me on my own. It was a tough pull back with a gusty cross-wind and I was very glad to get back to my car. The fast group had been in for a while and were exchanging war stories (as you do). Dani eventually rolled up, then Kevin and Mitch - apparently they had stopped in Waller for donuts and coffee. We agreed that in future the speedsters would stop and pick up donuts and hand them to the rest of the group as we passed by, just like a feed zone in a pro ride. I'm looking forward to the next one.