The ride options were 30, 43 and 60 miles. 60 seemed a bit much on the fixie so I rode the 43. There had been a light freeze on Saturday night, but the forecast called for mid-50's temperatures so I didn't take any real cold weather gear, other than my anorak/bike jacket and my arm warmers. Sitting in the car before the start with the thermometer showing 33 degrees, I felt that perhaps a little more gear would have been in order!
As I was getting ready to join the start line, I saw a Mules jersey go by. It was Kevin S. on his sexy new Willier bike, finally in from Italy. He was impressed to see my fixie and bare legs! Chris H. showed up soon after, also without tights, also wishing she'd brought them.
We set off and I kept pace with Kevin, who is very strong at present. He tried to keep the pace down to 17-18mph for my benefit but didn't manage very well. We picked up two other riders and made a four bike pace line for a while. After about ten miles I dropped back, not able to keep the pace, and then stopped at the first break point to strip off the anorak and arm warmers.
Back on the road, the routes split and I picked up the 43. The wind was starting to pick up too, and one long pull into the breeze had me digging deep. The wind is hard on a heavy bike with no gears. Thankfully we turned right onto a more sheltered country road and I could sit up and relax a bit.
That was the pattern for the rest of the ride - occasional pulls into the wind, occasional downwind stretches, mostly working with a cross wind. I hit every break point, instead of every other one, which is my normal pattern - I felt I was getting enough exercise on the fixie to justify the extra breathers.
Pretty soon we were back in Manvel and then at the finish. I could smell food coming into the parking lot and sure enough there was a group of volunteers grilling hot dogs. I sucked down a chilli dog (hey, I needed the carbs and protein) and ran into Gunilla, another BHP rider, looking pretty comfortable after the 43 mile route. She'd hardly noticed the wind, though - must be in better shape than me. Back to the car and home to a gorgeous afternoon.