Daylight Saving Time

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Daylight saving time is really the start of the cycling season for many here in the United States. It is the first chance that nearly everyone that works, a normal job, has to get out to ride during the work week, when it is actually light outside.

Here in Topeka, daylight saving time is the start of the “club rides” or evening rides. They initially start at 5:30 pm, but eventually rotate closer to 6 pm during the summer. It gives everyone a chance to get from their job to the ride. 3X a week, the ride starts at our house. I guess that it is because it is centrally located and they are tools, etc., here. It is kind of strange how many times a year someone shows up for a ride with a pretty major mechanical. That is the one downside to meeting at a coffeeshop or any other non-bikeshop business.

When I’m really racing hard, I tend to try to ride earlier in the day. I don’t like eating dinner so late, so close to bed, which is always the case when you’re riding until 8. But, that isn’t the case now.

I’m not sure how many people showed up yesterday, somewhere between 12-20. It was super nice out, mid 70’s, and what was really nice, hardly any wind. Like less than 10 mph. This time of the season is a little hard for many. The fitness level is all over the map. Some guys have only been riding outside on the weekends, riding the trainer during the week and some people have a ton of miles.

Contrary to what you might think, Eastern Kansas is pretty hilly. Not big hilly, just rolly hilly. Other than riding over by the Kansas River, pretty much every other direction is hills. The glaciers that made the Great Lakes moved down this way and stopped here. So, there are a lot of weird rocks laying around and shortish hills. That makes it a little difficult to keep a group of riders of different fitness levels together. But, the hills aren’t the biggest issue usually, it is the wind. It is windy here. I think Kansas is the 3rd windiest state, behind North Dakota and Texas. Must be Western Texas. Anyway, spring and fall especially, the wind blows. It is hardly ever less than 15 mph.

I personally like the wind. I look forward to using the wind in planning my ride. Sometimes when I feel unmotivated when I leave, I ride out with a tailwind. That way I get pretty far out, fool myself into thinking I’m feeling all good, when in fact, it is all wind aided. When the wind is really strong, I try to take the group mainly on a sidewind ride. It just depends how many people show up. If you get many more than 15, then the echelon is too big for the one side of the road. But, riding into a strong headwind, with a diversified ability group, makes for lots of moaning.

Anyway, yesterday was nearly perfect. Nice temperature and no wind. Everyone seems so excited to be riding. I loved it. I ride everyday and sometimes kick myself when I start to take it for granted. But, it is impossible to take riding for granted when I am riding with other people that are so enthused to be out riding.

There was a little of the first real training ride of the year thing going on yesterday. We started out of town pretty brisk and it really didn’t slow down too much. We have this guy here, Jack, that slacked off the whole winter. Actually, he started slacking last fall and continued through the winter. So, he has more than he share of winter weight on. He is saying he is all worried about staying on, then takes off at 500 meters for the “first” sprint of the season. Little Jack went after him and they did a super long, really close sprint. It looked like it must have felt pretty bad when it was over.

Anyway, Jack stayed on the whole ride, even though it got ramped up the last 5 miles. We had a 21.5 mph average at the city limit, which wasn’t screaming fast, since it was nearly calm, but was pretty fast considering.

I’d ridden a ton of miles the past three days and was planning on trying to rest yesterday. But, everyone was so amped up, I just went with it. I could feel the hills in my thighs, a little pissed at myself from deviating from my “training plan”, but it’s really all about enjoying the moments, not about being regimented.

We were cruising back towards Topeka from the west at a good clip, 25 + mph. What little wind there was, was at our backs. I was looking around at the long shadows, leafless trees, frozen ponds and thought I was so lucky that I found this sport. Every dip we went through, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. More when there was a creek. It felt fresh, like spring.

We rolled back into town right about dusk. A couple guys had driven over for the ride, so we stood around a while and talked some. The day was just about perfect. It could pretty much define why I still ride bikes.

There was a pretty good group at 5:30.

There was a pretty good group at 5:30.

I like the long shadows, but hate the burning of fields, that has just started.

I like the long shadows, but hate the burning of fields, that has just started.

The burning does make for beautiful sky.  This is just riding down my street towards my house.

The burning does make for beautiful sky. This is just riding down my street towards my house.

18 thoughts on “Daylight Saving Time

  1. SalRuibal

    You’re getting this writing thing down pat, Steve. 10 more years and you’ll be a pro. Really, the more you write, the better you get. I see that in your writing. But like racing, getting paid for it is the best. Maybe one of the cycling magazines will give you a shot.

     
  2. Joe

    “We were cruising back towards Topeka from the west at a good clip, 25 + mph. What little wind there was, was at our backs. I was looking around at the long shadows, leafless trees, frozen ponds and thought I was so lucky that I found this sport. Every dip we went through, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. More when there was a creek. It felt fresh, like spring. ”

    This is one of the best passages that you have wrote. This from a former English teacher, and currently a professional writer.

     
  3. Chris G

    Steve, I confirm that West Texas is seriously windy. The old training diaries from when I lived there for a while back in the day that show six days per week the wind was over 30 mph steady in the springtime. Some days it was over 40 mph with sky completely red from the dirt and no clue where the sun was. As you obviously know, there are always gusts at 10 or 15 mph higher than the steady speed. It definitely made us strong to ride in that. One memorable story is the day a friend and I did about 85 miles in a big circle with headwind all the way it seemed to a coffee shop stop. With plans to have a straight tailwind on the remaining 25 miles, we looked up to see a giant black cloud coming in from the unexpected direction. The resulting headwind was 35 mph straight into our faces for the ride home. What we thought was going to be an easy one hour tailwind push on the way home turned out to be more than two hours of very hard riding. It was an all headwind day, which I guess must be similar to an all uphill day..

     
  4. Skippy

    Sorry to pick holes ” prof ” but “WROTE “? Would agree Steve has written some pretty amazing material , glad it is a blog not a mag , though !

    In Torino on the way to the Tirreno-Adriatico , combined vists in St Anton , Feldkirch & San Bernadino Pass , all on Bike so unsure how many klicks , but 2 hard , long days . Not likely to make the TTT but will try for the 2nd day , somewhere .

     
  5. Bryan

    Back in 1993 I lived in Wichita Falls TX. That was the year of the flooding in the Plains states. Although places like Kansas were getting deluged, we were getting all the awful winds. From about May until early August it was constant south winds easily at a steady clip of 25, gusting much higher. After all summer riding in that, once it died down I rode the faster century I have ever done, clocking in at 4:44. I credit that all to riding in horrible winds for a steady continual 3 to 4 months.

     
  6. H Luce

    Hemingway couldn’t spell, either. Faulkner wrote run-on sentences. James Joyce made up words when he couldn’t find existing ones to use. Steve should write a book.

     
  7. Binda Extra

    Hey Joe–
    “This is one of the best passages that you have wrote. This from a former English teacher, and currently a professional writer. ”
    You’re a former English teacher and professional writer? Are you kidding me? “…have wrote.” It’s “have written”! Wow my mom taught me that in elementary school days–guess I missed my calling!!

     
  8. devin

    I skipped the first larger… group ride and will skip a few more,, from what I have heard their was a pile up.. Not what I or anyone wants this time or any time of year.. And this time of year everyone wants to just ride the valley floors and not go up.. Regardless it feels so great to be outside and not force to a whole week of indoors..

     
  9. Rod Lake

    Those were the days. Glad others get to experience Topeka group rides. No where better.

     
  10. biscuit

    ranchers burn the pastures in the spring (supposedly to kill the weeds back and the ash fertilizes the soil). Used to be every few years but seems many do it every year now. Don’t get me started on what it does to the prairie chickens…..

     
  11. Steve Tilford Post author

    Thomas-They burn the pastures. From nearly Wichita to Topeka. 1000 of square miles. Makes the cattle put on more weight because the grass is more nutritious. Very bad air for humans.

     
  12. chris

    I once did an “out with a tailwind” ride in South Dakota when I was 13 years old. Had no idea what I was doing. I can still remember seeing my speed on my computer riding back at good ol’ “3” mph. Dirt in the ears from riding in the crosswinds too.

     

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