February was not just a whitewash, it was a windwash!
Blustery conditions continued to batter the North West making riding conditions dangerous with 50-70mph gusts across two weekends. It led to me missing three rides during the month and ultimately my monthly mileage goal of 320 miles (the one day where conditions seemed to settle, we had an important family occasion which took priority over riding).
Getting out in the first weekend of the month, it was brutal. Returning home after hours in headwinds and gusts was character building to say the least, but I felt pretty happy rolling back with a speed of around 16.5mph (26.4kph) given how challenging things were.
It gave me some confidence that I could go into the next two weekends hanging on to some fitness, however wind speed and gusts intensified. Watching Davina McCall complete her Sport Relief ride in the intense wind and rain, raised nothing but admiration for what she achieved.
With the month eroding, I rolled out on the last Saturday and within the first mile of leaving home thought to turn back as the conditions were again really tough (up to 70mph gusts). I hadn't realised when looking out from home, things looked relatively OK, but really needing some miles opted to push on through it and pick a route on lanes where I might benefit from some protection.
After a hard fifty miler on a pan flat route, I bonked one mile from home and pedalled squares all the way back. That horrible moment when your tanks feel empty takes a good dose of mental attitude to push on.
Looking back it was so windy, I was just focusing on turning the pedals and made a schoolboy error by not eating, a classic loss of situational awareness through tiredness. Still it at least meant I could add some more miles, opting for a recovery ride on the Sunday following.
No miles for the first weekend for me. Yesterday I went to watch the Eddie Soens race in Aintree which was well worth it, was a great race which I viewed from the passenger seat of the neutral support service vehicles. Today, recovering after a late night!
We're into March now, so here's to a big improvement and a few calmer days (crosses fingers). The weather is what is is. I'm a big fan of getting out wherever possible, however icy conditions and severe winds always make me think twice. The roads are dangerous enough already so with additional attributes to consider.
The only one positive I took away was that my average speed was up year on year, despite the conditions, so that's something to reflect on.
Month to Date
Mileage- 178 miles (-45% vs PY)
Ride Time - 10hrs 49mins
Ascent - 4,688ft
Avg. Speed - 16.5mph (+8% vs PY)
Avg. HR - 153bpm
Calories (estimate) -7,502
Ride Ascent Ratio (Ascent/Miles) - 26.3 (Flat) (-16% vs. PY)
Year to Date
Mileage- 432 miles (-20% vs PY)
Ride Time - 26hrs 18mins
Ascent - 12,275ft
Avg. Speed - 16.5mph (+12% vs PY)
Avg. HR - 150bpm
Calories (estimate) -16,858
Ride Ascent Ratio (Ascent/Miles) - 28.4 (Flat) (same vs. PY)