Drafting redux

Lucky me, I was passing by the distribution yard and saw yesterday’s assist
driving by. I was a bit slow taking out the camera and
getting the snapshot, which is why the version you’re seeing is blown
up and cropped like the climactic scene in “High Anxiety.”

Just a tiny bit of drafting today, behind a contractor’s giant-bed
pickup truck as I passed the end of the straightaway near the fire
station. As soon as we got out of the built-up area, he sped up and
disappeared, leaving me to develop an unintermediated personal
relationship with my friend the North Wind.

What I have been meaning to mention for a couple days now, as I get
closer to my 500-mile goal for January is what you could think of as the
“ninety-nine-and-a-half just won’t do” problem. If you fail at a goal,
it’s most likely not because you got to 45%, but because you couldn’t
get past 90%. So in my situation at 89% (two rides left, basically)
for the month, I need to focus and keep up the solid cycling, day
after day, because otherwise I’ll get distracted and won’t make the
goal. I can always laze away once I’ve made the goal, right?

But just simple goal-reaching doesn’t help me explain to a reader like
you how seriously I take this getting the speed up and riding fast. I
could just slack off a little bit and who would notice, and there are
days like Wednesday where I just can’t get fast, but mostly I take this real
seriously, trying to push myself harder on each lap. It helps to have
an implacable antagonist like the North Wind, but pretty much it’s all
my doing. There’s no coach screaming at me or team to keep up with. So
when I finish a ride like today’s, with a steady wind from the north,
with two laps at faster than 18 mph, I feel pretty good about myself,
having recovered nearly completely from the slow-slash-rest day on
Wednesday. And I suspect that every time I put myself in that frame of
mind, where dogged persistence and determination are needed to push to
the finish line, I’ll find that it pays off for the next time.


Yes! At the very end of my ride today, I fell in behind a yellow JCB
10K forklift as the road wended northwesterly, into the Boreal teeth.
It was perfect drafting, making up for having to beat the nasty
crosswinds in both east and west directions on my own. Overall, I did
my best but finished both seven-mile laps at a 17.2 mph pace.

 I started late but still finished before sunset, but the brown-tinted
sunglasses I was wearing made it seem on the last westbound lap as if
I was riding into the secret heart of a dust storm. That and the nasty
chill the wind started to collect. I’m glad I’m back in my lodging,
drinking coffee and finally eating M’s chocolate bar from September
’08. Question inutile to bring it home.