About a month ago, Mike and I rode the Ash Grove / Halltown loop from Elwood in very windy conditions. Saturday was a nearly identical day, so we decided to take that ride again.
When we rode that last month, we ended up with a 19.7 mph average speed out to Ash Grove because of the strong tailwind. Mike lamented that if we had known we were that close, we could have pushed it over 20 mph. That was in the back of our mind yesterday, and we had an unspoken agreement that we would top 20 mph on that first leg. We did!
The garmin clocked that leg at 22.0, so we were both pleased with the results. I honestly think we might have taken it a little higher if we had worked a little harder on the sections with the cross wind, but we knew we had another 31 miles after Ash Grove, and much of that would be into the wind.
As we turned our attention toward Halltown, I concluded the wind was actually a little stronger than when we rode last month. There were times that it actually seemed kind of comical to be out riding. As I was churning along against the wind, I realized that even though we’ve managed to ride more miles this spring than is typical, most of them were in less than ideal conditions like Saturday. At least we were riding!
I somehow managed to drop my chain on one hill, which is something I’ve not done before on the Madone. It was a case where I really didn’t intend to shift the front derailleur, but did it by accident while intending to adjust the trim setting. Have you ever done that before…thought you had a trim click when you were already trimmed out? I’ll try not to repeat that trick anytime soon.
The spring wildflowers are still in full bloom. Above is an especially tall clump of a purple phlox complete with butterfly, I also noticed a couple of places where the may apples were blooming, but to get a picture of the actual flowers I would have had to crawl into the weeds so I passed on that.
As usual, traffic on MM and Z highways between Ash Grove and Halltown was almost non-existent. When we rode that stretch last month, it seemed to take forever to finally get to Halltown in the wind. For me, Saturday sure didn’t seem to be the killer it was before. I wasn’t sure whether to attribute that to the riding I’ve done since then or to the c-store stop we made in Ash Grove that we skipped the first time. It was probably the combination of both.
After a second c-store stop in Halltown, we headed east toward our cars. The riding was considerably easier in the cross wind, and by that time both Mike and I were content to not kill ourselves on the last third of our ride. The road we take back from Halltown (Farm Road 156) is straight as an arrow, and parallels the interstate. It’s actually a bit more populated than many of the farm roads we ride on, but both times we’ve ridden it the traffic has been minimal. That’s a very nice thing.
We got back to the cars just a few minutes after 5:00, giving us an average speed of 16.6. That was just a little faster than last month.