Someone angered the Wind Gods, because they blew mercilessly at 20 mph sustained, with gusts to 29.
This is our 3rd year riding it and they have a tandem division, and it's close to home, all good reasons to ride. OTOH, Cgallagh hasn't raced in a year and has had no training for a TT in the last 6 months. I've been relegated to the trainer on weekdays since March 14th, due to injury, and so we're weekend warriors for the last 2 months.
That said, we went out hot from the start, and never let up. After a mile we turned into the wind, and as the course has maybe 41' of climbing, is pancake-flat and all ag land. Tomatoes and sunflowers, alfalfa and wheat straw, with the occasional cattle ranch to break up the monotony, is the rule. You know it's bad when 4' weeds on the shoulder actually make a wind break.
The wind gusted a couple times so hard that I thought it would blow off my TT helmet. Chris had to work extra hard to keep the bike straight, since the gusts were so fierce. One sketchy turn got our attention, and since we had tailwind then, we pushed harder.
One thing we both noticed: Even on the downwind legs, it never got easy. It was more like making your own headwind and working harder.
At the 1 km marker we ramped it up, at the 500 m marker Chris called "I see it!" and we ramped it up again. I remember pushing so hard I tasted bile. We crossed the line and that was that: 18 miles in 50:50, not our best time but good enough for 5th of 7 tandem teams.
Afterward we had beer and BBQ with the rest of the team and families. The hostess lives on the TT route, 1/4 mile from the start, and we watched racers go by.
There's something very satisfying about being tested to your physical and mental limits, and finding that place within yourself that makes you step up and accept the challenge.
We hope to do this again next year, with proper training, and continue to the district championships (next week; obviously we aren't going). There's our long-term goal.
A random shot, with sunflowers behind us:
This is how Chris adapted the bullhorns so I could ride with my broken wrist (patent pending):