Thanks to a brutal south wind, the temperature this afternoon reached the upper 70s; come hell or high water (no reasonable chance for either), I was having a ride. I headed out through the subdivisions to Clayton Road, a route that included one short but steep hill. Much of this part of the ride pointed me into the wind, but the houses and trees provided adequate shelter.

At Clayton Road I turned right and caught the full brunt of a crosswind from the left, one so strong that holding a line was next to impossible. Passing trucks were problematic, introducing such a sudden break in the wind that the bike would lurch toward the left. At Valley Road I turned right and caught the combined benefits of a good tailwind and a general descent. The Michelin Axial Carbons (see below) I recently put on the bike were singing on the asphalt. Just after Valley Road became Strecker Road I hit a good pothole with my front tire, muttered a quick response, and sped on. Traffic forced me to take the S-curve and bridge across the creek slowly, but I picked up speed on the flat section leading to Kehr’s Mill Road.

The next 4.5 miles along Kehr’s Mill and then home were generally up hill and into the wind, but when one of the two women sitting with their dogs in a front yard cheered me on, the hills did not seem so difficult. The one descent on Kehr’s Mill was a little dicey because of the wind and the Chesterfield police cruiser that buzzed uncomfortably close to me, and the steep double rise leading up to Clarkson Road gave me more trouble than usual. At the Clarkson traffic light I caught up to the cyclist who had passed me while I was off the bike at the intersection of Strecker and Kehr’s Mill—maybe two cyclists on the same road inevitably become a race.
After a short descent on Clarkson, I turned right onto my street, 1.4 miles from home. As an SUV passed well wide of me, a girl’s hand reached out through the front passenger window and waved. I waved back. The wind was a little fickle along this stretch, shifting directions and swirling the leaves. I pulled into the driveway at about 4:30, well before daylight began to fail. I had a good ride.

Michelin Axial Carbons: I bought these tires from www.worldclasscycles.com, which someone on the forums had recommended. They are heavier than the Conti Grand Prix 3000 tires I have been using, but I’m hoping they will last longer. I ran them at 120 psi, the same as I have been running the Contis. At this pressure I think they rode a little rough. I might try a little less air the next ride. Whoever recommended World Class Cycles, thanks. The tires were priced well, came with free tubes and shipping, and were delivered exactly when the guy there said they would be delivered.