DAY 21 JUNE 17 81.7 MILES
Wind is just a hill in gaseous form.
The wind arrived today. When we awoke this morning, a stiff wind was blowing from due south. At first, it was simply a nuisance but it became stronger as the day progressed and, at times, its strong gusts attempted to blow us off of the road. By mid-afternoon, however, it had shifted to a more southwesterly heading and now represented a headwind as well as a crosswind.
At least with the hills, we were able to coast down the back side but a strong wind is relentless. It just keeps coming at you. Our solution was to form a paceline. Actually, it was a double paceline. With extremely light traffic on the back roads we were traveling, we formed two lines of six riders each. After about one to two miles, the front two riders would pitch out and join at the rear of the line. Then, the next two riders would assume the lead for their stint. That way, any rider was doing the hard work for only a mile or two. The energy required by the following riders is 30% less than that of those at the front of the line. The group is known as the peloton in cycling circles.
Today was projected to be a 99 mile day but we stayed on the western side of Bowling Green last night so that saved about 6 miles today. Then, I noticed a shortcut that saved me another 11 miles. The projection for tomorrow is another 81 but I believe that will be difficult to shorten. I hope the wind will give us a break!
Tip: To build your confidence in a paceline, start by staying one bicycle length from the rider in front of you. Gradually close the gap as experience and ability increase. Once you can ride within a wheel's length, you will receive the full benefit of drafting.