Wednesday, 27 June 2012

On too much of a good thing

The forecast called for strong winds out the South West or West depending on the time. Strong as in up to 50 gusting to 70 km/h. Raymond remarked that it was a good thing. I replied a bit more cautiously as my intended route to Weyburn would take me on a route that angled South, and said it was possible to have too much of a good thing.

We left Moose Jaw behind us and headed West together until the junction with Highway 39 and we parted company. I didn't get very far on 39 as the wind was coming in at such an angle and speed that it took a lot of concentration and effort to keep the bike on course. After a kilometer, I gave up and went back to the T-Can were I soon caught up with Raymond who'd stopped to adjust his clothing.

We set off again and zoomed along to the outskirts of Regina where we parted company again as he wanted to look in at the RCMP museum. I had decided that I wanted to see just how far I could let the wind push me along. (Raymond asked me to keep him informed about where I got to tonight.) I wanted to "carpe ventus".

The day was cool and sunny with some friendly clouds.

Also windy, very windy.

In fact at the Tim Horton's I stopped at on the East side of Regina while I was fiddling with my bike, a large piece of metal paneling blew off the building a few meters away and fell to the ground. I first stepped on it to keep from blowing further and more dangerously afield. I then picked it up and took it inside. The manager came outside to survey the damage and in a slightly corporate manner asked if I been hurt or if my bike had been damaged. I said "No, just startled."

I set off again and made Indian Head ("Home of Little Mosque on the Prairie") for an excellent lunch at its bakery. The land has become flatter with more trees. At Grenfell, I passed the 200 kilometer mark and I started pondering where I should stop for the night even though it was well before 4 PM and I wasn't particularly tired. I settled on Broadview. I checked into the last available room at the Sweet Dreams motel courtesy of the German owner who had been keeping one room available more or less for waifs and strays.

So the numbers for today are: time, 6 hours, 50 minutes, 18 seconds of easy biking; distance, 230.58 kms; average speed of 33.6 km/h; maximum speed 60.0 km/h (more on that later). I attribute these numbers almost entirely to the wind combined with the flat landscape and excellent Saskatchewan roads. Obviously, Leonardo did his part and my reasonable fitness level contributed.

One slightly nerve-wracking bit was a construction zone where I was obliged to get into the one lane available. This was for quite a substantial stretch and I was slightly nervous about traffic coming up behind me. However, I was doing 40+ and I was wearing my most vivid shirt. Nonetheless, I decided I would turn on the red Turtle light on my helmet and push my speed up a notch assisted by a slight descent of the road. I quickly got my speed above 50 which was reasonably safe as the speed limit in construction zones is 60. There wasn't, in fact, any traffic behind me to get annoyed at my taking the lane, but that didn't mean some couldn't catch up. I pedaled faster until noticed my speed was nearly over the limit. So I slacked off just in time, as fines are doubled in construction zones!

Anyway, I am pumped by today's achievement. The downside is that I now have to figure how not to arrive in Winnipeg too early! ;-)

Addendum, 2013-02-18
After talking with Margo and the Mole on the weekend about this extraordinary day, I was inspired to look up the wind speeds for the day on the Environment Canada website. It gives the average hourly windspeeds in Moose Jaw as over 50 km/h between 1000 and 1600 hours on June 27, 2012. It shows a windspeeds in excess of 50 km/h in Regina between 1000 and 1800 hours on the same date. The wind directions are always close to 270 degrees or due West.


Susan Gwyn said...


Bikemoose said...

Yeah, that's pretty much my feeling.

Susan Gwyn said...

You missed Regina and McTaggart. But then it wasn't Mactaggart, so maybe wouldn't have been worth it.

Bikemoose said...

Regina hadn't been in the plan and McTaggart is barely a hamlet. No great loss.

Margo and Chris said...

230km ... amazing!

Bikemoose said...

Remember: 50+ km/h tailwind, flat terrain, smoothly paved road, relatively fast bike. This also known as ideal conditions. Now that I think of it, my relatively tallness increased my sail area to that you would have received. I consider that day as near once in a lifetime ideal.