Today it has been the first time during this trip that I had a crisis. I expected it much earlier, in the first days when muscles awake and start to shout: “We’re not ready, wait!”. Well, that’s somehow what happened today.
It is usually a combination of factors that makes a cycling day a bad cycling day. For example I didn’t sleep too well the last night in the Inari Camping. Too many people chatting in their tents, cars leaving at any time of the night and so on.
But the main reason it turned out to be the old familiar one: headwind.
Now, you can give me anything you like for a cycling day: rain, cold weather, bad road, a flat tire in the middle of the way, even mosquitoes every night buzzing around the tent. But please keep with you the headwind.
Today it was like I was cycling while someone was pulling me back every now and then, as the wind was coming at bursts. I really, really hate it. I say it again: I hate headwind, especially as strong as today.
The main rule is the following: never fight headwind. Just slow down and keep a pace that can let you go at least forward, no matter how slow you go. Now, that’s easy to say. The main physical problem is that cycling with strong headwind means cycling all the time. Especially with today’s route, which was quite flat. Even if you go downhill, you must pedal, otherwise the wind stops you. So you definitely pedal all the time. Which brings a lot of strain in the muscles, and a lot of pain in the bottom, gently said.
So I was really pedalling a couple of km and then stopping to rest. And sometimes turning my back against the wind and watching the road the other way around, and thinking: I could get back to Inari in a minute with such a wind!
But forward and never backwards we must go, and so it went for the first 60 km, and I must admit I shouted the most deplorable things that came into my mind. I’m quite good at that.
And, then, all of a sudden, the bursts stopped. It’s a weird feeling, because you fell still the headwind, but all of a sudden your legs are able again to cycle without shouting at you to stop. It’s so weird, that I had to look back a few times to make sure all the bags are still on the bike, as it felt like 20 kilos lighter.
So at the end of the day I managed to do a reasonable amount of kilometres, can’t complain. I don’t even complain about the fact I’m camping in the woods amongst swamps (it’s all a swamp around here). Don’t really care, I take the mosquitoes, you keep the headwind. It’s all so quite now.
Day 11 – Tour de Laponie 2013: Inari – Pokka (almost)
Trip distance: 90 km
Actual trip time: 7 h