We made plans to meet Danny at 8am so we could get a good start before the predicted winds started howling in Las Cruces. Our plan for the day was a 5 hour ride doing the Transmountain Century climb but from the opposite direction this time. This I knew was going to be a tougher climb as it is not only longer but steeper than the direction I climbed a week ago. We headed out on Frontage road, a 2 lane road that runs parallel to the highway. It goes for 25 miles without any stops and very few cars. We all rode out together and somewhere along the road Mariana stoppped for the bathroom and Danny and I continued on. It was effortless riding and the P3 was feeling good. We turned onto 440 a stretch of road that I had been riding on by myself into a strong headwind last week. Going in the opposite direction Danny and I were hitting 25.....35 miles an hour. This was going to be a problem. Jonny had warned us that if we did not make it to the mountain early enough the winds were going to be extremely tough. He said he was riding it at 7 mph at times which made me a lttle concerned for myself. After a quick refuel stop at mile 40 we headed towards the base of Transmountain. We turned in the direction of the mountain and the wind hit us in full force. I muttered to Danny that I was afraid I was going to have to walk up the mountain. He laughed his big belly laugh and took off in front of me. I tucked behind him for about 10 seconds and then let him go. I was left to face this big bear of a mountain, with the swirling powerful headwinds myself while Danny slowly moved further away from me. I got the text from Mariana and Andrea that they had decided to turn back as they were predicting the wind was going to be too challenging over the mountain. Damn..I wanted to turn back too. Mariana is very level headed and makes wise decisions. I wanted to yell out to Danny but instead I just put my head down and bullied my way up. First 10 mph and then down to 7 and even 5mph at times. At one point the wind gusted so hard that it took my front wheel and spun it sideways and nearly pushed me off my bike. From that point on I held tightly to my bars and did not even think of taking a drink. We must have past 15 riders all going in the opposite direction, WIND AT THEIR BACK....what were we thinking???? Thats right all I was thinking in my head was that song again "for that what wont kill you will only make you stronger!!!" I plugged on and was very relieved when I saw the 5200 feet sign and knew that I had made it to the top. I was intimidated once again as I knew now I had to go down and I did not want to be blown into the railing or the road. I consider myself a pretty fearless women, but I was quite scared. Danny and I high fived at the bottom of the mountain and regrouped before heading back on Frontage road. This was 30 miles of a crosswind that would prove to be quite wearing at times. It was nice too see Jonny at around mile 65....he had been chasing us after he had passed Mariana and Andrea earlier on. He did not realise that we had stopped for a drink and must have passed us. He saw us while he was stopped and came back to get us. He did not stay for long as he had a zone 3 interval and took off leaving Danny and I to battle the wind.
I felt strong the whole way home and decided to add Soledad to the end of my bike. Nothing like a good 40 minutes extra of hills and headwind to finish off a hard ride. 5hrs 10 minutes of good quality riding! I dropped off my bike and headed out for a 40 minute transition run. Danny was just finishing his run. He looked great and I was really thankful to have him on my ride to keep me company. He told me Mariana was already out there running. So I headed out to really have my best run of the week. I felt strong and pushed hard on the zone 3 interval. I have moments where I feel like my training is really coming along. If I can just keep it consistent now!
Later Mariana, Andrea and I treated ourselves to IHOP pancakes and egg scrambles...in true LC tradition.