The killers today were two things -- the winds and the path.
Without question the most important factor today were the unbelievably strong head winds. They came fast and furious straight into the face all day long. This affects your ability to make progress, since your average speed is greatly reduced. Secondly it requires more effort than usual.
But, most importantly, is the psychological impact it has on you, the rider.
This cannot be overstated. It is soooooo.. discouraging. You're on a flat stretch and the winds are so strong that you had to put your gears in the lowest possible position (equivalent to where they would be if you were climbing a steep hill), and you are barely making headway.
It reminded me of the stretch of the Lewis & Clark cycling ride where we left Bismarck, North Dakota, and headed west through western North Dakota and eastern Montana. That is a long stretch, and the prevailing winds come from the west. There are no trees or buildings or mountain ranges to stop or divert or break up the winds. Not that they needed any encouragement, but the winds seem to gain momentum as a result. Add onto this picture the fact that there are no people that live in eastern Montana or western North Dakota. It is unbelievably lonely. When I think of discouragement on a bike, I think of this situation.
Today I thought of this situation many times.
In addition, today I was riding my bike on the walking path 95% of the time. Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful. However the path takes it's toll. It's uneven with loose gravel and you have to stay alert all of the time. Speed is reduced, tension is increased.
Just to put a little icing on the cake today, during my last hour on the bike it rained too!! For the record, I got off the bike after 12 hours today, which included 3 hours of stops. Traversed 45 miles.
Am I going to let a day like today get me down? Hell no! Just take a look at this selfie taken today at a rest stop at late morning. Ever seen a happier camper?