So, I had my Tuesday commute today.
Now, I’ve experienced wind and the occasional cross wind, but today took that to a whole new level. Last week I had strong winds and rain, no worries, I’ve done that before. No today was the kind of day where fellow employees ask if you need a ride. Not just one, but two, with others commenting on how crazy I was to ride on a day like today. “Do you need a lift?” or “ I can get you close to your destination.”, and “Sure is blowing out there”. I appreciated all of their concern and offers, but I respectfully declined, thanked them for their kindness. “No, thanks”, I said, I’m a masochist like that.
I changed clothes, put on my shoes, filled the water bottles, put my windbreaker on, and walked my bike outside to the parking lot, yep, cool and windy as hell…gusting to be more specific, with rain looming around the corner like a mugger in waiting. I had been mentally getting myself ready for the ride since checking the weather this morning. I like the challenge. I click in, and pedal away. The wind is at my back, for a very short time, as I turn onto the main drag, the wind is now blowing at me from the side, a crosswind if you will. Nothing too crazy, but it is cool and I’m glad I had my windbreaker in my bag. The wind comes in waves, it’s the kind of wind that makes one handed riding a bit risky, better make sure all things are in place, taking hands off of the handlebars is not much of an option. I soon realize I am in for a tough commute. It was the kind of wind that you have to focus 75% of your attention to, 15% focusing on traffic, and 10% on the road conditions.
Today the road seemed flat, never mind the long moderate climbs, that are still there, no, the wind is all I am dealing with. You can prepare and protect yourself against all other elements. Bundle up for cold, protect yourself from rain with rain gear, drink water and wear cooler clothes for warmer temps, sun block to keep from getting sunburned, but wind…nothing. A windbreaker keeps you warm, but the wind still pushes you around like a bully on a school playground.
I pedal, I stand and pedal, and I pedal into the wind. A few gusts hit me from the side, no worries. I was coming up on a stretch of road though, that I felt would give me the most difficulty, it was open field, farmland on the left, development on the right. I came up and around the bend, I saw tumble weeds the size of elephants blowing across traffic. Yes, this could prove to be interesting. As soon as I left the protection of the houses and entered the wind zone, I started down hill, the wind began blasting me, but I continued to gain speed…good and bad. The wind turned into gusts and I began riding at what seemed like a 45 degree angle. I then realized that my speed combined with the typhoon styled wind, was pushing me to the curb at great speed. I was now fighting to not fall into traffic and steer away from the curb…not working. Slight panic. Pulled my left foot out of my clips, lightly squeezed the brakes, and used my left foot to keep myself upright and way from the curb. Both feet are now out, and I am pedaling sans clips, dodging tumbleweeds and traffic, and just trying to get to the protection of the buildings up ahead, never mind it’s up hill. Get to the top of the climb and a green light, clip back in and continue the commute. Damn that was hard and a touch un-nerving.
The rest of the ride was windy, but nothing as exciting. It kicked my ass, but I am better for it.