Friday, April 16, 2010

Headed for a Showdown

Riding a bike in central Illinois does not really present that many obstacles. Sure there is the occasional dog chase and there are a few little hills here and there; small inclines lasting, at most, a few hundred yards. Which is nothing in comparison to the mountain roads some people climb for miles. And we do have to compete with some poorly paved roads, but really overall very few obstacles for the average rider such as myself.

There is one inescapable obstacle that has plagued my rides all Spring, the WIND! It seems as though every time I have ridden this Spring, the wind has been punishing me. Sometimes it's a moderate 10 mph, but on occassion it has been 15-20 mph. I don't know what the equation looks like, but the effort that I expend versus the speed that I can ride in winds like this is not a fair ratio. You cannot seem to get away from it. Sure you could pick a path that has the wind at your back, but you would still need to ride against it the whole way home. Another tough part about the wind is that you fight it in 3 different directions; it is either in your face or beating you from either side for most of the ride.

On my last ride, I found myself cursing the wind for its torment. As I said in my last post, there came a point in my ride where I really needed something to eat. I didn't want to stop in the middle of the ride to sit down and eat, but it would have also been impossible in the wind to maintain upright while trying to ride with one hand. It got so bad that I thought the wind had actually changed its direction during my ride, so it was in my face both going and coming. I did eventually hit a short stretch with the wind at my back, and I got the chance to scarf down a protein bar. And I am glad I did because the last 4 miles were dead against the wind again. If I could have, I would have raised my fist to the skies, cursing the wind gods for their punishment, and daring them to challenge me further. Seriously, I felt very similar to this:

Okay, maybe the weather wasn't quite that bad, and there wasn't any shrimp (though I did look for some, I was starving), but I think you get the point. All I want is a nice calm day to ride. I would take 67-72 degrees, clear skies and NO WIND. Is that too much to ask for? I think not.

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