Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You got smited (or smoted, it's debatable)!

Consider this your Public Service Announcement for the day: Do not for any reason challenge, either publicly or privately, the gods of wind! For if you do, you shall pay dearly.
This lesson was learned by yours truly on Friday. Immediately following my last post, and its obviously contemptuous language towards the wind, I headed out for a 30 mile bike ride. The weather had been pleasant most of the day. Sunny, with a few clouds and 65 degrees. What I failed to realize is that a low pressure system had been moving in (yes, I dabble in meteorology for fun), and the winds had picked up significantly. Before I headed out the Weather Channel was saying "15 mph winds from WNW, with 30 mph gusts." Shit!
I went out anyway and for the first 5 miles I was flying. Stupidly enough, I attributed my speed and success to my superior training, caring nothing for the 15 mile an hour wind at my back. When I turned towards the north, I was quickly struck from my high horse.
The wind was battering me from an odd angle, kind of right into my left shoulder, and I could hardly hear myself think. This particular stretch of road is almost entirely uphill for about another 5 miles, and then things really started to get interesting.
I had decided to take a new route on this trip. Nothing spectacular, but a little change added a couple of miles and took me through an area which I had never been. What I failed to realize then, and now know very clearly, is that my new route takes me through a 1/2 mile stretch of freshly laid loose gravel. I am terrified of gravel and biking anyway, and with this fresh stuff my tires were really sinking in. I finally had to actually get off of my bike and walk my ass (and my bike) to some decent asphalt. It sucked.
When I finally got back on my bike, BAM, right back into the wind (or so I thought) for another couple of miles. Then I turned to the west and was almost thrown from my bike as I came face to face with a massive headwind. For the next 4 miles I was giving it everything I had and could barely keep my speed above 10 mph. When I finally turned back to the south, I was spent. I scarfed down a protein bar, drank some water, and prepared for my next turn into the wind.
Another 3 miles into the wind and I was ready to call it quits. I actually debated getting off my bike and calling Katie to come pick me up. I found myself apologizing to the gods for my harsh words. I admitted their superiority to my infinitely small abilities, and begged for their mercy upon me. The gods were not home (or at least not finished with their lesson). The winds continued to toss me around like a rag doll, and I negotiated a slightly quicker way home.
When all was said and done, I biked 27 miles, but I felt as though I had ridden a hundred. It was an unfun ride and a serious knock to my ego. But I got out yesterday for another 20 miles, spent some time yesterday evening tweaking and cleaning Roxanne, and I have a new found humbleness about my biking abilities. Lesson learned!

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