After some beautiful weather earlier this week, a nasty front moved in. The forecast called for a “Wind Advisory,” with winds between 20-30 mph, gusting to 40. That’s some pretty heavy-duty stuff. A lot of folks I see online in our club Yahoo group posted that they were skipping a ride, because of the wind conditions.
But, a few daunting souls decided to give it a go. I shook my head, and gave it a pass.
That is, I did until my wife chimed in, “I want a bike ride today.”
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. She hates riding in the wind. But work-related stress was taking its toll, and getting outside, even for a short ride, would be good for her. I told her I would join her, but wanted to wait until it warmed up just a bit.
Our house is on a curved residential street, and is mostly shielded from strong winds. If we really want to get a feel for it, we have to look at the tops of the trees a couple of blocks over to see how much they’re blowing.
“I have a hunch that we’ll really feel it when we get off this block,” she said. I nodded agreement.
We weren’t disappointed. The wind did smack us, but for the first part of our ride, it smacked us in the back. We zoomed down a small hill to the first stoplight, topping 28 mph without even pedaling.
It wasn’t until we made a right turn another mile up the road that the wind hit us with force — from the side. I hate crosswinds, but this one seemed mostly manageable.
We were only going on a short route this day — about a nine-mile round trip. Usually, when we ride it together, I continue on when she finishes. I wasn’t going to do that this time.
Sure enough, when we made the turnaround halfway out, we got smacked by the wind again. This time, it was quartering head-on. All of a sudden, our ride turned into hard work. The worst part came during one of my favorite stretches. It’s a gentle downhill for about a half-mile. This time, instead of hitting 27 mph as I usually do, I had to shift into the small chain ring and struggle against the strong north wind.
I finally got to the stoplight, and waited for Pat. As I look across the intersection, there were four members of my club, returning from their morning hill ride. We waved at each other, and I wondered how tough it must have been for them on the hills.
“How many times did you nearly get blown off your bike?” I asked Pat, when she caught up to me.
“Oh, twice,” she said.
“Three times for me,” I responded.
Back home, we were glad to get the bikes in the shelter of the garage. But the ride had been worth it.
“Oh, that feels better!” said Pat.
It might have been a tough ride, but as one of the guys on the hill ride said, rides under these conditions just make all the other days easier.