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Friday, March 12, 2010

Biking in the Wind








Wind today.
Not a little wind.
A big wind. In fact, Florida had a wind advisory...

A LAKE WIND ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE 20 TO 29 MPH WITH FREQUENT GUSTS TO NEAR OR ABOVE GALE FORCE FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS. WINDS OF THESE MAGNITUDES WILL CREATE ROUGH CONDITIONS ON LARGER AREA LAKES WHICH COULD PRODUCE DAMAGE TO... OR FLIP... SMALL PLEASURE CRAFT. (does that include bicycles?)
OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS MAY WISH TO POSTPONE ACTIVITIES UNTIL CONDITIONS IMPROVE.

Oops. No postponing today's bike ride.
Tomorrow will be busy with ovarian and skin cancer
(I always think it's ironic to be studying the ravages of sun damage next to the beach in Florida).
So I had to bike today.

Besides there is some benefit to the wind.
When I asked the bike guy here about the drive to the hotel, he grimaced.
"It's spring break. Avoid the beach roads."

But this AM, cloud covered and windy as heck, kept the kids off the roads. And if I had to choose whether to battle a gale or spring break....

Head down, I charged into the beast. It felt like an animal buffeting me from side to side. Knocking me back. Sometimes it felt like I was biking into a brick wall.

I hate wind.

But, being a lazy biker I have a system. I bike out against the wind in the morning when my muscles are fresh. Thirty one miles of labor. But then, the countdown - 5 more miles, 4, 3, 2, 1! Turn around and whoosh! A tailwind to whisk me homeward!

I am a connoisseur of tailwinds. I follow them, chase them, woo them! I have been known to stop at an intersection and throw grass in the air to determine the wind direction so I know which way to turn.

When I biked my 200 miles last summer...I cheated. I found a good westerly wind day and I biked straight east for 200 miles from Illinois all across Indiana and 35 miles into Ohio. It was flat, too.

There were other challenges today, too. It got hot! Danged hot.

The 7-11 at mile 40 I was really hurtin' with the heat. A little a/c and cold water and I felt better.

But as soon as I was out on the road I started feeling woozy again.

So the next 7-11 I gave up any pretense of pride. I laid down flat on their cold linoleum floor. My head spun. I had some kind people ask if I was all right. "Just taking a nap," I said.

It worked. Refreshed at last I was ready to crank out that last 20 miles. And since the sun had come out I discovered what spring break means in southern Florida. On the beach road I passed well over 100 cars, bumper to bumper on the narrow road to the beach, absolutely stock still, not going anywhere.

I was sure glad I was on a bike.

The finishing moment of the ride as I neared the hotel were the other wind dancers of the day - people out on the ocean wind-surfing and kite-boarding. These guys would have a huge colorful kite pull them and great speeds through the water and when they got enough speed they would leap about 10 feet into the air and let the kite pull them through the air. It was amazing!

Home at last - out of the wind and sun.

One more great day on a bike.

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