Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Windy Century

I should've known it was going to be windy by looking at Kitty out on the lawn this morning.

But I had a plan.
I figured at sunrise there would only be a slight breeze.

I was going to charge out at dawn and go 50 miles north and west - past Lebanon, towards West Lafayette.

By 1:00 when the wind was gusting at 18 miles per hour I could turn with a laugh and coast home.

Sigh. Best laid plans....

What I hadn't taken into account was the cold.

When my body heard it was 37 degrees out this AM there was no way I could get it out the door.

We argued which was worse - the current frigid air or the future moving air.

My body won and we didn't leave our doorstep until 9:00.

Then we had chain problems...

It started in windy and built by the minute.

Luckily the first 22 miles I was in city so I was protected by buildings and trees.

But at mile 22 I had to turn North straight into a straight line wind of enormous strength.

It had blown away all birds and clouds - probably to Kentucky.

It rammed into my helmet full force.

I clenched my quads and beat down on the pedals.

I could barely move.

I had to at least make 30 miles - that would be Lebanon.

I passed Doug's and thought about calling him for a tow.

Global Emergency Products?

Might be needed here.

As I barely passed 23 miles I began to waiver.
25 miles? Could I make that?

Could I even eke out another mile?

I was fading fast.

Suddenly behind me I heard a whirrr.

And there beside me appeared an angel!
Not the kind with wings.
The kind with lycra and a bike helmet

"Hop on behind me ," she said.
"We're going to Lebanon!"

The rest is a blur.

I lined up behind her back wheel just a foot between my spinning front and her back tire.

The breeze abated as I rode in her wind shadow.

I tried to watch ahead for any obstacles, but she rode so steady, like a rock, her legs spinning in a steady rhythm. I was mesmerized by the rotation of her shoes and the hum of her tire on the road,

Sometimes I started to lag.
I was so tired.
But I thought... if she was sent to me, I must be meant to get in these 30 miles.
(I get a little loopy when I'm tired.)

We reached Lebanon - 30 miles on the mark!

She waved her hand and said, "See ya later!" and turned to the west and rode into the sunset.

It was noon, but we're being allegorical here.

I spun around and whooshed south, shaking my head in amazement.

The last 70 miles weren't easy.

I never could hit that sweet spot when the wind is perfectly aligned with your back and you ride effortlessly along.
It was always pounding me to the right and to the left.

I had to pull over a couple of times and lie down while my head spun dizzily.

But I finally made it back home with another century under my tires.

And I know who I have to thank.

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