Wednesday, March 23

Tuesday's Gone With the Wind

...and maybe Wednesday through Friday as well. Heck, I might have been blown proverbially into next week.

My ride home yesterday was interesting. I battled gusts of thick wind just to get to the Six. I expended more energy in the first half mile of my commute home than I usually do in the entire 10-ish miles. I stopped just before the path to put on my gloves and a gust almost blew me off my feet.

So then I dropped into Golden. Usually I can hit 25-30 mph going down to Illinoising, but yesterday I may have been going 10 mph and pedaling as hard as I could. In fact, it was like pedaling through hardening cement.

I cut across 24th to Pedal Pushers and a gust from the north almost slammed me flat into the ground. Luckily it was just a short burst and before I completely lost control it subsided and almost dropped me windward in the vacuum.

Side note: saw the small floor stand bike rack PP has outside the front door. Kinda made me happy.

As I was leaving, four True Goo tubes richer, a gang of BMXers blew into the side of the building. I dodged their laughing forms and cut through the thick, smokey wind out onto Johnson and plowed headlong into the fray.

It was a slog, but eventually I reached 10th and turned east with the 70-80 mph wind gusts suddenly at my back. I was riding the brakes most of the way then, wrestling with the handlebars and fighting to keep the OBS under the speed of sound. I'm pretty sure my tires hardly touched the ground all the way through No-Man's Land, past I-70 and into Wheat Ridge. Space and time seemed to bend in front of me. I was pretty sure I was going to be humming "Dust in the Wind" as I flew OVER Kansas.

Just past the giant pringle cans I saw I was gaining on another mountain biker. So even though I was far beyond the legal speed limit on a bike in all 50 states and most territories I jumped on the pedals and rocketed past him so fast I blew the color out of his lycra. I saw him give a sharp glance as he heard my approach, and he jumped on his pedals, but I was long gone before he could match my speed. Then the race was on. I straightened some curves in the CCT and carved tightly through the rest. The OBS' knobbies whined as I crossed under I-70 and blasted between the lakes. The meandering curves between the lakes and 41st felt like a pump track as I whipped the handlebars back and forth. Thankfully all of the pedestrians had already been blown off to OZ, so the trail was free of potential obstacles.

But I let my guard down, and my monochrome adversary caught me. I had relaxed my efforts as I climbed up the gravel road from the path to 41st, just before the Wheat Ridge Rec Center and he passed me, ninja-style! I had glanced back just before leaving the paved path and he was nowhere to be seen. I wonder if he didn’t take the dirt path shortcut (bikes prohibited!) or if he just put forth a herculean effort to catch me. Anyway, I believed I was home free but he proved me wrong!

I caught him again within a couple of hundred yards, but he turned into the parking lot at the WRRC and I continued on.

It was okay, I had to fight the wind the rest of the way home as I first turned north, then WEST and then back north and finally WEST onto our street. It took me a solid hour to get home despite my insane rocket ride from Golden into Wheat Ridge. And I was only at the bike shop for a couple of minutes.

This morning the wind was mild until I got into Pleasant View (get your car sandblasted for free!) and then I was hunched over the handlebars, eyes closed against the onslaught, pedals turning slowly as I crawled ever so slowly toward work. I crested the hill on 10th and could see the building. The wall of wind was so high, so wide, so solid…I just wanted to turn around and go home. I believe from that point I could have gotten home quicker than I could have gotten on to work.

So I sit writing this in a greasy spoon in Wamego, Kansas. The Scarecrow loaned me his laptop. The Tin Man is out looking for the OBS. I think it's caught on the branches of a tree out in the prairie.

The ride home is going to be rough.

No comments:

Post a Comment