Thursday, December 14, 2006

Almost There!

How do you take a picture of the wind?

Despite temperatures in the low 60's, today's bike ride was a wind-blown affair. The wind was relentlessly out of the west -- directly from the foothills -- at 25 to 30 miles per hour with gusts much greater. Much much.

Most of Howard's ride took place on the north-south axis of the globe, but wind that hard from a cyclist's side can be especially perilous, as it tries to shove you off the road or trail and ultimately to the ground.

During the first half of the ride, Howard only saw one other bike rider. Apparently this town is full of wind wimps. Not Howard. But then it's said that there is a fine line between wimp and idiot. Howard falls squarely to the idiot side of that line.

When Howard was forced by insistent pavement to turn into the wind, his velocities slowed to about 12 mph, which isn't bad, but it felt like climbing a 10% grade to Howard. Fortunately, those westerly bits were minimal.

At one noteworthy point, Howard turned to the east and the wind urged him quickly up to 20 mph. Rudely, the wind was still pushing, so Howard accelerated to 25. Still wind at his back. Up to 30 mph. Still a slight sensation of wind. Up to 32 mph, the wind finally died down as Howard was in perfect stillness -- the eye of the hurricane! However, the good times ended quickly as 32 mph velocities on bicycles are very brief.

After the 40.5 mile ride, Howard arrived home, frazzled and covered with salty grit. Howard now has 7,743 miles for the year -- only 257 miles away from his goal of 8,000 miles. And with a bonanza of December days (16) to choose from! Hopefully some of those days will be wind-free and somewhere, anywhere, near the 60's again.


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