So the weather turns and Spring starts slipping away and some damn low or high pressure front invades Iowa and the Weather Announcers chant rain and wind. Fortunately, it was dry when we woke up and the wind was from the east. Tailwind. But the forecast called for rain and stronger wind. I checked radar and decided that a road bike would be OK.
Usual morning screwing around before I threw a leg over the carbon Rod and planted my ass on the saddle. Mary needed bags so she took her Windsor single speed. No sooner than we hit the trail the first drops of rain appear. But I knew this would be light and would not last. The radar show a green mass drifting northeast. We were heading west. The tailwind had us trucking. But the trail was getting wet and Mary had to stop under the Fleur Viaduct to put a rain jacket on. My filthy white wind breaker kept me dry. The wind was howling. A pieced of the metal roof of the warehouse was rattling so much I thought people were tearing up the building. No sooner than we resumed the rain subsided and the moon became visible. But the wind pushed us westward with a smile. It knew we'd have to pay. I got to work in near record time. it was a great commute. Little effort, beat the rain and coffee was ready when I got there.
Whenever I had the chance I checked the radar. The system we collided with before the Fleur Viaduct headed east. Then high pressure came in and kept everything up north beyond highway 30. Screw those people, Des Moines is dry. But the wind increased.
When I got off it was up to 20 mph with gusts up to 28 mph. I've ridden further in worse longer distances. Those times I've been healthier. Those times I did not have a heavy laptop bag hanging on me full of rain gear I did not need and dirty work clothing. Those times my right shoulder was not in pain from pulled muscle. But I was on a fast bike and I could suffer through it. And the weather was so bad the trail would be empty, which is a good thing, and I would not feel embarrassed.
Long slow 15 miles. My only regret was that my average speed, which I was proud of in the morning, was slowly wilting away. I felt like shit and my should hurt and I had something like 5 lb hanging off my left shoulder and sitting on my back. Monday I rode the same bike but put a back pack on to ferry work clothes to my job. when I threw it on I torqued my right neck/shoulder/back muscles. I was not able to ride in the drops. The Carbon Rod was brand new in 1994. The stem goes low. Reaching the brakehoods or even reaching the brakes puts the body in an aerodynamic position and one that would cause my right shoulder muscles to scream. So I was an upright as possible riding into a sustained 20 mph headwind.
Slow going. had to mentally divide the mileage into samll chunks to make the 15 miles seem easier. Think of landmarks. In 5 miles I'd be at the bridge after 86th. 5 more I'd be on the Bill Riley Trail near the Art Center turn. Another 5 I'd be home. Keep pushin' on!
No one was on the trail except for a few walkers and dogs. As I was approaching SW 30th after exiting Water Works Park i encountered a MTBer who had taken the new trail. When I caught up with him i said something stupid like, "nice wind today." He replied that we should deploy sails. Both of us were heading due east into the wind. We laughed. "At least we are out riding," he commented.
Yes, but I had a feeling his decision to ride was a choice. Mine was not. I chose not to own a car which limits me to buses, bumming rides or buses. I hate buses and begging for rides. Bicycle is my only option. Even on shitty days like this.
"Could be stuck on 235," I replied. He was not commuting, He was trying to enjoy himself.
Then he told me to have a good ride. I never looked back. I thought he'd kick my ass. He was thin and full kick. I'm fat and wearing baggy clothes. Warm, yes, aerodynamic no. But somehow I pulled ahead and never saw him again. small victory. Fatass with bum ticker beats thin full kit dude on MTB in 20 mph headwind. Road bike! Two mile later I finally looked behind. He must have turned off.
1 mile later i was home. Had enough time to shower and start dinner and fix my daughter's flat tire. She succedded in riding her bike to a bald rear tire. Good job! At least it was an easy fix. Better than riding in that damn headwind.