Friday, May 23, 2008

Ride Home in the Headwind

This is from my 30 mile ride to the office the other day--Pusch Ridge. I'll ride down to the far right of this picture and then take my commute route, which is on the other side of the ridge.

Gentle Readers of This Blog, black clouds loomed all afternoon. Winds were arggressive and rain was thick in the air. The wind in my back tire must have joined the wind outside because the back tire on the Raleigh was flat as a pancake when it came time leave the office. I decided to pump up the tire with my hand pump and hope it would hold until the bike shop.

Hi Phil--yeah I'm back at the shop. Can you get me back on the road?

That short trip to Pima Street Bikes was only a sample to what was in store for the commute home. The wind pushed me from side-to-to side. I found I had to lean into the gusts to stay upright--best of all traffic would be heavy and I would be right in there with the mob. I just did not want a flat or anything else to happen on the 15 mile ride home--which would take me when all was said and done an hour and 45 minutes from leaving the bike shop right a 5 p.m. Thanks to Phil and Judy dropping everything in thier busy shop to fix me up!

A few miles from my office and just onto the Bike Path--Dust and Wind...

From the bike shop I went up Swan Ave--and it was very busy and often I felt like the wind would push me over. Dust and trash bounced down the street too--I wanted to get right to the bike path to avoid the eyes of motorists that were probably thinking to themselves, "Like--What an idiot..."

Head wind really pounding me for the ride home!

Aside from the wind and dirt slamming me head-on, I saw a cool site as I crossed over the bridge on Swan Ave. There was a hawk that swooped very low over the bridge, timed perfect between me and the speeding cars. Maybe something about the position of the bridge and the direction of the wind--he hovered for a moment, as in one place, to my right--and then by shifting his wings ever so slightly, he shot past like a bullet, flashing across the bridge in a blur only a few feet from the surface. On the other side of the bridge, which is four lanes, he came up and hit a sort of invisable stream of air such that he shot straight up like a rocket and almost looped over. Perfectly timed and perfectly executed! My God but it was amazing!

Rain anyone?

So I got my arse kicked riding home--dirt and dead weeds, bits of paper and trash scooting past me. I was only able to ride about 7 or 8 miles an hour and just tried to stay up and not get knocked over. These were like the winds of Cochise County back in 2005 when I rode in the storm, tried to stay on my bike, and tried to not get hit by lightning.

The Bike Path, heading West, into the storm!

All I can say about the climb up La Cholla to Ina, the last five miles of my ride, is that it was the strongest head wind I can ever recall. I had to shift into the smallest rings and it was still hard as hell to get up the road. I could start to feel the cramps in my calves growing--but I was just a few miles from my car. And, mes amis, it was getting cold! Rain was on the way too. I just had one last dangerous left turn to make, and a mile down busy Ina heading West into the strong cross wind. Dang, but this was a tough ride.

As I made it to the Y parking lot--the wind was calming and then stopped. It had had enough--so had I. A bit of light rain started to fall but it was nothing compared to what I had just been through--25 and 35 mph winds--head on for 15 miles!

Wind stops from when I reach the parking lot.

Sitting in the car, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I've been riding hard and so begins the base miles I'll put in for the Cochise Classic. I'll have winds just like this, and for 50 to 80 miles. I'll have to train very hard and rigorously for the next three months--just to ride those 80 miles in Cochise in October.

One tough ride home--one of the toughest this year...

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