Posted tagged ‘Wind’

Even I wondered…

February 26, 2013

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Whew!  Even I wondered what I was doing out there last night…..

I had worked through lunch, so at 4:00 when I saw rain, sleet and snow coming down I decided to head for home.  The temps were in the mid-thirties, so I wasn’t worried about it being slick.  I just wanted to get home before the traffic started.  In fact, it was kinda fun – for about 30 seconds.

What I didn’t factor in was the wind.  Man, that was a killer.  I had only gone a couple of blocks when I decided I didn’t want to mess with it and turned toward the hospital to wait for Pam.  Then I remembered that I didn’t have a car key and to get one I would have to leave my bike unlocked, walk into the clinic dripping water and ask for Pam to come out front and give me the key.  Nah…that’s probably not cool I thought, so I turned around and toughed it out.

Believe it or not, the sun actually came out for a while on the way home…but the rain didn’t let up a bit.  And the whole time, that wind was howling.  I mean, it was horrible!  As a cross wind, it caught my bar mitts and pannier, rocking me back and forth across my lane.  I’m sure it looked a little like a drunken sailor riding down the road.

Into the wind was an entirely different matter.  I could at least ride straight, but I was riding really, really slowly.  I’m talking single digit mph slow.  Needless to say, I didn’t take the long path home.

I’ve got to admit, when it was over, I did feel a certain sense of satisfaction for toughing it out.

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Not enough, however, to think about toughing it out in the snow this morning.

God bless…

TW

It just keeps going

December 3, 2012

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I couldn’t resist.  We were back from vacation, the laundry was done, the groceries were replenished, and in fact, everything we needed to get done was done.  I hit the road shortly after noon Sunday for a planned 2 hour outing.

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I cruised out past the river and headed south, thinking that the wind was in my face and that it would be in my favor most of the way back.  I was only half-way right.  I never could find a direction where I felt like the wind was at my back.  I think it was in the process of shifting from the south to the west.

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Regardless of the wind direction, I couldn’t believe I was overdressed on December 2nd, wearing shorts, a long sleeve base layer and a jersey.  After being cold for the past 10 days in the Big Apple, this was heaven!

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I decided I would go out all the way to Smyrna Road and  climb the big hill.  I think that’s one of my favorite rides…down the hill on Cottonwood and then up again on Smyrna to what seems like the top of the Ozarks.  I can remember when that hill used to kick my tail, but now it’s one of my favorites.  Funny how things change, isn’t it?

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I thought this young man was going to be the only cyclist I saw for the day, but I finally saw a couple more as I was almost home.  I got a kick out of the kid.  He was pedaling his bike around the trailer park just above Linden, and was giving me the evil eye as I passed.  Notice he’s riding around without his shirt…and did I already say it was December 2nd?

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Even the cows were confused by the weather.  At nearly every pond I passed, they were out in the water cooling off.

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As I turned toward Rogersville, I decided I would ride through town, but just keep on pedaling.  I was feeling good, and despite the wind, I felt like I was riding pretty fast (for me).  We had eaten just before I left, so I didn’t think I would need to stop for fuel.  My computer rolled over 20 miles just as I crossed the highway in town, so I knew I would end up with 36ish miles for the day on the route I intended to take back.

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To be honest, I was enjoying the solitude after several days with way more people than I’m used to being around.  It was just me, the bike, and the wind in my ears!  Oh, and a few cows, and occasional hawk, and a couple of squirrels.  Traffic was almost non-existent, making the afternoon even more perfect.

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When I passed the house above, I had to stop and grab a picture.  In spite of the warm afternoon, it looks like they’re well prepared for the months to come!

I pulled into the garage with a big, silly grin on my face, weary legs, and 36.5 miles behind me.  What blew me away was the 18 mph average speed I carried for the afternoon.  That’s not necessarily what I was intending, but I’ll take it.  Not a bad way to spend the early part of a Sunday afternoon, if I do say so myself.

Links to the GPS track are here and here, if you care about such things.

God bless…

TW

Saturday tandem loop to Strafford

May 21, 2012

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Pam and I got out and capped our week of bike commuting with a 28 mile ride to Strafford Saturday morning, giving us 147 tandem miles for the week!  Now it’s time for Pam to take a well-deserved rest!

She had some family obligations in the afternoon, so we hit the road at 8:00 am.  By that time, it was already looking like it would be a hot day, and by the time we got home, there was a pretty strong south wind kicking up that would haunt me later in the day.

We rode pretty strongly on the leg out with the wind at our back part of the time, but I was a little concerned it might not be so fun on the way back to town.  I worried needlessly.  I think the week of commuting did a lot to shore up our tandem skills and put us back to working well together.   One of the things we have to relearn every year is how to sync our cadence…in particular, it takes a few rides before Pam gets her spinning legs back.  Until that happens, we end up mashing in hard gears a lot. 

I was proud that she was able to spin fast enough in lower gears coming back into the wind to make it home fairly painlessly.

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One thing we did notice for the first time was a couple of signs commemorating the fact that part of our ride follows the Trail of Tears route for a couple of miles.  Those are new this year.  Please excuse the foggy picture…the lens fogged up in my jersey pocket!

Here’s the GPS track for the ride.  Ignore the long line across town on the map…I forgot to clear it before we drove over to Elwood, then when I turned it on there it screwed up the map.

God bless..

TW

Windy Sunday Ride

March 7, 2012

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Mike and I got out for a very windy ride late Sunday afternoon.  It was 3:00 PM by the time we got away, so we planned a route down toward Ozark and the Finley River before we looped through Rogersville on the way home.  We knew we would be fighting a bad wind part of the way, but I guess we’re kind of gluttons for punishment because I don’t think either of us cared.

The sun was shining and temps were in the 60’s, so that helped to offset the frustration of the wind. It’s been unseasonably warm around here, and I’ll take every bit of that we can get.

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Heading out from my house, you have no choice but to climb out of the river valley as you head south or east.  In the pic above, Mike is nearly up on top, but once he gets there, he’s gonna be rewarded with a couple of smaller valleys that combine with this to make it seem like you’re going up for a long time!

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After passing through Mentor, we eventually turned to the east for just a few miles and got the full force of the wind behind us for the first time.  We only got to go a couple of miles, but our average speed for that leg was 19.8 mph, and that was really without putting much effort at all into it!  It’s a shame that didn’t last, because we had to turn back to the south very shortly and had to deal with the strong crosswind again.  Our average speed for the period where we headed south toward Linden then back north dropped to 15.7 mph. 

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As we started to descend the hill on Cottonwood down into the Finley River Valley, we passed a couple of riders (a guy and a girl) stopped on their way up.  They were kind of looking at one of the bikes, so I asked if they were OK.  They said they were, then the guy said, “I’m just new at this!”.  That explained everything….they were at the top of a long climb, so I guess they had stopped to catch their breath, although Mike wondered if they guy had maybe dropped his chain trying to make a hard shift on the front.  Seems that he’s been guilty of that more than one time!

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We eventually made our way to Rogersville, where we stopped for a quick fuel break at the c-store, then headed out to what we knew would be a grind to home.  We had hardly gotten started when Mike called out that he had something wrong with his front brakes.  When we took a close look at them, we discovered they were just loosely bolted to the frame and could easily be shifted to either side with just a little finger pressure.  That was easy to fix!

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We noticed several places where the pastures were starting to green up.  It certainly is a pleasure to see that green poking out instead of the dry brown we’ve been looking at all winter. 

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When we got to the hay farms out on the flats, the green grass was nearly two inches tall!  It will be a while before it’s ready for it’s first cutting, but I think I’m starting to see the light of spring!

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We made it back to my house by about 5:30, so our calculation of the time necessary for our mileage and route was just about right.  Had we taken much longer, it would have started feeling a little dark.

Oh, and our average speed for the leg home against the wind dropped to 12.82  mph.  Not good, but we were trying to not kill ourselves fighting it.  You can see the entire GPS track by clicking the map above.

God bless…

TW

Grinding it out

December 27, 2011

Well, it was back to the ole’ grind today.  Figuratively and literally!

I would have thought that being off the bike for a few days should have meant that it felt really good to get back out there this morning, but that was not the case.  I guess a couple of days of laziness combined with the brisk wind in my face the whole way to work made this morning’s commute less than fun.  It was a pretty nasty grind all the way, accompanied by the wail of emergency vehicle sirens from the accident on Highway 65.  I could hear them most of the way to work.

I did have to smile, however, as I was getting ready for work in the locker room.  I discovered the zipper pull pictured above on the pocket of the new pair of cycling pants my sweetie blessed me with for Christmas.

Hope you got what you wanted….

God bless…

TW

Note:  The sirens I heard were because of several accidents on 65 caused by ICE!  I had wet roads, but temps seemed quite a bit above freezing.  Whatever the cause, I’m glad I didn’t find that stuff on my bike!  Here’s a news story about it.


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