…and I was the pin.
Took advantage of the good weather after work today and went out for a 2 hour bike ride. Beautiful afternoon, without a breath of wind and an overcast thanks to the thunderstorms that were about 40 miles east and 40 miles west. Something to be aware of, but nothing to be concerned about.
The first half of the ride was pretty non-eventful, except for the large doe that decided to bound along the road next to me for a hundred yards or so. I backed off, knowing she was going to do what she did, which was make a hard left turn right in front of me and head into the stand of trees.
At the hour point, I turned around. Slowed down to talk to a kid who’s always out in the same spot on the road, riding his oversized mountain bike. He looks to be about 12 and the bike is for an adult. He spins back and forth between the two driveways on the small two-lane highway. Good talking to him. He said he’d rather be out than watching TV, which was shocking to hear. Then he asked where I was riding to and the look on his face was priceless when I told him, since we were 20 miles away. Basically another world to him. As I took my leave, I noticed the trees were starting to move. Of course the wind would pick up on the return leg. Never fails.
It was a good crosswind, so I tucked low and went with it. I saw a first (for me) which was a crop-dusting helicopter. Luckily I saw it early enough that I could soft-pedal and let it cross about 200 yards ahead of me. No need to inhale whatever it was.
I took advantage of the wind and turned left (east). Cruising down the highway at 30 mph and the heartrate at a very comfortable 130 bpm (mid Zone 2 for me), I rethought how I was going to head home. I was going to have some fun with the wind.
Then I saw how much fun I was really going to have. As I rode up and over the train tracks, I got a nice view of the ink black sky. A few quick calculations and I realized that the revised route was going to take me right in the heart of the beast. So I took a hard right and decided on the most direct route home, which was about 10 miles away.
I gave my lovely bride a quick call on the cell as I drove my HR into Zone 4; the call was dropped. Hammering through the fields, watching the farmer working fast to dump the wheat that he’d just mowed, down to the river bottom, back up the other side, hearing the cell phone ring, telling my bride, through a broken connection, that I was going to race it. Watching the bolts of lightning pounding the fields not so far away. Feeling quite exposed.
Five miles to go, the crosswind holding steady from my right, which was good. But I knew that it would be converging with the outflow of the storm and help to build the storm toward me. Flying through the trees, I could finally hear the thunder. The gods were bowling.
Two and a half miles from home, I see my bride, waiting in the car at the intersection. I flash a smile and keep hammering. Pounding deep into Zone 5 now. A quarter mile later, I knew my race was lost. With my bride following, I point to the other side of the large field as the treeline on the other side disappeared in the rain. A rabbit bolted in front of me.
A minute later, the wall hit. Literally. I went from a 10-15 mph crosswind to a 30-40 mph headwind with driving rain. Almost lost the road for a minute. Kept hammering. The trees were whipping, then settled down after the initial rush of wind. A deer bounded from one side of the road to another. I prayed there weren’t any more, since I’d lose that battle.
Turning down our road, still cranking in Zone 5. Sucking fumes real bad, but the rain settled down as I got closer to the house. I could finally sit up, take a drink and have a laugh.
Isn’t it great to be alive?