Today, gusts are up to 45-50mph. That kind of force flung Ari into a ditch this morning. If you know Ari, you know very few things can “fling” such a man. Wind like that can take off siding, push down a tree, and topple trucks. Last year, I learned firsthand what a “wind burst” looks like when 7th street turned into a wind tunnel, taking down telephone poles and tree limbs in a straight line.
I’ve wanted to write about wind for a while now. It’s a staple of our existence. It’s the heat to our desert. Every ride begins with “so, where’s the wind out of?” It’s always there, somewhere, and sometimes it’s hiding when you’re still in town. “It’s windy,” really means “It’s windier than normal”. When you hear “it’s pretty windy,” you know it’s going to be a hard ride. You determine your route by the cost and benefit of the wind’s energy. It’s a lesson every new rider learns early. You start out, you feel amazing!, then you turn around to realized your “buried in wind” without the juice to fight your way home.
We don’t have mountains, we don’t have hills, we have wind. It’s a rival and a riding partner, challenging you and daring you. I’ve heard it called “the mountain with no view.”
It sucks. It’s relentless. It’s impersonal.
Especially now that the corn is coming down – there is no relief out there. You face it until you turn around. It can change direction, but never in your favor. I usually take that personally. Wind can destabilize the front wheel of the most avid rider and make him wobble like a fresh newb in front of the whole group. It forces you to be a better rider just as a matter of survival. You think to yourself, “If I lose the wheel in front of me, I will not get it back.”
When I first started hearing about the wind farm in DeKalb, I remember thinking it was divine justice. Finally, we’re going to harness that beast and get something good out of it. I still think it’s brilliant. They’re visible just a mile out of town and you can generally bank on the fact that if you’re going the direction they’re pointed, you’re going the rightway (to start).
The redeeming factor is that it forces you to think and to work. If you go out mindless of the wind, you’ll pay for it. It’s a great feeling to toil for an hour and know that relief is coming at the next turn. Everyone sits up, takes a drink, and sails for minute. Well, that’s what I do.