The weather was a stormy here in Charleston, SC last night, with the wind waking me up several times.
I was reminded of such a night in England back in the mid 1970s; I commuted on my bike, 29 miles each way to my frameshop just outside of Worcester. It was nine-thirty at night, raining heavily and with gale force winds blowing. The bad news was that the wind would be directly in my face on the ride home.
I was extremely tired after a very long day and while changing into my cycling clothes, I contemplated the ride ahead of me. Seated on a chair, I bent over to tie my shoes, and fell asleep. I woke suddenly when I almost fell over. I got my bike, staggered outside and locked up the shop. Succumbing to the realization that I had no choice but to ride home; I would make the best of it.
A mile into the ride I was not only wide-awake, but was riding into the wind as if it wasn’t there. I had somehow found super-human strength and was on one of those epic rides that happen just a few times in a life. Finding occasional respite in some sheltered areas, but mostly on roads across open farm land, I battled against the wind.
Meeting every strengthening gust with matching effort, uttering curses at the wind as if it were some demonic monster; never submitting or allowing it to beat me. Finally arriving home, wanting more, and only slightly slower than my normal time.
Years later, living in Southern California, it was a mid afternoon and I had to go on a long business trip by car. I was very tired and knew that I would be asleep at the wheel in a very few miles.
I remembered my epic ride home that stormy night back in the 1970s and how exercise woke me up. I got my bike out and rode about three or four miles as hard as I could. I turned around and didn’t ease up until I arrived back home again.
I showered, changed and took off on my trip. Once again, the physical effort had done the trick. Got my adrenaline going and woke me up.
Do you have a story of an epic ride against the wind?