Most of you will know that Hurricane Matthew traveled up the east coast effecting Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. I live 25 miles inland from Charleston, SC. so the storm had less impact here.
We did have some flooding locally but not where I live. That was to be expected, the storm dumped 15 inches of rain in a few short hours. All that water can’t drain away quick enough. There were power outages as trees and tree limbs fell and brought down powerlines.
But it was not as bad as the media made it out to be. I wish they wouldn’t do that. If one believed what the TV News and the Weather Channel told us, we would all be engulfed in a huge tidal wave that would wash us from our beds, and send us to a watery grave.
Instead I looked out on my window around noon on Saturday, at the height of the storm, and thought, “I’ve ridden bike races in England in worse weather than this.” It was raining heavily and winds were at 50 mph.
Don’t get me wrong, this storm was a Category 3 Hurricane when it hit Florida, so damage there was much worse, and I am not trying to make light of that. But I know, as do all people who live on the east coast, that once these storms hit land they slow down.
As Matthew traveled up the coast line it was gradually downgraded to a Cat. 2 then Category 1. However, the media kept up its barrage of doom and destruction. As Matthew passed by Charleston, it was almost a Tropical Storm which is not even a Hurricane.
I am a positive, “Glass half full” type of person. I hate negativity. When these natural disasters happen, the media, especially TV whips up everyone into a frenzy of fear and negativity. People are already afraid, they need calming words and reassurance that they will be okay.
Of course it is the almighty dollar at work again. Fear ensures viewers will stay glued to the TV, and the advertising revenue will stream in. But I get annoyed because I can’t get accurate information. I look at the actual weather forecast which says 50 to 60 mph winds, but the TV is telling me I am about to get blown off the face of the earth.
So what was this bike race I mentioned earlier? It was in 1970. I rode a 25 mile Time-Trial on the East Coast of England. I had driven over 200 miles and stayed overnight to compete in this event. I didn’t sleep much the night before as there was a storm raging outside. On the morning of the event, it was raining heavily, with 60 mph winds, gusting to 80 mph.
There was no way I was not going to ride after all the preparation, and expense of getting there. British bike races rarely get rained out. The course was a straight out 12 and a half miles, and back. Out into the headwind it took me 45 minutes to get to the turn. Wind gusts almost brought me to a standstill. I turned at the halfway point, and came back in 20 minutes with the wind behind me, for a finishing time of 1 hr. 5 mins.
My biggest gear was 53 x 13. Had I had 53 x 11 like today I may have gone faster. I finished extremely cold and wet. I have ridden other races and many training rides in similar conditions, but remember this particular event well. It is the reason I still use it to measure storm intensity.