Riding in the Wind

Yesterday was an unseasonably warm, and unusually windy day. I have been riding for a week or two doing 10 mile rides, and today would be my first longer ride of the season. I planned to ride to Sunrise Café down in Reeds Spring, which would be about 18 miles straight into the 20 – 30 MPH winds (with higher gusts), and of course the same back with that nice tailwind.

I had oatmeal loaded with walnuts and raisins for breakfast 2 hours before leaving for the ride. I wasn’t quite hungry yet for lunch, so stuck an apple and a few Kashi granola bars in my rack pack and headed south through Highlandville on Highway 160. The wind hit hard and slowed me to 6 MPH heading up the two hills where I’m usually up around 12 MPH. The gusts were strong enough to blow me off course toward the traffic side of the shoulder. I felt fully submerged and pedaling upstream.

In four miles, it hit me. I was suddenly starving. I felt the familiar “seizure-ish” feeling coming on quick, and remembered I’d felt the same in this exact spot before. I knew I needed food and sugar, quick, before the wind-induced noise and commotion, and probably low blood sugar, triggered a seizure. Stopping at a corner, I leaned my bike against a tree, grabbed my apple, granola bar, stainless steel bottle of iced Gatorade, cell phone, and reading glasses and sat on the dry grass beside the road. I gulped down some drink, took a few bites from the apple and Kashi bar and started feeling better. I rested while finishing off the snacks and half a liter of Gatorade.

I thought I had programmed Sunrise Café’s number in my cell phone, but no luck. I wanted to call to see if they were open on Mondays. I know they’re closed on Sundays, but thought maybe Monday too. I knew I’d need a full meal to fuel the ride home, and was deciding between going all the way to Reeds Spring, or just to the convenience.

I took my usual route to the end of Glossip at five miles out, then headed down Highway 160, past Gateway café, before turning right onto Emerald toward Windy City. After crossing over 160 again onto Old Highway 160 toward Coon Ridge, I checked the time and figured I’d be pushing 2:00 by time I got to Sunrise Café, which I knew is their closing time even if they were open today. So I decided I’d only go to the Reeds Spring Junction convenience store and eat something there, remembering they have some kind of restaurant attached to the store.

Down past Coon Ridge, I saw a couple of dogs in the street that quickly turned into a pack of seven barking dogs barreling toward me.  I slowed and thought for a moment to turn and run, but they probably had too much of a start for me to get away. Anyhow, I usually don’t run from dogs anymore since realizing, except for once, I’ve never run into a mean dog in my hundreds of encounters on the bike, so I just slowed toward them and sure enough, they were a friendly bunch just looking to have some fun chasing a bike.  Some jumped up against my bike to play, a puppy licked and nipped at my calf, and some ignored me and play-fought with each other rolling around in the middle of the road. I took a few pictures then told them to let me go now, and headed back into the wind with a few of them chasing behind.

As I pulled into the convenience store parking lot, glad to be there, I noticed a young guy with a deep voice offer assistance to an older guy who appeared to be struggling with getting his scooter into the back of his SUV, but he said he was doing okay and thanked him just the same. As I was leaning my bike against a wall, I heard the same deep voice, “it’s a little windy out there for a bike ride today, eh?”

“Yeah, but this is my turnaround point and it sure is going to be nice going back,” I replied.

After washing dried dog slobber off my hands and arms in the restroom, I figured I’d try something at the attached restaurant, Dinky’s Diner, and was impressed with the  fresh-tasting half pound burger and hot, crispy fries. You expect a bacon cheeseburger and fries to be greasy, but this reasonably-priced meal had more of a fresh, home-cooked taste than a fast-food greasy taste.

The ride home was all I was looking forward to. Right around 22 MPH it got noticeably quiet as my speed matched that of the tailwind. I stayed on Highway 160 to avoid the pack of seven, and also sailed right past my usual turn onto Emerald, riding the wide-shouldered highway to the Windy City turn off, where I turned right to take the back roads through Spokane. Once back on the highway, I pedaled north, pushed by the wind, rode through Glossip and the final stretch home on Highway 160.

2 Responses

  1. great minds think alike Tracy called me and we did a 40 check his blog for details springfieldcyclist.com

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