Against the Wind

APOLOGIES TO BOB SEGER, but that title says it all about today’s ride. The good news is that we escaped the monsoon in full swing in southern Michigan, and enjoyed a spectacular sunny day up north in Empire. By all indications it was perfect for a long bike ride. Or so I was led to believe by Mother Nature, until I hit the road and got too far from base camp to turn back.

The plan was simple; a 40-odd mile loop with a mid-ride stop in Honor for a root beer float. The initial leg was south and east, and I noticed that the wind was in my face most of the time. But as it was more downhill than uphill, that wasn’t a problem. I looked forward to the wind at my back during the west and north half, which I knew would be a steady uphill grind in places.

As I headed northwest rounding Platte Lake, the wind picked up – right in my face. Okay, no worries – when I hit M-22 and turned north, all would be well. Nope – the wind changed again, and my legs were beginning to feel the strain. I geared down and pushed on.

The 11 remaining miles to Empire weren’t much fun. It didn’t help that another rider passed me along the way and soon disappeared into the distance. I’m on a hybrid bike with no clips, practically in granny gear just to keep moving forward, and Clark Kent decides it’s a good day for a ride, too. Swell. At least this will all change when I hit Empire and turn due east.

Surprise! As I head east for the final 4 miles, including the killer hill at the end, the wind changes yet again, and steps it up, too. I will not repeat what I said out loud a few times, but it was something along the lines of, “you’ve got to be kidding me.” I shifted to close to lowest gear, and hit the hill standing up. The cars passing through the intersection at the top of the hill were treated to some guy hammering like hell at 7 miles per hour.

All that being said, this was a good day. The weather was glorious, dinner was great, and we’re sitting at a campfire in the company of good friends. And I have another ride under my belt where I can say during a future challenging episode, “Hey, I’ve been through worse than this.” I can’t wait for my run tomorrow.

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