Saturday, April 16, 2011

Windy City Bike Ride

No, I ain't talking about Chi Town.

I swear Basin City has been unusually windy this year. Nearly every day the air mass in the Tri-Cities moves the thirty miles from there to here in an hour which means...let me put my math cap on...I'd say it's moving exactly 60 miles an hour. I have found 60 mph winds are formidable, especially when you are trying to ride a bike against the wind with a body like mine which is shaped like those old satellite antennae dishes which were a good 6 or 8 feet in diameter. Which brings me to my account of today's ride.

This morning I arose at 8:00 because I was up from 2:30-6:00, unable to sleep because of my latest invention that is taking shape in the same place where I keep my math cap attached. I stumbled out to the paper box in my jammies and by the time I got back to the house, I had plucked the sleepy out of my eyes and noticed it was a beautiful spring day with bright sunshine and unusually still air.

I announced to my good wife that I was going to take a bike ride even though I'd logged 36 miles already over the last 2 days. She was busy making plans for the cantata that is coming up in a couple of weeks down at the church. She is so into this project. She's written a wonderful dialogue on the Easter story, done a lot of music planning and arrangements and made mucho preparations over the last 3 months. The girl is into this production so deep that she has even made multiple seating charts for the choirs and their positioning during the program. Each person has individual name tags made of different colored paper showing their exact location as the event unfolds. If you don't believe me, take a look...

I guess this is all necessary. If you look real close, you can see my name on several of the slips of colored paper. I'm pretty proud to be such a prominent part of the group even though I don't have any speaking parts and the choir director asked me to just lip sinc.

So my wife surprised me and announced she was going to drop her massive project for the moment and take a little ride with me. I was surprised but didn't say anything because I didn't want to deter her. She didn't know the ride I had planned involved a fairly monstrous hill. Since it was Saturday, I wasn't in a hurry to get to work and I patiently waited while she did all the things women do to get ready to go on a bike ride. I won't detail them but let's just say 20 minutes later, she was ready to go. I was ready 20 minutes earlier but played the long-suffering hubby on this unusual day.

We took off and she immediately began complaining about the traffic on the road. "Shouldn't we be on the other side?" she kept asking. I had to slow my pedaling so she could catch up and then explain that even though technically we were breaking the law, I considered it much safer to ride against traffic so I could see what was going to hit me instead of letting trucks and other rigs sneak up behind me and blindside me.

If I was going to get hit, I wanted to have a head-on so I wouldn't have to lay around in a paraplegic state like a lot of bike riders do after they get hit from behind.

She started to argue but that's when we started pedaling up the big hill which caused her to save her breath and arguments so she could keep pedaling.

I've finally found a good reason to bicycle up hills.

We traveled about three miles and I turned into my friend Lester's place and shot the bull with him. This was where I had planned to bike to and then turn around and go home. Michele pedaled in a few minutes later and after resting, we decided to head back to the house.

As we got out to the road, Michele said "Hey, why don't we go see Lee?" Lee is our son Will's friend and had just returned from a 2-year mission to Argentina or Siberia or someplace like that. I was quite surprised as Michele is not one to be spontaneous. I've always assumed that was my job. When I'm spontaneous, she usually argues. But I was not going to spoil this rare moment even though Lee lived another 7 or 8 miles up the road. This was going to give us a good ride of probably 20 miles or more by the time we were done. It was a nice day so why not?

We pedaled and pedaled and by the time we approached Lee's house, Michele was starting to complain about how far of a ride it had been. I was overly satisfied that I had not made the travel plans.

We had a nice visit with Lee and his family. We asked him all about his mission. It turned out to be in Argentina after all. The high point of our visit was when his little brother Neil piped up and said "I really like your blog. It's so funny." I wanted to talk to him some more but Michele butted in and went back to asking Lee about his mission.

Lee's mom got home about a half-hour after our arrival and when she opened the door, I noticed the wind howling outside. I then remembered that the weatherman  from the prior evening had announced strong winds for Saturday. I decided it would be best not to share my prior knowledge of the weather forecast with my old bride.

We got ready to leave and were offered a ride home by Lee and his mom but not wanting to look weak, we informed the Crowthers that we considered ourselves semi-professional bikers and declined their offer.

We headed east for a few miles and then south for another 6 or 8 miles into a southeastern gale that permanently curled the hair on the top of my head. It was brutal. It wasn't a killer for me since I've had quite a few rides against the wind lately and consider myself to be in Olympic caliber shape. However, Michele was not acclimated to the contrary and high-velocity resistance. She had a rough ride. Even when we went down the big hill, we had to pedal hard just to keep our bikes moving. On a still day, we would have been cruising down the steep slope at a good 80 miles an hour.

I was actually pretty gentlemanly about the whole thing. I bit my lip whenever I felt like saying the extended trip had been her idea. I offered to ride slower to match her speed and let her ride behind and to the side of me which provided a good wind break for her. This maneuver positioned her out in the road which some husbands would say also was a good thing.

She mentioned several times that she felt like throwing up. Several other times she said she wanted to cry. I tried to give her some good moral support by telling her that I was really enjoying the good workout the wind was giving us.

I offered to get some twine I saw in a nearby yard and tie it between the two bikes so I could drag her home but I think her pride got in the way. About this time, my friend Lester drove by and honked his horn which did a tremendous job of spooking Michele. When she jumped from the loud horn, she steered into my bike which just about wrecked both of us. Again, I bit my tongue and kept my upper and lower lips closed.

Several times, she stopped riding and walked. I felt I should probably stick with her so I practiced staying up on my bike while remaining in the same place and even once or twice rolled backward because of the wind. She would eventually start pedaling again and we, against all odds, finally pulled into Basin City. I saw a ditch rider parked on the side of the road that I wanted to talk to so I pealed off and Michele continued for home.

After about 15 minutes, I made the last lap and pulled into our driveway. Now this is the funny part. Whenever Michele rides her bike, she carefully walks it back behind our house and parks it under the deck. She then places a cover over it to protect it. Many women on our rides have admired her bike because it's yellow and feminine and for whatever reason, attracts their attention. She has gone to great lengths to protect her bike.
However, on this day, as I pulled into the driveway and the front door, guess what I saw? I'll say nothing more except that I laughed on and off for the next hour.

This must be Michele's new parking spot.


Chelsea said...

Great read on a Saturday night. These are the type of posts I love. Aunt Michele, I hope you get a good nights rest! Hilarious story, and the best ending.

Todd and Christianne said...

That made me laugh! That is a really long bike ride. You should have gotten a ride home. Did you know that I had to run in the wind all the time for xc and track? No fun.

JoLynn said...

That made me laugh so hard when I saw her bike. I would have done the same. Darn the wind!!!!!

Diana said...

I tried to give you a ride!!! But what a boring story that would have been.

Diana said...

Oh, and you made Neil's day by actually being named in one of your famous blogs! He'll be on cloud 9 forever!