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Northeast Iowa Trails Remind Me: I Can Do This
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Northeast Iowa Trails Remind Me: I Can Do This

It was a beautiful, sunny day that was cloaked in powerful gusts of wind. I got myself dressed to go out on the loop; I figured riding in the wind would be better than not riding at all. Sometimes I think I should have my head checked. The temperature was excellent but the wind provided a cooling sensation, so I decided to wear arm warmers. I happen to be somewhat of an oddity, my legs are fine with shorts and such so long as my arms are warm.

I decided I would go counter clockwise, which I’m not entirely sure if either direction would’ve been very beneficial or not. I feel like if it’s really windy I want to get the flat part behind the high school out of the way. Nothing is more fantastic than feeling like you are pedaling ever-so-slowly nowhere. I also feel like it’s easier on my brain to do hill climbs while the wind is trying to blow me off my bike. Flat surfaces are drudgery.

The downside of this day was that the wind took away any speed of my down-hill descents. Now that isn’t any fun! You have to pedal downhill more or less to just get down the hill…talk about irony. I had used my inhaler but my lungs were filled with tightness. The few moments of reprieve of the breeze were welcome. Once I got to a point where I could stop exerting effort I just pedaled slowly to get myself situated. I gave my mouth a couple squirts of water to coat my throat which was coated in phlegm. I have to be honest, when I’m on my rides I am not the epitome of a so-called lady; today I am hacking and spitting (and hoping it doesn’t blow back on me.)

After I went through the tunnels I saw in the distance three riders and a runner. What the heck?! It’s amusing and fascinating because I have no idea how long they had been out there, and now I was playing catch up. My thigh muscles were burning and all I can say is thank goodness for being clipped in. This ride was definitely a workout for me on multiple levels and now here was another challenge. I made the climb up the switchback and called out my “on your left” to the first riders I met. Farther up ahead the second rider seemed to stop and wait for the wind gusts to end. I crept past him and then met the runner; our exchange was amusing.

Runner- “Sure is windy out here!” Me-“No sh*t!” (Said with gasping breaths.) I felt a little sheepish but at that moment there wasn’t anything else in my head I felt was appropriate to say.

I am not one to brag, but I did feel somewhat impressed with myself and what I managed to accomplish in my ragged state. There were a few moments of where I could flow gracefully into the turns until the wind decided to blow at me yet again. Once I reached the flat part of the trail that heads to the hatchery I completely busted out some speed. My plan of attack (logically) on windy days is to get speed when I can, so if the wind stops blowing shift to a higher gear and just go!

It had been so windy that I had tears escaping from my eyes; it had also been so windy I didn’t dare farmer-blow my poor nose. I was a drippy and sniffling mess and I must say I was extremely grateful for the moment when I could spit without worry of having it fly back in my face.

After the hatchery I saw a familiar person and his dog out on the trail, my former high school P.E. teacher. We exchanged our hellos and I smiled to myself; I was such a loner when it came to P.E. in school. I hated group sports, activities, and basically anything that made my lungs work too hard. I opted for weight lifting when I could. Now here I am, busting my butt on my bike on some of the windiest days and this is where I have to admit “I’ve come a long way.”

I will say a couple things: First, riding when it’s so windy really does kind of suck. However, I thrive on the “I can do this,” concept. Second, the hot shower I had after my ride was truly amazing.

More about bike, ride, wind

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