A Short Essay On Today's Headwind - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2014

A Short Essay On Today's Headwind

Ottawa, Illinois

Since it's a slow news day, I would like to ask for your patience while I present my thought's on today's headwinds:

This headwind, if it could assume a human form, can go to an everlasting, torturous, bruised, battered, bitter, bloody, diseased, pathetic, vomit-inducing, mind-bending hell!  Knowing that every journal writer in the history of bike touring has written at least one negative comment about headwinds, I hope this is the most strongly-worded condemnation of them yet.  I could have done much better too, if I wasn't trying to keep profanity to a minimum.  Thank you.

Now, back to my story.

Defying the TV weather reports, the rain did NOT ease up around the noon hour as predicted.  And the wind increased in speed as the day progressed, with gusts that just didn't seem fair.  Add to that the tiny shoulders on busy Highway 6 which rivalled the ones described yesterday, and it all added up to a less than fun ride.

And this is supposed to be a "Quest for Fun," not a quest for misery.  I'm not complaining, mind you, just stating facts.

When I set out this morning my goal was the Illinois State Park.  I rode along and felt pretty good about my perseverance in the face of the wind, rain, and crappy roads.  I activated my flashing tail light, put on my rain jacket, and moved forward.  A couple of times when the rain intensified I stopped at buildings with awnings to regroup.  NOTHING was going to stop me from getting to the park.

Nothing, that is, except Ottawa, Illinois, a pretty nice city of 18,000 with a nice cozy motel that beckoned me.  "Stay here, Greg, stay here!  You don't need to put up with these conditions another minute.  It's already three o'clock.  The state park is another 10 miles away.  At your current measly 6 m.p.h. pace, that's gonna take you another hour and a half.  That's right, do the math:  an hour and a half with chilly, wind-driven rain, wrinkled fingers, and truckers cursing at you behind their windshields.  OR, you can come in here right now and take a shower, watch a little TV, and have a nap."

I was weak.

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 475 miles (764 km)

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