Wrestling The Witch of the Wind

by Andy Amick on February 27, 2016

in Cycling

cycling wind, witch wind

As I write this, the forecast for Denver on Feb 27th is high 60s, bright sunshine, and gusty winds. All on a day when the NHL Stadium Series will be played outdoors at Coors Field. Ah, spring(ish) time in Colorado. Earlier this week we had snow. Sunshine and 50s filled the remaining days.

With all of the wacky weather of Spring, comes the witch of Spring – the wind. She is not kind. She takes no mercy. She is a constant voice in your head – a whispering or sometimes a yell that never goes away. The wind and the witch. Inseparable and existing for the sole purpose of driving a cyclist mad.

If faced with the prospect of riding in 10 degrees with light snow falling, 60 degrees with a 30 mph gusting wind, or 90 degrees with 90% humidity in the stifling dead air, I think I would take the 10 degrees almost every time.

Having grown up in South Carolina, I’ve seen enough of those 90/90 days when there is absolutely no movement in the air. Maybe some ice water in a bottle or drenching yourself with water can cool you for a few minutes.

On the cold days, one can add layers to stay warm and mostly comfortable. Plus, riding through light snowfall is delightful.

With the wind, there is no option for being comfortable. Maybe you can ride “with” the wind and alleviate the witch’s whispering. However, as soon as you turn a corner, there is the witch waiting for you to face the wind so that she can tell you all of the crazy ideas she dreamed up while you were riding away from her.

There is no escaping the battering you receive when riding into a headwind. It’s a physical battering from the extra energy required. But even more demoralizing is the mental battering from the constant voice that the wind becomes in your head. Thoughts can’t be completed because the witch is constantly interrupting you with her voice. A calm mind is out of the question.

As Bob Seger sings in “Against the Wind”

Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind

It’s always a headwind at some point on those days and there is no shelter. At the end of the day, the rider is left tired and exhausted while the wind witch sails off to find another rider. One she can tempt with the thoughts of fast tailwinds, all the while knowing that she will deliver a fierce headwind and a demoralizing chant in their ear.

The wind always wins.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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