Monday, December 14, 2009

Thirty degrees of separation

Yesterday was such a wonderful day! Surprisingly warm for a late-Fall day, Sunday was incredibly warm -- 50 degrees here in Kansas City -- although it was closer to single-digits in mid-Kansas (as I found out from my parents in the evening). Sadly, we weren't able to take advantage of the warm temperatures because of the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season -- and kids.

Sadly, because when we checked the weather late Sunday evening (as is the routine ever since failing to do so one night before an expected warm Winter ride) we discovered that although this morning was expected as a balmy 40 degree ride-to-work, the forecast also predicted that within minutes of my expected departure, the ride would get quickly cooldder...and so it did.

5:45 am A last check of the gauge before making off to the office (a mere 5.5 miles).

5:50 am Slowly working my way towards downtown Overland Park, and already the wind is whipping up. I didn't think it was supposed to do this until I was at *least* half-way to the office!

5:55 am At least downtown Overland Park provides a nice refuge from the winds. Traveling South along Santa Fe also provides some windward travel as the wind seemingly slows from its former strength.

6:00 am Mid-way along the path, the wind seems stronger and the traffic heavier; heavier than usual and very heavy for a Monday early-morning. Is everyone else trying also to beat the "flash-freeze" as the forecast so ominously stated?

6:05 am The full-wind hits. A north-by-northwest gust on a south-by-southwest trek, but still pushing strongly against forward movement. Thank goodness it's not nearly as cold, as quick, as they predicted.

6:10 am For the first time (or, at least, the first time this year), I realize the amount of energy expended by gasoline-engines while straining against the wind. The last-half of this ride is bound to be the most difficult. Hills still to mount; cars and traffic yet to address. Now, the wind is full face, even though from the side.

6:15 am Are we there yet? It feels now as if I were "trudging" along the way. The wind has now been full force (at 20+ mph for the last quarter mile) and the last hill has brought with it more traffic, more exertion than expected -- and still the most traffic lies ahead!

6:20 am Finally at the office, but the open field with bridges was more difficult than expected. Wheeww! And in that time, the wind increased from near nothing to gusts of over 20; the temperature reduced from 40 to near 35; but that's nothing compared with tonight, when the temperatures were already down to 10 and the wind from the North still insisted on pushing into my face.

But such a wonderful ride! And this is why Winter is so much more fun than summer: the challenge!