Counterpoint

03.22.2007 | 10:10 am

Years and years ago, Stuart and I were riding North up Provo Canyon. Now, one thing you know for sure is that Provo Canyon will always be windy. In the morning, the wind blows South. In the afternoon, it blows North.

One way or another, you’re going to ride into a headwind.

Anyway, Stuart said, “Let us give thanks for the wind, for it makes us strong.”

I resolved to remember that phrase and use it myself the next time I was riding with someone in a killer headwind and wanted to sound wise and philosophical and stuff.

Yesterday
Yesterday after work, I was so happy to meet up with Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) for a road ride. I had just given my big end-of-quarter presentation. It was intense but had gone reasonably well, and I have never felt so much like I deserved a nice couple of hours on the bike with a friend.

The only problem was, it was cold. And windy.

Really, really windy.

That’s OK, though, I thought as we started. The wind’s at our backs and it’s not too strong.

Have you ever noticed how the wind at your back never feels very strong?

Oh, also I should mention that we started the ride from the top of Suncrest, which means we started downhill with the wind at our backs.

Guess what that meant for the return trip?

As we started climbing, the wind — now a headwind — picked up and became fierce. The South side of Suncrest — normally the easy side — was brutally difficult. Rick and I agreed it had never been this hard of a climb before.

I was just getting ready to say, “let us be thankful for the wind, for it makes us strong” utterance when Rick said, “You know what, though? I love varying conditions like this. I love having it be all nice one minute and then crazy-windy the next. It mixes things up. Keeps it fresh.”

And so I decided — since Rick had chosen to reveal his innermost thoughts the way he had — to be completely honest about what I was thinking:

“Wind sucks.”

PS: Today’s weight: 160.6

35 Comments

  1. Comment by Boz | 03.22.2007 | 10:23 am

    No, wind blows – BIG time. Stupid wind, every time 2 of my big shop doors open at the same time, my filing system flies all over the place. Also, a wind off of Lake Superior is the coldest thing known to man. I always hated finishing a summer ride going down the hill to my house by the lake. 80+F to sometimes 45F in a little more than 2 miles. At least we didn’t run the air much in the Casa Del Boz.

  2. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 03.22.2007 | 10:24 am

    160.6!! I cry “FOUL!” Yer totally doping. I’m now convinced you’ve had your stomach removed. Two weeks of traveling, big professional workload and stress, AND an injury. Yet you’re still losing (You deserve a “LOOSING”) weight. Totally underhanded and nefarious. How dare you?

  3. Comment by Den | 03.22.2007 | 10:25 am

    Amen brother.

  4. Comment by axel | 03.22.2007 | 10:26 am

    well, obviously doing a hard ride uphill into the wind does wonders for your weight.

    epic conditions are good, they make for better stories. If you are happy, you can’t sing the blues, it is hard to write an interesting blog if you always go downhill with a tailwind on a comfortable saddle.

  5. Comment by Anonymous | 03.22.2007 | 10:39 am

    what Boz said – wind blows, and cyclists riding in it suck wind

  6. Comment by Den | 03.22.2007 | 10:48 am

    By the way Elden, what was your lightest weight last summer? 160.6 in March is looking pretty good. You just need to average 3 pounds a month to get to your goal now.

  7. Comment by bikemike | 03.22.2007 | 10:58 am

    heading out today on the east coast of florida up and down A1A, wind is out of the east at 25-30 mph. cross wind the whole ride. thank God for zipp 808’s.

    that which does not kill us, makes us wish we were dead!

  8. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 03.22.2007 | 11:21 am

    Hey, I don’t know what Fatty is complaining about. I didn’t think it was that windy at all.
    Of course, if you’re 160, all sorts of things in your environment seem to change. Like your ability to walk through doorways, the butt-groove in your couch…

  9. Comment by Chris | 03.22.2007 | 11:50 am

    Secretly inside you’re aiming for 135 aren’t you? Curse you!

  10. Comment by Chris | 03.22.2007 | 11:51 am

    and the wind too!

  11. Comment by Rick S. | 03.22.2007 | 12:09 pm

    160, huh? Well that would explain why your lycra cycling pants were acting more like a sail yesterday in the wind.

  12. Comment by SyracuseStu | 03.22.2007 | 12:13 pm

    I have always felt like wind is worse than hills. At least at the end of a hill you feel some sense of accomplishment. You climbed the hill. You have something to show for your work. With wind, you just hope to god it stops. And when it does, you have nothing to show for it. In fact, you have less than nothing…because if the wind were not there in the first place, you would have traveled farther!

  13. Comment by Al (female) | 03.22.2007 | 12:29 pm

    I’m a mid 20s, 5′4″ish female who’s in good shape and wear’s a single digit pants/dress size but when I saw your most recent weight the first thing I thought was “Holy cow, he’s going to weigh less than me in 2 weeks.”
    You can say all you want about muscle weighing more than fat but I think I’m still gonna go cry now.

  14. Comment by mocougfan | 03.22.2007 | 1:05 pm

    Mr. Not so Fat, your weight loss really is getting demoralizing now. Did you say something about wind? I can’t get over the nearly 150 number.

  15. Comment by Lins | 03.22.2007 | 1:11 pm

    Welcome back to your own blog FC. After Al’s saddle sore post (couldn’t finish it: couldn’t finish my breakfast either) I was wary about opening your website this morning.

    Nice weight loss and glad you’re back on the bike so soon after your suicide attempt.

  16. Comment by Tim D | 03.22.2007 | 1:12 pm

    It was windy the other day here. How windy? I was doing 25mph in absolute silence on my way to work. I never do 25mph. On the way home the wind had shifted slightly. Every time I went past a gap in the hedge or a gate, it was like being whacked by a giant hand.

  17. Comment by Brewinman | 03.22.2007 | 1:22 pm

    Amen brother.

  18. Comment by Rob | 03.22.2007 | 2:01 pm

    “Wind sucks.”

    You’re right – it seems to have “sucked” 3 lbs off of you in one day.

  19. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 03.22.2007 | 2:26 pm

    Wind is terrible. I hate wind. I was riding today and there was nasty headwind. I don’t know about any of you, but when it is really windy here the wind always seems to shift so I am constantly riding into it. No good. Wind does suck.

  20. Comment by sans auto | 03.22.2007 | 2:58 pm

    When we rode from oregon to utah people would often asked why we didn’t go the other way, it would be all down hill to oregon, you could just coast. THE WIND! In our 11 days of riding, I remember about 2 hours of headwind. I’ll take a hill over a headwind any day.

    10 minutes of the wind on that ride was the scariest experience of my life. We went up the Washington side of the columbia river gorge and then crossed the river into Biggs. Well, you’re sort of up on the side of a hill on the washington side and you have to drop down to the river and then cross the bridge. There were these nice little switch backs down a two lane road with no shoulder to get to the bridge, The wind was blowing at least 30 mph (based on the my butt pucker against the saddle, it’s strongly correlated to wind speed) and every time I went around a corner I got blown into the middle of the road and the big trucks would start honking at me (that increased the butt pucker, making the wind feel like it was 50mph). At the bottom of that hill we all stopped and were really surprised to be alive.

    The wind sucks… except now when I ride my bike north in the morning in Utah valley and south in the afternoon. I sometimes forget what it’s like not to have a tail wind, the wind blows me to and from school.

  21. Comment by LMouse | 03.22.2007 | 4:11 pm

    Aren’t you originally from the San Luis Valley, Fatty? And you think the wind in Provo sucks?

  22. Comment by the weak link | 03.22.2007 | 4:43 pm

    Wind is good. I stopped yesterday to gulp down some Gatorade. Three feet away was a dead possum on the road. Couldn’t smell it because of the 20 MPH winds. So it has a purpose.

  23. Comment by dpcowboy | 03.22.2007 | 4:52 pm

    HBey all, and Fatty too..
    I just got off my bike, came in and read this. Good stuff. Except I was freezing after riding for only 30 miles on the road withb thunderstorms…big time wind and hail. It was 60 degrees and breezy when I started. You guessed it, dressed in a long sleeve jersey, knickers, with no wind jacket arm/leg warmers, etc. Wind sucks when you’re fat, old, wet, and 15 miles from home, underdressed.

  24. Comment by JamesDemien | 03.22.2007 | 8:55 pm

    It’s windy here in St. Louis too…there’s a bike path that runs along the Mighty Miss that my sister and I rode yesterday…she just got a new bike. Anyway, we were just cruising along at 20+ mph not even thinking about it for about 10 miles. I was thinking wow my sister is pretty fast considering she only has about 15 miles on the odometer of this new bike and hasn’t really ridden in a couple of years. After a while stopped at the top of a hill to take in the sights of the river…thats when I felt it for the first time, it must have been gusting at 30mph it was crazy. I had wondered why the water was so choppy and there were little swirls of dust everywhere. Needless to say our average speed for the return trip was around 10mph and we were fighting for it. I sat on her wheel the whole way home…you know so she could set the pace…

  25. Comment by Caloi-Rider | 03.22.2007 | 9:37 pm

    I’ve come to believe that’s one of the downfalls of losing weight: the wind kicks you around like a rag doll, hence the strange mutual exclusivity of climbing or flatland hammering. Hey, but Leadville ain’t a flat time trial.

  26. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 03.22.2007 | 11:39 pm

    I don’t think the wind was blowing all that hard – it just seems like it when you’re so scrawny. I’m surprised the wind didn’t blow you completely off the bike.

    Also I may not be looking at this in the right frame of mind, but I think “Wind sucks” is philosophically right up there with “Let us give thanks for the wind, for it makes us strong”.

    Then again, I also think that picking your nose and flicking it with any degree of accuracy is right up there with putting a man on the moon so my opinion may be a little less than valid in many eyes. But my opinion is based on actually understanding the physics of flying to the moon while having absolutely no ability to make a chunk of snot fly straight.

  27. Comment by Weean | 03.22.2007 | 11:49 pm

    I like hills when I’ve a headwind ‘cos you can get into the lee of the wind and the going actually gets a little easier.

    Does that not work in Utah?

  28. Comment by TimK | 03.23.2007 | 6:34 am

    Next time your riding in the wind, just smile and sing, “Who’s walking down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees? Who’s setting out to capture a rainbow? Everyone knows it’s WINDY!”

    Wind is your friend. Be one with the wind. Be the wind. Look to the wind, and say “Blow me, wind. Just blow me.”

    Just think of all those great 70’s songs that referenced wind. Think about Earth, light calming breeze, and Fire.

    I agree with Rick S. Wind makes us stronger. Of course that’s easier to say while sitting here in front of the computer and not getting blown all over the place.

  29. Comment by GenghisKhan | 03.23.2007 | 8:50 am

    Sooo, what does weigh less, a pound of fat, or a pound of muscle? Does it depend on the color of George Washington’s white horse or, perhaps, who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?

  30. Comment by GenghisKhan | 03.23.2007 | 9:28 am

    P.S. I agree with most–when the wind blows, it sucks! Though, like snow to Inuits, perhaps there are many different types of wind with different qualities? For instance, tailwinds are great (though a bit on the cheat-y side), headwinds certainly suck (though good from a “make ya stronger” perspective–which, in reality, is a dumb apothegm (Yeah for dictionary.com!) when it comes to headwinds. But, by far, the worst type of wind is the dreaded crosswind! Ugh! Any other winds? (Uh, c’mon, I’m not asking for that type of wind!)

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  32. Comment by MTB W | 03.25.2007 | 3:17 pm

    I think everyone has forgotten the age old trick when facing headwinds – just say “I hate rabbits”. I swear it works. . . Wait, I think that only works for smoke from a campfire. Hmm, I’m sure it’ll work with head wind too. There is much science backing this up (at least that is what my 10 year old nephew told me so it must be true).

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