Actions and Consequences, Part VI

09.16.2013 | 8:37 am

A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: This is the sixth part in my “Actions and Consequences” story: short installments about a 200-mile ride The Hammer and I embarked on to test ourselves for the upcoming Salt to Saint Race. If you haven’t read the earlier installments, you should read them before starting on this one. You’ll find handy links to them here:

“So The IT Guy’s coming out anyway?” I asked.

“Yeah,” The Hammer replied. “He’s in Spanish Fork right now, so he’ll get here in about an hour, I’d guess.”

“Well, it’s nice of him to come by and say hi, I guess,” I said. 

The rain picked up as we neared the gas station in Moroni — the one where I had gotten a not-so-great frozen yogurt cone just a little while ago. A thought occurred to me: “Maybe we should go in and wait this out.”


We kept going. By way of conversation, I told The Hammer that I had thought about hunkering down in there.

“That’s funny. I did too.” 

Five minutes later, the rain really began. And it brought a friend to the party: wind. A really strong wind, coming at us from our ten o’clock. 

And it was a nice gusty wind, too. The kind where it hits you all of a sudden and shifts you about eight inches to the right, pushing you smack onto the rumble strip and rattling your brain. The Shivs — broad as a barn — are fantastic in a headwind, tailwind and in no wind, but are absolutely horrible in a gusty crosswind like we were riding in. We had to lean hard left as the wind tried to push us right. Then the wind would briefly and abruptly let up, and we’d suddenly be veering left into the road.

Using the aero bars was out of the question. Our speed dropped down to about nine miles per hour. On a completely flat road. 

I tried to be a good husband and shelter The Hammer from the wind as well as I could by riding up front. It didn’t help at all, though; if The Hammer got close enough to me to get some protection from the wind, she’d also be getting a face full of water and grit from my back tire kicked up into her face.

Every minute, the rain fell faster. Every second, the wind blew worse. The sky overhead was so black with clouds overhead that it felt like night.

Cars zoomed past us, hurrying. Their lights on. I hoped they could see us — us, with no lights. Or reflective clothing. But we had to stay to the left of the white line; immediately to the right of that was the rumble strip, and it wasn’t the kind of rumble strip that’s inconvenient to ride on. It was the kind of rumble strip that made it impossible to see straight. The kind of rumble strip that hurts to ride over.

And to the right of the rumble strip — about a foot of shoulder, and then dirt. 

Every time a car went by, it would block the wind for just a second; I learned to anticipate it so I would stop leaning hard left  as the car passed.

I never learned, though, how to cope with the huge arc of water that would hit me right after the car went by.

Waiting for a moment when no cars were passing, I dropped back and rode alongside The Hammer. “How long ’til Blake gets here, do you think?”

“Maybe ten more minutes.”

“You know what? I’m really glad you got that flat!”  

It was true. If The Hammer hadn’t gotten that flat — or if I had had better luck and sense in repairing it the first time — we wouldn’t have called for help until about an hour later.

And that, as it turns out, would have been disastrous. 

Which is where I’ll pick up (and conclude, I’m pretty sure) tomorrow. 

PS: If you are in the mood for more stories about riding, Doug Bohl just posted a good one in the form of a letter to me.


  1. Comment by Chilly Willy | 09.16.2013 | 8:43 am

    How do you manage to pack so many ominous cliffhangers into one simple training ride? You have a talent.

  2. Comment by Jeff Bike | 09.16.2013 | 8:51 am

    I’m waiting for one of my favorite quotes, it’s from Snoopy of the Peanuts family (he wrote it, not saying it) “It was a dark and stormy night”.

    Originally from:
    “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  3. Comment by GenghisKhan | 09.16.2013 | 9:13 am

    Shiv-er me timbers, but this’s a foul wind of a tale!

  4. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 09.16.2013 | 9:50 am

    Just wondering how far into the 200 miles you are going to get before you pull the plug. I’ve done some “questionable” things while training. It’ll be good to have a frame of reference ;)

  5. Comment by Tom in Albany | 09.16.2013 | 10:16 am

    I’m wagering the weather clears and the IT guy just sag wagons behind them just in case…

  6. Comment by bikemike | 09.16.2013 | 10:47 am

    Breaking Bad on bikes. Well, without the murder and the blue crystal meth.

  7. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 09.16.2013 | 10:51 am

    I second Doug’s ‘letter to Fatty’. A nice concise, story, told in just one post. Not that I’m unhappy in any way about this multi part tale. It reminds me of reading the morning comic strips of my youth. (Dick Tracy, Sky Masters, Beatle Bailey, Perry Mason(before Raymond Burr)) those could take all week just to get to the ‘cliffhanger’!

    Fatty- Glad to know that you are here to tell the tale. I personally resolved not commute home in the rain after a long slog last winter. Driving in the rain the next day I realized how little you could see from a car, in the rain, in the dark, and what the heck is a bike doing here! And I imagine that my traffic is a lot slower than the wide open spaces where you travel.

    Blog suggestion: The Doctor and Kenny on Breck Epic?

  8. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.16.2013 | 12:30 pm

    I agree with @Davidh-Marin,ca – nice story, Doug. Good insights, esspecially for those of us who are at the back of the pack.

    Nice post froo you, too, fatty, and glad to read that the end is near – at long last we will know the outcome of this saga, and we can look forward to the 400 mile ride with less fear and trepidation, knowing hta tht two of you hvae pretty much been through the worst already. An interesting series of “if only we had …” has put the two of you in a precarous position, and it is a good thing indeed that you called for help. Looking forward to tomorrow’s final(?) installment.

  9. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.16.2013 | 12:31 pm

    “from” – can’t type for beans

  10. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.16.2013 | 12:51 pm

    and yeah, there are lots of other typos, too. Really can’t type.

  11. Comment by Christina | 09.16.2013 | 2:41 pm

    “With its FACT carbon frame, and optimized rear wheel airflow (especially in crosswinds), the Shiv ensures you’re cutting through the wind while cranking out huge watts of race-crushing power.”

    It must be because you swapped out wheels, right?

    I’m cold, wet and tired. Let’s finish this ride.

  12. Comment by TK | 09.16.2013 | 4:39 pm

    I can’t wait to find out if you and The Hammer survived the ordeal! The law of diminishing returns of multi-part posts kicks in somewhere around 2 or 3…but yet I still return each day to read.

  13. Comment by RedRivRevFrank | 09.16.2013 | 8:12 pm

    Jealous of your 1 foot shoulders between rumble strips and gravel. In NW Minnesota we aspire to one foot shoulders. In fact, we aspire to aspiring to one foot shoulders. If it were raining like that on a NW Minnesota road this time of year I might as well just bike down the middle. It will at least make the last several minutes more enjoyable until a beet truck driver puts me out of my misery.

    Looking forward to the conclusion!

  14. Comment by Peta | 09.17.2013 | 4:02 am

    Should of just hunkered down lol

  15. Comment by J | 09.17.2013 | 6:19 am

    One would think that the SHIV could handle the crosswinds. I rode the famous Hotter Than Hell 100 in Whichita Falls last year. The ending section of the race was ~20 miles of flat heading straight into the wind. I felt as if we were biking into a hurricane! The strong headwinds made for a lovely 10mph pace at a 100 cadence and quick leader rotations. If you tried to pass, your speed would drop to 6 or 7. It was brutal but at least we didn’t have torrential rains. Although the 100* temps were bad enough.


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