Sunday, December 14, 2008

Windy city

It's mild in Chicago today--temperatures in the mid-40s and overcast. It was a winter opportunity for a bike ride.

I extracted the bike from the basement and hopped on in the alley. The first few pedals came easily, and I felt like I glided onto Clarendon Avenue. Once on the lakefront path, I continued dancing on the pedals. My chain ring ticked over like a metronome as I sailed northward.

I began to recalibrate my winter workout plan. As long as the paths were free of ice and snow, I could bike all season long. No need to spend hours in a claustrophobic gym. I reached the turnaround at the north end of the path.

Here, the metronome stopped, the idyll ended and a ferocious blast of wind sent me careening to one side of the path. I continued to plow forward, for a time riding on a spongy path that only made the thigh-burn more painful. I finally made it to pavement near Foster Avenue. The wind gusts continued furiously. They would abate to about 15 mph on occasion, and I would surge momentarily. Making it to Lawrence Avenue was like climbing Mont Ventoux.

I turned west on Lawrence and an explosion of wind from the south sent me toward the curb. I tacked into the wind all the way to the relative shelter of the Lake Shore Drive viaduct.

I returned home just 30 minutes later, warmer, wiser.

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