by Chris Hock
It’s 6am; bleary eyed, I stare at the online weather forecast. It’s currently 22 degrees outside with wind blowing at 20+ miles an hour out of the north, making it feel like 7 degrees. “Goodness, who is fool hardy enough to ride today” I think to myself. Nevertheless, Steve Hanson e-mailed me last evening, indicating he’d ride today; he’ll be at my house just before 7:30. I fortify with warm oatmeal and a handful of blueberries; I spend the next hour waking up and convincing myself it won’t be that bad… maybe Steve will call and cancel.
At 7am, Steve has not called. I start pulling on layer after layer to fortify against the weather; I prep my bike and get ready to roll at 7:30. As promised, my doorbell rings at 7:15; Steve enters. We question each other as to whether or not we should proceed, and whether or not anyone will show. Steve tells me his wife knows a popular term for people that bike outdoors in this weather; the term is “idiot”. I think his wife and mine must share the same knowledge of cyclists because I have heard this before. I have concluded that it must stand for Intensely Dedicated In Outdoor Training.
As Steve and I are already dressed, and our bikes our prepped, we decide to brave the elements. We roll slowly out of the neighborhood and stop by Amity Park to see if anyone has shown up there; as we suspect, the parking lot is empty. We head north on Amity; the wind hits us like a wall, a cold and forceful wall. As we trudge northward to Ferrelview, we see a family of deer; one deer, two deer, and then two more. The four of them gingerly cross the road about 100 yards in front of us, and fade into the trees beyond.
We arrive in at the Church in Ferrelview, no one else has come. That is okay, we are not discouraged, after all… we are doing what we love, we are cycling. We decide to make it a shorter ride and not go all the way to Platte City. We ride north on Interurban only as far as Highway 92; the round trip will give us just under 20 miles, plenty for a day like this. Along Interurban, we are riding due north. We take each take short turns in front of the other, ¼ to ½ mile pulls to give the other a slight break from the full force of the wind and cold. Conversation is light as we struggle against the wind which howls past our ears and carries our voices right past one another.
At Highway 92, we head back south; a considerable relief to now have that wind at our backs. We are making much better time, and enjoy riding side by side so we can chat along the way back.
There are few cars on the road this Saturday morning. I watch those that pass us. I catch one man staring at us wide eyed like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Another, a woman, smiles, waves, and gently shakes her head from side to side. I know these people must think us crazy to be out on a day like this. I am comforted though, because I know, I am not crazy, just I am IDIOT .
We end the ride back at my home; the odometer reads 19.17 miles. Steve stops in for a short visit and some hot chocolate. We converse lightly about our families, home remodeling, and the upcoming cycling season. Steve parts and we wish each other a well weekend.
No matter the conditions outside as long the road is dry, two wheels under you and a friend at your side makes for a great morning!