Last Days of Blindness

Friday’s are usually tough.  This week was different. Wednesday brought a day off from work courtesy of some meteorological legerdemain. I took Thursday off in anticipation of ice on the Mount Vernon Trail. I woke this morning with fresh legs. I needed them.

This whole week has been day after day of  strong winds out of the northwest.  A headwind every morning.  It can be dispiriting. It feels as if you are trying to move forward with the huge hand pushing against your chest.  By the time I reached Old Town I was already sick of it and I was not even half way to DC. In my mirror I spotted a rider who eventually pulled up behind me for protection from the wind. This lasted for about a mile when the rider passed me, probably after realizing that my recumbent was too low to provide much of a wind break. To my surprise the trailing rider was using aero bars. Misery loves company.

I crossed the Potomac on the 14th Street Bridge. The wind was now a cross wind. With the fairing on Big Nellie I can sometimes tack like a sailboat. I wasn’t having much luck though.

I walked into Friday Coffee Club well around 8 a.m. and it was already crowded. Two tables were full and it was still early. I newbie came in and took a spot at my table. He said I looked familiar. As it turns out, he lives in my neighborhood and has seen me voting in my cycling clothes on election day. Small world. Welcome to Coffee Club, Jeff.

Jeff - Friday Coffee Club Noobie

There were perhaps 20 people in attendance. Many of them I didn’t know. Some I had never seen before. And many of the regulars weren’t there. I can’t imagine how crowded it will get when it warms up. At least then we’ll be able to sit outside.

I left Coffee Club in the company of Brian, who works for American University. Brian has a tough uphill ride every morning that he chronicles in his entertaining, informative, witty and grumpy blog. You should read it. It’s way good. We fought our way up G Street through the George Washington University campus. (You can tell it’s a stellar school because they insist on using the word “The” in their name.)

After Brian turned for his long uphill slog, I made for the TR Bridge. It was particularly challenging in the strong cross wind that actually made my fairing flap. I made it without incident and spent the next 8 hours working for the man.

The man is merciful and let me go home to my wife and child. Once clear of the winds in Lynn Street Canyon, I turned onto the Mount Vernon Trail. Tailwind!!!!!  Big Nellie pretended to be going downhill the whole way home.  Near the airport the trail makes a big “S”. As I turned into the S, the tailwind became a cross wind. I literally had to lean into the wind to stay upright. Once out of the S, I could lose myself in thought.

This week the National Women’s Bicycling Forum was held near DC. One of the themes was that the cycling industry does a lousy job of meeting the needs of women cyclists and encouraging women to ride. As I saw tweets during the event, I thought of all the women I have met through Friday Coffee Club in the past year. According to Myers-Briggs I am a huge introvert, so it kind of flabbergasting to me that I know so many women cyclists around here.:

Charmaine, Reba, Mary, Laura, Lauren, Kirsten, Kristin, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Katie Ann, Kathy, Rachel, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Heather, Nancy, Jean, Jane, Liz, Crystal, Claire, Leslie, Meg, Florencia, Veronica, Amy, Erika, Shane, Alex, and Bec.

In the first 20 years of cycling as an adult, I can name a whopping total of six women that I rode with: Becca, Anne, Kate (not one of the above Kates), Bev, Jody, and Mrs. Rootchopper.  Times have definitely changed.

By the way, at least two of the women listed above had ridden coast to coast. (One of them actually did the ride during Bikecentennial in 1976.) If you guess who they are, I’ll buy you a coffee next week.

There’s one thing that I am troubled by: what the hell is with all the Kates?

Today marks the end of cycling during Eastern Standard Time. Beginning Monday, I can ride home without headlights in my eyes. It doesn’t take much to make me a happy camper.

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