Cycling Claremont: Days of Sweeping Winds

According to the song it is Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping across the plains. In my experience though, the wind does not recognize borders, so the accusation could apply to any of those states of the vast mid-West. Every so often those winds will blow through little Claremont; such has been the case during the past couple days of unsettled weather. They came sweeping into, and through town, from the west. Like the shock wave from an explosion, the lowering sun seemed to propel them with some extra force. Buildings and trees generally provide some shelter from the howling along most of the city's streets, my usual routes through town, but there is one place where the wind can gather itself for an unobstructed run.

I ride down Mills, on these days, with the knowledge that once I reach the open space of the Field Station I will face an unleashed Fury. Those acres of sage and scrub, and low, sparse-growing trees are devoid of an effective wind breaks, little to stand in defense, and so the wind comes sweeping across unopposed. If a one-hundred thirty-five pound climbing specialist were to line up at scrimmage across from a three-hundred pound linesman, the effect would be comparable. I prepare to throw my weight, and to counter steer into it, but there is always that moment of impact when gust and bike collide. Wobble, lean, swerve, just don't stop pedaling.

I don't know how they handle it in Oklahoma, but I can't help turning my face to the wind when I am presented with views like the one above.