Friday, February 20, 2009

A Dusty and Windy Ride Home to Finish off the Work Week

I managed to ride every day this week, conditions ranging from low 30s to mid 50s and sunny to partly cloudy skies. Not great but better than having snow/ice on the roads! There were a couple of days when I rode to work in the dark and came home in the dark, long days.

It was a long week, lots of time spent walking around Denver International Airport with consultants who are part of a major project kicking off there for United Airlines. Once things get going, I'll be spending many a night and day there helping oversee the contractors, doing network changes and trying not to bring the network down and cause flight delays. Joy.

The rides to and from work, were unremarkable in this mild winter weather, except for today. It was quite windy this afternoon as I walked to my motorcycle, I'd been riding Maria, my 2004 R1150RT all week since it was "brisk" weather conditions.

The wind got worse and worse, seemingly, as I rode towards home. At first, I'd see its effect in the little swirls of dust being blown back and forth across the pavement. Tires on the cars ahead of me would stream these little dust clouds as they rolled along, and I imagine Maria was leaving a stream of dust swirls as well.

Once I got past Buckley AFB and hit some open stretches of pavement on Gun Club Road, the wind really started getting fierce. Large amounts of dust would blow up, looking like brown fog, from the open fields lying fallow for the winter. There were times when it felt like I was riding in a mild version of the sandstorms I can still vividly recall from my time in Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

The winds got strong enough to start pushing Maria, all 600lbs plus of her and my own weight, sideways on the road. The front end felt very squiggly several times but it all became better once I lowered the windscreen to reduce my "sailing ship" profile. I will admit having to consciously relax my "death grip" on the handlebar several times during the ride.

Still, I've ridden in worse wind conditions, at least the winds were not so strong that I had to lean Maria over continuously to prevent being pushed off the road. There have been rides when I'd be leaning way over into the wind and then it would shift and I'd feel Maria's back end seem to rise up! Very "interesting" riding conditions those; today was a medium version of those. So while it made for a "not boring" commute, I think I can do without such entertaining conditions.

1 comment:

cpa3485 said...

I am frequently surprised at how tricky and unpredictable strong winds can be. One day, I found myself doing a "death grip" on the handlebars like you did. I had a similar reaction by consciously taking a deep breath and trying to relax.

Thankf ape the post. You make some good points.