The Rough Ride

I’ve done the new commute three times now. As providence would have it, those three days coincided with the worst of the weather for the past two weeks. Yesterday was a bit of watershed, I think, raising the bar of my tolerance for hideous conditions to new heights. In the first seven miles of the commute, I experienced (in no particular order) rain, snow, sleet, ice (always pleasant during a 30mph descent), hail, thunder and lightning. By the time I reached the base of California Avenue, I was wet, a bit cold, and utterly miserable. And I still had 13 miles to go, including the always-lovely crossing of Neville Island against what felt to be a 15mph headwind. Crossing the McKees Rocks Bridge, I received a Mr. Wizard-esque lesson on the Bernoulli Effect thanks to the crosswinds and the steady stream of tractor trailers. By the time I reached McKees Rocks, I wanted to stop, but that really wasn’t an option. What was I going to do? Turn around and ride home? Neville Island was better than expected–still a stiff headwind, but nothing terrible. The rest of the ride passed without incident. On the return trip, I enjoyed a fierce tailwind. On the flats of the island I was comfortably pushing my biggest gear. Gears can be fun.

Nearly each time, the ride is a rollercoaster of sorts, if you can pardon the cliché. There is always a time when I hate it, hate the new office, hate the job. It’s a surprisingly dark pit the industrial underbelly of the city can push you into. But once across Neville Island and the McKees Rocks Bridge, it all goes away, and I enjoy the ride, enjoy the feeling of the effort in my legs. And enjoy the stubbornness that gets me a through a wet, windy, cold ride, one where I get to my destination covered with grit and mud.