I don’t mind hills so much. I lived in West Seattle for a decade, and I learned to live with—if not actually love—the hilly terrain there.
Now I live in the flatlands of the Sacramento Valley in Northern California. I think I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to climb… I mean really climb. Perhaps that explains our penchant for heavy steel bikes like our Pashleys. When you’re on level ground, the playing field gets…ahem…leveled, and weight becomes less of a factor. But I digress.
What we have plenty of around here is wind. It’s not a perpetual wind like on the coast, and it’s not usually a howling wind either, but in the spring and summer we often get what we locals call a “Delta Breeze” that comes up in the evenings. I’m no meteorologist, but it has something to do with cooling temperatures in the evening that causes the wind to blow up from the Sac River Delta.
I’m not a big fan of wind. At least with hills you can see what you’re up against, you know when you’ve won the battle, and there’s almost always a reward on the other side. Wind, on the other hand, can be an unpredictable and cruel opponent, never showing its face and never relenting. There’s a tendency with wind to hunker down and just push and push to exhaustion.
Of course, there’s another side to wind — that being the downwind side. There’s nothing quite like riding along at 20-25 mph with a 20 mph wind at your back; it’s the closest many of us will ever come to knowing what it feels like to be a professional bike racer.
There’s an old bike rider’s saying, something to the effect of, “There’s no such thing as a tailwind, only good days and windy days.” Perhaps the wind will be at my back on this evening’s commute and I’ll have one of those “good days” on the bike.