I loved the wind when I was younger. I remember going with my brother and dad to fly kites all the time when we were little. Once, we saved up a bunch of labels off of the canned peas and corn my mother would serve with dinner, (my! how times have changed - my kid is quite spoiled on Farmer's Market organic), put them in an envelope and sent them to some far off Valley of the Jolly. A few weeks later, we got our very own, very big, Jolly Green Giant Kite. The kite was surely bigger than my brother and was nearly my height. My dad said we needed to work as a team to fly this one, it was that big! So, that Sunday, when the winds whipped the undeveloped section of the Palos Verdes Penninsula, the three of us set off to fly the Giant.
It was tough going. The Santa Ana's were blowing making it nearly impossible to get the kite off the ground. I seem to recall my brother getting lifted under the kite and squealing with joy and then, he let go, and the kite sailed up and up and up. The wind was great! So great!! Well, until it blew so hard that it snapped the cord connecting that very giant kite (now looking so very tiny waaaaaay far up into the sky) to the wooden reel that we held. Sadness ensued. Walking home with lowered heads, past a gorgeous view of the Pacific dotted with white sails of varying sizes, my father told us stories of the greatness of wind and its amazing power.
It seemed like we'd only been home for an instant when the phone rang. It was our uncle in New York City. He was calling with some strange news ... he had just been up on the Empire State Building and saw a Jolly Green Giant kite fly by, with a tail made from a pillow case. That was our kite!! Wow. The wind was great. Our kite went all the way to New York City. All that Sunday, and probably for days to come, my brother and I bragged about the wind and our kite and the glorious trip it took for free.
I wish I had the same fondness for the wind this last Sunday as I did so long ago, even with the made-up story that our kite flew to NYC. I checked several weather sites and they all said that the Santa Ana's had moved south and that no wind was predicted for Sunday in the Malibu area. When we started out on our 3 hour bike ride (my 3rd ride since October) that prediction seemed to be so. But then the canyon gusts kicked in, and tucking low on the handle bars became necessary. And the head winds started and we took faster turns leading the pace line. Anne and Kouy, having completed half of their ride at Cross Creek, turned around and headed back. Pete, Adam and I decided to go further reasoning that if the head wind was this bad going out, we will be flying home. HA!!!!!!!
Each of our fitness levels and strength began to show on the way back. I kept falling back. I honestly never thought I could go 1 mile per hour and spend so much energy. It was all I could do to keep from falling over. The side gusts were crazy. We rode as far over to the right side of PCH as possible. My hands are sore from white knuckling in the successful attempts to keep from getting blown into the traffic lanes. To keep on track I sang songs in my head ("Tomorrow" from the musical Annie- story for another time, and ... "whose tripping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees ... everyone knows its Windy!" and thought about what I was going to write about in this very blog.
Hills, although I am not the best climber, I can mentally handle with ease. You can see the top. You know when it's going to stop. Even if you're surprised by a false flat or another rise on a hill that you haven't climbed before, it is not the same as wind. The wind messes with you. One second your peddling at 25 mph and smiling and the next ... you're yelling, ""Mother F***ing Son of a B***h," and ... no one can hear you.