Kona Trade Winds Today (as reported by the online news): It's common for trees to be uprooted, branches downed, when reinforced by mountainous topography, down slope winds can gust over 100 mph, causing destruction in low-lying areas. Certain areas can expect 69 mph winds within a few mile area...average wind 52 for the area.
Today's ride to Hawi started out like most long rides, expectations of a long day in the saddle, possible head winds out, guaranteed head wind near Waikoloa, sun burn, and a lot of IPOD singing me along. Kym kept me company the first 18 miles with girl talk about mom stuff, men, and triathlon-perfect warm up conversation. Then I was solo for the meat of Coach Jimmy's Plan: The last 3.5 hours at Ironman pace and faster if I can make it happen, no photos, no stopping, just ride strong to Hawi and back home to Kona. Motivation was at an all time high. I didn't even want the camera!!! Really. My friend Tyson sent me a text this morning telling me to "be one with my bike and stay focused in the moment". Each mile I was focusing rather than looking for whales and falling coconuts like usual. Every time I would catch myself looking around I would get back to the bike, like instant grits I was back to the bike.
Waikoloa was perfect with hardly any wind, Kwaihae was a bit of cross wind but normal style, then towards Mahukona it was unreal! I know winds of all kinds and have braved them all. Today on the way back from the turn around I was no longer in the bars but holding for dear life. Partly was questioning if I was being dumb. I was the only cyclist I saw in the area, I was blowing into the traffic lane, and I was riding on an angle (the bike wasn't even up straight) and a few miles were only 3 mph! It was the most wind I've ever known...should have read the paper before I started the ride, but I was in the moment, focused, one with my bike
. I repeated that 1,000 times over and over just to get me through the scary parts (yes I was really scared a few times).
Not really sure what happened next or how , I think the cross wind stopped then turned back on within a second and the next thing I know me and the bike were not riding, I blew off my bike. At first I thought it was funny and even took a photo of the ocean chop, since I was stopped now it doesn't count as taking pictures while riding, and I needed to check out possible battle wounds. Bike derailleur okay, me okay. Then I sent a text to Tyson laughing about not being "one" with my bike anymore. I was in that "dumb founded moment" where you have no clue what happened but you laugh and have to tell someone. I laughed and texted someone.
Got back on the bike and I was frozen scared. The tears began to flow and I realized I was just blown off my bike, tree limbs are covering the road, and trees are on their sides, laughing was not funny anymore. I was scared out of my mind. I refocused, walked my bike for a minute (it was on its side blowing over just walking it!). Kona was 45 miles away! Then I decided to call my friend Rick Beach (he's a super rider) and I knew he would give me a pep talk to get back on the bike and quit being a baby...no answer so I cried on his voice mail. I was crying. My bike was fine, I only had a bloody nose and sore hip but was good to go other than my nerves all shook up. Then I got an idea to take a ride to the highway in the back of a friends pick up truck. But Travis (called him too in search of a pep talk) he talked me out of it and said to ride or walk no matter how slow, but to just do it alone. So I did it alone. 15 miles through the windiest part took me over an hour. The winds almost blew me off again, trucks were honking, it was stupidity sort of and sort of "I must do this now, get back on the horse kind of thing". So I rode as brave as I could all sore like my grandma after hip surgery and scared like a kid in the dark...
I was so happy to make it back towards Mauna Lani/Hapuna area. Those winds were more welcoming and I finally was going faster than 10mph in cross/head wind slop. Once back to Kona I sat in my truck motionless, wanting to laugh and wanting to cry. Then I got home to check the wind report and was sort of stoked that I survived that and thankful I had no idea what was happening up North before I ventured up there by bike. Once home I iced the hip, not a real ice bath, just ice on off on off in cold water till it went numb. Tomorrow, back on the bike.... tonight was swim practice where the lane mates made me still lead half of it! Really, what doesn't kill you does make you stronger.
Kona winds, thank you for humbling me. I used to always laugh when I heard stories of people blowing off their bikes, now you can laugh at me too.... Pele, I'm thinking you must really love me to have blown a kiss at me that strong it blew me off my bike!
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