Thursday, April 19, 2018

Riding Back from Grand Rapids


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This pretty much sums up my aspirations to cycle home from Grand Rapids starting Sunday – Wednesday in mid-APRIL.

Yes, I know spring can be iffy, that April showers bring May flowers, that one day it can be sun and the next cold. But certainly not ARTIC. I experienced a range of weather that would baffle and frustrate even Shakleton. My plan was to drive in a van with my friend to the Festival of Faith & Writing in Grand Rapids and then cycle back to Chicago. I’ve done this trip before. In brilliant sunshine and unseasonable warmth, and in rain and a douse of snow. And also in what might be described as “normal” conditions. What happened this past weekend defies anything close to what I’m used to.

I’ve never had to cancel a bike trip, though there were times I should have.

I ended up cancelling. 1) Wind, there were tree branches scattered everywhere after a night of high-winds that continued into the day and part of the next. 2) Rain. I commuted 2.5 miles to the festival and by the time I arrived I was soaked. This despite I was wearing protective gear. Albeit NOT waterproof, but had served me in the past as tolerable. 3) Temps, hovering above freezing. 4) Which leads me to freezing rain. On Sunday, the day I’d planned to begin cycling to Kalamazoo there was freezing rain to the extent that when it fell to the ground the roads looked like slushy machines. The accumulated ice was up to my ankles.

By this time I’d already decided to cancel. My friend and I waited before getting on the highway to come home after the conference. We drove to a movie theater to see A Quiet Place. The car ride there was scary. She slowed down before slowing down at intersections where we saw cars slide sideways. I fully expected to be rear-ended. After that the apocalyptic horror movie seemed calming. I felt like someone who had survived the end of the world. When we emerged from the theater the sun was shining.

Quick! Get in the car before anything else happens. We were able to drive home because of a window in the weather. Right now outside my window here in Chicago it is snowing. In APRIL!!

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