Today’s ride along Lake Superior was bitter cold at 39 degrees with an ever present northeast headwind. I had hoped to knife through the gales like Lance Armstrong, but wound up epitomizing a mental image of Louie Anderson bumbling down the road on an old Huffy with a banana seat.
Any time of year a northeast wind off Lake Superior usually means a picnic is not in the cards along the lake. This year, however, the cycle repeats itself almost daily. I never thought I would ever have been this cold on a ride on Memorial Day weekend. Like a stubborn old mule I kept riding into it, that bastard northeast breeze flying in off 31,700 square miles of frigid open water, and had planned on enjoying a 45 mile out and back ride to Two Harbors. Instead I finally wised up and turned around at the village of Knife River for a more modest 31 mile jaunt. The persistent wind had bored through my skull and even caused a headache.
I returned to Duluth thoroughly exhausted, but then I saw the tourist train, and the following experience redeemed the entire debacle. This train rumbles through town at a slow pace, and after I was trapped on it during a hot July day with my family a couple years back, I likened it to the Darjeeling Express (a train that crosses India and was immortalized by a movie bearing the same name). Anyhow, the train packed with Memorial Day tourists was lumbering along a quarter mile ahead of me and my goal was to pass it before I veered toward home in a little over a mile. My modest goal, however, turned into an immense self esteem boost as I blasted by the train in a manner similar to Superman outracing the train in the movie. I was chugging along at around 28 – 30 mph, had the same boyish grin on my face as the superhero as he accomplished the feat, and I even saw a young boy on the train excitedly point me out to his mom as I raced by. Totally awesome! I blew by the train like it was in reverse. Ha ha. This absolutely made my day and the entire two hour experience worthwhile. It’s not that I was showing off or anything. It was just funny to observe the similarities with Superman, and probably was the only time in my life that’ll happen! It certainly broke up the monotony of plodding along…
photo credit: http://s195.photobucket.com/user/VampiraJen/media/Superman%20Returns%20Screenshots/Running.jpg.html