Sunday, August 23, 2009

A No-Wind Situation

For the last few days the wind died out almost completely here at Tallil Ali Air Base. The good news is I can ride the perimeter of the base faster than usual because I can ride a fairly steady speed slowing only for the across-the-road ditches, missing stretches of pavement and stop signs. Here as on every base it is AWESOME to ride where people can lose their jobs over their driving. But it means I have to obey the law also (Jan and Scott: No kidding. I stop for stop signs!!) So I circled the 10.2-mile perimeter road in 33:52 on the 29er and 31:40 on the Trek. I also did the 15k (9.3-mile) route in 29:11. These are as fast as I have ever gone around post. At first I was thinking 'Not even 20mph, I must be falling apart!' But with bad roads and single speed bikes I do have a disadvantage.

The bad news is that no wind causes two odd effects that have left me with a nasty sore throat and hacking cough. The first is that when there is no wind the dust rises from the ground near dust. It's weird. I was half-way around and going fast so I did not quit but sucked a lot of dust into my lungs. Now I am paying for it. The second problem is the burn pit. When the wind is out of the west, the toxic fumes from burning all of our throw-away utensils drifts away to the East on the usual West wind. Yesterday as I finished the lap a light breeze form the East blew the smoke from the raging fire in the burn pit across the base--and a across the road I ride on. Nothing like ending the day with polyethylene smoke!!

Even though the wind makes me struggle to ride 7mph when it howls out of the west at 30mph, I suppose it will be better to have the wind. It will also help with the temp. Today at lunch time it was 133 degrees (56 Celcius). And with no wind at night it is almost 90 degrees before dawn.