The weather was supposed to warm up Wednesday.
It did — but only technically.
As I pedaled away from home shortly after 9 a.m. that day, the National Weather Service Willmar webpage, reported it was 34 degrees with a 15 mph southeast wind gusting to 18 mph.
That meant a wind chill of 25 before taking into account my traveling anywhere from 5 to 21 mph.
Trying to dress for the “warmer” weather, I put on lighter gloves than I’ve been using and tucked my balaclava into my back pocket.
That turned out to be a smart move.
As I headed east out of town on Highway 12, I felt the wind but it wasn’t too uncomfortable … once my face froze.
I felt jet propelled once I turned north on County Road 127. Even though it’s a gravel road, I rolled down some of the steeper hills at more than 21 mph.
When I turned around to head back, it was a different story.
It wasn’t really a head wind I found myself facing, but it was cold and strong enough to slow me to less than 5 mph as I crawled up some of the steeper hills on the same gravel road I’d just flown across in the other direction.
And the weird thing was a wind turbine on the road just a short distance from Highway 12 was pointed almost straight west. I was heading south and fighting something that was blowing fairly hard.
Then there was the train.
I’d noticed it when I turned onto County 127. It was parked maybe 100 yards or so from the crossing just off Highway 12.
As I approached the crossing, I heard a train whistle blowing.
But the parked train waited until I was less than a half mile away and had a good vantage point slowly rolling down a hill.
That’s when it blocked the road with its countless coal-laden cars.
I waited for nearly 10 minutes, but at least the train made a pretty good wind break.
Once it passed, I pedaled the few dozen yards to Highway 12, turned west and sailed the 4.68 miles back home.