Collision Course with Raindrops!

Garmin Data:

When I started contemplating riding home this afternoon I realized that I am hooked. No other way to explain it. The weather website showed 30% chance of rain, some wind and temps in the upper 40’s/low 50’s. They were also calling for snow/rain overnight and an “interesting” commute tomorrow morning. As I processed all this data — a voice somewhere deep inside was saying …. “Just Ride.” It’s as if I was reading my own blog at that moment.  I knew I really wanted to ride and at some level, I knew I WOULD be riding home but there was still a lot of back and forth with myself. It would be so much easier if I lived close enough to commute in and home on the same day. But…. I don’t.

So, my inner voice won out and I left my desk about 3:30 p.m. Scooter and I pulled out of the parking garage a few minutes after 4 p.m. and headed out on the Lowell/CO-7/Cty Line Rd route. I didn’t have Scooter’s headlight, but I did turn on his red 5-LED blinking taillight. I know that made us more visible and given the cloudy skies and wet conditions we ended up riding in, being visible was important to me.

Normally you can see mountains when you look to the west leaving work – today it was just gray skies and approaching “weather.”

The rain drops started within a quarter of a mile of the parking garage and kept up for the next 17 miles (about 1/2 way home!). Actually, I’d have to say it went from a light drizzle to a light rain. I never got dumped on and the road never got so wet that I had to ride through puddles or river-lets. As always, when I’m riding along, there is plenty of time to ponder and what better thing to ponder at that moment than the drizzle/rain. It was hard not to notice that the faster I went, the wetter I seemed to get. Of course, moving more quickly put Scooter and me on a collision course with more raindrops per second than when we rode along more slowly. But, then again, if we rode slowly, we’d be out in those raindrops longer. So, did we really get wetter? Or, just wetter quicker for a shorter period of time? Hmmmmm. Either way, the drizzle was cold and uncomfortable. I didn’t plan for this kind of weather today. I brought my summer cycling shoes (luckily, I threw in toe-covers) and I didn’t even bring a long sleeve cycling jersey (again, luckily, I had a Go-Lite  long sleeved liner layer with me). I also wore my Go-Lite wind shirt AND my Pearlizumi bright yellow jacket.  I also wore my Turtle-fur helmet liner and had my long-fingered lobster gloves. The one area I was really lacking was my legs. I didn’t pack a pair of warm tights, just a pair of nylon ones. They were certainly better than nothing — but not much!

As many cyclists do, I use flags to help me determine wind direction and speed as I’m riding along. Today I was treated to a hawk when I looked over to check a flag as I approached the town of Erie. Pretty cool,eh?

Once I got farther north, the precipitation stopped and the pavement was dry again. My clothing dried out and I was much more comfortable. There was some construction on Cty Line Rd where I had to be ultra aware. There is almost no shoulder and during the commuting hours there is quite a bit of traffic. At the north end of the road, I stopped at the light and waited to turn left for the final stretch home. I could hear a low rumble behind me…. I knew what it was. Did I really want to turn around and look? Well, of course, I did. There was a HUGE 18-wheeler “on my tail.” Actually, he kept quite a ways back which was nice, and when I turned around and gave him a small wave and a smile, he returned the smile and a double-thumbs up gesture. Nice guy. I beat him off the line by a mile, but he also turned left and when he caught up with me he gave me a short “toot” on his horn and another smile.

As usual, I was glad I rode and am looking forward to the return trip tomorrow – even if I have to wear my snorkel parka (!?)