I hit the road before dawn this morning headed out to Logan Rogersville High School. Since I’m not lifting weights due to the elbow issue, this is going to end up being a pretty high mileage week. By the time I get home tonight, I’ll be sitting at 198 miles for the week. Boy, it’s sure going to be tempting to detour just a little out of my way to hit that 200 mile mark!
As I headed out of town through the James River Valley, I could tell that I wasn’t going to be as fast as when I rode this route on Monday. I just didn’t have the ole’ spring in the legs, so the hills were a bit of a challenge. When I got home from this loop, my average speed was 17.4 mph compared to the 17.6 I logged the other day, so I really didn’t feel too bad. I suppose I might have been able to equal that effort if I hadn’t lost focus at a couple of places and “awakened” to find myself just easily cruising along.
The dog that chased me last trip was at it again today, but from the other side of the road. He’s a sneaky fellow…he won’t bark or snarl until he’s right upon you. He fooled me again by coming from the opposite direction!
As I turned back to the west to head home, I could see the sky looking pretty dark ahead of me. I had looked at radar before I left the house, and it looked like the wet stuff was far enough to the north that I could stay dry for the hour and a half that I would be on the bike. I stopped briefly at the house to swap bikes and grab my bags, then continued on toward the office. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it! The rain started as I was stopped for the light at Fremont and Chestnut Expressway, and by the time I had travelled the mile or so from there to the office, it was raining hard enough that I was pretty soaked. I carry rain gear in my bag, but by the time I realized it might do some good I was so close that I figured I might as well just suck it up and ride.
By the time I had showered, the rain had stopped! That’s the way it usually works!
Interestingly, Steve posed a weather related question yesterday:
I’ll put the same question to YOU that I put to AC. Namely, what’s the cyclist “severe thunderstorm” strategy? It appears, on the face of it, that yours is the same as mine – namely to encase myself in a “Faraday Cage” and drive to work. Lightning seems MUCH more frightening than traffic, which (mostly) follows predictable rules.
But what would you do if the drive were not an option?
My weather policy is really pretty wishy washy. It depends! Severe thunderstorms aside, I really don’t mind riding in the rain. Believe it or not, I am smart enough to not head off into the face of anything severe, but hey, I’m not gonna melt with a little water. With that said, however….I prefer to not ride in the rain. For one thing, I think motorists are a little more unpredictable when it’s wet. I don’t feel their visibililty is as good, and they’re certainly not looking out for little ole’ me on my bike in a rainstorm. In addition, my stuff gets wet and nasty. I spend enough time keeping my bikes running smoothly as it is, and it’s a guarantee that every rainy commute requires a minimum of a drivetrain cleaning and lubrication. Finally, I just don’t like dealing with wet clothes. When I left the locker room today I had gloves, shoes and arm warmers spread everywhere trying to get them dried out for the trip home tonight, but I know they’re still going to be wet. I carry rain gear, but prefer not to use it unless the weather is cool because it just makes you more hot and sweaty.
The evening commute is an entirely different matter. I’ve usually got no qualms about riding home in the rain if it seems safe. If not, I’ve got enough co-workers who live close by that I can usually find a way home with one of them. That’s only happened a couple of times, but I’m not too proud to beg a ride if I feel it’s warranted.
I guess you could summarize my stance as “I’ll ride to work if I think I can get there safely”. If not, I’ll drive. I do not, however, leave the bike at home based on rain forecasted for later in the day. All I need is about a 35-40 minute window of relatively calm weather to make it back and forth safely.
Edit: Well, it’s 4:30, and we’re in the midst of a serious rain. I spoke to Pam to let her know I was going to need to wait it out for a while, and we decided she would come retrieve me! In return, we’ll grab dinner someplace downtown. A win on all accounts!