Posts tagged ‘rain’
It was a beautiful morning … and I should have taken better advantage of it. The day started out picture-perfect – sun was shining, temperatures were not so warm. Expected the rest of the day to be more of the same, so I spent the morning catching up with a few things at home, figuring I would have all afternoon to ride. My mistake. I guess timing is everything (that, and not bothering to look at weather forecasts).
Shortly after noon, dark clouds began rolling in and the rains came. Thunderstorms, winds, and even a few pieces of hail. In between showers, the heat and humidity were smothering. Kind of wanted to kick myself for waiting. Finally got out in the evening and headed towards the Hiwassee River, just up the road. Reached the bridge and inlets just as the sun was beginning to drop, spreading its last rays over the water. Sounds of frogs along the banks, several herons overhead. It was beautiful. Maybe my timing wasn’t so bad, after all?
Some days I go out and think – “Today, I need a change of scenery …” Not of barns and cows and thistles – something else. And then I end up along the same (beautiful) road and I am rendered speechless by some incredible sight. As if someone was trying to tell me I was completely foolish for wanting to see anything else. And so it was tonight. A crimson sky after a day of rain.
You would think I’d have learned my lesson already, wouldn’t you?
A lot of rain today. No paddling in the new boat. Had to take the boys into town, stopped to say goodbye to friends heading out of town, took my road bike into the shop (having issues with my front derailleur). Late in the day the rain stopped and I headed out on the Xtracycle, riding till the sun disappeared. Last few miles with lights on in the dark. Soft night air, fireflies. Maybe I learned my lesson this time.
Perhaps the smartest thing I did today was leave the DSLR at home. (Today’s photos brought to you by Mason’s pocket camera – which, quite miraculously, I managed not to ruin).
So the sun was popping out, along with patches of blue sky, and we figured the rain had finally moved out. Mason and I decided we were overdue for a nice long road ride. I cannot tell you why, but something in me decided to leave the “good” camera behind today – and since my little Lumix had a dead battery, Mason offered up his to take along.
Around 8 miles out, the rain started. And unfortunately started really coming down on a more heavily travelled stretch of road, where we encountered some yahoo who decided to pass a truck in the oncoming lane just as we approached – which could have been disastrous had we not had some ample clean shoulder space to move on to. We made it to a small commercial building that was empty and up for sale, so we stashed the bikes and took shelter on the front porch. We thought we could wait out the worst of the heavy rain – a plan that worked just fine until some really strong winds started blowing the driving rain onto the porch. We ended up pretty soaked, thinking how stupid we were not to bring any rain gear, or even a plastic bag to stash phone and camera. Dumb. Murphy’s Law of cycling, I guess … but we should have known better.
The rain finally let up and we decided to head back out, debating whether to continue our loop, or just head back home. Made the decision to stay out. And about 5 miles further down the road, got caught in a downburst again! This time we were close to a big Baptist church, and found cover under one of their equipment sheds. Had it not been for having stupid electronic devices with us, I think we would have just continued on in the rain. Time to stick a few ziplock bags in my seat bag. (You would think I would have learned this by now. Duh).
Finally it let up again. And the sun came out. And the rest of the ride was spent drying off in the warm sun. Totally worth it! I wish I could bottle the air on a day like this – damp grassy fields, the incredible perfume of honeysuckle in bloom. This was the reward part. 🙂
I should have gotten groceries by bike today, but I didn’t. You can call me lazy.
Mark and I headed to town for several errands – trip to hardware store, Tractor Supply, and the grocery store. Maybe we could‘ve hauled everything on the two Xtracycles, but two 50-lb bags of cracked corn for the ducks wouldn’t have been fun in a downpour. So we opted out. Or rather, opted for the car. #Fail.
Once again, just a rather abbreviated ride late in the day – solo. Wet roads and mist, and everything very green. Cows, of course (but I refrained from more cow pictures). Stopped on a little bridge that crosses Bigsby Creek, just to take a look…
I didn’t ride yesterday. 😦 Too much going on. Today our visiting family headed back home, and I got out for a short ride in the evening … in between some rain and thunderstorms that were rolling through the area. The rain was not so bad, but I was barely away from the house when I began seeing lightning and very dark clouds – conditions I wasn’t too thrilled to be out in. As I approached a local baseball field just up the road, I spotted a lone baseball that had made it’s way on to the shoulder of the road. I stopped to pick it up, and decided to just ride up to the field-house to watch the sky a little closer and decide what I wanted to do.
Took a few pictures of the sky and the deserted dugouts. But the weather was just looking a bit too unsafe to stay out in … so I decided to head back home. Not so sure I made the right call – the storm never did get really bad, although our power was out briefly this evening. Oh well. Some days you just strike out.
Not sure where to begin about the craziness that was today. Spent most of the day hauling a group of kids to and from HS district tennis tournament, which ended in the rain. My in-laws arrived for Dillon’s graduation. And I found out, to my complete surprise, that I had actually “won” the most amazing mention by the folks at Xtracycle – and was in their blog, written by my amazing friend Rick.
Rick and I have had plenty of tweets back an forth over the past few years, lots of goofy photos on twitpic, and he and the folks at Xtracycle have always been so incredibly friendly and helpful and through all of our Xtracycle bike builds, as well as providing endless encouragement and enthusiasm over my own growth in this “bicycling lifestyle” undertaking. I’m always grateful when he looks at my photos and visits my ramblings here … but I really had no idea I was even being considered for the #30daysofbiking Xtracycle “contest”. So the shock was on me when he contacted me to let me know how much they liked my photos and blog. Talk about a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart! So Rick – thanks for the honor!
Ended the fun but crazy day with a dusk ride in the drizzle with Mason – it was the only time we could get out to ride. Once again, the unexpected proved to be magical.
As we were riding the last stretch toward home – in the dark, lights on, the rain beginning to increase – a lone car passed us, and Mason said to me, “I’ll bet they are thinking we are completely nuts.”
I replied, “Oh probably, but we’re having so much fun, aren’t we? Or are you going to someday tell your own kids horror stories of how your crazy mother used to take you out riding in the rain and in the dark…?”
To which he said, “Are you kidding? Of course it’s fun! If it wasn’t, we could’ve turned around back near the start … it’s totally awesome!”
(He’s definitely his mother’s son :))
A note on this last picture… We passed by a small Baptist cemetery on a road near home, and saw this strange light glowing among the headstones. Was pretty freaky to see. We stopped and investigated, and apparently it’s a small solar-powered illuminated angel. Never knew such a thing existed. I never would have noticed it without riding by in the dark.
And just when you thought I was all done …….
Apparently out of habit I had to ride today. A little bit rainy, but again – there were rewards. Some great conversations with Holsteins along the way. Nice little ride before all of the bad weather moves in. I don’t know why I have such a fascination with these cows, but they are so sweet and gentle, I just can’t help myself.
To the pool today. Another day of unpredictable – when it came to the weather. Sun, clouds and wind on the way to the pool; not so bad. The swim part was more work than the biking part today. Not that I strictly adhere to a regimen when I swim, but most days I like to follow one of my old swim club workout sets – primarily to mix it up. (I have almost perfected the skill of being able to doze off and nap while swimming, so the “mixing-it-up” part tends to keep me conscious). It was a long swim today – for me, anyway – and by the time I finished, the storm was brewing outside.
Sure enough, got caught in a downpour on the way home. No rain gear, of course. Thankfully it was brief. From wet (pool) to wet (rain). Oh well.
Day of rain. Strong storms rolling through the region – everything from rain to hail to high winds, and even some tornados (although fortunately not here).
We had a few light showers in the morning, but during a break in the action, Mark and I went out for a ride – hoping to get out and back before things got too nasty. We couldn’t have timed it more perfectly. The clouds were rolling, and the wind was picking up, but we managed to have a dry ride – a few drops of rain only at the very end, near home. I think I was making Mark pretty nervous – my typical stopping to take photos, while he kept eyeing the threatening skies.
My latest “beef” happens to be about some recent roadwork done by the folks at TDOT. About a week ago, some large and very noisy machinery showed up on our road. They ended up carving rumble strips/troughs/markings along the edges of our road – a narrow two-lane road that has barely any shoulder to begin with. I’m not sure why and when this decision was made – although being down in a valley, we tend to see a fair amount of early morning fog, and visibility on the road can be pretty bad at times.
Maybe it has made things safer for automobiles, but it has made my riding life a bit more of a brain-rattling headache. Now it is nearly impossible to move over onto (or even slightly beyond) the white line, without shaking the teeth out of my head and causing some control issues with my bike. It’s incredibly jolting – much more so than I ever would have expected. So now I’m pretty much forced to take the lane to avoid the rumble strip – which extends into the lane fairly significantly in several sections. I’m sure TDOT wasn’t ever considering cyclists in making the decision; a definite sign of priorities (and our not-so bicycle/pedestrian-friendly local culture).
Right now as I sit here, the wind is blowing pretty viciously, and I hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance. A sure sign that I should probably sign off and turn off my computer before the power goes out. Looking for some sun tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
An addendum to the rumble-strip mention … twitter friend @brennen forwarded this article to me, about the increasing numbers of rumble strips being installed on roads around the country (thanks to stimulus dollars), and the significant hazards they are posing to cyclists. It appears LAB along with several other advocacy groups are attempting to have changes made to (shoulder allowances, pass-throughs, etc.) to make it safer for cyclists. Very good article: http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archives/2010/4/28/4514086.html
I learned a lesson today. Woke up this morning to rain, and since I really had nowhere that I had to be, I stayed in – catching up with work in the house, and hoping the rain might pass eventually, thinking I’d go out for a ride when it did. And it never did.
I don’t mind – and actually often enjoy – riding in the rain, but can’t say I intentionally go out in it just to ride. I have decent rain gear, and if I have to be somewhere, I usually don’t let rain stop me. I’ve been caught in the rain – unexpectedly. But I can’t say I’ve ever decided. “Hey, it’s raining – I’m going out for a ride!”
But of course, this being #30daysofbiking – I knew I was going out in it, whether I really wanted to or not. By late afternoon, when things still hadn’t cleared up, I decided to just go. Had my rain gear, packed my camera in my waterproof Ortlieb, and decided to ride my mountain/commuter bike because it had fenders and I didn’t care how filthy it got. I was prepared for a dreary, wet slog, and had decided ahead of time where my turn-around point would be.
The surprise was on me. It was divine. The rain dwindled down to a pleasant drizzle, the air was incredibly still and quiet, and smelled so fresh and clean. Mist was hanging over the hills, leaves were dripping. It was one of the most serene experiences I’ve ever had on my bike. When I got to my turn-around point, I knew I wasn’t going to turn back as planned. I stayed out in it. Gladly.
I think most of my rainy day rides have been commuting – in town, in traffic. A few times we’d been caught in showers biking trips (Grayson Highlands, VA, and the New River Trail come to mind). But riding out on a quiet local road – just to ride, in the rain – was something I probably would never have thought to do, had it not been for my commitment to #30daysofbiking.
What a wonderful lesson #30daysofbiking taught me today. Ride every day – you never know what you might be missing.