At Least I Didn't Flat Today

Distance: 23.9

Time: 1:19:28

Avg. speed: 18.04 mph

Weather: 57-60º, 92-83% humidity, wind E5-ESE3, cloudy then rain

Song stuck in head: Could You Be the One? - Hüsker Dü

Once again, I got burned by the weatherman. Set out to do 40-ish miles today, certain from my read of various weather web sites that I could do my 2+ hours of riding before the heavens reopened. I was wrong.

Only 8 miles in to today's ride, the rain started. That's about 20 minutes after I left home. I threw on my rain jacket and cursed myself for not wearing my shoe covers and forgetting the "shower cap" for my helmet.

Had to make a brief stop at the intersection of Eldridge and Stow to corral a stray cocker spaniel that looked worse off that I felt. A woman passing by in her car stopped and called the number on the dog's tag and got the address to return the pooch to and took over from there. This is the second stray in two days for me: yesterday, it was a very smelly and under cared for Westie that I turned into Maynard's Animal Control Officer.

I pressed on up Stow Road, logging a slightly-faster-than-usual 6' 20" for the climb. At the top, it really started pouring. I could have turned around right then, but was counting on the forecast of "scattered showers" and so continued down Rte. 111 to Harvard Ctr. and traversed many "rivers" coursing their way down and across the road as I went.

I stopped at the Harvard General Store, which has a eaves large enough to shelter the bike and tipped it back onto its rear wheel to pour out the water I knew had collected in the BB and chainstays. After letting myself drip dry for few minutes in the store's covered wheelchair ramp, I went in for a nice hot coffee.

I was variously greeted with amusement, pity and bewilderment by the other patrons and staff of the store. One woman told me that it should only be a "brief shower" as one of her friends had just shown her a radar map on her iPhone. A runner, she sympathized with my situation as she confessed that she'd been caught in the rain many times herself. I returned to the covered ramp to sip my coffee as I was simply to wet to sit down inside.

A Harvard police officer cheerfully noted, as he headed into the store, that predicting the weather is the only job that still pays even though you are wrong.

A landscaper pulled up and said, "We're both out of luck for a while." Indeed.

More than one individual assumed the role of "Captain Obvious" by stating, "Caught in the rain, eh?"

I pulled out my phone and started making calls to help wile away the time. First my wife, who was a little too busy at work for chit-chat. Then I called occasional riding pal, Patti D, who used to work at the very store I was in front of - left her a voicemail.

The rain appeared to be easing up a bit, after 45 minutes of waiting when the woman who gave me the "brief shower" mis-forecast pulls into the parking lot and apologized for the errant prediction and offers me a ride. I thanked her but politely declined the kind offer.

I set out, resigned to reducing the route to a mere out-and-back of 23 miles or so. I had a car on my ass the whole way down Stow Road, even though I kept my speed down (due to the amount of water on the road) and stayed way to the right. The driver couldn't summon the gumption to pass me until Stow Road passed under 495 and even on that long straight with no one in sight ahead, she put-putted past me completely in the other lane.

The rest of the ride does not bear much mention except to say that even though it was raining harder than last week's soak/ride, it was about 8 degrees warmer which made a ton of difference in my performance.

Once back home, I drained the BB/chainstays again, took off the chain to soak it in some gasoline, pulled the freewheel cassette for a cleaning and peeled the dead worms off my brake calipers and frame.

Tomorrow's forecast: patchy fog. :: crosses fingers ::

No comments: