Had a miserable four-hour ride in the rain last weekend. When I met the club at 6am, the air was thick enough to chew – 75°F and humid as can be. We chatted briefly about routes and return times while we eyed the bulging, leaden clouds uneasily. We rode for about half an hour before the first spatters appeared on our sunglasses. Those few drops rapidly became a shower as the sky unzipped and dumped its load.
Soon after the rain started I got separated from the group. It was my own dang fault. I was loafing off the back of the bunch, feeling a bit queasy about my wet brakes. I must have missed a turn somewhere; they went out of sight around a bend, and when I made it around they were gone. Meanwhile, I plodded on, inching my way down suddenly unfamiliar hills, trying to pump some function back into my waterlogged brakes. At times, the rain in the trees sounded so much like approaching traffic that I found myself looking over my shoulder, seeing nothing but rainwater running over the road and collecting in the drains and valleys.
The route we were on had blazes at every turn, so finding my way home wasn’t a problem. That is, if the weather hadn’t been so lousy, it wouldn’t have been a problem. As it was, some of the blazes were submerged so I made a couple of wrong turns. This wasn’t entirely a bad thing since I needed to add some distance to the route to make my goal of 70 miles, but I did encounter more traffic than I’d like. Getting splashed by cars on Rt 27 in Sherborn wasn’t my idea of a good time…if I hadn’t missed the blazes on Farm Road, I would have avoided that little experience.
Eventually I made my way back onto familiar roads in Dedham, which led me back home. There, I had a very enjoyable hour of bike-wiping, chain-cleaning and bearing-repacking. Fercryinoutloud, I had water in my rims. I could hear sloshing as I rotated the wheels by hand. That, boys and girls, was a rainy ride.
This past weekend I rode pretty much the same route with the club and it was a much better experience. Though it was hot, sunny and humid this time around, at least I could tell where I was going. Most of the group went home after about 40 miles but I stayed out for a couple more hours to get some miles in. I suppose that’s why we put up with the rain – so that we have the strength to really enjoy the good days.