Last night I rode my bike in the rain. Not just drizzling, sprinkling or misty rain.But downpour, thunder and lightning with big, heavy (and painful) rain drops.
This picture was taken after the ride. It doesn’t do justice to just how soaking wet I was, but you can gather from the sky behind me what the weather was like.
Before you all tell me how dangerous and stupid this was, let me give you a little background…
I was supposed to meet a couple of riding friends to join up with the big group ride that I have ridden on several previous Tuesday evenings. I had heard there was a chance of storms, but the sky looked pretty clear when I got to our meeting spot.
Things started out a little strange…when I drove up, there were only a few cars in the lot. Usually I can barely squeeze my little car in between all the bike-carrying SUV’s. And my always-early friends were nowhere to be found.
I quickly recognized two guys that I know from the Monday night speed workouts and they told me that the normal parking spot has moved about 1/2 a mile up the road. I texted my friends but didn’t hear back (until after the ride when I realized I had a text that said the ride was a wash out), so I just jumped in to ride with these two tri-bike sporting guys.
While we waited for a couple of others to meet us, we did one 5-mile loop around the industrial area where we parked and by the time we met the other two riders, it was sprinkling a little, but the skies in the direction we were going looked nice and clear so we headed out.
We weren’t 10 miles in when the sky opened up. It was absolutely POURING. At that point, the decision was to keep heading toward clear skies, versus turning back into the storm.
For the next 5ish miles, I couldn’t see well. My socks and shoes were soaked. I was freezing. I was being pelted with heavy rain drops. The wind was blowing me around everywhere. And I couldn’t ride behind anyone because their bikes threw even more water up in my face. Plus we were pushing the pace hard to try to get outside the weather.
I don’t know how I wasn’t scared to death. I just tried to focus on seeing the best I could and staying upright, but my heart was pounding, partly from the effort and partly from the adrenaline rush.
I love being on my bike, but I will not lie I hated every minute of those miles in the rain.
Eventually, the rain subsided and we finished the last 10-15 miles without battling the storms.
Around mile 20, I realized I was chaffing because my shorts were so wet. I was exhausted. I hadn’t drank much throughout the ride because I was so focused on the road. And since I didn’t think I would be riding 30+ miles, I hadn’t brought anything to eat and I was definitely getting that blech feeling that comes when my body wants nutrition.
We dramatically dropped our pace for the last 10 miles because I think everyone was just drained from the drama of the first 15. We finally made it back to the cars with a total of 31.3 miles on the day at 17.1 mph.
In the parking lot another guy was being dropped off in a car with his bike and told us he had taken the route forward (we took the route backwards to avoid the darker skies) and had run into HAIL and had to be picked up by a friend.
I am not sure I have EVER been so happy to put my bike on my car and get the hell out of there to a hot shower.
P.S. I am not looking for sympathy or to be told how tough I am for sticking it out…I just had to record this so I can look back and know that I will be prepared for anything that a race day throws at me in the future! And maybe someone else can learn a lesson in checking the weather from my stupidity on NOT doing that!