Rain, Flats and Fishtails

Since I completed my MS ride back in July, I have not been on the bike as much as I’d like.  There are a number of reasons for this, which all fall under the category of LIFE.  And I’m here to tell you that not riding has taken a toll on my — ahem — mood.  Yes folks, regular exercise is really good for the mood.

So, I was determined to get out this weekend.  Yesterday, I missed the 7:30 group ride with the peloton because, well, I was sleeping.  Then I had to cut something close to 11 inches of grass in my yard before the neighbors revolted…at any rate, I did not get out on a ride yesterday.  I vowed to make the 8:00 group ride today.RainBird

I got up and out of the house and rolled up to the appointed spot.  I was alone.  It got to be 8:00 and I was still alone, and it was starting to spit.  Bugger, I thought.  For grins, I decided to roll away from the Ranger Station via the road instead of the trail.  There they were, in the other parking lot that I didn’t know about.  So I joined up and we started rolling down the trail.

It was a light rain and really was somewhat refreshing so I decided that I could ride through.  This would be a mistake I would later learn.

The group kept a good pace and I felt strong.  I sailed up a hill that usually leaves me winded and miserable halfway.  (I was still winded at the top, but that’s okay.)  As we rolled through Arnold I noticed that the rain had stopped.  It might actually clear, I thought.

We took the usual route down to Sandy Point State Park and took a quick breather there.  Then we started heading back toward town on Whitehall road.  One of the guys said something to the effect of, “That doesn’t look good.”  Up ahead there appeared to be a wall of water falling out of the sky.

It pissed it down.

I was very thankful that I’d worn my shades even though it wasn’t sunny because as I kept pace with the guy a head, I was getting wheel spray in the face.  Gritty water.

Then Dave got a flat.  I rode up to catch up with the leaders and inform them.  We went back and made sure Dave was good.  As we stood there talking, someone said, “at least it’s not cold.”  Well, when we started back up again, after cooling down, it felt pretty damn cold.

We decided to ditch the planned route and head back to Severna Park via College Ave.  Between Bellerive and Bay Dale I flatted.  I was pissed – brand spankin new tires.  Oh well, that’s the breaks.

Speaking of brakes…

As I was coming down a hill the light turned from green to red (I’d swear that it was never yellow) and I had to break hard.  Hard breaking and wet roads on 23mm tires is a bad idea.  I started to fish tail.  Normally I like being clipped into my peddles, but here, well, I felt a wee bit afraid.  My legs were literally sliding out from under me, and briefly I thought I was about to have a case of road rash.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to let go of my rear brake, and the bike righted itself.

I also didn’t blow into the intersection which would have been a case of road rash and a mangled bike.

After that everything was pretty much cream cheese.  The rain let up, and I rode home with no additional problems.  Still, I have a nagging feeling that there’s a lesson in this story…

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