Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Populaire Ride For May

I got my monthly Populaire ride in on 5/26. The starting temp was 91 with a 20% chance of rain. Still gunning for that P-12 in NEO.

On Friday, I decided to arrive at work extra early so that I could get the 103k ride in and be home by 7 PM. Just my luck, that the boss called off so I had to stay extra late incase anything went wrong with the IT systems. My parents also asked if I could let their dogs out on the way home, so my plans of being home by a decent time were completely shot.

I hauled major #$% outta work and got to the CVNP as quickly as possible. I quickly got my bike setup and packed very minimally due to the heat and the slight chance of rain. Since receipts are required at every control on permanents or populaires per RUSA regulations, I debated for a moment what to blow my money on at the BP station. Ultimately, I decided on one of the most horrific things ever created by humans for humans - twinkies! On the way out, a strapping young lad asked "Hey man, what do you ride?', to which I replied "A crappy Giant OCR! How bout you"?  "Cannondale for life!" he replied. We both laughed and I was off, while other customers there thought we were mentally ill. Don't all good riders own\owned at least one Cannondale?

There were lots of people out exercising on the Tow Path and Valley View parkway trails with the warm weather. I made pretty decent time to the halfway control given the wind and hills. Also throw in the fact, this the first ride on this route for several months that I didn't get a flat on the way out; it looked like street sweepers finally got the road debris cleaned up. All of the drivers I encountered were extremely nice allowing me to cross intersections first even if hadn't.

About 20 miles in, the skies were starting to get darker and the wind was picking up.  

As I climbed off the bike to head into the gas station to get Gatorade and my card time stamped, the heavens opened up and unleashed a world of &%$#. While standing in line (6 people deep), I was getting cold from the A/C being cranked. When I got back outside, I was shaking slightly with the cooler rain coming down and from being chilled inside. "No problem" I thought, "time to put on the arm warmers on". As I went to get them out, I discovered they were never packed. Sigh. I refilled my bottles and was starting to shove off when a young lady in a mini-van stopped with her window wide open in a torrential downpour to ask if I needed a ride back to town. I replied "Are you kidding?!?! This is awesome riding weather"! Obviously my shit eating grin gave away the fact I was completely miserable but to stubborn to actually quit. She laughed and made me promise to be very safe.  Immediately after leaving the half-way control, there is a very steep downhill that was scary due to the reduced effectiveness of the brakes while wet. I made a mental note of getting disc brakes on the next bike. Any one want to buy a 'lovely' lightly used Giant OCR?

Within a mile, another two women pulled up next to me while riding asking if I need a ride back or a place for temporary shelter. All I have to say is that women in North East Ohio (more specifically Berea), are all sweet hearts.  After about three miles into the return route, the same lady who initially offered me a ride while in the gas station parking lot was riding next to me insisting I get in the car due to the weather and non-stop lightning strikes. Very sweet lady looking out for the crazy guys out riding in severe storms.

I wasted no time in getting back avoiding any and all stops. Road imperfections and pot holes were impossible to detect due to the amount of water on the streets. All the runners and bikers vanished with the storm except one couple standing underneath a bridge trying to wait out the weather (hiding on the left side).

There was not a soul riding except myself. Some  riders make fun of bikes with fenders- say what ya must, but they sure are nice during heavy downpours! I had an experience when I was younger riding in the rain with glasses on and still had a piece of gravel stuck in my eye. This resulted in an emergency room visit to have it drilled out - so it's fenders for me. There is also a long rapid descent on Snowville Rd heading back into the valley that can be frightening on a dry day, but was quite concerning on Friday.

Once I was about 8 miles from the finish, I had made it outside of the direct storm area but was still well within the lightening strike zone. I wasn't overly concerned about it since I was in a valley surrounded by trees and hills, but still didn't waste time in getting back. 

Despite the weather and my bunions still causing extreme pain, it was a fun day out on the bike. Immediately after arriving, I called wifey who was thrilled that I had got back safely and had been very concerned about the lightning. Here's a couple pics facing the direction I was just at with various lightning.

After getting my bike remounted, changing clothes and letting my parent's dogs out, I finally arrived home at 10 PM. It was a very long day, but ended it on a high note with a few Yuenglings.

Next task at hand, the Ohio 600k. 

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