Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wet Ride With The Captain

Woke up Wednesday to wet, drippy conditions and overcast skies. The forecast was calling for the rains from overnight to clear out of the area by late morning with a window of opportunity for a ride happening by lunchtime. Okay, that works for me. I had some stuff I could do before then around The Lab and on the innerweb. I wasn't too worried about not getting in a ride.

Getting in a ride on a bicycle, other than commuting, (which I do not mean to belittle in any way), was rare lately what with the ill timed rains since Trans Iowa. I just have been hard pressed to find the time off that coincides with riding conditions that are better than "duck's weather".

So when I heard the pitter-patter of rain drops mid-morning, my heart sank. I thought that this rain was going away, not redeveloping. Meh! But just then, Captain Bob sent me an e-mail that indicated he had some time to scoot over for a visit. He had some bicycle parts and bikes that he needed to get back to me since they were on loan, and he just wanted to stop by. So I threw on a pot of this awesome organic coffee from a co-operative in Madison, Wisconsin called "Bike Fuel", (Thanks Craig!!!) and waited for the Captain to show up.

We had a nice chat, and when he was about to leave he says, "Hey, if you are going to pop out for a ride at Cedar Bend give me a call." I said I would. So, I made some lunch after he left and checked the radar. No shower activity, the rain was leaving!

So, I threw my riding gear on, popped the new Lynskey Ridgeline into the Dirty Blue Box, and hit the road for Cedar Bend. I called Captain Bob as I pulled out. He said he'd meet me there. I was stoked that I might get a ride in and have Captain Bob there to share it with. Cool.

Well, the skies didn't look so accommodating as I pulled out of Waterloo. Clouds were everywhere. I saw a few sprinkles on the windshield from time to time. "Thick humidity", I thought to myself as I tried to stay optimistic. It went away, but then the drops formed on the windshield again as I pulled into Cedar Bend.

Captain Bob wasn't there yet, he said he would probably get there a bit after I did. So I pulled the featherweight Ridgeline out of the car, put on my helmet and started off. The trails were tacky. Just right. I went in for a ways until I hit the first steep climb, then I heard what every single speeder dreads. "Snap!!!" Came in the direction of the chain. Gah! I stopped. Yep.......loose chain! Checked for my Allen wrenches to tension the chain. Rats! They are back at the car. I soft pedal back, make the adjustment to the sliders, and get set to go. Hmm......I notice that the "thick humidity" is getting "thicker". Ahh.........who am I kidding? It is a full on sprinkly-misty rain now. Nothing that a tree canopy can't stop though, and thankfully the canopy was out now. No Captain yet. Hmmm.........I am a bit concerned, but I speed off into the woods again, expecting the cell phone to ring any second.

I get all the way through the trails on the lower end, work my way up a longish climb, and come out on the gravel service road heading back to the campgrounds. It is raining a bit heavier now, and I am wet. The trails are getting greasy, and I am thinking I am done. I'll just call Captain Bob to let him know not to bother. Of course, just at that precise moment, you can guess what happened.

"Hey! Where are you at? I just pulled in.", says an excited Captain Bob. Realizing he knows it is raining just as much as I do, I figure a lap won't hurt. So we go out for a leisurely lap, trading bikes for a bit, and having a great time.

We get back soaked, muddy, and grinning. Man! It is great to be out riding again!

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