Sunday, September 29, 2013

3GR Report: A Wet One

Papa Smurf was found and came along for the ride.
There have been many "iffy" mornings for 3GR over the past two years, and another close call with wet weather was expected to occur Saturday again. I was feeling okay about getting the whole loop in though because it was not supposed to rain before noon. Plenty of time to do the course we usually do.

Besides, I was expecting John to show up. He has been coming in and building up new bikes at the shop where I work. John is retired from John Deere here and is an avid cyclist, usually seen on a recumbent. He had joked around about bringing a recumbent on 3GR, so I was curious to see what he might show up on.

Saturday I awoke to no internet service, so I couldn't geek out on weather radar and talk myself out of even trying to go on the ride. I peeked outside once the Sun arose and it didn't look too bad, so I kitted up and headed out aboard the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross bike to head out to the meeting spot.

I arrived with ten minutes to go till the start and no one was there. Hmm......maybe this would be a solo ride. I always think that though, so I didn't put too much credence in that thought. Sure enough, I saw a helmeted head appear, and slowly Robert rode up the grade into the parking lot to join me. We chatted for a bit, and just as I was about to say we should leave, here came John after all on a standard bike.

Threatening skies as we headed Northward and the roads were dusty.
Ripening fields South of Denver- just before the deluge.
We took off and started on up Moline Road, as always, and I noted that the roads were pretty dusty. The wind was at our backs so all the hills made you feel as though you had super-human power with that pushing at you along. I knew, as did John and Robert, that the return leg would not be as fun. However; we didn't know just what was really in store for us yet.

John had never been up this road so I was taking the time to point out some of the sights along the way up. We were making good time, what with the wind and all, before we got close to Denver. Right about that time, we all felt the spitting of rain, but I still felt as though we were not in for an all-out rain, since it just didn't feel that way to me.

Full-on rain. The road isn't dusty now!
However; when we were passing by Denver on the East, the rain made itself known. John and I discussed a turn around option, and I thought it sounded prudent. I approached Robert with the idea, and he said he was game to go either way. In the end, we made an about face and headed right back the way we had come.

Well, we hadn't gone a 100 yards before the wind swept rain was so heavy that we were doomed to become soaked. Robert stopped to don his rain jacket and John stopped to bury his cell phone as deeply as he could into his trunk bag for protection. I didn't have a choice. I had my Zoic Nirvana jersey on and my Twin Six knickers on for protection against the elements, and that was it, so I soldiered on in the knowledge that once you are soaked, you cannot get any wetter! 

The rain was hard at first, and I thought for a split second there was some melted hail in there, but it was gone in a flash, whatever the more solid, stinging bits were. The rain continued on for a bit, then let up enough that I risked a few images with my old Fuji Z5.  (Otherwise known as the camera that won't die.) I thought I saw some lighter sky, and I was thinking we'd weathered the worst of things but I was wrong.

A ray of sunshine.
The rain came back again, just about as hard as before. The roads up until this time were taking on the rain like a sponge, but with the redoubled efforts of the clouds above, the smoother bits in the road soon became running streams of water and were filled with limestone silt that was getting sprayed all over us if we chose to ride the smother lines. Robert was up the road and I could see his rear tire spraying a rooster tail ten feet in the air and it was being blown down the road behind him for quite a ways. I backed down and got out of the direct line behind him to avoid the gritty slurry.

Not to mention the headwind, but oddly enough, I wasn't very focused on that, and in reality, we were making good time despite the elements. John said we should go on ahead of him and he would catch us up back in town at the coffee shop. I bridged up to Robert to tell him, and as soon as I had, here was John passing us both! Then a blast of wind rejoined the fray and John went backwards and I didn't see him until the aforementioned coffee shop rendezvous.

Passing the golf course. There were still guys golfing!
The rain never really ceased and it kept waxing and waning in intensity all the while the wind was whipping us from the Southeast. By the time we reached town again I was ready to get out of both the rain and the wind  and to get to that good cup of coffee at Cottonwood Canyon in downtown Waterloo.

As we passed the municipal golf course, I had to chuckle as we saw golfers vigilantly at their game. Only cyclists and golfers would not know enough to get out from the rain, eh? Seems that we're both a dedicated sort when it comes to enjoying our respective sports.

Coming into the downtown area I was careful not to ride directly behind Robert as to avoid his roost of water which resembled a plume and trailed out from his bike's rear tire quite a distance. Longer than it had in the country! Eventually we reached the coffee shop and when I dismounted I had another chuckle as I noted that my WTB Pure V saddle was completely covered in silt. I imagined that my backside was as well! Perhaps we would be kicked out of the coffee shop? Dirty cyclists that we were.

I didn't have to worry about that though, as I found a cleaning rag and laid it down on the seat I was going to use and did not lean into the upholstered back  so as not to soil it, or get it wet. Then the coffee! It was wonderful after the wet ride. John came in not long after and we all enjoyed the respite from the rain before we all three made our way back home in the drizzle. A fine mess we made of our bicycles and ourselves! But it was a good, fun ride nonetheless.

1 comment:

Nick Pankhurst said...

At first I thought "boy, golfers are crazy". Of course you had to turn it around on us cyclists... It's always seemed perfectly reasonable to me to be riding in the worst weather.