Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Rain Stopped!

It wasn't a pretty day, but it wasn't raining!
Rain. It's been coming down off and on for the better part of two weeks here and it has raised havoc with my riding. Mine and a lot of other local cyclists. We've been commiserating, for sure, and some have even taken up riding in the downpours, just to get a ride in. It's been kind of a drag, to say the least.

Maybe if you are a cyclist, and you live the lifestyle, you'll understand, but missing rides is not a good thing for folks like us. Our spouses and friends can feel it when we aren't getting ride time in. It affects more than just the riders. Maybe we have a problem that needs dealing with, although I wouldn't know how you'd go about doing that short of actually riding. And I wouldn't want it any other way either. So, there's that.

Anyway, it finally quit raining here. It was forecast to stop and stay away Wednesday, and for the next several days here, at least. Sure it was going to be really windy. Really windy and dry. So, I was going out there no matter how windy it was going to be. I got my Tamland's spoke fixed and got geared up to head out South of town.

Rain caused flooding in various places. This is a section of road that was damaged by flooding.
I decided to not ride from the house, so I loaded up the truck and started from Prairie Grove Park where it is an easy half mile to gravel. I wasn't wearing a wind breaker and it was in the 50's, and I thought maybe that might be a mistake. However; I had a merino wool shirt under my jersey and that kept me just warm enough. Working against the heavy Southwesterly wind was enough to keep the fire burning, which in turn made me stay warm as well. Onward then....

I wasn't out to set any records, so I had to keep reminding myself to just spin and take it easy. I made steady progress Southward until I reached Reinbeck Road which was where I decided I had better turn back. Either that or you pretty much have to go well into Tama County to find an East or West running road, and going East would only add more painful Westward mles to get home. I made the slow march one mile West to Aker Road and then turned North. Man! The relief was instantaneous.

The maintainers were out, by the way, and fresh gravel was the norm all the way down South and West so far on this ride. The road crews are trying to get ahead of harvest time machinery, which is ginormous these days. Semi-tractor trailer rigs look small in comparison to modern day tractors, wagons, and especially combines. (Harvesters, as some call 'em) The soft, rain soaked roads are all getting a fresh application of gravel, and that spread out by graders, before the harvest gets up and running again. But that said, I think it might be quite a while before many fields are able to handle the huge, heavy equipment farmers employ these days.

In this image above you can see standing water on the right at the end of that field in the foreground. However; that bean field just beyond it was swimming in water, and the ditches are all full of water as well. Things are just super soaked!

It was like this all over except for in the higher ground which I passed. Those fields will clear up sooner. However; I'd say well over half of what I saw on my ride was soaking in standing water. I've never seen it like this so many hours after a rain. I'd say it had been been 24 hours since it rained in this area. Note also the fresh gravel on that road there. It was several inches deep, by the way, which made going against the wind even more fun. 

Every now and again I would see a maple in full flame.
 Fall hasn't been sleeping since the rains came. I'd say this week is peak color here. By this time next week the maples will have all dropped most of their leaves, and they are really flame orange this year. It's nice to see, but I am afraid my annual Fall Green Belt ride isn't going to happen this year due to this flooding. Bummer!

There is a lot of corn still left to be harvested in the fields yet.
 Anyway, back to going North. The wind was a quartering tailwind, but it didn't matter as it was pushing me along with little effort necessary on my part. The roads were not maintained here either. Crazy fast! I didn't take long to get back to my truck despite my soft pedaling much of the way.

It was awesome to get out and ride after so long. Hmm.... "Long" is relative, I guess, but if I am not riding out in the country, or in the woods, every other day, I get kind of cranky. That's not a good thing. So, I am sure glad the rains stopped!

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