Monday, June 15, 2015

Rain Rides

Why not?  Earlier in the month I needed a photo of my bike next to a pig for Bicycle Ride&Seek.  I was too lazy to ride here at night.  But taking Ingersoll in the morning presented this opportunity

Someone take these rains away and point me to a dryer day....

honestly, since changing my life style to ditch the car ride bicycles to work I have been extremely lucky in terms of weather.  Sure, its get bone chilling, life hating cold during winter but I have adapted and have not reached my Absolute Zero.  I love to ride in the snow and some of my favorite commuting moments were when a snow storm totally obliterated car commuting, stranding 1000s in their cages while I rode in a beautiful peaceful world laughing at the lemmings.  But rain is my nemesis.  I dislike it.   I have no passion of my hatred for it.  it can rain all it ants while I sleep and work just not when I need to ride to and fro work.  Also, not when Mary has to ride.  This may be do for my inability to find the perfect rain gear or the fact that rain seeps through everything faster than snow.  But I have been lucky and commuting to work in a violent thunderstorm has not happened.

Another thing about rain, it closes trails and I am forced to ride on the streets.  i do not like this.

Usually what happens is that I wake up and it is raining.  I piss and moan about it but by the time I leave the house it is all over or light enough that I no longer bitch about it.  I will wake up and immediately fire up the radar and make my plan:  GTFO now or time it so I will avoid the worst of it.  Last week the radar looked exactly as Ed Wilson forecasted on Channel 13.  But it did not move east quickly and I was able to get to work relatively dry.  I do have the option of showering at work.  that is if i want to see old naked men in a shower.  but I have several days of clean work clothing and a clean and dry set of biking clothes ready in case such an occasion arrives.

Lately it has been raining quite a bit.  Also it is extremely humid and does not cool down much at night.  humidity + heat = rain gear makes me wet from sweating.  I have been known to leave rain gear at home because it really does not help.

Today I wore the jacket.  I also wore sandals because they dry faster than shoes.  Knowing that my trails were flooded i took to the streets.  I do not like this because despite cutting a mile off the commute it takes longer.  Also the streets are filthy compared to a non-flooded trail.  traffic lights as well.  They suck since bicycles cannot trigger a light change.  So I took Ingersoll to the Walnut Creek Trail avoiding the two known flooded areas.

After climbing this road to Polk Blvd the downhill began.  Normally I would have been smiling.  Not today.  the rain picked up and my glasses were spotty.   This stretch is dark and some street lights were not working.  And the road was wet.  I was hoping that my 700x25 Connie Gatorskins at 110 psi would keep their grip.  I was also hoping that the photons leaving my light would bounce back if there were bike crashing objects in my path.  Somehow I made it to Grand Ave and entered the Walnut Creek trail at the car wash.

Walnut Creek trail underneath 63rd St bridge.  the aftermath of this morning's flooding.  Slime!  The water was up to my BB.

Here I had three options.  1 roll on to Wal mart and Buffalo Rd IF Walnut Creek did not flood the trail at 63rd St.  If the trail was flooded I could have turned around and rolled back to Grand Ave and climbed that to 8th St and either took Ashworth to work of enjoyed the downhill to Buffalo Rd and resume commute as normal.  Or I could have back tracked to the Waveland Trail and taken the old detour across Grand.

My glasses were almost useless in the rain.  I should have taken them off.  it was dark and I did not see the water over the trail.  I heard it and pushed on.  Do not stop keep on going and hope there is not a hidden log.  My feet dipped under the water with each down stroke.  The water may have been up to the bottom bracket.  Too late.  It was over in seconds.  I did not crash or slip.  Three thoughts hit me.  first, won't be taking this on the way home.  Second, if the BB shits out I'll get an uber replacement for it.  third, thank god this is Iowa because there are no alligators or poisonous water snakes to worry about in flood water.

The rest of the way was uneventful.  Lost a mile, lost some time but got to work early enough to clean up and enjoy coffee before having to become responsible.

There was no way that I was going to take my usual route home.  the Clive Greenbelt is notorious for large deep rain puddles and mud from recent improvements.  Being on the north shore of Walnut Creek I knew that the low spots would be flooded as well.  I could not get any of the runners and joggers at work to investigate this for me.  Street action: Westown Pkwy.

I appreciate art.  Guide One Insurance on Ashworth.  Taking new routes provides new things to look at.

The rain had stopped.  I took Westown all the way past Valley West Mall and then took a right on 28th to catch Ashworth. Then a right on 8th and a left on Grand and then another left to get to Ingersoll.  No trails til the bitter end.  Done this before.  no one honked or tried to kill me or suggestion that I break the law and ride on the side walk.  Traffic was light and I made it home alive.

Going to be a long week until the rivers and creeks calm down.  Anyone seen doing a rain dance will be shot or sent to southern California.  Mid June and every trail is closed.  Welcome to Iowa!

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