Sunday, December 22, 2013

warm, windy, wet (w)ride

We were, perhaps, tempting fate. But when the day after the winter solstice is predicted at over 70F, it was more than a few of the Hill Slugs could do not to try to get a ride in today, even with a 70-100% prediction of rain (depending on where you looked). Leader Laura OLPH, calculating perhaps a bit too closely, posted this on her blog after yesterday's ride:

The rain looks as if it's going to hold off long enough to get a short ride in tomorrow morning.  Again I have to be home before 11:00 a.m. so the ride will start from my house at 8:00 a.m.

Again, Ron S and I showed up. As you'll see in the pics below, even that early it was warm enough that Laura and Ron wore shorts and short-sleeved jerseys. I wore tights and long sleeves, but I shed the inner layer I had brought. Laura added to the festivity with moose antlers (you'll see 'em in the pics below). Laura had been texting back and forth with her friend, Dale, who could not believe we were going out with the weather prediction what it was, so she led us past Dale's house so we could wave to her.

We did this route. While we didn't have rain, we did have wind, and it was more southerly than usual (there's an old weather saying, "When the wind is in the South/The rain is in its mouth"). The wind wasn't strong enough to heel the bikes over, but it was enough to be a factor. As we cut through Mercer Park, the wind was at our backs, I remembered thinking, "This might be a problem on the way back." But as we proceeded, the wind was mostly on the right side, until we looped south and then took 526 back to Allentown. You'll see the inflatable Tweety Bird in the pics below, heeled over (in Laura's words) like a freshman after a frat party, from the wind. Laura complained that the moose antlers were like a sail catching all the wind.

We got to 539 before the rain started. It didn't rain all the way back, and it wasn't cold enough to interfere with shifting or braking, but it was heavy and the rain affected our pace and handling. I didn't remember it being this bad, but Laura and Ron told me the wind was blowing the rain into our faces (I just remember a certain amount of discomfort). To add insult to injury, or something, Laura had planned to come back on Gordon, but we saw "Detour" signs at Sharon. We forged ahead, but about a mile further on, there was mud, and earth-moving equipment, and we decided not to try to cross; we went back and picked up the upper part of Gordon from Bresnahan.

We kept pedaling... and about five miles from the end, I noticed the rhythmic bump from the back wheel that suggests low air. I decided I had enough to get back on, and it turned out to be... but only just. Back at Laura's, I rinsed off the bike at her hose (the rain had done a good job at rinsing the muck off, but then the rain stopped), and then I jumped in the car and blasted the heat all the way home. Now the shoes are full of newspaper (second batch) and the seatbag is draining.

Pics below:

Ron S in proper winter ride gear.

Laura, affixing the antlers to her helmet.

Laura, antlered. Although I didn't get a picture, the antlers have lights!

Tweety, after either strong wind or strong liquor.

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