Spinning in the rain, or how I used all my gears and had to wash my bike tonight
Today was a seriously crap day. But I got home in time to take a bike ride to help make it all better. Changed clothes and went out the door to have it start raining. It slowed to a sprinkle by the time I was actually ready to leave so out the drive I went. It was nice to have the major decisions consisting of left or right? and how far do we want to go tonite? I decided to try to see some new territory and rode down to the Finley River then headed down Riverdale Road.
Rode to the end of Riverdale road and turned left to cross the river again and head in the general direction of home. There was a car parked by the bridge and as I rode across, overheard a group of teenage boys goofing under the bridge, making monkey noises as I presume they were swinging from bridge support to bridge support. I stopped for a minute to look at the river and gave my best macaw call. Instant silence, eventually followed by more monkey sounds. We exchanged a few more calls and then I rode on, leaving with a thank you for letting me know this bridge was infested with monkeys instead of trolls.
The first bit of the climb(s) out of the Finley River valley was deceptively easy, nice asphalt road and really just a good grade to head on up. The road wound around for another mile or so and then I came to a fork. Being unduly inspired by SaiKaiTai, I chose the right fork, the one with the biggest looking hill. I chugged on up and the further up I got the steeper the hill got. And the longer it got too. It was hard not to quit but I just kept telling myself that once I got to the top, then it would be a ridge road and just think of the view. Well, I didn't quit (but I did get to use the rest of all of my gears) and when I got to the top, the view WAS spectacular. Of another drop and another hill that was at least the equal of the one that I just barely made my way up. Sweet William of Orange, by the time I made it to the top of that one, I had to stop and rest. I don't know what my maximum heart rate is, but I know I exceeded it there. No joke, when I stopped my heart was pounding so hard that my vision was going blurry in time with the heart beats. Reminded me a lot of the summer of '69 with some of the visuals I was getting.
And the good part was still yet to come. The hill I stopped at the top of was followed by still another drop and another steep climb, but oh joy, the road surface has turned to gravel. I can tell you for a fact that I cannot stand up on the bike on that hill, the rear tire only spins. Made it to the top of that one, only to see ANOTHER fricking drop and straight back up again with the gravel. FINALLY at the top of that one was the ridge road I'd been hoping for all along. The interesting part about the ridge road was the pack of dogs that gave me a good chase. I tried to mace one, but fumble fingered the spray and missed. I found out later when I took my contacts out I hadn't missed my fingers though.
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful except for getting to try out the new rain jacket son Chris and Lovey bought me last week. It's a superlight packable jacket of ripstop nylon with some gore tex knockoff breathable laminate on the inside. Totally unlined, very light weight. I admit I had my doubts about just how breathable it would be, as it was a bass pro inexpensive piece of clothing. I was very pleasantly surprised, it has a vented back and the breathable claim seems to be true, it was not a sweat catcher at all.
All in all, tonight's after work ride will be one I remember for a while. I really needed it, I climbed four of the hardest hills I've ever done, one right after the other, I got to use my new rain coat, and it worked even better than I had hoped. I more or less set out to do 30, when I got back home the trip odo showed a shade under 27, so close enough. Bicycles do help keep one sane, don't they?
P.S. I really did wash off the gravel grit and grime with the hose. Coda is still new you know.