Monday, April 13, 2009

The Wet Bandit

I had this awesome ride planned for Saturday, I was going to ride to the end of the pavement with the Brumby's! The weatherman said scattered light showers and 53 degrees in the morning. I figured that was doable. Around 9 PM a guy from my church calls and reminds me I volounteered to work out at the welfare farm on Saturday. DOH!

Hmmm, I need a training ride, Hmmmm I said I'd do it. So I pulled a reeses peanut butter cup. I decided I would load some shoes and rain paints in my rack trunk and ride out to the farm and then make it into an 80 mile loop using Arizona Farms road down near Florence. I'd lose out on some climbing but it would still be a good ride. Besides, with rain in the forecast perhaps they would cancel the farm thing.

Morningtime showed dawn approaching and dry pavement outside my window so I at a PBH sandwich loaded up the bottles with some of Paul's cheap Maltodextrin mixture and I was off. It wasn't too long before the rain hit. It was around this time that I noticed the temperature was 43 degrees and the wind was howling. I was a bit late getting to the farm as you may well surmise. If I had known it was going to be this raining I would have at least put the front fender on. I am running 28C tires so the back fender doesn't fit through the brakes. I impressed the people who were waiting there to tell people it was cancelled though.

I made it a whole 8 miles into my intended route before the wind and a bit of a twinge in my knee turned me around. I figured 46 miles in the wind and rain is still an acceptable ride, and no one would necessarily call me a wuss. Besides I was babying my knee right? And so went my rationalization as I enjoyed a bit of tailwind heading back towards civilization. I decided I would pull a Floyd Landis and try a few miles extra going up baseline before I headed in so I could make it an even 50. Floyd says you can always do just 1 more when you are training, do that little bit extra.

There was a long string of riders on baseline and I knew quickly what it was. There was a charity ride taking off from the Two Wheel Jones bike shop which had 20 and 30 mile options. I figured I wouldn't do it as it did not fit into my training plan. Within minutes I found myself on the course, a bandit if you will. A guy passed me and I asked him if I could draft. I actually didn't draft him far. We ended up riding side by side and talking most of the way as 4 extra miles turned into 10, into 15, and finally into 30 extra miles added on to my roate (plus several hills). I am proud to say I kept up despite having 40 miles in my legs and a pair of shoes, a rack trunk, and a rack on the back. I determined I would donate to the charity when I got back.

Riding in the rain sucks. Riding in the wind and rain is even worse. When you have someone to talk to though it is not as bad. The 'Official' riders collected poker cards along the route to see who got the best hand when they got back. Since I was a bandit technically I didn't take any cards. I didn't want to use anything I didn't pay for.

Around 4 miles from the end I flatted and told the other guy to go ahead. I figured I was soaked to the bone, it was windy and raining, and I wasn't about to patch that tube under these conditions. I found the piece of glass in the tire, pulled it out and put in the new tube. One of the support cars pulled up and the guy got out to come help me. Funny enough it was one of my boy scouts from back in the day. Andrew pulled out the frame pump and pumped up my tire while I shivered and watched. I am glad he was there. Not that it is any big deal to pump up a tire with the road morph but it is a lot faster with a floor pump. Besides, within 2 minutes of my getting on the road again the clouds let loose and it was dumping on me hard. I'm glad I was on the road and not stooping over a frame pump without my jacket on (I had draped it over my brooks saddle to protect the leather, I forgot to put a plastic baggie on it).

I forgot which corner the bike shop was on and since I was freezing and would freeze worse upone stopping I elected to come back and make my donation when I was warm. I pushed as hard as I had strength on the way home. I eventually got there and had itchy feet as I warmed up in the shower. For me itchy feet means I was really cold and the tissues are having issues warming up. Though it is spring it was definitely a winter ride. I just learned a scout troop from a ward in our church building got stuck in snow up at Reavis Ranch in the superstitions so yeah, it was a long wet cold ride. I ended up with 75 miles. Not too short of the 80 I had originally planned on. In fact, given the conditions, that was probably a little better given the wind and all.

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