We’d been expecting all week that Sunday’s club ride would be affected by rain. We were on the tail end of the big weathermaker that brought killer tornadoes to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa Saturday. While we weren’t going to get anything that severe, the forecast called for a good chance of strong storms at about the time we’d be in the middle of our ride.
So we gathered under a sky dark with low clouds, high winds, and the threat of a line of storms off to our northwest. Consensus was that we would head northwest, but double back to avoid the worst of the rain and have maybe a shorter than usual ride.
A good turnout of 17 showed that not everyone was scared off by the threat of rain. There were even some new people in the mix. Our ride to the turnaround was uneventful, and the clouds actually started to break up. We regrouped and headed toward the west again, this time on a different road. But when the ride leader wanted to head north on Barton Creek Blvd. (the road that would take us to the infamous “Hail Mary Hill”) a few of us rebelled. Both John and Kenny had ridden long and hard on Saturday, and weren’t up for killer hills. The three of us decided to head east and work our way back to the starting point.
We battled the still-strong crosswinds on the way, but had a nice three-person paceline along Southwest Parkway. I suggested we go over to Convict Hill, where I would show them my usual Saturday morning hill workout. For Kenny, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge, but it would give him something new to look at.
Kenny is a strong rider — the kind of guy who does a 100-mile ride in a little over four hours on a Saturday, then comes back for a 45-mile club ride the next day as a “recovery ride.” When he saw Convict Hill, he extolled its advantages as an excellent venue for hill training. His idea of hill training is 30-second repeats, going all out, then standing and pushing hard on the steeper section of the hill. We got to the top, looped around for some other, less difficult hills, and roared down the smooth asphalt to head back to Starbucks.
The sky, which had lightened but was still overcast, was now darkening again. The wind was as strong as ever. We chatted at Starbucks for a good half hour before the rest of the crew started to trickle in. It seems they had broken up on the ride over the desire of some to go farther, and others to head back. Around 11 a.m. I pulled the plug and said my goodbyes.
At home, I ran into my wife who was still in her biking clothes after doing some Veloway laps. We showered and grabbed a light lunch and were starting our house cleaning chores when the pitter-patter of raindrops sounded on the back patio. The rain came in two waves, first light, then heavier, but when it was all over we didn’t get much more than a couple of tenths of an inch. It was good for my scraggly lawn, but not the kind of soaker we really need around here.
So it turned out to be a good ride, but at 25 miles, a lot shorter than I expect to do on a Sunday outing with the club. Coupled with a ride of only 19 miles the day before, and I appear to have some ground to make up this month. But that’s okay. If Mother Nature cooperates the way she did today, I should have my share of good weather weekends for riding.
By the way, that 19 miles on Saturday was the result of one of those flukes of biking: A bee flew into my big helmet vent, got stuck inside, panicked, and stung me. Since I tend to blow up like a balloon when stung by bees, I rushed home to attend to the problem, but since it stung me in the forehead and got only skin and bone, there wasn’t a lot to swell. Tylenol is great. Until it wears off.
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