Monday, March 10, 2008

1-in-3 Chance of Misery

Should a cloud like this roll up alongside you while you're out enjoying a spring-like day... ride like hell. DO NOT ride directly into it, even if it is situated directly between you and your way home. Even if it snuck up behind your sorry ass while you were happily be-bopping to tunes on your Shuffle, you unknowingly elicited whatever hell is about to rain down upon you... So get the heck outta it's way!

Saturday's ride went something like this. "Ooh! It's sunny out! It finally stopped raining. Let's check the radar." Radar looks fantastic, not a cloud on track for your area, so you ignore the warnings of 30% chance of isolated Thunderstorms and kit up for your ride. You step outside and WOW, it's warm, so you change out of your long sleeve and into a short sleeve jersey and hit the road. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Be bop to your tunes. Enjoy the beautiful weather. Act all smug because your teammates sucked it up on a trainer ride this morning. Casually glance over your left shoulder about 45 minutes in and see a very fast approaching storm cloud. Think: Wow, I should get home before that hits. Turn the corner into a 30 mph headwind and think: Oh crap, I guess I'm going through it. Get blown off your bike attempting to put your wind vest on. Be glad you thought to bring your wind vest. Get pelted by rain and realize that your wind vest isn't helping much. Get thoroughly soaked to the bone. You are completely unprepared for this and have no blinky lights, so don't get too upset when SUVs graze past you with mere millimeters to spare. Yeah, maybe you can't see out of your glasses, but they're driving these big hulks with windshield wipers and everything! Plus they have their mocha skim lattes to worry about and kids in the back to yell at. And their husband is on the phone. I mean, come on... really, you can't expect them to pay attention to a human life on the side of the road when they have so many other things to worry about.

So this is where I'm at. 45 minutes from home, dressed for the high 60's, soaked to the bone, exhausted from just trying to keep my bike upright in 30 mph winds (have you ever had to ride leaning into the wind to keep from falling over?), and the temps have dropped 30 degrees. I kept telling myself if I could just get to Cub Hill (about 20 minutes from home on a good day) I would live to see the tub. I get there, teeth chattering, legs numb, fingers numb, toes numb... okay, everything was numb. I peel off my wet gloves, because it's stopped raining now and I think cold, wet gloves on your hands are probably worse than dry, no gloves. Oh, how wrong I was. I edge may way up Cub Hill, wondering why I can't get any power to my pedals, trying to talk myself through this, and some guy on a bike in his 53x21 whizzes past me, stomping on the pedals like he's out for a Sunday Mash. Crap, I am in a very bad place. I want to stop. I want to puke. I want to curl up into a ball and die of hypothermia. I really, really wanted to stop and call someone to come pick me up about half an hour ago, but I knew I'd probably have been worse off if I stopped riding. Blood flow is a good thing.

I creep my way up the climb and think it's all downhill from there. Except there are high winds. And it's 30 degrees colder than when I started. And I'm soaked. Aw, crap on a cracker. I pedal, pedal, pedal. Keep telling myself to pedal. I make it to civilization and hop into the first Royal Farms I see. I sit there shivering trying to warm my hands up, trying not to scream and cry when the blood flow gets back into them, and smiling awkwardly when they ask if I'm okay... assuring them that I'm not far from home and I'm just cold. I warm up and get back on the bike, a very unwelcome thing in my current state, and pedal, pedal, pedal all the way home. I'm so frozen when I get there that I can't stuff my hands into my tiny jersey pockets to pick out my house keys. I have to strip my jersey off on my front doorstep and empty out the pockets by shaking it over my stoop. My key tumbles out and I can't even pick the damn thing up, my fingers are so frozen. I finally manage to get in the door, drag everything inside and attempt to peel off wet layers with frozen hands while running lukewarm water over frozen extremities. My toes are actually turning black, and I vow to stay in the tub until they return to their normal pinkiness. That takes a good hour or so, and I'm ready for a nap when I finally decide to drain the tub.

The moral of the story: Don't mock your teammates for riding their trainers in crappy weather, all it's going to bring is a load of crap down on your head in the form of an I-told-you-so raincloud.


Zim said...

Crap on a cracker. My new favorite line!

bethbikes said...

Crap on a cracker was one of my favorite parts, too! How did you keep from crying? My God, I would have been a big puddle of mush. You are a strong woman! (and much prettier than Danny Noriega)

vonT said...

What I failed to mention is that I was sobbing in the tub for a good 15 minutes after I got home. :( I guess I'm not that strong after all!