Haha, You Missed Me (For A Change).

Given the amount of mass I present to the physical world, it's almost impossible for raindrops to miss me. I generate a very specific gravity that attracts rain and wind. I'm like the cartoon character with a perpetual cloud over their head, with gale-force winds for good measure. I've come to terms with this, and even embraced it at times.
The forecast for the weekend called for rain and chilly temperatures, with an additional side order of rain. Weekends are when I do my longer rides, and I woke with a sense of dread for what I would face during my planned four hour cruise. I stumbled over to the window and was pleasantly surprised to see dry roads. The skies were threatening, but I rushed to get ready to take advantage of Mother Nature's brief oversight. I tucked a rain jacket in my back pocket and shifted my route for lower elevations. You couldn't see the mountains in the clouds, and twisty descents on wet roads weren't what I was looking for. Plus, fatty will look for any excuse not to climb.
A stiff breeze out of the south initially slowed me, but eventually the road and the wind reached an agreement and I cruised along at a steady pace. It wasn't until that I hit the Chester Creek Trail on my return trip that I slowed, when I came face to face with one of the 532 charity 5K run/walks on the schedule this year. As I wove through the packs of people "making a difference" for some random cause, I prayed I wouldn't be taken out. It was almost a relief to be on the Coastal Trail among the throngs of weaving tourists astride rental bikes. I really need to start playing in traffic on my return trips and stop using the multi-use trails. It's just safer.
I cleaned up my bike when I got home, downloaded the ride file, surfed the internet, and generally wound down. I was in the shower when the rain finally hit. Missed me.
It didn't miss the guys riding the Fireweed 400 and all of the related races taking place up north. Those guys got smacked by the wind, rain, and cold temperatures. It served as further validation for my consistent skipping the event on principle. The principle being that riding those kinds of distances in no way appeals to me, even on the best sorts of days. Add in rain, cold, and wind... let's just say I admire the riders who do these sort of things for their mental fortitude and their "taints of steel". Not my thing, even as part of a relay.
Having dodged the weather on Saturday, I fully expected to get hammered by it on Sunday. Blue skies and warmer temperatures greeted me, and although my legs were starting to fade, I tried to make the most of the day. I hit the hills with all of the "meh" I could muster, which was still better than I could put forth only a month ago. The sun felt good on aching muscles as I wound my way up Potter Valley. The dry, clean roads gave me a nudge to open it up a bit on the descent. I cranked switchback after switchback, until a car slowed my progress. Probably a good thing, because I was probably pushing my luck. The rest of the climbing was a casual affair, as I wasn't looking to set any records. That didn't stop me from getting low and cranking when it was flat or downhill, though.
Again I narrowly averted certain doom on the Coastal Trail, several times taking to the grass to miss oblivious gaggles. In the last few miles, I caught up with a frequent competitor and found out he recently had heart issues. Cleared to ride again by his doctor, he was starting the process of rebuilding. I could relate, and I hope he returns to the fold soon.
Once again I returned home dry, if tired. The cumulative effect of all of these miles will probably mean I'll be too tired to keep up in any races for the next month or so, but I was happy to have the opportunity when it wasn't pouring. Even though I wasn't on what passes for "form" in my bloated world, it reminded me of why I love riding my bike so much. Sometimes, between getting shelled in races, struggling to meet semi-arbitrary goals/standards, and getting sick/injured, I forget how much fun can be had just arcing a turn or burying yourself in an effort.
It's easier to remember on a sunny day.


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