If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain

Friday, July 20, 2012

My life is quickly becoming a lesson in "Do as I say, not as I do."

Friends, if it even looks like there is the slightest possibility of rainI don't care if your state is going through one of the worst droughts of the century and every gray cloud hovering over your house for the past four months is nothing but a giant precipitation teasedon't ride your bike several miles away from your house. Just don't. You will regret it.

There is a new law of physics that you might not be familiar with, and I'm here today to educate the masses.

Introducing: Courtney's Law of Precipitation and Biking

Courtney's Law of Precipitation and Biking states: Any kind of physical activity you participate in more than 2 miles from your residence, without the immediate possession of a cell phone or any other form of communication, will be ruined by weather.

I've been quite aware of this law for several years now, but up until last night, it's gone completely ignored.

Never again.

Around 8:00 p.m. last night I got the urge to ride my new mountain bike. In order to protect my bicycle from theft and (ironically) weather, we've taken to parking it in the corner of our living room. The bike is safe, but its consistent visibility makes it near impossible for me to ignore the urge to take it outside and ride.

And that's exactly what I did.

We had a brief thunderstorm earlier that morning, but like all of the inclement weather we've had this summer, it lasted only a few minutes and had absolutely zero impact on the brown straw formerly known as "grass". Sure, gray thunder clouds lingered for the rest of the day and well into the night, but like another law of physics you've probably never heard ofThe Law of It's Never Freakin' Going to Rain Againit was an idle threat.

So out I went.

I decided to take a short jaunt over to the trail and get in a solid 10 mile ride before sunset. After riding about a quarter mile on a busy road, I was safely on Weimer, the connecting road that would take me to the closest trail head. I road over the hilly mounds of dirt in the construction zone surrounding the parking lot and zoomed along on my merry way, spotting a young buck grazing and enjoying the general serenity of being alone outside. Thunder rumbled peacefully in the distance.

By the time I was 2.5 miles into the trail (and about 5 miles into my bike ride over all), the wind start blowing more intensely and I started to feel a few drops of rain on my head. No matter, I thought to myself. It's just the edge of a storm system that will inevitably bypass us completely. (Can you blame my pessimism? Droughts tend to bring out the bitterness in people.)

Ugh, I'm so dumb.

Not even a minute later, the flood gates opened and buckets of water poured from the sky. Luckily, the opposite end of the trail had a little shanty I could duck under for cover. The rain felt refreshing and while I didn't mind getting wet, I certainly did mind my Garmin GPS watch getting wet.

Unfortunately, the roof of the trail shanty was made out of the same material as the benches enclosed in itchain links. Standing beneath it was stupid because I was getting almost as wet as I would have just standing out in the middle of a field. So I rolled my bike underneath a heavily populated area of trees and took advantage of the shelter the thick branches provided. I looked out in the sheets of rain, looking smug and priding myself on being so resourceful.

It was improbable enough that it was going to rain in the first place, let alone rain for more than a few minutes. But again, according to Courtney's Law of Precipitation and Biking, it was going to rain for hours ... just because I so far away from my house without an umbrella or a cell phone.

Not wanting to wait out the rain and run the risk of riding my bike home in the dark, I had to start riding back. By this time it was close to 9 o'clock and I was already rapidly losing daylight behind the storm clouds. Desperate to protect my watch, I considered latching it to my bra strap for the ride home and letting my clothing protect it from rain damage. However, my shirt would become soaked in no time and I would probably still ruin the watch.

That's when I came up with probably one of the grossest ideas ever.

I left my bike under the shelter of the trees and sprinted out to a garbage can at the other side of the parking lot. Frantically, I began tearing at the trash bag and managed to rip a giant square of dirty, icky garbage liner to wrap around my watch. I ran back to my little alcove, soaked all the way to my underwear (glad I didn't go with the idea of hanging my watch on my bra strap), and constructed my garbage bag fanny pack.

When I was satifised that my watch would remain secure and protected, I took a deep breath, jumped on my bike, and started peddling like a mad woman back towards home. I clutched the garbage bag in my left palm, making fervent mental notes not to wipe rain out of my eyes with that hand and give myself pink eye. The rain fell furiously and I slipped and skidded my way down the trail.

Even with water cascading down my face and my eyes squinting against the knife-like pricks of raindrops hitting me at high speed, I could help but marvel at my own ingenuity.

I could totally survive the Hunger Games.

Within about 5 minutes, the rain subsided. I was about 3 miles from home and feeling thankful that I wasn't going to drown trying to get there. I let the wind dry my hair as I continued to race home, not taking any chances that it wouldn't start raining again. Everything was going to be okay.

Then I get to the trail entrance with the construction zone. Rather, I should say, the construction zone that was now under about 2 inches of water. Gingerly, I walked my bike through the mounds of dirt-turned-mud and was horrified when my month-old running shoes sank into the muck. Orange mud caked onto the tires of my new, shiny bike and the wheels became so thick, I almost couldn't move them.

After a considerable amount of effort (and swearing), I escorted my dirty bike to the top of the construction zone and felt immense relief to see the rest of the way down was nothing but rocks.

But do you want to know something interesting about mud?

It attracts things.

Like rocks.

Now I was trying to maneuver a bike with tires coated in about 2-inches of mud and rocks. My pace was snail-like. My thighs were burning as I tried to push the bike and it's unmoving tires. By that point I just started laughing because honestly, any bad luck I have concerning bicycles no longer surprises me.

When I finally got my bike through the construction zone and was back on Weimer road, I was ready for smooth sailing the rest of the way home.

My unyielding optimism never ceases to amaze me.

I got back on my bike and started peddling on the slick, wet concrete of the road. But riding through the newly formed puddles didn't clean my dirty bike tires quite as I'd hoped. I mean, the road did clean my tires ... but it cleaned my tires by flinging rocks and mud up INTO. MY. FACE.

The last 2 miles of my journey home consisted of shutting my eyes and ducking my face into my shoulder to avoid getting pounded by the rocks that were flying off my bike tires all around me. Rocks from my rear tire flew up and hit me in the back of the head and rocks from the front tire threatened to blind me. The faster I peddled, the faster and more forceful rocks and mud attacked me. Had anyone been driving down the road at that particular time, I sure it would have looked hilarious, but when you're beating yourself up on accident, it's anything but funny.

After a painful 15 minutes, I was finally back in my neighborhood. When I approached our townhouse, I wheeled my now suspiciously rock-free bike to the back patio. The patio curtain was drawn and Clayton was on the couch studying, completely unconcerned that I had been out riding my bike in a storm for the last hour and a half.

I parked my bike on the patio and just stood there, staring at him. After a few moments he felt my gaze, looked up, and found his wife standing outside looking like a dirty, waterlogged rat.

And he started laughing hysterically.


I hope you all have a safe (and dry!) weekend!

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4 comments

  1. Oh and you should be wearing a helmet missy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I actually saw you start out on this adventure, but fearing that my obnoxiously loud car horn would freak you out to the point that you'd end up injured, I just drove by and waved. Of course you were focused on pedaling and didn't see me, and then I felt like that overly enthusiastic kid on road trips who waves at every other car on the road, and most of the time twice.... :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel so bad for you but this post was hilarious! I hope you stay dry the rest of the weekend as well! :)

    ReplyDelete

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