my life. Today was one of those days but we still managed.
Howard (outofsight) was about halfway between my place and the
old store where he parks when I signaled for him to fall in behind me. With the
threat of rain today I had mapped out a ride that would keep us in the
neighborhood for a while before heading out towards Madison and Mayodan. I had
hoped that the rain would at least hold off until we were finished or at least
close to being done.
The fog was pretty thick in spots on NC 65 but as soon as we
turned onto Angell Rd it seemed to vanish. I was hoping that would be all the
fog we’d have to deal with but each time we would get close to or on busier
roads the fog would reappear.
By the time we wound back through Bethany the fog had come back
with a vengeance. We hoped that the anti-cycling drivers in this area would give
us a break and I have to admit we made it through Bethany without any incidents.
By the time we hit Bakers Cross Rd the fog was again lifting but
something else would shock us instead. Just before we get to the fast downhill
part of the road, a pack of three dogs came out to greet us with a “not so
friendly” attitude. This was the first time that I’d seen these mangy mutts in
several years. I used to get a little uptight whenever I was riding by this spot
back when I was living in Reidsville nearly six years ago.
Just as we passed over the Dan River on Settles Bridge Rd things
began to change. I caught a strong whiff of that ozone smell that accompanies
the rain. The roadway also had a few damp spots where the rain had just tried to
get started or so it seemed.
We turned onto River Rd and just before we were to turn onto
Belton Rd a few drops were falling at the time. I told Howard that I wanted to
put my cap on underneath my helmet. We pulled over where a couple of huge
willow oaks stood near the side of the road. Once we stopped the rain began in
earnest so I suggested we wait it out a few minutes because I thought it might
not last too long.
After eating our snacks and taking a “natural break” I decided to
check my HTC Arrive© Windows Phone©.
I checked a weather radar app and it didn’t look good at all. We were in the
green and going home meant heading towards the yellow. Oh well, might as well
make the best of it but which way do go when you’re at the point which it would
be six one way and half a dozen the other way.
Whenever I cycle safety is a main concern as well it should be.
Rain however, kicks the safety factor up quite a bit. Brakes don’t stop as well;
painted surfaces are as slick as a baby’s butt and vision decreases for both
cyclists and motorists as well.
I placed my Gore-Tex©
cap on under my helmet and tucked my sunglasses inside my jersey and decided to
turn around and return the way we’d just come more or less. By going back
towards Bethany meant we would have the chance to stay on less traveled roads so
that seemed the safest way to go.
As we rolled back out onto River Rd it was now
that I was glad that I had put the fenders on the GT last night. When I
purchased these fenders back in the late winter I had hoped that it was a wise
decision. I must admit that the SKS Raceblade Long Fenders©
help in so many ways.
In the past whenever we got caught in the rain and a car would
come up behind us Howard would have to ride in my “rooster tail” which was quite
nasty. With the long fenders on, Howard said there was no “rooster tail”
whatsoever. I also didn’t have to worry about that awful stripe that the road
grease and such leave up your backside. Then again the front fender helps to
keep your shoes a bit dryer a little longer since it doesn’t throw water onto
your cycling shoes. Gotta love those fenders…..
When we got to Honeysuckle Rd we decided to turn onto Shepard Rd
instead of flying down that steep hill that stops at Bethany Rd. This way we
could get back to Bethany Rd much safer.
Usually whenever I’ve gotten caught in the rain I tend to put it
in “time trial mode” for lack of a better term. I guess I just want to get the
ride over with as quickly as possible. Today I just rode within my limits which
made it much more tolerable.
Howard was right about going downhill in the rain; it stings. At
times it felt like the rain had turned to sleet I’m just saying.
The hardest rain hit us was when we turned onto Gold Hill Rd
about eight or nine miles out. They say it falls harder just before it quits
and that’s just what happened. The last few miles the rain had stopped and the
sky was starting to get the lightest we’d seen all morning. In a way I felt
like taking another twelve miles so that I could make it a metric but I was
safe and almost home so let’s not push the envelope.
All-in-all the ride was shaping up to be a great route. Howard
liked it despite the rain and I must admit that I did as well. Not that I like
riding in the rain because I don’t it just adds to the adventure. The fenders
worked great and we made it home safely so that makes it a successful ride.
Now it’s time to clean up the bike and put it away until next
time. I hope that the weather improves next week as I plan a couple of rides
that I hope at least one has some new roads on them. That’d be really cool
Until next time, keep those pedals