There may have been mist coming down when I walked the dog earlier, but if there are still dry patches on the back patio, then it’s not raining. It can’t be raining. Sure, the roads were wet, but I’ve got a two hour window and need to ride. No fenders on the Hilsen, but that’s the one I want to ride. Last night I swapped the CX knibblies back to the Jack Browns, finally admitting that the chances of racing this weekend have slipped somewhat south of Slim/None. Even put the bottle cages back on and went back to the bigger Brooks which has the Banana Bag on it. It’s ready to head onto the roads.
Well, except for the fenders. But, hey, I’ve put more than a few miles down without fenders, and have the still-visible negative skunk stripe ingrained in the fabric of a couple jerseys and tights to prove it. Yes, I washed them. Must’ve been oil in the roadway or something. Check out the window. Can’t see individual drops. If you can’t see the individual drops, it can’t be raining. So, get dressed and get out the door dummy. Shorts. Wool zip neck. Thicker socks. Tights. River City Jersey. That’s gotta be too much. Especially if I wear my rainjacket. Well, it isn’t like I’m going to go very fast today. Use the clothing as an exertion monitor. If you feel hot, ease up. You gotta get a real ride in.
Another check out the window. Individual drops. Crud. But, they are small. Can’t hear them hitting the roof. If you can’t hear them hitting the roof, it’s not raining. I hate starting a ride in the rain. Good thing it’s not raining. Get the bike. Bottles into cages. Put on the jacket. Get out the door. Was that 5 minutes? Felt longer. Gotta get out the door in 5 minutes. Won’t always have the luxury of time. Don’t see any drops anymore, and nothing flecks my glasses. It’s not raining. Well, it’s kinda misting. Misting, hell, not even. This is a thick fog. You’re dressed and ready. Go already. Out to the road and wait for cross traffic. Cars don’t have their wipers on. If cars don’t have their wipers on, it’s not raining. Road is wet though. Not sloppy wet, but damp. I can deal with damp.
Now moving away from home. Hit a slight hill and breathe more heavily. Too heavily. Man. How long’s it been? If I feel like this on a little incline, there’s no way I have any business on a race course this weekend. At least I’m not coughing anymore. Some cars pass me. Some errant rain drops hit my cheeks. My butt already feels damp. Pull down yer jacket and quit yer whimperin’. This is good weather for a lot of people. Oregon people, for example. I am such a freakin’ wimp. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Find a rhythm. It’s in there. Klunky and crunchy, but it’s in there. Throw it down a gear and raise the cadence. That’s better. A couple more cars. Their wipers on. Well, on “intermittant”. There’s no sound of water splashing as they drive. If they aren’t sending up a spray, then it’s not raining.
Onward. Further. Fewer cars now and only the odd person here and there. Still in a low gear but things begin to smooth. Ok. It’s raining. But, hey, what am I , gonna melt? Thoughts begin to fall away now. That’s the drug kicking in. The calm. The rhythm. The stasis of effort against windchill. The glimpse of bliss that dances tantalizingly on the furthest edge of our peripheral vision.
Down towards the south a bit, now out of the protection of the point. I look down and see dust on the downtube. If there’s still dust on your bike, then it must not be raining. Well, maybe not a hard rain. But it’s wetter now. Dampness trickles into my feet now. I may not need the fenders, but they sure make things a bit more comfy. Especially that fancy tweed rainflap on the front one. Safely in the garage today. Briefly obsess about the Brooks in the rain. Hey, cows get wet. Yes, I know that’s a little different. But, I buy this stuff to use it. Luckily my butt seems to still be the sacrificial anode for the wetness. Take a spur off the main road, climb a bit and roll under a stand of trees which provides some shelter and take a short stretch break. Should be drinking more, but for some reason I’m not thirsty. That’s a bit odd. Maybe I’m absorbing moisture through my skin. That’s more odd. There’s a little lump of road grit on the tail end of the saddle, which means there’s probably a more stantial one attached to my tail. Dig out a Clif bar. Should’ve eaten more. But, hey. I’m riding.
Wipe the grit off the saddle and get going. It’ll be a tailwind most of the way home. Today is a good day.