Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unusual Saturday Group Ride

The Saturday, August 13 ride started out usual enough. The ride was called for 6:30 a.m., riding the Burma Loop--about 38 miles, and the temperature was to be a mild 87 degrees with a 40% chance of rain at noon. No problem. Early start, early finish. Oh yes, part of the line up included from left, Brenda, Chad, Rick, Mark, Velma, Bill, Liz, and Christine.
 The blessedly overcast day masked our usual start off light.
 Visibility had improved by the time we arrived at the first re-group point about 10 miles out. The overcast conditions, however, really hampered my getting clear pictures throughout the morning. Probably had something to do with shutter speed, but I am a point and shoot person, so one will have to use his imagination on some of the shots.
 Some of the fires earlier this year swept through this area. Charred pastures are still quite evident.
 The fires, however, did not melt any of our hills so they are still intact.
 A faster group left about the same time we did. This is Christy Nesbitt returning for the turn around point of their ride. We were going in a loop rather than an out and back.
 Off to the right was still charred pastured, while the area ahead seemed to escape the fires. Just a few miles ahead was the site of one of the biggest wild fires.
 Just like a roller coaster ride, the hills start out with small rollers to get you adjusted.
 Soon the roller coaster ride picks up speed and grade. (Jerry, I will let you know a little later how much of a grade).
 OK, so it doesn't look like much, but the upcoming hill hits 11% grade. The  specks at the crest of the road were part of our group waiting for us.
 Christine, Mark, Liz, Brenda, and Rick at the "windmill hill".
 The Encino ranch (windmill hill) was hit pretty hard by the fires.
 This is the stretch of the route that makes it all worthwhile. We get to go downhill for about three miles. The momentum usually carries you almost all the way up the rise.

 Brenda and Christine still rolling down the slopes. Approaching on the left side of the road was Gene Potter and his ride partner.
 Next we met Mike Nesbitt (Christy's husband) on his return trip. She is a fast racer, but not miles and miles ahead of Mike.
 Not far behind were Bret and Tamra Roberts (2nd, 3rd riders). I did not recognize the lead rider.
 As mentioned, the day was overcast. Now the sky was getting darker and I kept trying to catch a photo of some of the lightning. It was faster than I.
 About this time, it started sprinkling on us. When you are twenty miles into a forty mile ride, it doesn't do you any good to turn around and try to avoid rain. We are so desperate for rain; let it come!!
 The re-group point at the Highway 87 intersection. The glisten on Liz's arm is not perspiration. The sprinkle continued.
 As we were about to shove off, we looked down the road. A wall of rain was ahead. What do you do? Shove off.
 We were in a light rain at this point. We could still see what was ahead of us.
 And then it started pouring. Only about 15 more miles to go.
 The convenience store ahead was our official rest stop. We were in an outstanding downpour. Our land is so parched that our reservoir at the State Park has made national news. O.C. Fisher is the reservoir with the cracked ground and the water that turned red. So Christine did not mind being caught in our desperately needed and best rain of the year.
 Walking into the store soaking wet with the air conditioner on really was a shock. As Velma later said, "I am chilled to the bones." So after buying our treat of chocolate milk, we stood outside just out of the rain.
 I tried to capture the downpour but raindrops don't pose well.
 Do we attempt to wait it out or dive back in? All but
decided to go on.
Liz called for a ride back to the staging area where her car was. After we took off, I wondered where Mark was and later found out he called his son to pick them up. Sloshing around in soaked bicycle shoes is a little unsettling.
 The REST of us took off to finish the last 10 miles.
"It was a cold and dark rainy night..." at midmorning.
 Right about this point the wind picked up and the rain would sting our faces. So what. Let it rain!
 Shivering, we made it back to the staging area.
And then it really started raining.

By the time this was written, we had received two inches of rain which almost doubled our annual rain fall to date (3.4" as of yesterday). And, it is still sprinkling outside! Praise the Lord!

 We have done hot, hotter, and ouch. We have done hills and valleys, and occasionally flat stretches. And we just did a (dry) water crossing ride last weekend, not to mention a snow cone ride. What we really needed then was practice riding in the rain--and we got it!! 


  1. Wow! I was tempted to check the Weather Channel to make sure you weren't playing some sort of "April Fools in August" joke but then I figured you needed the rain so badly that you wouldn't jest about such things. Now, just don't get sick!

    I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how fast you would have to eat a snow-cone in that heat before it was being sold as "Puddle in a Cup."

  2. @Edie. No joke. Much needed rain. The paper this morning is reporting 4". That doubled our year's rainfall.

    Yes, I had a small snow cone and I was drinking from the cup before I finished.