A Start

At the Spillway Had it not been the first day of the year I probably would have stayed in bed.  We had planned a 7 am ride out to the Spillway and back, but the weather was looking pretty sketchy the night before.  When I awoke around 6 am could hear the car tires on the wet street outside, but it didn’t seem to be actually raining.  The radar was showing a wide line of showers stretching northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, but it looked like it might, maybe, perhaps, stay just slightly no At the Spillway Had it not been the first day of the year I probably would have stayed in bed.  We had planned a 7 am ride out to the Spillway and back, but the weather was looking pretty sketchy the night before.  When I awoke around 6 am could hear the car tires on the wet street outside, but it didn’t seem to be actually raining.  The radar was showing a wide line of showers stretching northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, but it looked like it might, maybe, perhaps, stay just slightly north of the city.  Regardless, it was a sure bet the road would be wet, and with the temperature around 50F, I decided to dress on the warm side.  The night before I’d put the fenders and road pedals back onto the old Pennine, thus putting it back into Rain Bike mode, even though I left the cyclocross wheels and tires on it.  Before walking out the door I stuffed my rain jacket into my pocket, thereby significantly reducing the chances of rain.  At 6:30 Mignon had texted me to see if I was still going to ride, so I figured I’d have at least one other person with whom to ride, but I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone else.  Indeed, when I arrived at the Jefferson Playground there was only Mignon, so we rolled off up the river as I contemplated how early we’d turn back and whether we’d get rained on before we did.  We quickly met up with a small group of the Semi-tough riders, so we had a nice group for almost all of the ride.  Amazingly we never got any actual rain, although there were varying amounts of wheelspray the whole time.  It wasn’t a problem as long as I was at the front thanks to my full fenders, but eventually I was seduced by the draft and got pretty well sprayed. It actually turned out to be a very nice ride and a nice steady pace, even though the effects of the rain bike’s weight and cyclocross tires did start to get to me after a couple of hours.  And of course my neck and upper back started hurting when we were about halfway back.  Later we took the bus and streetcar (they’re still repairing a big section of streetcar tracks along St. Charles Ave.) downtown to check out the Sugar Bowl crowd and have a big muffeletta at Frank’s for lunch. Central Grocery was closed, and although I’m partial to their version of the muff, the ones at Frank’s are OK too.  I ate about 3/4 of one, which is a lot.  It’s over six hours later and I’m still thirsty. The forecast for tomorrow morning is pretty ambiguous, starting with a 50% chance of rain at 6 am, dropping to 30% at 9.  At that point a cold front starts pushing through, the temperature starts dropping, and the wind starts picking up from 9 to 18 mph.  Since I don’t have work tomorrow, the question will be whether to ride in the dark and wet, or wind.  Guess I’ll just play it by ear and see what feels right at 5:45 am.

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