Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Riding Out the Storm: A great day to ride a Fat Bike.

Thursday, May 30 showed a reprieve from the severe storms.  I am not a fan of missing opportunities to ride and while I rely on the weather forecast so I can make informed decisions, most of the time they let me down.  Several days last week we were looking at severe lightning storms and high winds at the tail end of the severe weather path cutting through the mid-west.  I chose not to ride those days for a number of reason, only to find they were the most beautiful. 

There was a threat of rain on Thursday, but not much more than that.  I had my Surly Ogre disassembled so I jumped on the the Salsa Mukluk I affectionately call "the Panzer" and plodded off to work.  When I arrived, I checked my phone and somebody was interested in buying a pair of road shoes I had posted for sale.  I agreed to meet him at the government bridge at 4:45 p.m. to make the transaction.  My wife was going to be in the area so she dropped off the shoes that morning.

It rained a good portion of the afternoon but then it cleared up nicely.  I got to the meeting point a little early, the afternoon turned out beautiful and I sat at the end of the island enjoying the warm breeze.  Then I noticed some ugly dark clouds moving in fast.  It was not long before the beautiful sky had gone dark and the warm breeze became a cold wind blowing the branches of a tree horizontal.



I moved to a small building with a slight overhang and waited for the guy.  He was ten minutes late and by the time he arrived it was starting to rain.  I put my phone in my dry bag for obvious reasons, pulled out the shoes and the transaction was complete.....except I was riding a fat bike and everyone wants to talk about the fat bike.  So I spoke for another few minutes and then started moving to my bike.  By this time the rain was horizontal and the wind was gusting 50-60 mph.   

He asked if I was really going to ride in this weather.  I told him yes, besides, I had the Panzer I can go anywhere with that.  Within seconds of leaving the shelter I could feel the rush of cold water running down my back.  The lightning was striking and thunder was near simultaneous.  I was second guessing my judgment and was uncomfortable on the government bridge,  a mass of steel with a mesh surface so you can see Old Man River rushing angrily beneath.  I was pedaling the Mukluk with it's 3.8 inch wide tires as fast as I could in a severe crosswind.  As I turned into downtown Davenport, I thought it was hailing, only to discover the 50-60 mph gusts were not only stopping me in my tracks but pelting me with rain.  I passed a parking garage and thought about stopping.

I was soaked and I knew I would be cold if I stopped.  Who knew how long it would last, so I kept on cranking into the wind.  Then I turned North and started up a steep hill.  As I crested it the rain slowed and the wind stopped.  Just as quickly as it started it ended.  When I approached Van Deveer Park, I realized the destruction that this storm had. 

There were branches and limbs everywhere.  As I continued down Main St, I quickly found huge limbs across the road. 
Passage of Lines!



As I passed through a maze of limbs and branches it occurred to me, had the guy not been ten minutes late, I probably would have been in this area when limbs were falling. Furthermore, I was grateful that I pulled the Ogre apart which forced me to ride the Panzer.

The Panzer was a perfect choice for the commute.  I was also glad I had my light weight Porcelain Rocket gear as I carried and rode my the fat bike over downed branches!!

After I snapped some photos, I noticed House Hold 6 had sent a text "where are you?"  I found it odd that it didn't say "do you need a ride?"  I brought this up when I got home and she said "I figured you made it through 16 month in Iraq, you would figure something out!" 

She is as tough and unforgiving as the weather was!

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