We gathered for the ladies' ride last night under a sporadically cloudy sky. It was kind of a collage of blue sky, white puffs and dark heavy clouds. The weather forecast said that rain was about 40% possible, but we set out on our route anyway.
For about 6 miles, it was warm and sunny. Then suddenly, huge globules of water started splashing down on the asphalt. It took a few splats to realize what they were! One made a direct hit on my bike computer obscuring the whole display. The massive droplets became more and more concentrated...and more and more solid.
The lead riders stopped at an intersection to let the rest of the women regroup and discuss whether turning directly around or finding another route back to the bike shop would offer the shortest distance. Right as I pulled up to the corner, lightning struck out in a farmer's field across the street. We were getting really wet and chilled now. It was time to get back to shelter.
So we decided to keep going forward and cut across the loop we had started to return to the bike shop. This was my first time riding my road bike in the rain. I was extra careful to avoid gravel, puddles and road lines on my slick, skinny tires.
After about a mile, we had ridden out of the storm. It was suddenly sunny and warm again! However, not trusting the unpredictable weather (and not wanting to mess around with lightning), we continued to head to the bike shop.
This was kind of exciting, because we ended up riding down a street that I've driven many times and always wanted to try on my bike. It has a HUGE hill that I thought would be a big challenge. It turns out that in the direction we went, we hit the biggest hill going down - fast and thrilling! I'll have to give it a whirl in the other direction some day. I'm not sure I'll be able to climb all the way to the top!
We ended up back at the shop dry and safe after about 18 miles. I figured that was it for me when I heard a small group of women rolling back out of the parking lot beckoning me to come with them for 10 more miles. Oh, what the heck. Sure!
So back out on the road we went. What a great decision! This was a really fun group of girls to ride with! We kept a fast pace, but still chatted and joked around. We set up a pace line for a while, which one of the girls got really jazzed up about. She was cheering for everyone and taking pictures of us performing our cooperative rotations.
Then someone shouted that we should stop in this random front yard for a picture. It turns out that this yard was beautifully landscaped with a creek, a bridge, a lush lawn and a big gazebo with picnic tables. We all gathered under the gazebo for a photo while a swarm of hungry mosquitoes descended upon us.
When we took off again, some male cyclist friends came up behind us and joined in our conversation for a while. Then we broke off and headed back to the bike shop once again. At the end of the ride, one of the racing girls showed me the course for the Ada Crit on August 15. I think I might try it out!
I also plan to try out my first time trial this Monday. It's a 12 mile course that I've never seen before. Should be interesting!
In the end, we finished with 32.5 miles. A great ride!
(The photographer on our ride said that she would email out her pictures for me, so as soon as I get them, I'll put them in another post!)