Last night I raced a massive thunderstorm on my Dragon.
I live in an area where there is heaps of rain, and we’ve been seeing a lot of the wet stuff over the past few weeks. It is capable of pouring for days nonstop, so imagine my excitement when, yesterday afternoon, the sun peeked out behind some clouds and meandered surreptitiously into a little patch of blue sky.
I bounced down the stairs and right onto my bike and kicked off with a whoosh and a big grin.
The first ten kilometers were uneventful and pleasant. I meandered south and east, came back around along a river and up a hill (a 2 km climb at a 9% grade or so).
Now, my uni is nestled in the middle of an east-west ridge and valley system, so as I headed north, I was aiming directly at a ridge of mountains. “Haha,” I said to Dragon, “Look at how much it is raining on the ridge. Glad we’re not there!” (Dragon hates rain.)
But there was an ominous feeling building up in my stomach. After a few km, I took a hard left and started heading west, parallel to the storm. It started getting darker. “Um,” I thought.
I felt the temperature drop a few degrees and a cool, quiet wind started to blow steadily south. I could feel the sprinkling of the first drops of rain. The big clouds began to roll over the ridge and down into the valley like a herd of wild horses.
I took another hard left and started heading due south, the storm right on my tail. Swoosh! I sped up and over a steep hill, and then along a flat. I rode past a woman who was taking pictures of the storm; her hair was being blown about by the increasing winds. As I approached, she sprinted back to her car, not because of me, but because the massive thunderheads hot in pursuit.
As I flew by, she shouted over the wind, “Do you need a ride?!”
“No, no!” I shouted back, laughing giddily. I waved an arm at her and bent low over my handlebars.
Thrum, thrum, thrum, I was fully geared out and pumping hard on the pedals, leaning forward intently. For 10 or 11 kilometers, I stayed just on the fringes of that storm, pulling slightly ahead on flats and downhills, losing ground when pumping my way up steep slopes.
Then, suddenly, I had to turn west, parallel to the approach of the storm.
Those clouds rolled right over me with a melodramatic FLASH of lightning and a triumphant RUMMMMBLE. Well, there was nothing to do but put my head down, pedal hard, and belt out lyrics to bad music at the top of my lungs (and out of tune) as rain poured over the both of us (my bike and me), and the sky lit up with flashes.
It’s not the first time I’ve been caught by a storm. Nor will it be the last, I expect. But I thought it was a fun story for today.