October 22, 2008

Rain, rain - wash me clean

The bike is clean now, thanks to a HEAVY, heavy rain on the commute home this afternoon. Complete with whipping SE wind and a steady drop in temperatures, well - this is a pretty good indication how fall and winter are gonna go. It's gonna be one heckuva ride. I haven't been this cold and wet in a while - even with the rain jacket, I was wanting more on my knees, my feet, my head. Still, it was tolerable, and I wasn't over-heated that's for sure. Not shivering, either. Nearly perfect - just a touch uncomfortable, which isn't bad on the bike every once in a while. The creeks were WAY up, and so I stuck to the roads for the majority of the ride home, but there are a few turns I don't prefer in the afternoon, so the route was something of a hybrid. I jumped onto the trail on the "highlands", which is close to Deanna Rose Farmstead - here, getting up to the golf course and into the hills, the creek is out of reach -- but it's all downhill from there. Beyond the point where turning around or finding another route was practical, I started to notice the rushing sound directly to my south. It was still within its banks - but a couple more hours of this rain, and the trail would be under water for sure. Many of the low spots close to the banks were, which made for some VERY wet wool socks. Still, that's why I like wool -- a little sting of cold, icy water - and then a mild warmness takes over. But, the farther west I rode, the more water logged things became - eventually finding my exit path was flooded -- BIG TIME flooded. Standing by the side of the trail were some teenagers tossing fallen hedge apples into the raging current, laughing with delight as they disappeared down river in a flash. I remember the simple stuff like that, and I smile to myself. The water was impressive, too. Later on, I encounter two turkeys retreating from the waters that had risen and probably taken over their .... nest? hideout? Gosh, come to think of it, I don't know where turkeys roost for the night.... something to research, I suppose. Wherever they were comfortable was underwater, and so they were milling about in the grasses on the uphill side of the trail, looking at me rather curiously as I passed. A couple of deer also were in repose, hiding under a tree and crouching while the rain fell around them - seemingly uninterested in my passage for once, perhaps getting used to seeing me here nearly every day, and I no longer pose a threat? Skitish animals, but pretty calm today in the dreary conditions.

Back out onto the roads, I am starting to enjoy the fruits of summer's labor --- you see, one thing I've grown accustomed to as a cyclist in suburbia; cycling's busiest season, the summertime, seems to also bring about the most anger in drivers. It has to be that certain driver, someone ticked off, wronged somehow by a cyclist - or just had a bad day - and we cyclists happen to be there. We get the squeeze, the honk, the discourteous behavior at four-way stops, whatever the case -- and, sadly, more than likely caused by a poor example set by a decidedly summertime cyclist: you know the type, unfortunately: Joe or Jill Expensive-Bike, running the lights, riding five abreast, whatever. Cut to days like this: okay, I have had worse, but this afternoon was downright miserable for probably 95% of cyclists out there. This is it - they hang up the bikes, generally. Commuters, we're still out there -- and I don't know what it is. If anything, visibility alone should make me harder to see; but today I got more room, more courtesy, more of those semi-feeling-sorry-for looks like, "dang, this guy isn't kidding, is he?" Nope. I'm riding home. Whether it's a head shaken in disbelief or a nod of approval for being "green" when it's less than conveinient, I like being a commuter this time of year. It feels more worthwhile than normal, somehow, even if I am soaked to the bone and dreaming of a hot shower, some bourbon, and a hot fireplace. On that note..... g'night....

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