It's been raining all week (yes!) which means I haven't ridden since Monday. Some of the "not riding" was due to the weather and some of it was due to me just being lazy. The rain is long over due since we are only two years into a predicted ten year drought. Today's forecast called for an 80% chance of rain and so far it has not disappointed. It rained for most of the night last night and when I finally got out of bed around 10am this morning it was still drizzling. I was finally starting to go stir crazy so I decided I was going to ride today regardless. I loaded my bike in the rain and set off for the veloway.
I was afraid the veloway would be closed as the city sometimes barricades off the parking lot during flash flood threats (which we have now). Parts of the veloway are in what used to be an old creek bed and although the track is paved it is also designed to facilitate storm run off and drainage. I passed through several showers on my way, but as I got just South of Slaughter Lane the rain stopped and as I pulled into the parking lot of the veloway I was relieved to see that it wasn't closed. I was able to ride for an hour and a half without rain, but it didn't mean I was able to stay dry. Several of the drainage areas had little creeks flowing through them which were about a foot deep.
Navigating these areas requires a bit of skill. Most people just ride through the water as usual (having dirt and water spray up their backs, soaking their shorts) but after watching some of the more experienced roadies I noticed they didn't have the "dirt stripe" and I too wanted to be stripe-free. There seem to be two popular ways to achieve this. One way is put your weight on one foot (left foot for example) and while keeping your body perpendicular, lean the bike at about a 45 degree angle underneath you. This directs the spray of water out and away from you. The other popular method utilizes the same logic however the rider keeps the bike straight and instead leans his body off the bike at angle. I prefer the first method personally. I just feel more in control that way.
So, between the drizzle, humidity, standing water on the track and the little man-made stream crossings I was pretty much soaked by the time I was done. I wanted to ride a bit more but some really dark clouds were creeping in more and more from the East and finally I decided it was time quit while I was ahead. I loaded up the bike and headed home. Oddly enough, just I crossed North of Slaughter Lane the proverbial bottom fell out. It was like the eye of the storm was centered right above the veloway.
I'm so glad I rode today and that I decided to go through with it regardless of the weather. It would have been very easy to just sit at home in the big comfy chair and watch it rain. Instead, I actually feel like I accomplished something. So the next time you are jonesing for a ride, check the weather radar and if it's raining in Austin, load up your bike and head to Bastrop or Pedernales or where ever it isn't raining. Make your own luck.
Cycling Safety Equipment
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