Friday, June 4, 2010

WHAT THE F...?!?!? or get out of the freaking tornado doofus!

I hate it when that happens.

I was in the middle of my great story when I accidentally and completely deleted my post. Dammit.

So I'll start over again. My wife says it will even be better this time...but it's still a pain in the ass. My 'new' post starts now.

I wasn't really surprised, but I should have known better. Gravelo was smart enough to call his wife to come and pick him up.

I'm a doofus cycling dog. Let me explain. Most dogs will chase anything right? When another cyclist passes me, I instinctively speed up and try to stay on his wheel. Even if it's an ultra-light crabon roadie racer wearing a jersey proclaiming "Ultra Marathon, Triathlon and Cycling Racing Training Inc." or "53 x 11 or Bust", I'll try to chase it. Definitely if it's a recumbent rider. When I'm in the lead, if a cyclist tries to close the gap behind me, yeah, I'll crank harder. If his goal is to catch and pass me, then he'll have to work a bit harder at it.

So when I see storm clouds over my shoulder coming up fast what do you think I'll do? Will I stop and seek shelter? Ask for a ride? Call the wife to come and pick me up? Of course not! I CAN BEAT THIS.

I commuted to work Tuesday. According to the weather reports, it was going to be a rainy day. However, it was a beautiful morning and when I got to the parking garage there were at least four other bikes in the rack. As the day progressed, I was fairly busy and although I tried to keep an eye on the weather work drama kept me occupied and I stayed longer than I would have liked.

I should have clued in when got to the bike racks and all the bikes were gone. The afternoon was bit gray but as I moved Southeast the sky was clear. I looked over my shoulder I saw some very dark clouds moving in from the Northwest. They looked a long way off and I knew I could make it back to the trail head and my truck before they rolled in.

As I moved past Metro Crossing and rode through the adjacent trailer park, I saw a large group of people standing near the entrances to their newly constructed storm shelter. The dim bulb began to light and maybe I should stop and take shelter here. But noooo....I CAN BEAT THIS.

I turned South on the Lake Manawa bridge and headed toward the levee bridge. The wind direction changed 180 degrees from South to North, and at that point I knew I was screwed. I took advantage of the tailwind and pushed my bike past 20 mph. The low-hanging black and green ominous clouds encircled me like a pair of arms. Then all hell broke loose. I began screaming out loud "I'M NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!!"

With the wind on full boil and huge raindrops pelting me, I managed to make it across the bridge without blowing away. I threw the bike down the slope and dived under the bridge, cowering as the horizontal rain hammered me, stinging my skin. The bridge shook as the wind gusted, and I was wondering if the bridge would disappear or simply just collapse on top of me. Adding injury to insult some hail fell. Great. At least the bridge was overhead (for the time being), keeping the worst of it off me. After about 15 minutes of this mayhem and soaked to the bone, the wind subsided enough so I could get back on my bike and get on my way. Mind you, it was still pouring and gusting a fair amount.

There is a railroad spur that runs east-west toward the end of my commute. The trail runs underneath the track at one point, encircled with a stout concrete tunnel. I managed to make it there choking on the gallons of rain I swallowed, and tried to call my wife. I felt like a drowned rat. Of course, I was in a tunnel, so cell phone reception was almost zero. I found a spot near the end of the tunnel out of the rain where I could get enough signal to make a call. The wife was understandably concerned, but I let her know I was alive and would be continuing on once the weather subsided a bit more. I noticed I had multiple weather alerts !!! on my smart phone.

I got home and got the requisite concern, scorn, then ridicule from my wife. I don't blame her. We watched the weather alerts on TV, hail, high winds (over 70 m.p.h) and tornado warnings.

Lesson: You can't beat Mother Nature. And don't be a dumb ass on your bike. -D

1 comment:

Travel Gravel said...

What can we say? It's a man thing maybe? One thing you must understand, if the storm shelter has a waiting line, you need to be in it! Living through these things only emboldens us:)