Once You Get Wet….

Woke up. Fell out of Bed.

You know the drill. It was Friday morning. Once I get out that door, I’m good.  Drink some OJ. Eat a banana. Boogie.

I left early to maximize my Friday Coffee Club time. Big Nellie was on autopilot. I don’t think I passed any regulars. Frankly, I could have passed the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Into the city and around the Jefferson Memorial. I passed two runners and out of the corner of my eye I recognized one. Of course, her name is Kate (the first of three today). She was talking intensely (when your running in swamp air it’s hard to look anything but intense) so she didn’t see me on my rolling lawn chair. Gypsybug says to ride like your invisible. I apparently am.

In the 15th Street cycle track, Kel came flying by, riding downhill to my uphill. She had to leave Friday Coffee Club early.  She had to be to work by 8. Poor Kel

At Swing’s, Reba and the aforementioned Gyspybug were keeping a dozen guys entertained. They looked grumpy. (The guys, not Reba and Gypsybug. They always look smashing.) Okay, only Aaron looked grumpy, but this is his natural state. Next Jon showed up with his two little girls in a bike trailer. They are beyond CUTE! And very well behaved.

Two big girls, Katie and Kate (the second and third Kates of the day) showed up. Katie just finished a minibike tour. And Kate is soon to leave us for grad school. (Sad face.)

Katie and Kate
Katie and Kate

Then the star of the day showed up. Nicole was riding her bike from Minnesota to Massachusetts. One of the Coffee Clubbers ran into her near the C&O Canal and invited her to join us. She got a round of applause and fit right in to the group. I am beginning to think that Swing’s spikes their drinks with nice juice.

Nicole
Nicole

Around 9 we all went our separate ways. Hi ho! Hi ho!

Eight-ish hours later the skies opened up. Every bike commuter in DC had the radar on his computer at work. I missed my first chance at a dry escape around 4:30. A half hour later, a cap in the storm appeared. Hiyo, Nellie. Away!

I got about a mile before it started raining lightly. I rode very gently because Big Nellie’s front wheel has a bad habit of sliding out on wet pavement. This is not a lot of fun for yours truly and I have plenty of scars to prove it.

I looked over at the city and could see distinct areas of heavy downpours. The downpours didn’t look like much fun. Near the 14th Street Bridge underpass an old regular came by. She’s literally old, gray hair, maybe in her 60s. Her mouth is usually open. She’s been riding to and from my neighborhood for at least ten years; I seem to recall seeing her in Mount Vernon Hospital. Ironically, despite her experience, she wears her helmet back on her head. For all the miles she’s put in, she can wear her helmet however she pleases.

I could see a line of clouds rolling in as I biked past the airport. Every so often I would get a little rain from the front edge of the storm. Pedal, pedal.

A commuter rode by. He asked me a couple of weeks ago if I liked my waterproof Ortlieb panniers. I highly recommended them. He took my advice and bought a pair.

Another commuter passed me and said, “Nice shirt.” I was wearing a Backroads Century t-shirt. He was wear a Backroads cycling jersey. Monday is Bike DC t-shirt day. Please make a note of it.

I started thinking about places to seek cover in case of lightning or high winds. There are buildings with overhangs in Old Town Alexandria. The Wilkes Street tunnel. The underside of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. No need. Of course, as soon as all the good cover spots were behind me the clouds opened up. For the next  3 miles it poured. After a mile, it hardly mattered. I was making squishy noises with each pedal stroke. Big Nellie’s seat stayed dry because I had covered it with a white kitchen trash bag. (No, I was never a boy scout.)

At Northdown Road, the rain stopped. A cyclists stopped in the middle of the road to clear some fallen limbs. We rode together on the east side of the GW Parkway. The road had a fresh later of asphalt. Sooo nice.

The last 1 1/2 miles of my commute puts me on Collingwood Road. Dark clouds were ahead. I reached back and turned on my red blinky light. As I approached a red light at Fort Hunt Road, lightning flashed a couple of miles to my right. I rarely run red lights but GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!! Pedal, pedal.

I made it home and got in the house just as the clouds opened up. It didn’t much matter. I was already wet.

Pix from Friday Coffee Club are over here.

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