Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning Lessons in the Rain

In anticipation of The Eel, I have lately been trying to take as many opportunities as possible to go on longer rides. I usually do this in work clothes while carrying a bag with many items in it, including a laptop, so it's sort of like high-altitude marathon training: When I show up at Charter Oak Landing tomorrow with actual bike shoes, no huge basket full of crap on my bike, and comfortable, wicking clothing rather than a wool suit and leather dress shoes, I will be like a lithe bicycle panther - with wings and rocket boosters. Yesterday, I further increased the degree of difficulty of my training regimen by riding from Bridgeport to New Haven in a torrential downpour. This was, notwithstanding the strength of body and character developed. probably a bad idea.

In fairness to me, it was not raining when I set out. In fact, it was fairly pleasant - overcast, to be sure, but balmy and with a light breeze. Being an optimist, I look at weather like that as an invitation to ride 18 miles. Meteorologists, however, understand that "precipitation begins forming when warm, moist air rises. As the air cools, water vapour begins to condense on condensation nuclei, forming clouds. After the water droplets grow large enough, two processes can occur to form precipitation."

Also, in fairness to me, I didn't have much choice. I had just missed the train at Stratford, but my dear wife needed me to hasten to Middletown as quickly as possible to collect our children from her, as she had plans for the evening and our babysitter had called out sick. Since the mid-afternoon trains toward New Haven come only every hour, and it takes me just over an hour to to ride to New Haven, once I narrowly miss the train, I will reach my parked car in New Haven faster if I ride. Also, it's nice to ride, and it saves me $2.75, which sum can later be spent on booze or coffee.

Well, to make a long story longer, just as I was about a mile past the Milford station and into the long-ish gap between Milford and Union Station in New Haven, the sky opened up and Hurricane Deez Nuts passed over the area. Luckily, I had my rain coat, rain pants, and galoshes with me, and a rain cover for my bag. Unluckily, piled-up leaves in the bike lane + ceaseless downpour = large, deep rivers covering most of the road. So I plowed on east, instead of returning to the Milford station, and felt fairly confident I would remain dry, until the following indignity befell me: I was tooling along through a deep puddle when I heard a car give a little tap on the horn behind me. It was not an angry tap at all - more like, "Look out, I am coming through with a wide load and want you to be aware of my presence," or "Careful, there, my cyclist friend, as you are inadvertenly drifting toward the middle of the road." So I looked over my left shoulder to see what was up, and learned in an instant that the tap actually meant, "I am about to drive past you through a deep puddle at a high rate of speed, so I want to make sure you are facing me when I splash you with a huge amount of water."

So, yeah. I got very very wet and now my laptop screen doesn't work. I think there's a lesson here, but I'm not sure what it is. In any event, I am ready for The Eel. And if for some reason we are suddenly required to carry laptops and race in the rain, I will house all you.


Brendan said...

wow. it was so rainy that the world went out of focus!

El Presidente de China said...

That picture wasn't actually taken yesterday. It's a shot of the Housatonic (which I did cross, although on a different bridge) between Stratford and Milford, but taken from a Metro North train. But it has rain in it and it was taken between New Haven and Bridgeport, so I though it was illustrative.

Although it actually was rainy enough yesterday to make the world blurry.

Rich said...

Yeah, I also got soaked from Hurricane Deez Nuts, but didn't have to shoot the tube from a car, like you. I forgot to pack my rain pants in the morning, and didn't think it would be an issue since the forecast was "few showers." But right at 5 pm the radar showed me I was too late to get out before East Hartford got hit. After an hour of waiting it out with some mindless web browsing, it let up enough for me to head out...I made it dry for about 2 miles. Central Ave. in EH had a lake on it and the biblical rain returned. The pants I wore were still damp this morning.

Joel said...

El Prez, you are one funny mo********er. Hurricane Deez Nuts, eh? I didn't hear about that one.
Word verification: I fit herb. Certainly. Each herb must be properly fitted with its vessel.