It's Sunday. And Sunday is the group ride to Hollywood. We rolled the bikes out to the elevators right on time. Outside on the street, we turned on our headlights and tail lights and set off for City Hall. It was light by the time we rolled into the City Hall parking lot. The weather looked dandy. More and more people arrived. By the time we were to start down the road, we had about 45 riders. A very respectable turnout.
We formed a double paceline and headed north. The ride through downtown Miami, across the Venetian Causeway and north through Miami Beach was delightful. The group stayed together at a nice speed, about 19 mph on my speedo, which let us have some pleasant conversation along with the pedalling. As we got further north, however, we saw dark clouds ahead. We'd gone over some wet pavement, but so far had not encountered rain. That changed. A bright flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder caught our attention. Al and I were riding near the end of the paceline. Several of the riders ahead of us began an animated discussion. They slowed, waving the riders behind them to pass. I watched in my mirror as they dropped back and peeled away.
It began to drizzle, then pour. The lead riders turned us into the spacious portico of one of the nicer nearby high rise condominiums. We waited there 5 or 10 minutes, then headed out again. It was raining, but not as heavily. Our destination and turnaround spot, Georgio's, was only a few miles ahead. We arrived there, parked our soggy bikes, and went inside for our break time goodies.
Al and I gathered in Georgio's parking lot with a fair size group and headed off down the road, our understanding being that the rest of the riders were following. After a bit, it became apparent that the other part of the group was not on the road behind us. We pulled off and waited. And waited. Finally, the consensus was just to keep going. We got back on the road. The weather was looking pretty nice at this point. Sunshine, even. The pavement was drying. We rolled along happily towards the Venetian Causeway. But before we got there, the rain began again. It was a steady rain, but not torrential. That was to change as we headed towards downtown Miami.
We'd passed over the Venetian Causeway and were pointed towards downtown when the rain ramped up. By the time we were in downtown, the rain was torrential. Up one street, down another, zipping under the highway and metrorail overpasses. I got into a rhythm for tilting my helmet to pour the accumulating water off to one side or the other. Sometimes I missed, and it poured down my face instead. We bumped and skittered over railroad tracks. We turned onto SW 2nd Avenue. As we crossed the bridge over the Miami River, Al and I passed the group, waving and shouting goodbye as we turned towards home. We hopped onto the sidewalk to get one block east to the entrance side of our building. The road had flooded and passing cars sent waves of water lapping over the sidewalk and us.
We rolled our bikes through the lobby towards the elevators. We were leaving copious amounts of water on the floor as we passed. Someone held a door open for us. He was laughing. The lobby staff shook their heads and smiled. We were smiling, too.
We were soaked, but it had been a great ride.