Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains? (Steven Wright)

It's the summer rainy season in Miami. Hard to do a long ride without being caught in a deluge.

We decided it was time for a Loopy Local Century.

It's a good century plan for the rainy season. You pick a couple of connected routes you know well and like to ride. You ride them as loops, as many times around the loops as necessary to do 100 miles. The key is to keep yourself reasonably close to home and in an area where you know all the places for restrooms, water, snacks, lunch, and, of course, shelter should it really storm. Not exactly exciting. But it works when the weather forecast calls for a rainy day in Miami.

Tuesday we woke up at the regular time, rolled our bikes to the street, and headed out. We'd decided to do the Rickenbacker. The lighthouse on Key Biscayne is just about 11 miles from home. There are three loops we can do on the Rickenbacker. They're about 3, 10, and 13 miles in length.

We rode our loops taking 1-5 minute breaks every 15-20 miles. We kept the speed moderate. We checked our weather radar app on each break to keep track of nearby rain. Some of which we could vividly see across the waters around the Rickenbacker. At about 70 miles we got caught in the rain, but it wasn't too heavy and it stopped in a bit. We decided to have lunch and dry off. We went to the nearby grocery store for a turkey wrap, some blue cheese stuffed olives from the antipasto bar, and ice cold soda. We carried these to a nearby park bench. There we noted that the eastern sky wasn't just dark. It was black...

We had a quick conference. Getting caught in rain wasn't a problem. Getting caught in a thunderstorm was. We didn't want to be on the east side of the William Powell Bridge in a storm. So off we pedaled back to the mainland. Radar was showing the mass of the storm just off shore. We still had about 20 miles to pedal.

We ran the odds and opted for a pleasant but mundane just under 2 mile loop in the Roads neighborhood near our home. Traffic was light there because of the oddly angled streets, and there were lots of spots for shelter if the storm caught us.

Our little loop took us past two construction sites in West Brickell. On our first passes, the construction guys ignored us. Then more and more of them watched us as we passed. Then they started smiling and waving each time we passed.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Our odometers finally slid past 100 miles. Done! And it was 8 percent faster than our previous fastest century. (Let's hear it for weather induced speed.)

We wheeled around and headed home.