We’ve had an incredibly slow start to our hurricane season this year with practically no tropical activity at all. Which, in general is a good thing, especially after “enjoying” 2004’s back to back to back to back onslaught of Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. But, it looks like the tropics are starting to percolate a bit as a big low pressure system off the Bay of Campeche is making our days a bit messy.
Floridan’s have a love hate relationship with tropical storms and hurricanes. Tropical storms are actually very welcomed, as they replenish our water tables and maintain the lush Florida we all love. Even the occasional Category 1 hurricane is welcomed as they are relatively harmless (thanks to our strict building codes and hurricane absorbing topology) and provide excellent opportunities to break out those seldom used surf boards to catch a few waves at the beach, not to mention the awesome hurricane parties everyone throws (it’s a great tradition). Unfortunately, there’s always the chance of a major storm, which, as we have seen on far too many occasions, can be quite devastating. Floridan’s may jest about our storms, but we do respect them and take them all seriously.
That aforementioned low pressure zone in the Gulf is making our days quite unpredictable right now. We normally have very regular late evening showers this time of year, but right now we are just a soupy mess, with rain and thunderstorms occurring and off throughout the day. Needless to say, this makes for bad cycling conditions, unless you are one of the rare, and rather fool hearted, wet weather cyclists. It’s not that you can’t cycle when it’s raining, but why risk it? Our bikes were made for speed on the open road, not for battling heavy rain, strong winds, dangerous lightning, and, the most frightening of all, the freaked out motorist. You’d think that drivers would be accustomed to driving in inclement weather with all the storms we have here in Florida, but the truth of the matter is they generally freak out and become highly unpredictable.
My general rule of thumb is not to ride if it’s raining out. Sure, it’s possible to get caught by a fast moving front or cloudburst, but a quick check of the weather maps before heading out will normally save you from a rainy ride. Unfortunately this all makes it hard to maintain a regular riding schedule. Today for example I snuck in a shorter ride between two storms, catching a light drizzle a few blocks from home. Hopefully this will all blow by soon, but my NOAA updates are predicting a 70% chance of tropical cyclone formation in the next 48 hours. Luckily, at least for us, it’s moving West-NorthWestward.
Route: Treeline to GCTC
Ride Time: 1:26:01
Stopped Time: 57:38
Distance: 21.73 miles
Average: 15.16 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 22.87 miles/h
Ascent: 135 feet
Descent: 104 feet