Mother Nature had an extra special treat in store for us this morning as I joined up with the Trek gang for a 30 mile group ride down the coast.
I woke this morning and immediately checked the radar, as we had some impressive boomers the night before. Sure enough there was a big multi-colored blob of weather working it’s way from the South. The forecast suggested (note I don’t say predicted as it’s always a wild guess with Florida weather) a 50% chance of rain during the rides time window, which probably meant it was going to rain.
Not trusting the forecast, I stepped outside to take a quick look and found the morning to be picture perfect…sunshine, blue sky, fluffy white clouds and little wind, so I proceded to kit up and load my bike and gear into the car (yeah, yeah, lost points for driving to a ride).
While driving south down I-75 to Coconut Point, the start of today’s ride, I could definitely see something brewing in the clouds. Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely some incoming rain, yet not menacing enough to make me turn around and opt out of the ride…remember I am a bonafide, card carrying, fair weather cyclist.
As I neared Corkscrew road, the incoming weather front formed an other-worldly weather phenomena which looked right out of some epic sci-fi adventure. I can only describe it as a large fast moving wave breaking into lathered chaos as it sweeps up the beach, only this was happening over your head. My description, nor the picture above do it justice as it was huge and moving incredibly fast. Needless to say, we were going to get wet.
Even with the impressively ominous looking weather phenomena looming above, a good number of us turned out for the ride. We prepped our bikes, made some jokes about not being made of sugar and melting, and headed out of Coconut Point…sure enough, right on cue, the first drops started to fall. A little over a mile in, those scattered drops turned into a downpour. There was no sense turning back as we were completely soaked through and through, so we just pushed on.
As is always the case when cycling in the wet, the falling rain is tolerable, but those rooster tails of water thrown right at your face by the bike in front of you, will always test your patience. Case in point, Tara remained out front pulling our waterlogged group through the entire rainstorm just to avoid that stream of grit filled nastiness.
We continued pedaling through the rain, weaving about our bike lane trying to dodge those dreaded rooster tails. Although the storm looked like a Irwin Allen disaster in the making, it broke by the time we reached Naples. In fact, the roads were absolutely dry! By the time we turned northward on Gulf Shore Drive, the only sign of rain was a dark bloch of clouds far off to the north…got to love Florida weather.
The remainder of the ride was thankfully uneventful, as we enjoyed our “air conditioned”, thanks to our soaked kits, ride back to Coconut Point. Once back, we stowed our bikes and headed over to Panera Bread for some hot coffee and tea as well as some inspired post ride banter. All in all, a very enjoyable ride, even if we were soaked and covered in road grit. I guess I should toss that fair weather cycling card in the trash!
Route: Trek Wednesday Ride
Ride Time: 1:46:11
Stopped Time: 1:29:54
Distance: 32.30 miles
Average: 18.25 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.02 mph
Ascent: 689 feet
Descent: 619 feet