Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stormy Night Ride

Last night, I opted to ride my bike to and from my yoga class, which I haven't done in a while. Getting there was pretty uneventful, but the ride home was amazing, as a thunderstorm had rolled in as class was winding up. The rain was just pouring down in sheets for much of my ride, making me grateful for my Burley rain jacket (sadly, Burley stopped making their excellent rain gear several years ago) and the light nylon "water shorts" I'd opted to wear. It also helped that I was wearing a pair of Teva Dozers on my feet, with thin wool socks for a little warmth. Regular shoes would have gotten waterlogged, so the sandals were a great choice.

I honestly wasn't minding the rain so much... sure, at times it stung my face, and given the choice, I'd rather have not had rain, but I've ridden in downpours plenty of times before. On the other hand, I have to admit, the brilliant flashes of lightning and rumbling thunder, while not right overhead, were close enough to be unsettling after a while. So at my last possible opportunity before getting on the rail trail, where I'd have 3 or 4 miles without readily available shelter, I opted to get on the Metro rail system, and ride the few miles by train. Seems it was a good choice, because by the time the train arrived at Vienna, the storm had pretty much cleared to the east of town, meaning I probably would have had to ride right through it on the bike.

The ride from the Metro station home was a lovely contrast... cool, a bit breezy, but no rain, and the lightning was far off to my east. And the trail was alive with critters! I startled a number of deer, while others seemed singularly unimpressed by my presence. I wonder sometimes which is more odd to a deer... this silently moving creature with a glowing, bright white eye on the front and a red one on the rear... or the fact that I tend to say hello to them! Yeah, I talk to them. Call me weird... but I figure it might help prevent them from leaping in my path in panic. Of course, I could be completely wrong. The path was also alive with fireflies! They've just started coming out here in the last week or two, and it really makes night rides a joy to see the flash and glow of those tiny creatures flitting around. A single small frog or toad hopped his way across the trail in front of me... and then, just as I was leaving the woods, a bat swooped low over my head, bobbing and weaving after bugs.

All in all, worth every ounce of water that fell on me!