Rainy Sunday ride

With our weeklong August bike ride approaching ever-nearer, Bugman and I need to get some time in the saddle.

So, last Sunday, we decided to head out on the road, despite the fact that it was drizzling. (And despite the fact that I was developing a cold. Interestingly, my running-faucet nose completely shut off when we were out on the road. I never needed the hankie I stuffed in Bugman’s back pocket. Was it the fresh air??)

As we walked the bike into the street in front of the house, a man driving the opposite direction (I think he said he was from Melbeta? Or was it Minatare??) stopped his car next to us to chat about the bike.

“What’s it made out of?”

“Uh ….”

I guess when you have a geeky-cool bike, it’s expected that you are a bike geek and know all the specs. (For the record, it is “Reynolds 631 air-hardened steel zonally-butted tubing.”)

“How far are you guys going?”

“Oh, maybe 50 miles.”

“Fifty? Five-O?”

He looked a bit dubious.

After the driver pulled away, we were passed by a cyclist in a tie and purple shirt.

“Heading out?” he called.

“Yep.”

I wonder if he was dubious, too.

I had looked up the radar before suggesting our route that morning. Based on the way the clouds were developing, I figured we might get a little wet on occasion but could probably avoid the worst of the weather by heading west. I figured if we went west on Highway 92 and north at Lyman to Henry, we could take Highway 26 back and go through more towns on the way home, where there would be shelter if we needed it.

We headed out and got a few blocks away before I realized I forgot my cycling gloves. After nearly forgetting my helmet. *sigh*

Just as we pulled into the driveway again, there was a crack of thunder.

Crap.

Do we really want to go out?

But I got all my bike stuff on, and I really want to ride!

I looked at the radar again. It looked like it would be OK if we headed west.

So we did.

And we got wet.

It was pretty miserable for a few westbound miles there. My shell jacket was nearly soaked through, and it was darned windy (~30mph). I didn’t mind it so much, but Bugman seems to have a lower tolerance for recreational discomfort than I do, and I felt guilty for dragging him out into the elements. (C’mon, hon – we are HARDCORE!)

A look back at the dark clouds above Scotts Bluff.

A look back at the dark clouds above Scotts Bluff.

Before we hit the hill up to the Mitchell turnoff, I was reconsidering.

We paused to consume some sport beans and consult the maps and radar again.

“What if we cut it short and turn north to Morrill?” I suggested.

Bugman was game for my crazy scheme. (That’s what I love about him – he usually is.)

We continued on through wind and occasional rain. It was lovely to see the countryside so green, with hints of blue flax along the road. We were serenaded by meadowlark after meadowlark.

We were also spotted by several friends along our route – got a few honks and hollers and a Facebook comment: “Just passed you and Jeff on that tandem for the second time today! Saw you on 92 at about 10 am too! In the rain!”

And now, for the photo ‘splanation:

Green! With horses.

Green! With horses.

Yay! After 15 miles, the turnoff to Morrill and a chance to have the wind whip as us from our left instead of our right.

Yay! After 15 miles, the turnoff to Morrill and a chance to have the wind whip at us from our left instead of our right.

We were chirped at along what seemed to be a miles-long prairie dog town. Those little critters sure do make a mess of a nice, green pasture.

We were chirped at along what seemed to be a miles-long prairie dog town. Those little critters sure do make a lumpy mess of a nice, green pasture.

Joseph and the amazing technicolor ... roof? I am noting this place because from underneath a trailer closer to the road, two dogs ran out into the road after us. Next time we ride this way, I'll know to be prepared.

Joseph and the amazing technicolor … roof? I am noting this place because from underneath a trailer closer to the road, two dogs ran out into the road after us. Next time we ride this way, I’ll know to be prepared.

Had a lovely surprise, forgetting about the Kiowa Wildlife Management Area. Since it wasn't raining, we decided to pull off for a peanut butter sandwich picnic.

At mile 19, had a lovely surprise, forgetting that the Kiowa Wildlife Management Area was on our route. Since it wasn’t raining, we decided to pull off for a peanut butter sandwich picnic.

The Ostenberg Overlook is a lovely spot.

The Ostenberg Overlook is a lovely spot.

Alas, some doofuses had left their shotgun shell litter behind. We cleaned up this, plus a whole other sandwich bag full of litter, and packed it out.

Alas, some doofuses had left their shotgun shell litter behind. We packed out a whole sandwich bag full.

Ready to head back out!

Ready to head back out!

As we slow down with a coal train ahead, I warily eye the thin band of mammatus clouds above us.

As we slow down with a coal train ahead, I warily eye the thin band of mammatus clouds above us.

The park in Morrill where I had planned to stop for lunch if it was raining. It seems so inviting with the "visitors welcome" sign.

The park in Morrill where I had planned to stop for lunch if it was raining. It seems so inviting with the picnic shelter and the “visitors welcome” sign. This is also where we turned east and got the wind to our backs!

In Mitchell. "Ice cream? We have six dollars in quarters." "OK."

In Mitchell. “Ice cream? We have six dollars in quarters.” “OK.”

It was a good ride. 38.64 miles, no sore bum. (Thank you, new cycle shorts, talc, and lots of standing.)

PS – the shoulder on Highway 26 eastbound out of Mitchell stinks. BBBBUUUUMMMMPPPYYYYY!

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

2 thoughts on “Rainy Sunday ride

  1. YES. The highway 26 shoulder is awful coming east from Mitchell! One lovely way to avoid much of that stretch of shoulder is to take Spring Creek Road instead. You can pick it up on your way out of town (just before that hill past the gas station), and it dumps you back onto 26 a few miles west of Scottsbluff. The other stretch in the running for worst shoulder is 385 between the turnoff for Bayard and the top of Angora Hill…the cracks are about 2 inches wide and enough to shake your seat down a bit.

    Glad the new cycling shorts are helping! I’ve learned that not all bike shorts are created equal, and now have some for short rides and some for long rides (learning the hard way which pairs don’t have adequate padding for longer rides).

  2. Pingback: The Lyman-Henry loop | Wyobraska Tandem

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