Another Long Road Ride
Picture a hot and humid Sunday morning, in Gainesville, Florida. Seventy eight miles were planned, from the agreed meeting place, but more if you rode to the start. That’s what I did. Weather forecast called for showers around 1pm, which is pretty typical in Florida for this time of year.
Note to self: prepare for the ride by wearing not your best kit, not your best shoes, and riding not your best bike, aka the “rain bike”, “frog bike”, etc. If you’ve only got one bike, well, that’s a bugger. The route was carefully chosen; I have a nice library of rides I have prepared over the years, and rotate them in and out on any given weekend day.
105 Kilometres In
The rain had been falling for the past few miles / kilometres. I was thinking to myself, “I can’t recall if South_Route#7 has a dirt road sector?”
Ordinarily, I would be excited about springing this type of road upon an unsuspecting group, but today, I wasn’t up for getting covered in crap. The rest is history.
Our small group of five cyclists (two ladies, three blokes), made the right turn onto the sand / concrete / limerock spooge road.
It didn’t take long before everyone was covered in crap. One of the riders was wearing a predominantly white kit, which was looking fantastic until about that moment. My own kit, complete with poser Australian Champion jersey, resembled a massive skidmark.
Ironically, we had a sixth rider with us until about five minutes before the rain started. He was aboard a high zoot Colnago, but decided to take a less scenic, but shorter route, in the hopes of avoiding the pending rain. I am wagering he was still caught by the rain, but his bike was saved the indignity of it’s chain being trashed, or his Sidi’s being filled with sand. Or listening to drivetrain grinding.
In my book, I would rather eschew a heavily trafficked road, sodden by rain, and traverse a sludge fest limerock road, with zero traffic.
Fortunately, our luck was good, there were no cars around.
To my surprise, everyone in our group was in fantastic spirits. They are either used to me sprouting these roads on them, wanted the fastest sludge route home, or they were too sodden by the preceding rain to care. I suspect the latter.
The group ended up with 80 something miles, meaning we did some bonus diversionary miles.
Number of chains potentially trashed, five.
Number of washing machines running right now, five.
The fun we had? PRICELESS.
Don’t forget. Riding on crappy roads gives you more route options, better scenery and less traffic. Except for when it rains. Then, you can hardly see anything.