Thursday, July 12, 2007

Soggy century

Date: July 12
Mileage: 101.8
July mileage: 371.1
Temperature upon departure: 57
Inches of rain today: 0.47"

Sometimes I look at the weather forecast and think, "Might as well go for a ride now, because it's probably not going to get any better," without taking into account the fact that it couldn't get a whole lot worse, either. But I am Jill in Juneau and I need to learn to ride in the rain and like it. So I set out in a storm precipitating at a rate of about .25" per hour, wearing my most non-breathable plastic clothing, knowing full well that I could be asking for a 100-mile-long cold shower.

The rain tapered off for most of the first half of the ride, and I thought I was in the clear. I even took off my body tarp. But all the fog north of the city set the stage for the kind of solid downpour I imagine is only possible in a rain forest. Sheets of rain pounded my back. I could only look straight down because raindrops would blind me every time I looked up. I could feel my Camelback taking on extra water. And today would have been the day to ride a century with just one water bottle. I only needed to open my mouth for a few seconds to receive all the hydration I needed. Where I come from, downpours are tolerable because they let up pretty quickly ... but that storm continued at that intensity for more than two hours nonstop. I stuck with the ride because I wanted those 100 miles, dang it, and I am Jill in Juneau and I can handle a little rain, dang it, and anyway, it wasn't bad enough to give up ... dang it. Regardless, the annoyance creeps in ... the frustrations ... the doubts.

The .47" of rain recorded is for Juneau, not where I was riding - the precipitation where I was, I'm positive, would have to be measured in full inches. But sure enough, back near city limits, the storm began to dry up. The sun even made a brief appearance. I amped up quite a bit those last 20 miles. I was stoked to be able to look ahead again, and noticed that my legs felt much stronger than I gave them credit for when I was wet and grumpy. Plus, I was pressed to get home in time to go see "Ratatouille" with my friend Brian. It closes at the theater in my tiny city soon, and today was to be my last chance. I arrived home at 5:30 p.m. sharp to this message:

"Hey Jill, this is Brian calling. I know we were talking about seeing Ratatouille tonight, but the weather got real nice and I'd rather be riding my bike. I hope you can get out tonight and enjoy some of this nice weather. Have fun. Talk to you later. Bye."


I actually considered it, briefly, but the weather isn't that nice.

I think I may actually be able to talk Geoff into going to see a children's movie with me. He normally is only interested in going to see gut-wrenching foreign dramas, but this is one summer popcorn movie that received a sparkling review from the critic for the New York Times. Geoff won't be able to go until 9:30 p.m. (so here I sit, blogging and waiting.) Tomorrow, I have to be up at 4:30 a.m. to make the early tide if I want to (attempt to) catch some silver salmon. Then I'm supposedly seeing the 10 p.m. screening of Harry Potter tomorrow night. You know what I love best about weekends? Biking in the rain and not sleeping.


  1. It might be hard to believe for you, but I would much rather be biking in the rain than in the 100+ temps I've become far too used to. But I digress, today was lovely at about 86 degrees.

  2. Congratulations on hanging in there. I use to ride in any conditions - but lately I have been getting a bit soft when it comes to rainy days.

    You are inspiring me to give up my excuses!


  3. The whole of southeast Alaska is pretty much a temperate rain forest, btw. So when you were imagining yourself riding through a rain forest, you were right.

  4. Jill, I admire you for riding in the rain even though I wish, I could ride in the rain for once. We didn't have any rain in over a month. In April, I went road riding and it rained on us the whole time. I actually enjoyed it. Must be my strange German heritage...
    Well, I was used to sometimes over 200 days of rain and I actually miss the rainy days here in the sunny Midwest.
    BUT, I am sure it would be different if I had to ride in it every day!!

  5. Thank you for blogging. I am always inspired to ride after reading Jill in Juneau.

  6. Your packs open! Do the Soggy Bottom!


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