Pete and I had been planning this ride for a while,
And the overcast weather did not make us smile.
It was cool and there were a few patches of blue
But the wind gusts were chilly and damp... and we knew
There were no guarantees if we rode we'd stay dry.
We stood out in his driveway and gawked at the sky.
Weather Channel reports showed the rain on its way,
But if we got a move on, we might be okay.
I convinced Pete to try it with this brilliant plan:
"Hey, this storm will move slower than you and I can,
And we know where it's coming from, where it will go.
We should head straight into it; if it starts to rain,
We'll just hang a fast U-ey. Oxnard's on a plain...
"If we do hit some moisture, we'll flip it and GO!
We can outrun that sucker." Both Pete and I know
Without any real hills that would slow our return,
We could pull big old gears. With a half hour burn,
Even using 15 MPH for our speed,
We have more of a cushion than we'd ever need.
For our technical brains this was just basic math,
Five or ten miles at most on a right angled path.
Since a storm moves at 10 MPH, more or less,
We'd get sprinkled for maybe 10 minutes, I'd guess,
As a worse case scenario, hustling our butts.
We decided to do it; no glory, no guts!
Since the storm clouds were steadily moving northeast,
We would ride to Hueneme, for starters at least.
There's a pretty cool bike path beside Bubbling Springs;
So we took off, me thinking of more pleasant things
Than the weather ahead and the risk we'd get soaked.
I was feeling alright as we chatted and joked.
Our return maybe might be a HELL of a race,
But we rode going out at a leisurely pace.
We were dawdling along, heading south along Rice
Till we reached Pleasant Valley, which made us think twice.
It was not at all pleasant; it felt oddly wrong,
Getting pelted by gravel; those wind gusts were STRONG!
After turning on Bard we were heading due west.
We rode under dark clouds, as they slowly progressed
From our left to our right... but the streets were still dry.
I was getting a little bit nervous as I
Saw that off to our right now, but still far ahead
There were dark streaks of rain. "I don't like that," I said.
My smart plan had included a backup, of course:
If it looked like the sea to the south was the source
Of the clouds as they moved in toward us, we'd turn
To the north to avoid them; I felt some concern
That this storm wasn't moving the way you'd project.
Did it have more surprises I didn't expect?
We were getting real close to the bikepath by then,
And it still hadn't rained... Was it going to? When?
We were only a block from the head of the trail
When I felt the first sprinkles and knew we should bail.
"Wanna turn and go back, or go north?" I asked Pete.
He said, "You lead; I'll follow." I turned up J Street.
I had scanned the dark skies, weighing odds, on my guard.
Up the bike lane, we chugged now, in haste, humping hard.
Though the sky had looked lighter that way, it's uphill;
But we found the right gear and... well, you know the drill.
We could feel as we rode that the sprinkles increased,
And I started to think that we should have gone east.
There is always a window if you're on a ride
And it's starting to rain, when you have to decide:
Will it be a brief drizzle? Or "Look! Noah's Ark!"?
Should you try to outrun it, or pull in and park?
Is a rescue as close as your little flip phone?
Not that day; busy wives left us guys on our own.
I said, "Pete, this looks grim; I've screwed up, I'm afraid."
I could see that the plans I had carefully made
Had been based on assumptions – which differ from facts.
Folks, a storm doesn't move like a train on the tracks.
Unlike me Pete was wearing long sleeves and long pants,
But I asked, "Should we stop or should we take a chance?"
"You're in charge; I'll just follow. I'll be right behind."
"Oh sure, thanks. Like I need even more guilt," I whined.
Well it still wasn't raining, at least not real hard;
We could be trapped all day if I chose the wrong card...
So I made the decision to keep rolling on;
We would reach home before we got soaked to the bone.
Well, for two miles or so we kept working the plan,
Till I told Pete, "Let's turn at the next place we can."
Wooley Road was the first that would make any sense;
When we got there, the drizzle was much more intense.
Though the sky to the east wasn't what you'd call bright,
It looked better than what was ahead. We turned right.
But the raindrops kept falling; by now it was rain.
Plus this street has no bike path; my hopes were in vain
That we'd get out of this, slightly moist with a grin.
We were thorougly wet now, both soaked to the skin.
Where some rails crossed the street at an angle we swerved,
But the trikes handled well and our skins were preserved.
When we finally got back to Rose to turn left,
It was pouring by then and we both felt bereft
Of all hope of this ending until we got back
To our own dry garages – no breaks and no slack.
Rose was under construction – no shoulder, one lane,
With a whole lot of traffic, some mist, heavy rain...
This was dangerous, scary, unpleasant and dire.
Then I thought "Next I guess we will have a flat tire.'
That was somehow amusing, but I didn't dare
To discuss it with Pete – not right then and right there.
We were skimming beside a steep dropoff, as cars
Barely missed our left elbows – returning from bars?
We crossed Fifth Street; the road opened up, and at last
It was raining more lightly. The storm had gone past;
I could see it ahead, on its way to Moorpark –
Slanting streaks of the rain, clouds oppressive and dark.
Pete was quiet and I didn't have to be told
That he wasn't too thrilled – we were wet; we were cold.
As we pulled in his driveway and stopped with a jerk,
I looked over and told him, "Well, that didn't work
Out exactly the way that I planned, but I guess
That it could have been worse..." though I have to confess
That I wasn't convinced of that last point I made –
Sitting there chilled and soggy, embarrassed, dismayed...
But Pete came to my rescue, "Let's put up this gear,
Take a steaming hot shower... then let's have a beer!"
Last updated Mar 6 2005