Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rain Therapy

The rain is hammering down, bouncing back from the puddles on the silvery road surface creating a mist through which my bicycle wheels are forging a path. My glasses misted up a few miles ago and are now perched uselessly on the back of my head, allowing the force of each drop to sting and close my eyes, though the density of the rain means visibility is vastly reduced anyway. Bare knees are battered by the rain, my recently acquired tan turned to purple by the perpetual, stinging impact. The wind has whipped into a gale and, where just a few short minutes ago I was flying along, I am now slaving into a horrendous head wind, water dripping from my nose and chin, white socks greying with every pedal stroke and the sleeves of my waterproof to slapping against my arms. A summer shower in the UK.
Work had made the day a tiring one, stress and worry sapping the will and energy to drive the 120 mile round trip to go racing, especially as I’d be the only rider from my club battling against many others, most working as teams. Resigned, I parked my motorbike safely in the garage and walked into the house, noticing as I did the threatening deep grey cloud fast obscuring the blue which had prevailed not long before. Probably a good decision not to race.
Normally I hate riding in the rain, it’s largely uncomfortable, likely to be sweaty, however breathable your rain jacket, and it always makes you and your bike dirty, meaning hours better spent riding, will instead be wasted cleaning grubby chain and gears. But I needed to ride today for training purposes and my bad day in the office needed flushing from my system, even if I couldn’t be bothered to race. I dragged my kit from my bag, packed and ready to go in the kitchen, and, too lazy to go upstairs, I got changed in the hall, before standing about for a few minutes trying to decide which glasses to wear; yellow lenses for low light, or dark? My wife, perhaps pandering to my delicate mood, suggested it might not rain, but I stuffed a waterproof in my pocket, just in case. 
The moment I set off I could feel the wind getting stronger and see the rain approaching in dark swathes across the flat green fields. I seemed to ride parallel to it for some miles, never getting nearer, before finally it arrived. To start with I was blown along by the wind, but eventually I had to turn and was soaked and slowed instantly. Then it was over. Steam rose from soaked Tarmac as the evening sun emerged, drying the road from silver or black, to grey. As the world dried, the warming mud, Tarmac, road grime and vegetation combined to create a warm, organic, animal smell, recognised by all those who have lived through a British summer. Above, a beautifully dramatic summer sky watched over my journey home. By the time I got there the damage of a bad day was repaired, though I guess I’ll need to do it all again tomorrow.

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