Tuesday, May 26

Can the Weatherman Be Trusted?

A third day is just the thing to make a good weekend for cycling in to a rather good weekend for cycling. That is, unless the weather reboot is all doom and gloom. Take Sunday, for example. It was morning, maybe eleven o'clock or so. I still needed to fulfill my endurance training requirement for the week with another long/easy ride. So I ask my roommate if he wants to come along; he just points at the TV and says no way. It was the weather channel. A county-wide severe storm warning scrolls menacingly across the bottom of the screen, and a green cloud covers the entire seacoast area. Awesome! I say, "Sweet, bring it on," and make sure to grab my rain cape before I head out the door. I love a good, horrible-weather bike ride. I figure training in adverse conditions either prepares you for racing in bad conditions, or makes racing in good conditions a relief.

Fully expecting a watery wrath worth of Poseidon, I make my way across the bridge to Maine, and up Route 103 through Kittery Point. It was sprinkling just a little bit at that point. It wasn't terribly cold, and indeed I was overdressed. See, the thing about rain gear is that it's made of non-breathable fabric, so you get just as wet from your own sweat as you would from the rain anyway, if you're not careful with your heat regulation. So I pulled off my arm warmers and left my the rain jacket open, and kept going.

The funny thing was, the farther I went north and in to the storm, the nicer the weather was. In fact, by the time I reached Oqunquit, The sun was out and I was way too hot. I folded up my rain jacket and put it in my Jersey pocket. A day like that is just too nice to seize, either. I decided since the epicness of the day was not going to come from weather, I better get it from distance and exploration. So I turned my bike north, where I have always turned South, on to Route 1.

First, I must say that Route 1 is not made for bicycles, really. I mean, it's got plenty of shoulder--it's mostly safe. It's just not very scenic. It's made for tourists, with little Maine crap shops and all that sort of thing. It's car-scenic. I believe that when you're on a bike, things like mountains and trees and fresh air are scenic. Natural things. Things you can stop and appreciate quietly. When you're in a car, man-made things are scenic. Old ships, big signs, outlet malls, that sort of thing. Things that you enjoy actively, loudly, and spendingly. I had no money and was already quite occupied with the activity of my cycling, so I kept going.

I was sort of looking for a side-road to the right, eastward, towards the coast. Eventually I came to Route 9. Whatever that means. I'm not lost in the sense that I don't know how to get home, but I am lost in the sense that I am in uncharted territory, and heading in deeper. I came along one of those tiny Maine "rivers" that are actually creeks, and the town sign for Kennebunk. I realized later I was only about 28 miles from home, but I was quite satisfied at being the farthest north I'd ever been on a bicycle, so I took out my camera-phone to get a picture of the town line marker.

It didn't work. My phone just kept flashing on and off and giving error messages in various languages. So I didn't get a picture of it. Google Earth has me covered though: Kennebunk Route 9. I was kind of annoyed at my phone not working, and sufficiently satisfied at my exploration, I turned back.

The day turned out to be about 56 miles, and I couldn't have asked for a nicer day. I wouldn't say that the weather report was totally wrong, though. I suspect that the weather at any point from 500-5000 meters from me at any given moment was a torrential downpour; and was was by luck or fate that I personally managed to avoid it. Some kind of reverse Eeyore effect, I don't know. Either way, another good endurance training ride done.

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