Saturday, June 28, 2008

Out running the rain

By the time I got all of my work done for the day it was 6 PM before I could get out on the roads. The WeatherBug application on my computer did not have a lot of good things to say about the weather. Mostly it showed rain clouds with lightning bolts. However, a visual inspection of the skies indicated something quite different. Since I really did not feel like hitting the gym I decided to give a ride a shot. Since I missed the Thursday evening hill ride I decided that I would stay close to home and ride hills.

I planned a route out in my head. Since I have rode almost every good road in the area several times I decided that I would reverse the direction as often as I could. As is always the case with my rides I started out with a ride over Telegraph hill. When I got to the bottom instead of taking the right to Holmdel Road I took a left. As I was passing the old the Lucent (AT&T Bell Labs) site I decided to get some fast miles and I took a lap around the now abandoned facility. The goal of the ride was to head south into Colts Neck taking as many hills as I could find and then make the turn back to Holmdel and finish up with a couple big climbs.

It was rather quiet for a Friday evening. The traffic was very light (I think the $4 plus a gallon is starting to show its effect) not many riders out but lots of runners. As I was making the turn off of RT 520 I saw a couple waiting for traffic to clear. I quickly waved hello and the guy said hi to me by name. I as I passed I realised that it was one of the other riders from the Independent group. Unfortunately I only know people by the bikes they ride and not by name. I need to work on that (remembering peoples name is a skill I have not yet mastered).

As I am heading south I start to notice some dark clouds coming in from the west. The sun is still visible where I am and the clouds appear to be staying south of Colts Neck. I know from past experience that storms can be very tricky. The two large bodies of water (the Raritan Bay to the North and the Atlantic to the East) make things hairy in a hurry.

I was originally going to cross over Phalanx Road and head over RT 537 before making the turn back to Holmdel. Once I got to Phalanx Road I decided to make a right and start to make the turn to head back home. As I was heading West I could see that there was a line in the sky. To my right the sun was shining and there was plenty of blue sky. To my left there were clouds that almost certainly spell trouble (I could deal with rain but not thunder and lightning).

I looked down at my computer and I was a little short on my mileage. As I made the turn to start heading North all I could see was sun and blue sky so I made a decision to add a little bit of mileage. When I got the Colts Neck Municipal Center I decided to make a left and cut over to Cedar Road. This was a mistake since it turns out that Cedar Road does not come out where I thought it did. I thought that it runs north and south but it turns out that runs North West and actually brought me further away from home. I could not started to see the skies get even more threatening. The sun was still shining but I could see that the dark clouds were starting take over. I could see that the clouds were starting to fill the space between where I was and where I needed to go.

As I got to the end of Cedar I decided to hop on Boundary Road and continue to head north. I figured that I still had some time but I have thought that before and was wrong. When I got to Crine Road I knew I had no choice but to turn right and head into the clouds. The good thing is that the roads were in good shape and I could really pick up some speed. The adrenaline was really helping and I was moving a long at good clip.

By the time I got to the Holmdel border the sun was gone and the sky was dark. I was moving along at a good clip but I still and a big climb left so I was a little concerned. I was definitely getting a good workout. I made my way by Holmdel Park and got to the bottom of Telegraph Hill to start the last climb home. If I could get to the top before the rain started I was home free since it would be all down hill back to my house.

Probably the fastest I have ever rode up Telegraph. I got to the bottom, made the left onto Laurel Ave. Luckily the front gate of my development was still open and I was not going to have to stop to enter my code. By now the clouds had taken over the area. I could not hear any thunder so it was probably only going to be a rain shower. I got the bike into the garage. As I went upstairs to shower and change I heard the rain start to come down.

All in all it was a good ride. A little under 30 miles. Even without the storm clouds I would not have been able to ride the whole route that I had originally planned. The detoured through Lucent took too much time I would have run out of day light by the time I got to the hills in the northern part of the town.

I went to the 9:40 PM showing of Wanted at the Hazlet Cinema. An ok movie. If I get a chance I might write a review but it looks like I am going to be working today. I am really excited to see Hancock next week

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