Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Wet, wet, wet

The last two days have been a tad wet over here in Sin City. One might almost think that the Almighty is trying to wash away the sins and misdemeanours of our state government, but it will take a few more months of downpours to take care of that.

I didn't get a shot of the radar picture of the storms last night, so this one will have to do. It was nowhere near as bad as what went over last night, but it still shows a poultice of rain.

Here is a dry Anzac Bridge bike path. When I came up this path last night, cars going past in the left hand lane would hit deep puddles on the road and throw up waves of water that went high and far enough to reach me - and go over my head. Plenty of it went into my face as well. To do that, you need a pretty decent amount of water on the road.

I could have missed most of this if I had left the office when I meant to, but I just had to stop and have a chat with a colleague, which delayed me just sufficiently that I rode out of the office just as the rain started coming down. It took me one block to be utterly saturated, and six blocks to work out that my glasses were more of a hinderance than a help. Riding without them meant getting an eyefull of water every few seconds, but at least I could see where I was going.

I went past a number of cyclists who had pulled off the road and were sheltering under awnings etc, but I didn't see the point. Once you are totally wet, you can't get any wetter. Stopping under an awning is just going to make you cold.

The only bit that daunted me was going onto the bridge - there is no shelter once you get onto it, and I wondered what would happen if it started to hail. But it didn't, so I got across ok - although the rain was pelting so hard, it was stinging my thighs on impact.

The bridge was just a complete cataract. The RTA in their wisdom have installed drain grates about the size of the plughole in your average bathroom - and that to drain what is essentially a single lane road with no runoff. Going up the cataract was fun, since the water was rushing down at such a speed that it gave the impression of me going uphill really fast. The other side of the bridge was not as much fun - a low lying bit of the path was one big puddle - deep enough for it to go over my ankles even with both feet in the fore-and-aft neutral position. I hit the puddle at about 45kmh, just as a bloke coming the other way yelled out, "It's really deep". It did demonstrate the value of water brakes - once my feet hit the water, I rapidly slowed to about 20kmh and had to pedal my way out of it.

All of this riding was done of course without my rain jacket, which was hanging at home in the cupboard. Not that it mattered, as the temp never fell below 19 degrees, and it was really kind of pleasant.

The cyclists that were out and about were all smiling and laughing and enjoying the moment - after all, what's the point about getting upset about being wet? Conditions like that bring out a lot of cameraderie amongst cyclists.

The ride totally shattered me though. I got home about 7pm, and was asleep shortly afterwards. I was beyond exhaustion.

So today, I took my rain jacket - and didn't need it - and left work a bit early and avoided another storm coming through. I still feel knackered though.

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