Sunday, July 23, 2006

Still Learning

Even at 30 years old, I still have lessons to learn, sometimes I learn the hard way. Everyone who lives here knows the golden rule of high elevation recreation:
"Get off the peaks in the afternoon, storms brew up fast and lightning is a real concern."

Well after the big hike yesterday, I was lazy getting around this morning and didn't get up and get in a bike ride. So finally I decided after lunch that I would go check out Sourdough Trail, which sits just east of the Continental Divide. Yeah I know that storms brew up on the Divide in the afternoon, but it can't rain everyday up there can it? Today surely wouldn't have any storms, the skies are as blue as they can be up there. I'll get this ride in for sure.

So I drive up to Sourdough (about 25-30 miles), and as I approach I start seeing some lightning. No big deal, its way north of where I'm going. I'll just keep an eye on it and make sure it isn't getting too close. I continue on.

I think to myself, "Looking a bit dark over there". I pull up into the parking area and a flash of lightning rips across the sky, followed by an immediate boom of thunder that makes me jump. That was close. I think I'll stay in my truck and let this thing blow through, then I'll get in my bike ride.

And then the heavens unleased. The rain came so sudden and so furiously that even with my wipers moving at their maximum (and the truck not moving) I couldn't see out of the window. It was incredible, I've never seen rain like this before. I look over at the trail kiosk to see a group of 3 bikers scrambling for cover, looking quite surprised and soaked by this so at least I'm not the only one.

I decide I'll wait it out and maybe go if it blows through, but after a gaze up the trail to see the huge amount of water rushing down it I realized today is a bust. So I put my truck in drive and started making my way out, as quickly as I could given the circumstances.

On the way back I got stuck behind a very large man riding a motorcycle at a very, very slow rate of speed. With no opportunity to pass for miles, I just decided to pull over and enjoy the rushing creek and let him get ahead of me so I could enjoy my drive back home a little more. I pulled out the Yeti and the camera and snapped a couple pics just to have gotten something done instead of driving all the way up there for nothing. I considered stopping and riding at Hall Ranch or Rabbit Mountain, but then I just decided to head home and try this again tomorrow.

But on the bright side, I got a free bike wash out of the deal...

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