Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 29: Do the Inuits have 38 words for "wet"?

Day 29 miles to/from work: 27.3
Total miles for S4S: 766.6

I've never heard a meteorologist give a forecast for "dank". "Cloudy with a 50% chance of dank." "Highs in the 60s with increasing dankness." Dank was not in the forecast; but when Silver Beauty and I set out this morning, that is decidedly what it was. Rain from last night and early this morning left every outdoor surface reflecting a dull wetness, the air felt as leaden as the overcast sky, and fallen leaves lay dispiritedly plastered to the asphalt. Dank.

The ride ahead held a damply depressing outlook, and I harbored dim hope for evading the threat of serious mildew action. Without much enthusiasm, I climbed on Silver Beauty and started pedaling.
Rote muscle memory pushed me through gray-toned landscape. Then a couple miles in, I realized that the temperature was politely non-intrusive. The breeze was soft and accommodating. A little sunshine would have been nice, but otherwise it was just damned pleasant. Midway to the office, I shed sleeves to bare arms (not to be confused with "to bear arms"—no munitions were involved). By the time I got to work, even El Sol had made an appearance.

From my office I watched the day follow an arc of progressive vivacious brilliance, then sullenly descend from its apex to dark skies and rainfall. Yuk. It was after 6:00 when I left the office, happy for my rain jacket and waterproof panniers; not so much for the rain. In another post I related the utterly failed experiment of using swim goggles as rain eyewear. Soon after, I ordered some clear, "splash-proof" safety goggles, advertised to be vented to avoid fogging. If they were good enough to protect one from the splashing of industrial chemicals, my theory was that they would do just fine in the rain. And they did.

In fact, I did just fine in the rain as well. After the initial resistance to the whole idea, I embraced the thought that it was just rain. Not cold. Not blowing. Certainly not dangerous. Just rain. That shoe-sloshing thing just leant an added dimension to the event. And wasn't I the intrepid adventuress to be biking in it?

Riding in the rain and dark, even with bike lights, was not such an easy self-sell. I went slowly and was very careful, while feeling grateful that a deer did not jump across my path as occurred last night.

When I got home, I eagerly sought the final immersion therapy of the day. Dorothy was right that there is no place like home—and after getting both sodden and grubby on a rainy ride, that haven was made even better with the comfort of a hot bath.

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