Hail Hurts

by Shawn Mahaney on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 9:57pm ·

I swear, I checked the weather radar minutes before setting out.  Ok, I still had to get the bike down, find the pump, remember why I hate 'universal' bike pump fittings, find the helmet, load up the drink bottle... Oh, and I decided to set up the sprinkler in the back yard before leaving (that's an extra funny part).  Anyway, I took the bicycle out for the first time this year, planning to zip up the new paved trail to Travelers Rest and back, about an hour's comfortable ride.


Mounting the bike right next to the motorcycle, I think about grabbing the rain jacket and cable lock out of the motorcycle side bags.  Naaah... that ugly little dot on the weather radar was sure to pass right by.  'Better to get moving quickly to beat the serious stuff, which is still in Georgia'.  Yes, that is exactly what I told myself.  So off I go into the sunshine, in my classic Michigan t-shirt and fake bike shorts, with nothing in the tail bag but my wallet and a tire gauge.



Yes, there was sunshine.  For about 2.3 minutes. That not-so-little dark-bruise-colored cloud was looking more serious than the weather radar had suggested.  So I stop and check again, this time on the mobile.  Ok, it still looks like the real crap is a ways off, and this little blob should move right on by.


The trail is boring, as is usual for rails-to-trails trails.  But it's a good ride.  Except that I can't see with the sunglasses any more - it's getting too dark.  I take them off, risking bugs in the eye, but oh well.  The city comes up quickly enough.  I poke around some, as light sprinkles start, looking in general for a restaurant one might visit on a Sunday ride, and specifically for a place I might pleasantly sit out what I still expect to be a quick shower.



Stopping at what seems like a decent restaurant for that Sunday ride, I think about sitting inside for a cup of coffee to wait.  But I didn't bring the chain, grr.  I check the radar again.  'Hey, it hasn't changed in an hour...'  Yup, they don't update the mobile version very often.  It was 90 minutes old by then. 




Time to head back.  I figure I'll probably get a little wet, but it won't last too long.  About two minutes later, I'm holding my hand out as a visor to keep the rain out of my eyes while the corniest movie drama ever unfolds, as I narrate:


'At least it can't rain any harder.'

Cue lightning and the Splooge Master 3000 XL rain machine.


'At least it can't get any worse.'

Cue hail.



Cue the Aqua-Bullet HyperX III chain-fed rail gun system.




I dismount and throw me and the bike under the relative shelter of a tree.  Relative, as in a few leaves compared to ten thousand 30-caliber hatewads being thrown through the air by angry coke-enraged cherubs.  (Yes, that's what dime size hail feels like after the whole earth pulls it down from 40,000 ft into the back of your hand.)


After that, the final hour of slow rainy riding through fallen branches (and whole fallen trees), sopping wet and cold, was a sanguine moment of meditation, wherein I drifted off thinking of all the clever status messages I could make out of it.

But they grew together to become this blog.


[Oh, sure, I could have called one of you for a ride, but I would've made a huge mess of your car.  And again, no lock to secure the bike until I could come back with the truck.]

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