15 August 2010

Ride Report: Never trust radar

14 August 2010
I finally got to put a face to the name of eflyguy.  After "flaking"--his words, not mine--out on our ride earlier this month, we planned to get together so I could test out my new boots.  We both wanted a short ride and after exchanging several emails settled on a route very similar to the last half of my last ride and maybe adding 75 to the fun.  I was looking forward to it but as the week progressed, the weather forecasts and the skies started doing some things we hadn't seen in a while.  It would get really dark when it was supposed to be light and water would fall from the sky after shorting something out sending sparks flying way above our heads and presaged by deep rumbling sounds.

On Thursday, eflyguy emailed warning me of this new phenomenon he called rain.  It said it might make riding on Saturday impractical.  All this time, I thought a day not riding was impractical.  He promised to keep an eye on the forecast and let me know what he planned to do.  By Friday this rain was accompanied by high winds that broke trees and blew debris all over the road.  He said his driveway was covered in the stuff and I knew he wouldn't ride in the morning.

Before going to bed, I finally checked the forecast for myself.  Rain turned out to be 60% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.  Shit, I'm riding whether he does or not.  I thought he meant rain.  Every day in summer to me is x% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.  As soon as I decided I'd ride, I felt kind of woozy so I went straight to bed without doing any of my night before a ride stuff.  I went to bed early enough and was so certain eflyguy would not be riding, I didn't think to set an alarm.

Problem was I was so woozy, I didn't really sleep that much.  I just lay there dazed at being woozy.  I'm sure I dosed a little bit toward my normal bed time of 3 a.m. and I was still determined to ride.  With the storms passing though, the temps had dropped 7 to 10 degrees so getting an early start was not nearly as important as it had been before the weather system.

Now during this time, I'd been working out a new pda.  I broke the screen on my old one after the last ride and instead of ordering a new screen I got a new pda.  It was supposed to be faster and had built in wifi.  Well, the darned sd card didn't work!  I went ahead and finally ordered a new lcd for my old pda and will pack up it's replacement and send it back.  Yes, I purchased it used but the listing did not say the SD card wasn't working.  I'd struggled with that damned thing all week long only to realize the freaking card didn't work.

I had to go back to the pda that my pda replaced.  In clan-speak (see countdown timer), that would be the pda before my pda.  The pda before my pda was replaced because I couldn't put a current os on it and I'd lost the compact flash gps card during the Twisty Butt ride.  With my pda, I use a bluetooth gps receiver.  I unmated it to my pda, got it mated to the pda before my pda, then made sure the gps software recognized it.  Since I didn't expect eflyguy to ride, I planned to load one of the many routes I have saved in the morning before I left.

Get UP!!  I gotta go.
Around 7 I got a text from eflyguy, he was going!  Yippee, except I was only kind of ready and had forgotten I had not done any pre-ride prep.  We were going to meet 30 mins later than planned so I wanted to be pulling out of the garage by quarter to.  When the garage door opened, it reveal gray skies.  No sun anywhere.  What happened to afternoon thunderstorms?  I got the dawgs to go out but their schedule and my schedule were different.  They acted like they didn't know I needed to be leaving right then.

You guessed it, I didn't leave the house until 5 after 8 due to the dawgs and pre-ride prep.  When I did, I got a mile from the house when I heard "GPS signal lost."  Huh?  Quick glance confirmed it.  As I reset the pda--on the move since I knew I was going to be late--it started to sprinkle.  Okay, that ain't afternoon storms.  I still had my dark shield on but I was running late and didn't bother to change it.  Got the gps restarted only to lose the signal again.  I hadn't even gone 5 miles when I glanced at the screen and saw I'd run out of memory to run the gps software AND the BT receiver.  Good thing that screen is on the way.  I shut it down and slipped it into the tank bag.  eflyguy planned the route and I could do that without a gps anyway.

The good thing is the Frank Thomas Venus boots still felt really good.  Since I was running late, I decided not to take the more direct way to the transition from Hwy 124 to Hwy 20 so I could avoid three lights.  If you follow the signs, you only get one light.  It holds a long time if you get there just after it turns red too.  I shoulda went the other way.  When the light finally changed, I made the left and was looking up the road like I should have been.  Problem was the road I was looking at was not the road I was on. 

I realized in time to get leaned over but not to slow down, not that I needed to.  I used to ride this way a lot and I knew the curve was tight but not too tight for the speed I was going.  I leaned right and scraped my boot!  I hardly ever scrape to the right but I didn't really have time to dwell on it, traffic was heavier than I expected.  This would not be a repeat of the relaxed ride I had two Sundays ago to meet Cruzman.  I would have to fight early morning shoppers and landscapers.  What a difference the time makes.

I managed to pull into RaceTrack at a respectable 20 minutes late.  Respectable considering what I had to ride through to get there.  At one point, I rode through a real rain shower!  eflyguy was waiting for me underneath the sign and I decided I wouldn't bother dallying since I'd wasted that time getting there.

We decided to head on up 400 to see if the weather we were seeing would change closer to the roads we wanted to ride.  Just as we passed HWY 53, another real rainshower hit.  eflyguy pulled into the first gas station and consulted the radar on his phone.  According to it, the skies were clear yet I was seeing the rain get heavier.  eflyguy decided to take 53 towards Gainesville and ride some of the roads around the lake, maybe even Buford Dam RD.

Sounded good to me.  I love that dam road and that would let me avoid the mall traffic I had to ride though to meet him on the way home.  Let's roll!

This is what happens when you put your camera in the tank bag with Ice Cold water bladder:  condensation on the lens!
Going down 53 towards Gainesville

I decided I needed to put the camera in one of the pockets and hope the pics weren't affected.  Uhh...

The rain had stopped by then, only sporadic sprinkles.  The camera lens, however was still cloudy.  I put it where the pda would have been.

On Brown's Bridge RD, I got a pic of eflyguy as we rode on...
eflyguy on Browns Bridge

The camera lens had cleared but the skies had not. 

Right after I took this picture, eflyguy decided to pull over so we could take pictures.  I didn't have time to get the camera stowed so I rode by and signaled with my hand that I'd turn around.  I don't think he saw it because a moment later he pulled back onto the road.  We made a u-turn and stopped to take pics and chat.

I didn't bring the taller tripod so

What's the point of having a thing if you're not going to use it?  I'll put it on the bike when I finish this.

I managed to get a pic of the bridge without anyone on it!

After I looked at it, I thought it'd be cool if eflyguy was coming towards me.  So

Gray skies over Lake Lanier
eflyguy takes better pics than I do.

Either that or he doesn't keep his camera in a place where it can get condensation on the lens.

Since we both have blue FZ1s (the fastest ones) and blue summer jackets, I could say we would be Almost Twins.  Before the ride, he told me to tell eflyguy I already had a moto-hubby but I didn't bother.  No one can take Cruzman's place! 

After this, we were going towards Buford Dam Rd, working our way over to McEver then Atlanta HWY.  Somehow there was a miscommunication because when he went to turn onto 348, he said I should go straight.  He put me back in the Hwy 20 traffic soup!!  I'll forgive him though.  I stopped at Lowe's on the way home and got some Dupont Multiuse lubricant.  I also found a set of bags on clearance that I can use with my seat case.

It was a short day.  I didn't bother with the mileage because I was in too much of a rush but I didn't use more than a half tank of gas.  Next time we get together, hopefully it'll be dry but there were some good things learned on this ride.

Not all rain shows up on radar so it is better to trust your eyes than technology.  Before this I thought I might need to upgrade my prepaid cell service, maybe get the unlimited monthly service with the Droid phone.  I might need to, but not right now.  If we'd pressed on, who's to say the weather on those roads would have been dry or not.  It was a call we had to make based on what we saw.

The Venus boots are great but I need different socks and to figure out what to do with my anklets.  At the stop, I noticed discomfort with my right leg and saw I'd had the anklets hung up in my sock.

Pirelli Angel Tires are pretty stable on damp roads.  We didn't ride through any real heavy rain so I still don't know what they'll feel like then.

I'm not sure I like that Motrax decorative windshield trim.  I don't know why yet though.

When it's cloudy out, change the darned shield.  I didn't take the time to change it when eflyguy and I first met or later when we stopped.  I did in the parking lot at Lowe's and I could definitely see a lot better. 

Sprinkles and a rain shower close to the house made me send a quick thank you to eflyguy for pointing me the more direct way home.  I still missed not riding the dam road though.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

1 comment:

  1. Great ride report as always. Sorry you didn't get a better ride in though. Oh and you really need to concentrate more on job #1 "Ride the bike" when underway. We don't want you having to replace baby before the Taming the wolf ride or worse.


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