By Pico Triano
Photos: Courtesy Photobucket, Pico Triano
Every once in awhile as a cyclist you’ll get caught in some weather you won’t forget ever. I got caught in an epic thunderstorm on my way home from work one day.
That summer I’d been living a bit of a charmed life. The terrain was flat and the weather usually tracked in from west-northwest. My ride home travelled nearly straight north and then west. I had two alternate routes. When crossing the freeway right at the beginning of my ride home I had a terrific vantage point where I could see the thunderstorms before they got to me. Several times I chose my route based on what I could see and came home dry each time. This day I wasn’t so lucky.
I contemplated those mean looking clouds from the top of the overpass. Didn’t look to me like there would be anyway to completely avoid this one. I opted for the most direct route. The idea was to minimize the amount of time I might be in it. Also just in case my wife felt I needed rescuing, she would be able to find me without any trouble.
Those clouds got bigger and angrier as I approached. I got almost halfway home before I saw the curtain of rain up ahead. It was coming fast and there was no way I was going to out run it by turning around. With a roar of defiance, I powered straight into it. I was drenched within seconds.
Right about that time one of my co-workers passed me in his minivan. He didn’t stop and disappeared around the curve in the road. That’s when the rain turned into hail. Made a terrific racket bouncing off my cycling helmet and it stung on my bare arms. This was no fun at all and it was about to get worse.
A lightning bolt struck a tree on a nearby ridge of ground and then another and another. I wasn’t too concerned about the lightning right where I was riding at that moment but exiting the curve I would crest that same ridge and then ride a flat open stretch for about a mile into town. I would be one of the tallest objects around. I seriously considered just crouching down and waiting for it to pass.
That’s when the cavalry arrived. Francine, my wife came driving out to rescue me. We strapped the bike to the bike rack and then turned the van around and drove home. At home I took one step inside the front door and asked for a change of clothing, a towel and some privacy. I looked like I’d been swimming.
The next day at work my co-worker apologized for not picking me up. He, at that moment had figured I wasn’t far from home and was wet already. He had no idea the hail and lightning would be quite that spectacular.