A surprisingly sunny and warm morning prompted one of the earliest rides in several seasons. Temperatures in the morning were topping 60 degrees and conditions were partly cloudy. The forecast called for rain before lunch. Took some time to determine the correct tire pressure after 5 months(?) of downtime and dressing up was a chore due to the entropy that had entered the biking gear ‘system’. The plan was to ‘sit and spin’, with some photography and birdwatching on the way. Here are the details of the April Fool’s Rain Ride.
The original ride plan started as Plattsburgh to Keeseville via Route 22 and return back via Route 9 along Lake Champlain, about a 30 mile loop. The recommended and only egress out of town south starts downtown Plattsburgh and takes S. Catherine to the south-end and then Route 22 towards Peru. Typically, the first 8 miles out of town is a brisk warm-up due to road safety conditions. Until you get to the city limit, the debris-filled road lacks any shoulder and passing vehicles are merciless. Adding numerous side-streets with entering and exiting traffic makes this little piece #2 on my Most Dangerous Streets of Plattsburgh List (coming soon). Relief comes at a cost as you leave the city. The shoulder does widen to 6 feet as you approach the Exit 36 complex, but high speed traffic, a moderate climb, and the anticipation of dangerous merging traffic negates any sense of cycling bliss.
Yesterdays, Danger/Warm-up Time Trial turned out to be flat due to heavy Winter legs and a stiff headwind. Clothing selection was spot-on with full tights and arm-warmers. Just as I was topping the rise at the junction with Dashnaw Rd, I began feeling rain drops. A quick donning of the rain jacket proved timely as the drops quickly became a deluge. The nearest shelter was found at the Peru recreational park baseball field. The heaviest part of the storm lasted about 10 minutes with really strong wind gusts. As conditions calmed to just a normal rain, the original ride was aborted in favor of reduced loop.
From the park, it was a simple matter of accessing Bear Swamp Rd via Fuller St to reach Route 9 and the lakeshore. The entire rest of the ride was in a steady rain. The several minutes contemplating removal of the full fenders installed last Fall proved worthwhile. They rate high in terms of ‘Fred’ness, but in proved to function flawlessly. The primary shortfalls in my rain riding system are gloves, shoe-covers, eyeware, and GPS mount. These items are worth investigating as I am planning an early Spring tour if time and logistics allow.
- Distance: 21.5 miles
- Max Speed: 28 mph
- Avg Speed: 15 mhp
A weak, but admirable showing considering I was likely the only cyclist on the road in all of Clinton County.