It would seem that this summer is destine to be a repeat of the last 2-3 summers wherein it rains at least every other week right up until fall when it changes over to snow. I'm really starting to miss the droughts that plagued the state in the years prior to 2013 when the summers were hot, dry and perfect for single track. Then came the floods of 2014 where Wilderness Park was completely unusable for a year and ever since then we've been stuck in a cycle of almost constant weekly rain during the summer months and so far this spring has been no exception. I had never ridden more than maybe a mile of gravel in my entire life up until 2014 and now it seems like that is about all we ride anymore because everything else is usually too wet to ride on a consistent basis until it freezes over.
This Saturday was the rule rather than the exception and of course it had rained for a few days prior and was still misting on the day of the ride. As is always the case with anything in life, you have choices and the choices lately have been, ride in less than ideal conditions or sit at home and wish you were riding. So this year my philosophy has been that if it isn't pouring rain we will have the ride and see who shows up and so far we have had really good turn outs for these rides. It appears everyone else is as sick of the rain as I am and has come to a similar conclusion, a damp ride is better than no ride. Antelope Valley flood control canals are full as can be, so you know the water is still falling in record amounts.
Weather conditions weren't too bad at the start of the ride, it was spitting just a little bit and it was chilly but at least it wasn't rain. Even ran across racers competing in the Big Red Challenge yesterday, so we weren't the only fools that weren't going to let a little moisture ruin the day.
The plan was to either ride out to Hickman or Malcolm, since Hickman requires a good chunk of limestone trail to get out there and since limestone trail really sucks when it's wet; we decided that Malcolm sounded like a better idea.
Surprisingly the gravel wasn't nearly as soft as I thought it was going to be after all the rain that we've had recently. That was the good, the bad was that... shocker.... the forecasters were wrong about the timing of the precipitation and the drizzle started picking up a little bit by the time we hit gravel.
There comes a time when riding in the rain at which you are as saturated as you're going to be, since we had already reached that point we decided to stop at the bridge for our usual festivities. Would have of course been nicer with some sun and warmth but it still wasn't too bad.
While you might not be able to get any more wet, you definitely can continue to get colder while stopped and so eventually we had to continued on if we wanted to stay warm.
Warmth also came in the form of a Lippy's BBQ stop, always fantastic BBQ and even better service. Tried their Chicky Wow Wow this time around. The sandwich is as tasty as their pulled pork or brisket sandwiches, if not more so. No matter what you get off the menu, you'll likely not be disappointed if you like smoked meat, if you don't like smoked meat, well, we might not be able to be friends... I cannot wait for them to get into their new, bigger location across the street in the former Branched Oak Inn building. According to Sandy they should be open in the new location by the end of June or at least that is the plan.
A brief stop at the Malcolm General Store and we were off again towards McKelvie road and Lincoln.
While riding in overcast and rainy conditions might not be the most fun you'll ever have on a bicycle, it does make for some pretty dramatic and eye appealing photographs.
A few more soggy miles and we were back in the cement confines of Lincoln but the views were no less spectacular on this dreary Saturday.
Rode through the Haymarket down to the N Street Cycle Track or Protected Bike Way, whichever flavor you prefer, and ended up at Method where they now have the beer flowing because bikes, beer and buddies go hand in hand.
After a beer and a few minutes to warm up, we rode off into the sunset... if there would have been sun... and the end of another great Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride.
No ride next week as Graduations are in full swing and the youngest takes her turn at completing her High School Career. Hopefully it will dry out by June 3rd and we can try to get into some single track out at Branched Oak Lake's area 7, I've heard that there has been a crew of people out there doing a ton of work on the trails and that things are really coming around. Let's hope we can go check it out on the 3rd, it's gotta stop raining eventually, right?