Monday SAYG Ride - 85 and Sunny...and HAIL!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday's forecast was something along the lines of 85 and sunny with a subscript that said "Go Ride Your Bike!" Not really but if there was a subscript it would be something along those lines.

After a long race weekend, or for me not so long but certainly strenuous, SAYG (Slow As Your Grandmother) rides are typical for Monday's where we simply go out for a relaxing ride to get the blood flowing in the legs and hopefully assist in active recovery. This Monday was no exception with an original departure time of 4:15PM, I asked Andy the ride organizer this week to push it back an hour so I could make it, he kindly agreed and 5:15 it was...little did he know what that hour would mean. I was out running errands and heard on the radio "possible chances of afternoon showers" but didn't think much of it and headed back to my place to get ready for an afternoon ride. When I got out of my building I looked up and saw gray skies looming overhead but figured we would be fine.

I arrived at the chapel on campus where rides usually depart from to find Andy and Hayden (Andy's friend who's new to cycling), the three of us set out on the normal loop which consists of Toms Creek Rd., Glade, Prices Fork, Merimac, and return on the Huckleberry trail. The ride was pretty peaceful but we had lots of traffic leaving town as everyone was headed home and didn't seem to have much patience for cyclists on country roads. About halfway through our ride I saw lightning off in the distance and made a note of it to see if we should cut our ride short and head back towards town. We decided to push onward having not seen any more lightning and confident we could make it back before the skies opened up. When we got on the Huck the rain started and at first it felt refreshing and cool with large cold rain drops hammering down. About 2 miles from town the drops became so large that they began to hurt, after further examination we realized that the rain had turned into HAIL! Fortunatly where the hail began the Huckleberry trail goes under Rt. 460 and we decided to take cover under the bridge until the storm let up. As the storm seemed to ease up we made a break for it but only made it a few hundred yards before the hail began again this time larger.

The wind was so strong that it was carrying the hail 15 or so feet into the tunnel hitting us.

We passed a bunch of runners out on the trail who were not nearly as close to the underpass as us and were not as lucky.

I felt the moment was necessary to document so I sacrificed the BlackBerry, which isn't working today, for this exciting event. I managed to get a video before my phone quit cooperating all-together and some pictures:

The only video my phone would cooperate for. I sacrificed my phone for this footage.

It really started coming down, the grass looked like it was alive with all the hail bouncing and jumping around.

The aftermath.

The grass next to the trail was lined with hail.

Definitely bigger than pea size, probably about the size of marbles.

"And that kids is why you wear a helmet, not in case you fall off your bike but in case you get hailed on in 85 degree weather!"


Nick April 12, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

Thanks man. I'm really looking forward to coming down for your races this weekend.

Hey, are you from DC? Will you be racing up here this summer?

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