When It Rains

“How was your ride last night”, my boss asked as he gestured to the pile of clothes on my office floor. I quickly picked up the clothes. I had ditched all my work clothes last night to put on my cycling gear for a ride after work.

“Must have been pretty good … your late again”, he added.

“It was great. The ride turned out awesome. We went 15 miles up the Rattlesnake Corridor and back. Then we went to the pizza shop with mud on our faces and chain oil on our hands to enjoy a post ride reflection. It was ….”

“OK, we need to get some stuff done today”, cutting me off as I rambled on about my great evening.

I came back to reality. I am at work and need to focus to the day at hand. I came back to my desk and started the computer. As it booted up my mind drifts off.

Yesterday was rainy, real rainy for Missoula.  I figured it was a good day to do laundry and rebuild the Turner for the upcoming RMVQ. My friend Jill expressed interest in going for a ride. I was a little surprised. It was raining outside and rather heavily at times. I found myself excited for a ride in the rain and suggested the Rattlesnake Corridor. Plans to meet after work were made and at lunch I rode home to switch bikes and grab a bunch of cycling gear.

Rattlesnake corridor is the beginning of the hardest leg of the RMVQ. As Jill and I rode up and into the Rattlesnake Valley I remarked that what we were doing is the first part of the Sheep Mountain leg.  A good night ride up there could be beneficial to dial in my lights and get used to the rocky jeep trail at night.

It did not rain at all in fact the evening turned out perfect.  The corridor was filled with damp weather and low lying clouds but that made for a beautiful ride. It all felt so good. Crisp fall air, turning trees, and a new friend that didn’t mind lengthy rides in the rain. Not only that but Jill actually enjoys these types of rides.

We made it past the Franklyn Bridge and up to the Sheep Mountain Trail. We stopped to reflect on the effort it would take to climb up Sheep backwards in the evening. In fact when I enter into this trail this Saturday it might just be the same time of day. We talked about the challenge this would be and my past experience on this mountain. We both agreed it would be hard but without words knew it is what we wanted to do.  Jill is not able to do the ride this year but is thinking of next year.

“I would not mind going farther”, Jill said.

Music to my ears. We rode up the toughest pitch of the ride and stopped at the upper wet lands overlook. I shined my lights around in the fog to see if I could spot any large animals.  Nothing stirred. I put on my headlamp and we started blasting back down towards town. The valley was beautiful as the low clouds wrapped themselves around the canyon walls.

The ride back into town went way to fast.  Before we knew it we were riding the path along the river in town. I felt so relaxed and just wanted to be riding all night.  Unless … a stop at the Bridge Pizza is in order. And the evening ride ended with mud on our faces and chain oil on our hands munching down slices of pizza.

I hope there are more evenings after work like this. For now I must focus on the ride at hand. It is the 3rd RMVQ this weekend and tomorrow I have to have all the details worked out. It’s crunch time.

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