Monday, May 4, 2009

A Very Soggy 2009 Delta Century

The first Sunday in May offers two (relatively) local organized century rides: Grizzly Peak -- a delightful ride known for its good food -- winds up and around the East Bay Hills out of Moraga, and the Delta Century, a flat ride that goes from Lodi along roads on the levees through the Sacramento River Delta. For years, I've been a devotee of Grizzly Peak due to its good hills and excellent gourmet post-ride feed, but the last couple of years have defected to the more kid-friendly flat Delta Century, as we've proved that the whole family can be happy with Nimue on the tandem. Plus, the ride offers interesting river scenery, a drawbridge, and a ferry, none of which we ride on closer to home.

Last year, Nimue rode on the tandem with me on the gorgeous sunny day and completed the ride with quite a bit of coaxing and coddling along the way. This year, the forecast was for sprinkles, so we made sure to pack our rain gear, and I did a sell job all week about how much fun it was to adventure on the bike in the rain.

I thought it would just be a few sprinkles. Alas, I am often overly optimistic (i.e. flat-out WRONG) about these things. Shortly after starting the ride, it became clear that the mist bank was rather more liquid than mist. Fortunately it was warm and Nim was encased in waterproof layers. By the first rest stop, any body parts not encased in Goretex or the like were soaked (my top half and Chad's whole person).

Despite the expression in the photo above, Nimue was amazingly cheery about the whole situation. She inhaled vasty numbers of muffins at the rest stop and was ready to enthusiastically charge on ahead. Last year's constant coaxing and coddling activities on the part of the parents were not necessary -- she happily rode 100 km/62 miles on the back of the tandem mostly in the rain with nary a complaint! She looked a whole lot more enthusiastic than most of the wet grim adults we saw on the road with us. What a good kid :)
(maybe Ma's brainwashing is remarkably effective too)

Some of Chad's work buddies, who also signed up for the ride, will probably never trust our cycling event advice again...

An added twist was that Chad wanted in on the tandem action, so he came up with the scheme of bringing an extra stem for my bike so that we could swap adult positions along the way -- we started with Chad + Nimue on the tandem and me on my bike, and at one of the rest stops, he swapped stems and made seat adjustments and we continued on our merry drenched way with me + Nim on the tandem and him on my bike. There are still a few tweaks to make to this system, but feasibility of doing this for long rides was proved. Quite useful for future weekend family bike trips (like the as-of-yet not fully planned one for Memorial Day weekend).

Crazo happy Nim:

Even with all the weather exposure earlier in the day, Nimue had great fun sticking her head near the window to feel the wind on the way home, before falling into a long nap that she later denied ever happened.

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