Well I had my first day of rain. It started as a few big drops then cascaded into a full downpour that lasted all day. People often ask me, “what do you do when it rains?” My response is always the same: “I get wet.” I have not figured out how to ride in the rain and stay dry. In this case I was riding in the contryside with no cover anywhere–not a tree, not a bridge, not a bus stop or a shelter of any kind, so I just put my head down and pumped all day.
The good thing is that I made my highest distance day–114 km. Thankfully it was not cold so even though I was soaked through it was not that uncomfortable really. It seems on rainy days I often go further. I guess this is because I am less tempted to stop and enjoy the scenery, so I take fewer breaks. I did stop at a gas station for a hot cup of coffee. It was the best coffee I ever had.
I was a little concerned about lightening. I’ve watched those documentaries of people just standing around and then they get hit by lightening and lose their memory, or worse. You just have to pray that it is not your time to go. Once I was riding and lightening struck so close to me that I felt the electricity through my body. It was scary. I had to get off the road and huddle under a cliff for a few hours.
After several hours splashing through puddles and getting sprayed by passing cars and trucks, I managed to find a hotel in the town of Curuzu Cuatia in northern Argentina where I spent the next two hours emptying all my panniers and drying everything out. It could be worse–I could be camping. Now that would be fun.
Instead of singing in the rain (you don’t sing that well), maybe you should do a Non Rain dance. Re: Lightening, I just read a story about a boy who was struck and killed by lightening while riding his bike. Unfortunately, they don’t make a pepper stray, alarm, or weapons of mass destruction to deter lightening. And, unlike choking where you can perform the Hiemlich manuever on yourself, I’ve never heard of anyone using a Defibulator on themself to restart their heart. Best you can do if shelter is unavailable, is curl up in a ball and pray like hell.
I found these helpful tips online. I hope they are useful.
If you’re caught outdoors:
Try to get into a house, large building, or all-metal (not a convertible) car.
Don’t stand underneath a natural lightening rod such as a tall isolated tree.
Avoid hilltops and open spaces.
Stay away from metal objects such as antennas, electric wires, fences, and train tracks. The rails can carry lightening to you from some distance away.
Get off and away from machinery, golf carts, and bicycles. Put golf clubs and fishing rods down.
Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
In a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees. If you’re in an open area, go to a place as low as possible, like a ravine or a valley. In low-lying areas, be aware of the danger of flash floods
If you’re in your car, stay there; it will give you protection. Don’t park by trees that might fall on you.
If you’re caught in a flat area such as a level field or prairie and you feel your hair standing on end, this is an indication that lightening is about to strike. Avoid contact with other people, remove all metal objects from your body and clothes, crouch down with your feet together and hands on your knees.
You can estimate the distance a lightening strike is away from you by counting the seconds between the flash and the thunderclap. For each five-second count, the lightening is approximately one mile (1500 meters) away.
Thanks, very useful info. It is good to know. But I thought the lightening was one mile away for every second, not every five seconds. And if I feel my hair standing on end I will just pray.
That must have been really tiring!!! Were you riding against the wind? THAT would have been something. Against the wind, pouring rain all day, and flashes of lightning too close for comfort. Well, it builds character. There was a flood on our street up to my shins about a week ago. It was POURING, and there were rapids running down the slanted roads. 🙂 It was fun!
With all that lightening going on you should of titled that entry “Prayin’ in the Rain…
Im following your trip. Stay lucky
Kevin. The pro golfer Lee Travino advised in a lightning situation, to buy and carry a #1 iron golf club and hold it over your head like a lightning rod because even God can’t hit a #1 iron.
Are you ever worried about anything relating to personal safety? Animals? People? Losing your ATM card?
I read a good article in the New Yorker about a guy who got struck by lightning and suddenly became a great composer of music. It is a phenomenon that, though rare, is well known.
Hi Don, thanks for the tip about the #1 iron. As for personal safety, I guess it is always there in the back of your mind, just as it might be when you get in a car or airplane or walk around in dangerous parts of town at night. But you can´t let that stop you from living. You just take precautions as much as you can and hope for good luck. I try not to do anything stupid. The most dangerous part of this whole thing is getting hit by a car or truck so I try to stay off the main roads and always be aware of the traffic.
It is good to know there may be some benefits to getting struck by lightening. maybe it would improve my drum playing.
Bonnie and I were stuck in rain and lightening in NE Vermont, and it was miserable and scary. We started the day with sunny weather, leaving wind breakers etc. behind. But, after 25 miles or so, the storm hit and the temperature dropped, drastically. I put newspapers in my jersey in an attempt to keep warm. That helped.
Then, we came across a downed power line and spent hours waiting for the power company to clear the rode. While waiting, we befriended several 18-wheel truck drivers who, later on, honked as they passed and gave us the whole road practically.
Good memories for sure! We are really enjoying your blog….keep it up.