A Story from my teenage years.
It was a hot and humid evening in August. The sky was black with the storm clouds that were slowly creeping in on town. My friend and I had decided that even though the skies looked like certain doom, we would ride to the outskirts of town and into one of our favourite trails along Big Creek. We finished our shift stocking shelves and bagging groceries at the local Valu-Mart and grabbed our bikes, ignoring the 90% chance of rain the in the immediate forecast. If I remember correctly, there was even a rainfall warning in effect.
As we rode out of town it began to lightly rain. It was only a few minutes before it stopped, just enough rain to make the ground damp and fill the air with that summertime rain smell. We celebrated and laughed, thinking that we had beaten the chances and would be in the clear for our ride. We continued out of town until reaching the railroad tracks, which we followed briefly before dropping down into the valley on a trail we had dubbed "Devil's Spine".
It was a old ATV trail that rode North along Big Creek, eventually crossing the river into "Dick's Hill". Even though it was a 2-track trail, it was the best riding we had near town and we frequented it whenever we had the chance. We worked our way along the track, slowly descending the valley on this winding brown ribbon of dirt through the woods.
The black clouds above us grew thicker, the forest now getting so dark it was hard to see. We continued on, full steam ahead, as the first of the thunder and lightning started to strike around us. It was so close and powerful it shook my chest and arms as the deafening crackles filled the forest. The rain came down fast and hard, the trail became a flowing river of water in a matter of minutes. The heavy rain and darkness made it nearly impossible to see further than just a couple of feet ahead. I'm not sure if it was toughness or teenage stupidity, but we carried on riding, using the flashes of light from the lightning strikes to guide our way.
The rain came down so hard it hurt but we pushed on. My eyes stung from the rain washing my own sweat into them. Our old rim brakes squealed like banshees as we approached each corner, barely slowing our bikes. Our chains made horrible noises as the dirt and water acted like a grinder on our drivetrains. My poor bike must have felt like it aged a year in just over an hour as we kept going in the rain and lightning.
We reached the river crossing, soaked to the bone. Big Creek was already running fast and muddy. It made it difficult to carefully place my steps around the large rocks in the bottom of the river and one misplaced step later I was in the water. Having already been drenched, the water didn't shock me. I picked myself back up and got a good footing. I looked up at my riding partner and we both started to laugh. The combination of the pouring rain, the river, the thunder and lightning, it nearly broke us and all we could do was laugh in the face of it. Two teenage kids clutching their bikes, standing in the river while the rain poured on us and thunder shook our bones, looking at each other and laughing.
"What the hell are we doing out here?" My friend asked as we stood there.
"Having fun, right?" I answered with a smile.
We got out of the river and pushed our bikes up the steep hill on the opposite side. We got back on and rode towards the dead end road that would take us out of here. Just as we got onto the pavement the rain began to stop. Within a minute it was over, the black clouds moving away from us as we plodded along the road back into town. The water was dripping off of us, my shoes made a squishing noise with every push of the pedals. The sound of the rain drops falling out of the trees and hitting leaves on the way down was the music for the end of our ride.
We turned our heads and looked at each other again and laughed. My friend shook his head in disbelief as to what we had just been through.
"That was stupid" He said to me.
I grinned as I replied "At least it's one of those rides we will never forget".
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.