I woke up this morning and checked the weather. It has been rainy the past few days in Chicago, and since I bike to work I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to rain. Bad weather this summer has been rare and I’ve hardly had to pay attention.
The forecast today said the following:
90% chance of severe thunderstorms in the morning.
I checked my watch (okay, I don’t wear a watch because no guy wears a watch) – I checked my phone and the time read “morning.” Looking outside the air was heavy. There were hues of orange and gray, and the sun was not around. But I felt like I could make it to work before the sky opened up.
Though this logic was completely malformed, I accepted it. I wanted to and did embrace this denial. I showered and dressed. As I loaded up the bike I took one last look. Not raining. Sky appeared clear to the east which means nothing to me as I have no idea which direction weather comes from or goes.
Riding with my chihuahua is interesting because she sits in a tiny dog backpack facing away from me. She never makes a sound, and it’s easy to forget that she’s there. It’s also easy to forget that chihuahuas hate water. Once she’s on my back I don’t hear her until I arrive at work and she whimpers excitement saying hello to everyone.
I knew that I was probably going to get rained on, but I was hoping to get to work before this happened. Not because I didn’t want to get rained on. I don’t care about a little water. But I do consider it a personal victory if I can ride the ten miles to work and have the rain begin afterwards. Shaking my fist up toward the clouds is dumb, but for some reason it makes me feel like a big man. It’s not healthy. But fun.
Five minutes into the ride the sky darkened and I realized this was not going to fall my way. I became excited. I was going to ride through a storm. There wasn’t much I could do other than suck it up and ride. Nearly every commuter, many of which are serious bikers with spandex clothes, were not on the path this morning. It was empty. Then it started pouring rain.
I’ve written before about how burning hundreds of calories on the way to work balances me physically. I have a ton of extra energy and exhausting some of it helps me to have a more mellow day.
My dog and I rode through probably the worst storm we’d been through. There was lightning in the distance and rain came down hard enough to sting my skin. It was so heavy that all I could do within a few minutes was submit.
I feel like I’m in a club of people that shake their fist at the rain. When I passed other commuters I would look over at them and share a laugh. This is a very superficial club with no actual interaction, but it reminds me of the other, more intimate clubs I’m in.
I have a men’s group that meets twice a month. I have a few support groups I see weekly. Also, my blogger friends and readers. Not to mention my own family, close friendships, and girlfriend. These are all my tribes. I need to be able to do crazy things like ride in the rain. But I also need to find other people who do the same.
Thank you to everyone who reads and comments and has similar craziness. It’s helps me to feel less alone.