Once more off to Zube. I was in two minds about riding because the weather forecast looked very ugly, but it's the last opportunity for a longer ride before the MS150, so I dragged myself out of bed and hit the road. It started raining as I turned on 290 and go steadily heavier. I thought about turning round but didn't. I arrived at Zube to find an almost completely empty car park, with no sign of any of my buddies, but a few minutes later Paddy pulled up and out jumped the Shrimpton boys. They unloaded their bikes - Paddy's Bianchi from last year and his gorgeous, all-carbon Felt for this year. I innocently wondered if they took it in turns to ride the carbon, but apparently they don't. Sean pulled up in his red truck and we had a peloton.
The rain had eased a little so I took off my rain jacket. and off we went. The road was very wet and we were throwing fine rooster tails, making it unpleasant to draft, to say the least. We had the wind behind us on the way out and were coasting along in fine style. There are a few short climbs in the back country and Phil took the opportunity to show us the form that made him such a threat to the pros on the Cheshire Cat sportive he rode this year. At this point the weather deteriorated dramatically and we found ourselves battling through some very sharp showers. Sean thought it was like being hit by a million tiny spitballs! I was wearing my tinted safety glasses and couldn't see much but without them I wouldn't have been able to see anything at all. We rolled into the Exxon station outside Hempstead for a break, looking like drowned rats in spandex.
Back on the road and the rain eased up for most of the run back. We also had a natural wind break for much of the way, a line of trees along the south side of the road. One last fabulous stretch with the wind on our backs and we were back at Zube, where the parking lot was still empty. Of course I had forgotten to bring a change of clothes, but Mary-Claire had left a selection of sweatshirts in the car, so I drove home in a rather fetching navy-blue Hollins University hoodie. The really bad weather rolled through about an hour later. Apparently the long-range weather forecast is calling for thunderstorms on Saturday - I may need to upgrade my rain gear.