Our ride was halted three times, twice for accidents and once for weather. The first accident occurred before lunch on Saturday. Anne had gotten ahead of me. I had stopped to take pictures and frankly, if you blow a tailwind up her skirt, she can be hard to keep up with. When I came upon this wreck, I saw our friend John G. standing over one of the accident victims. I felt a pang of fear for Anne. The other first responders first stopped me, and then let me circle the accident site, but only at a distance. This made it difficult to see who was down. As it turned out, Anne was not involved. John was just exercising his ski patrol training and was the first first-responder on the scene. Ski patrol to the rescue on a hotter than blazes day, go figure. The second accident occurred during lunch on Saturday. I don’t know much about this one, except that we were held at the lunch spot for a while because of it. We saw a lot of sirens go by while waiting. There was an old hound that didn’t seem to like their noise and was howling back at them as they passed by.
The third time the ride was halted was for weather. As I mentioned, Saturday afternoon was as hot as blazes. Saturday night was also warm, humid and uncomfortable. There was not a breath of wind that night. I found it difficult to get to sleep before midnight, even after all my exertions, because of the temperature. Before dawn, a refreshing breeze began to kick up. Unfortunately, this welcomed breath was also the precursor of approaching thunderstorms. In the predawn half-light, I could just make out a very black northern horizon, flecked with flashes of lightning. I immediately mobilized the troops and in record time, we got the tents taken down and all of our gear stored in the car, all before the first raindrops fell.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time before the storms hit and frankly, not much initiative either to get our bike duds on. The skies opened up and it poured. We were inside the main building by then, along with hundreds of other bikers, who were just milling about at breakfast. They halted the ride for a while, to give the storms time to pass over. So, we sat around for a couple of hours drinking coffee and chewing the fat. Finally, the storms passed, we changed our clothes and were on the road again, for day two of the MS-150.
Part of the delay was to give the storms time to move out of our way. The bike ride and the storms were both headed in the same direction. We obviously didn’t wait long enough, because after a few miles, we had managed to catch up with the lumbering thunderstorms and promptly got soaked. What do bicyclists do when it rains? They get wet. My shoes filled up with water and all of the day before sweat that had accumulated in my helmet’s sweatband began to leach out. At first the salt running down my face tasted good, I was probably still a little dehydrated from the day before. Then the salt started running into my eyes, which was not nice. I was kicking myself at this time, because I had left helmet covers from the Michigan tour in the car. Then the lightning began to strike.
We only had one relatively close strike, but I guess that it only takes one. It was on the next hill up and Anne didn’t appreciate me point out that fact while we were climbing it. Rick, one my work buddies, told us about a lightning bolt that struck near some horses. They whinnied up and galloped into their barn, showing more horse sense then any of the cyclists. We decided to bail at this point and headed back to our ‘barn’. After we finished, we learned that one of our teammates had been ‘struck’ by lightning; at least the bolt fell close enough that she felt all tingly. She seemed okay when we were speaking with her later.