Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monsoon Madness

Monsoon season is upon us up here in the high country.  Relative to Arizona standards, humidity is high this time of year which causes the building of monster cumulus clouds that hammer down on us with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning almost every afternoon.  Unfortunately, this sometimes makes it difficult to get a ride in.  I had three hours in between doctor appointments on Thursday, so I played hooky from work and tried to squeeze in a quick ride out at Campbell Mesa.  The sky was a bit overcast with no immediate threat of bad weather when I started; but, as the miles rolled by, the weather got worse.  I could hear a thunderstorm building in the distance, but I thought I'd still have time to finish before it hits.  No such luck.  Before I knew it, the storm was right on top of me.  3 miles from the trailhead, I maintained a fast cadence in an effort to avoid getting struck by lightning.  All of a sudden, a lightning bolt raced across the sky directly above me.  I did the "one - one thousand, two- one thou..." thing to gauge how far away it was.  Well, let's just say that I didn't get past one - one thousand before the crack of thunder absolutely scared the sh*t out of me.  At this point, I pedaled as fast as I could to get off the mesa and back to the truck.  With about .4 miles to go, I passed one of the strangest things I'd ever seen while riding.  As I crested a small hill and made a corner, there was a ponderosa pine tree completely engulfed in flames about 15 feet off the right side of the trail.  It had to have been hit by the same lightning bolt that I saw only 2 miles further back on the trail.  Boy, did I feel fortunate that a ponderosa was the target of that bolt and not me.  I made it back to the truck, called 911 to let the proper authorities know that a tree was burning (you know what Smokey the Bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."), and headed home for a shower.  Long story short, especially during monsoon season, keep an eye to sky and be safe while having a blast mountain biking.

Although not related to the above post, I found this video quite interesting.  I know it's easier when living in a larger city and dependent on what you do for a living, but perhaps we could learn something from our friends in the Netherlands and become less dependent on foreign oil.  Happy Trails.

Bicycle Rush Hour Utrecht (Netherlands) I from caguta on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That is why you don't bike when it rains!!!! Glad to know you are fine and what a sight that tree must have been! Thanks for the updates!