"There are times you can't avoid it. What are you going to do? Wait on the side of the road? You might be waiting a long time; maybe days."
I knew what he meant. He has explained to me about weather patterns in the Midwest and the North where a storm with blow in and there's nowhere to go. We would just be stuck in it. This was the case in Cimarron, NM. We saw the storm on the horizon for hours and finally we met it in the middle. It was our choice to push through and I'm proud that I did it. But I really didn't want to ride in the rain if I could avoid it.
We've been in Asheville, NC for a few days and it's rained here on and off the entire time. The day we rolled in we expected rain, but it never came to fruition. The next day it came with a vengeance and hasn't let up yet. We're talking 5 inches in 2 days; real storms. Flash flood watches keep popping up on my cell phone warning us of danger. Oh, there will be moments of dry, but it doesn't last long. This storm is expected to continue for days.
My high school friend Jack rode the rain from his place in Hays, NC to meet us here in Asheville. It was our intent to all ride The Tail of the Dragon together. That plan has since been abandoned due to the monsoon that is blowing through here for the next few days. The locals say it's been raining a great deal for weeks and everything is saturated, causing flooding, which we've noticed. We rode a little in town yesterday and I had a little fun in it at first, but once I was thoroughly soaked standing in the cold pub for hours, completely soaked, no dry clothing, and with nothing warm to drink, it just wasn't fun anymore.
I awoke in the middle of the night last night screaming in pain. Riding in these conditions stressed me terribly causing me to clench my shoulders, arms and hands. This aggravates my fibromyalgia terribly, causing severe inflammation. I can only take just so many pills, rub so many creams on my skin, and lay on ice packs and heat packs for just so long. At some point, the pain is too much for me. Lying in bed wailing last night I was filled with not only stabbing pain, but fear. I can't explain why I feel so panicked when I hurt this way, but do. I know my body needs help and I can't see to get what it needs quickly enough. Fortunately, with Highway's help, I was able to get back to sleep and make it until morning.
Today we ended up riding more rain around town. After only 10 minutes I become flustered, frightened and filled with pain. My hands go numb from squeezing the handlebars too tight, my neck hurts from shrugging my shoulders up from fear, and then the tension in my back starts. I wish I could will it away, be confident, be tough, but when my back tire is skipping around lanes and I'm hydroplaning at 45 mph, it's hard to feel confident. The truth is, I'm still waiting for my front tire to match the rear I had replaced in Denver. I was told they don't work well together and it affects my ability to ride in the rain. All of this consumes me with fear that I cannot seem to overcome, resulting in pain.
Tomorrow we are supposed to leave to head to Jack's, just over 2 1/2 hours away. We have the option to take the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Interstate. Both take the same amount of time, but we are guaranteed rain. Frankly, I don't want to do it. I feel bad because Jack gave up vacation time to come and visit here with us and to ride with us. He's heading back tomorrow and even though we won't be able to ride the Dragon (he thinks it's probably closed from all the flooding), if I chose to stay we won't be riding together because he has to head home. This rain isn't supposed to let up until Sunday, at the earliest. So my only options are ride the rain tomorrow or wait until Sunday, maybe Monday, for a real break. But we must leave on the 10th to head up to see a client, so if we waiting until then, we would not get the time with Jack I had promised him. He also has to go back to work Monday, so it wouldn't be much of a visit afterall.
I feel obligated to ride tomorrow. I know the rain doesn't bother the men. I also know they don't want me to be miserable. But I hate riding in the rain because of the pain I am in afterwards. I don't feel confident riding on tires that don't match or having my back tire skipping around if I go over 40, even in a straight line. And taking the turns simply scare the fucking shit right out of me. If I ride tomorrow and it rains like today, as is forcast, I foresee a few long days of being in serious pain and simply miserable.
I can't ask the others to wait. I'm just not that selfish, I guess. But I am miserable and really, really hate this fucking rain. I have rain gear. It's not about being wet and cold. I hate that too, but the issue is the incredible pain. I didn't want to ride in the rain if I could avoid it and I clearly voiced that at the beginning of the trip. But I still feel like being part of a team one must do selfless things from time to time.