Even with most weather prognostications pointing towards a “Rain-ageddon” for the weekend, the 2016 Kings River Blossom Ride, was absolutely wonderful!
Organized by the Reedley Lions Club, the 2016 event offered three routes; a 60 mile, a 40 mile and a 20 mile that explored the quiet agricultural back roads with acres of blossoms and up into the lush green oak and pine forested foothills northeast of Reedley.
Under the “umbrella” of this event, I’d like to offer two points: the use of RouteArrows when rain is forecast, and more importantly, the benefit/rewards of taking a chance when the possible outcome looks downright unpleasant.
The Reedley Lions Club knew rain would occur on Friday pm and on Saturday during the event. Understandably, they got a bit nervous and decided to regress by using painted route arrows instead of the real RouteArrows they’d already purchased. They went to some extra effort to make a Route Arrow shaped stencil and buy water based spray cans of “chalk-paint”. They only painted two sets of arrows per turn and put them off near the right edge, not the best practice, but given the quiet area, it was ok. For most of the route, their imperfect system was functioning, but we also watched our map. Although, for the last few turns near the end of the 59 mile route, the painted markings were washing away from the few brief waves of sprinkles and were much harder to see.
For the record: even with the rain, RouteArrows would hold up and would have been more visible than these “chalk-paint” markings. Looking on the positive side here, RouteArrows are now “The Brand”. They are what “real route marking” looks like and they’re what cyclists and runners expect and appreciate on a well-organized event.
The second topic presented here is also a bit of a metaphor. Despite the dire forecast and occasionally moist roads and sprinkles that morning, our little group had a wonderful day of riding in an unforgettably beautiful place. Intuition and instinct told me that the real rain would hold off till late in the day, which it did, but we were well prepared never the less! Personally, I’d installed a new rear tire with more of a tread, which I was grateful for on a few damp corners. I’d also brought a rain coat, a rain cover for my helmet and long finger gloves, none of which I used. The three brief bouts of light raindrops were no big deal and actually slightly invigorating.
I don’t know their actual numbers, but based on the sparsely populated roads and rest stops, I’d guess a very high percentage of the registered riders bailed out when they saw the wet forecast. That was also true for the assemblage of riders that were originally with the R&R group I’d initiated with the Western Wheelers. Is this simply an example of wimpy, spoiled riders who almost never have to have to ride in rain? Maybe it is. But based on personal experience and an understanding of forecasts, and on the prospective rewards in the equation, I think it’s more than that. Bottom line: we went for it and we struck gold. This little Kings River Blossom ride out in the low foothills east of Reedley exemplifies how projections, fears and misinterpretations are easily and commonly exaggerated and seldom if ever match with reality.
The most beautiful route portion was only available on the 60 mile option, Elwood Rd, Ennis Rd and Sand Creek Rd. But almost all the intrepid few who did brave the elements that day had opted for either of the two short rides and missed these “crème de la crème” roads and, as you can see in the few pix included, it was truly a little bit of heaven on wheels.
Live long and Pedal!