The first time I ever rode to waterfall was in the infamous 2006 Gong ride, when a howling southerly made life hell for everyone and left me ill for most of a month with a bout of sinusitis. I've since learned I have a predeliction to sinusitis and will at some point in the future have, as my specialist says, my face "re-plumbed."
So when I woke up this morning intending to do my first training ride to Waterfall and saw a few showers on the radar, gray skies and a bit of wind, I had to worry about fitness (or lack thereof) as well as the memory of the very nasty sinusitis.
At some point, however, I just said "bugger it" to myself and got ready, because either I am going to get fitter and faster or I am not. And not will happen if I take adverse weather as an excuse.
So off I went. Of course my daughter woke up about three minutes before I needed to leave. Getting her an apple juice and a brain candy DVD meant that I caught sight of the bunch leaving when I was about 100 metres away from the DHBC meeting point. A green light and I was on the back wheel!
Happily, the wind dropped. And the pace was gentle, perhaps in recognition of the presence of another couple of Waterfall first timers.
Then it rained. Hard. For quite a while.
My hip muscle added to the fun with its usual trick of hurting like mad on my back (an affliction I think needs some advanced physio and bike fit, seeing as lots of stretching did not help).
By the time my socks began to squelch, the railways tracks to the left would have offered a welcome way out of my cold, wet, painful ride.
But the rails were being repaired and no trains were running, so I plowed on.
As usual I was slow. Very slow. Fifteen year old kids are faster than me. I like my brakes, a gentle cadence and a mid-sized gear. I dislike pain and exploring the further reaches of my lungs.
At Waterfall I stopped for a quick stretch, to try and relieve the hip pain. I contemplated going down onto the drops to elongate my back, but with the rain and patches of grooved roads, that struck me as far from sensible.
The drink stop at Sutherland was a relief.
The flat of Botany Bay was a delight.
Nonetheless, I rode the last k in granny gears.
At home I had a bath, then a shower to focus on the hip.Then I ate. Lots.
Ever since, I have been waiting for the signs of sinusitis to kick in.
I think, after a lot of nasal spray, warm clothes, toothbrushing and mouthwash that I've dodged it.
Long story short, I look forward to my next Waterfall. But seeing as keeping myself well post-ride has consumed my day, I think I have a reasonable excuse to skip it next time there is rain on the radar!