Call me Dorthy Gale

Tonight I went bike riding. It was the same route I mentioned from 2 weeks ago with the Grunt Girls…along the Towpath, remember? Well, you should! At any rate, I missed last week because of all the rain we had in this part of Ohio. Tonight, I looked up the forecast and it was BEAUTIFUL. Sunny, 70’s only a 10% chance of rain. TEN PERCENT. That’s nothing! Without considering any other options I loaded my bike, put on my Team Marathon outfit and made the 40 minute drive north.

On the way there I knew I was running late, but did not want to call Shannon, the leader, because I would only be like 3-4 minutes late. I wanted to see if I could catch the group! Well, the person in front of me obviously wanted to be a jerk and drove about 10 – 15 under the limit! So needless to say I was more than 4 minutes tardy. Still, I got the bike out, clipped my Garmin on and turned on Cardio Trainer for my phone and prepared for the quick first loop. My plan was to grab 2 loops, and hopefully the ladies would wait for me when we crossed paths.

A few miles into it I realized I was moving at a GREAT clip! I was passing people and only gaining speed. I was so proud of myself. Look what I was doing only 2 days after the OC hike! Wow. Around mile 4 I saw Shannon coming back from the turn around point. Shortly after I felt a few drops of rain. It even felt like they could have blown off trees and not have come from the sky.  The more I went, the more I knew these drops were coming from the sky. Grrr. Ten percent my butt. Seriously? What what that crap? I kept thinking of stats with 10 percent rates. I thought about having my gallbladder removed and I think I was told there was like a 20 percent chance of issues…and I took that chance! Who wouldn’t bet on 90 percent success chance? Sheesh.

By the turnaround it was raining. Still, it was a bright and sunny day. The temps weren’t dropping and the rain wasn’t horrible. In fact it was a lovely spring rain. Not a scary issue in sight or mind. I rode past walkers and fishermen and other cyclists. We smiled and called to each other how the rain felt good and it was a nice day to be out. See, nothing creepy. My only concern was my phone and Garmin getting wet.

Slowly though, things started to change. On the first part I rode past a variety of people and animals. I was within touching distance of a handsome buck and a blue heron. I passed several geese and their babies. On the second half all of these creatures weren’t present. The sky wasn’t as blue, the rain was heavier and was I wrong or did I hear a siren in the distance?

I decided the siren was nothing, but I biked a little faster. Each passing mile I knew something was wrong. Too much rain to see through, no other people on the path, clouds becoming dark and thunder, thunder I felt on the path.

With only a few miles to go I pushed as hard and fast as I could. As I was coming down from the final bridge the sky lit up with a bolt. I caught my breath and found I was trying to ride even faster! Legs were burning! A rain drop hit my contact and when I shook my head to clear my vision I saw to my side the sky was turning black and the clouds were billowing. I looked to my left and started to find an escape plan.

To my right were industrial plants. There was no way anyone was over there. Random generators were scatted, enclosed in fences. To my left was the canal and then the main road and beyond that, up ahead, was a shopping plaza. I thought I remembered a few areas where you could walk across the canal on a bridge to the road. I decided this was my plan to wait out the storm. The closer I got to the center, the colder it become, the windier it became and the sky was mixing around. All my years of fearing storms and reading too much was catching up to me. If I wasn’t working out so intensely I might have started to cry or scream…if I thought it would help! There weren’t cars on the road…there was no one to know where I was! Even if I could get to my phone, I wasn’t safe!

About a mile from my car I was starting to feel I would make it, when the warning siren went off. This thing must be located in the shopping center. It was so loud! I couldn’t even hear my thoughts. All around me it looked terrible and I was so scared. It was then I decided I couldn’t find a bridge! I was headed INTO the storm! I wad to ditch my bike, run down to the canal, walk or SWIM to the other side and run across the road to the plaza. Just as I was getting up the courage to execute my plan I saw a car on the road near the path. I thought it would be a MUCH better idea to flag this person down for help.

As if drew closer to me they began to honk and try to get MY attention. They rolled the window down and I saw it was Shannon!! The other Grunt Girl! She told me to get in! I asked if it was a bad siren, she said it was and I needed to get in! So I saw with her in the car, with my bike in the grass, trying to get my thoughts together. She said it was just a bad storm and I calmed down. Then, we heard THUMP THUMP THUMP she looked at me puzzled and I looked into the road in front of us. HAIL. Yes, GIANT hail! She was like WHAT? I told her…hail means tornado we need to not sit here in the road.

We drove to the parking garage to wait out the storm. It looked horrible. Suddenly, it stopped! My phone told me it was a tornado warning. Later I would find out that supposedly the tornado hit a few roads from where we were.Shannon apparently lived in an area where they didn’t have hail and tornadoes, just snow. She was fascinated and excited! Her pleasure helped me to stay calm. I can’t believe I didn’t have a full on panic attack.

She ran around barefoot in the parking lot and took pictures. We got into my car and picked up my bike. We decided NOT to try for another loops, despite the reports the storm was gone. I drove home, through various flooded out roads, past cars flipped over, and a really strange amount of dead animals.


Happy to be home and safe…and to have the support of training group! How about all of you? Everyone safe and sound?

4 thoughts on “Call me Dorthy Gale

  1. Where on the towpath were you? I am just a few miles from one leg and it didn't even rain here last night with the warnings! Sheesh. Well glad you're safe.. Next time maybe don't ignore the siren 😉

  2. That is scary! So glad you ended up safe & sound! We had golf ball size hail here in WI with tornado warnings & torrential downpours. Strange, strange weather we've been having this year…


  3. Pingback: The official recap/resolution/whatever of ROJ for 2011 | ROJ Running

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