Monday, August 16, 2010

Weather Reports

Before we left to go on the Fast and Furious group ride yesterday morning, I heard Phil say to Cristiano (in italian), "It looks like it might rain". A very accurate statement, considering the clouds were a dark gray in the distance, it had rained off and on for the last two days, and the wind was blowing hard. Cristiano said while grabbing a clean kit from his wardrobe, "NO. It won't rain. There will be sun all day." Skeptically, we changed into our kits and in the big "furgone" truck we bellowed into town down the narrow roads of Lucca ten minutes later.

There were 20+ people on the ride. The plan was to do 110 km with a 12 km climb at the halfway point and an easy 3 km climb on the way back. Fine. Dandy. Whatever. It still looked like rain.

I was still thinking about the way he responded to the weather comment this morning. Where I come from, unless there was no dark clouds in the sky, you'd at least acknowledge Mother Earth's tendency to throw a curveball by saying "hope not" or "it might".

While riding, it hit me: Since I don't see Cristiano with a doppler radar channel plugged into his TV (I don't think they exist as channels in Italy) and I know that he doesn't have a laptop - or even internet on his blackberry - I wondered if his definitive answer to Phil's earlier question was just to be funny... to convince the skies... or if he actually had proof that water wouldn't drop from the nimbostratus clouds above. Focusing on the busy road on the way to Pietrasanta, I got distracted from my conundrum to focus on Angelo, the old Italian dude cyclist, whose incessant cussing at screaming cars and deep potholes next to me was beginning to make me feel awkward.

Fifteen minutes later, we diverted from the busy road and were starting to climb. I stopped to pee (two strong italian coffees are not a good idea before riding) and the group chugged ahead. Catching up, I passed a couple of people and found a good speed next to the mesmerizing Brazilian woman named Elika. I say that because most Brazilian people I've met exude this vigor for living life. She definitely possesses it. But anyway, she was nice and we chatted in Portuguese-flavored and English-accented Italian between steep sections of breathing. There was one point towards the top of this climb where it felt like we entered into the thick cloud I'd seen in the distance before. I was reminded of Cristiano's statement again from earlier, so I thought I'd see how a Brazilian - who has lived in Italy for 8 years - would respond.

"Hey Elika, it looks like it could rain, doesn't it?" Taking my sunglasses off since it was so dark and stormy looking.

"No," she shakes her head, "There will be no rain."

At this point, I wanted rain more than ever just to prove that the dark, hanging clouds speak louder than word-of-mouth Italian weather reports. Actually, I take that back. Most Italians have voice boxes unlike any I've ever heard (which is probably why operas originated here).

Now, at 11am on Monday morning, Cri is out on his bike. Although I didn't ask him for the weather today, it just began to drizzle.

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