things that are good for you . . .
there was supposed to have been a race today: a fun one, the targhetto
time trial, an official start to the end of current season, and the beginning of my next season. i haven't done it every year, but i always enjoy it, and have
determined to do it this year again. after four years away from racing, i want
to get as much intense, race-pace effort as possible, even in this easy-attitude
time of year. 
i was going to do the race on my single speed ralph cross. when the race--as wally and beaver would say--was called onaccounta rain, i called some friends and suggested that we ride anyway. i got a favorable return message, posted the notice, and headed out to do some errands. first was switching the gearing on the ralph from a 1.9:1 to a 2.5:1. last year, the high cadence was a blessing, and badly needed. my legs hadn't done a lot of spinning for a couple years, and they needed it. but after the year, i realized i needed more top end, and this is good. i really enjoyed the virtual motor pacing had done at my friends' expense this year, but it's time in my rehab to get some top end of my own. 
i also needed batteries for my off-road bike computers. and dog food.
after getting greg's help removing the too-large cog, i put the bike together, and then headed out. it was decided this would be a "beer and . . ." ride. our gang was riding two single speeds, a track bike, and a big ol' mountain bike. we rode around town, on streets, trails, through downtown and such.  we stopped at several bars i hadn't been in before, or not for a long time. five of them, in fact [there may have been more]. i felt like a little kid with an excellent fake i.d.  we were running stop signs and red lights, cutting through back yards and jumping from trail to trail, and some were working on controlled skids.  we had some killer onion rings, and some popcorn.  we also did some excellent ambassadorial work for the sport and lifestyle of cycling, as folks genuinely seemed intrigued by the fact that we were riding in the rain. 
but mostly, we rode our bikes and talked about life, little kids, old amusement parks; oh, and we heckled some little junior high kids. good fun.  we rode places i've not ridden before. compare that to yesterday, when i was all lyrical about roads i've ridden for forty years.  we acted like little kids running stop lights, laughing, charging up hills and chasing each other. but by spending over 6 hours outside today, in the drizzly rainy, rolling up and down large and small city hills, we all racked up some easy tough-guy points. some riders don't really understand the concept behind them. they aren't given willy-nilly, and they don't always have an even exchange rate. but when you GET them you know you are better for having done whatever it takes to earn some tough guys points.  they spend well in april, may, june, whenever.
observations: fenders are quite nice this time of year; those clear, velcro-closure rain jackets are great deals, for 20-some dollar rainwear; riding this time of year does wonders for one's bike handling skills. there's more than just a couple reasons 4s and 5s crash more than 1s and 2s. riding this time of year ought to be required before one upgrades.
ride your bike, and treat it well. most bikes love to play in the rain.