2017 Disjointed – Around town

Sat 2 Dec, 15 miles (24 km)

All week they’ve been warning of an ‘unprecedented rain event’ for southern NSW and Victoria. The warnings have been dire. They were predicting up to 300mm (12 inches) of rain over a couple days in our part of the state. It was supposed to start Friday and go through Sunday. We even had people at work who commute from nearby towns stay home on Friday – in case water went over the roads and they couldn’t get back home.

But Friday was a bit of a fizzer in most places. We only got about 16mm of rain where I live. It is unusual to get a day where it rains almost all day in December, but it would not be unusual at all in July or August. It even stopped raining around 4pm and the guys and I went out for a ride around town after work – just to get out.

We did a spin on our favourite Bridge to Bridge trail and then along the rail trail through town. We stopped for two floatie sessions – once on each side of the Murray River. The river is way, way down – they’ve dropped releases from the dam upstream of Albury so that major flooding coming down the Ovens River can be absorbed by the Murray. The Ovens enters not too far downstream from where I live. (The lower reaches of the Ovens River is where we went camping a couple weekends ago – our campsite will likely be underwater there on Tuesday or Wednesday once the water makes its way downstream.)

A little floating on the VIC side of the river.
Then a little floating on the NSW side of the river.

So, after Friday’s fizzer, the weather people kept saying the worst would come Saturday. We had rain all night Friday into Saturday, but nothing torrential, just steady rain with occasional heavy squalls. Some parts of the state did see a whole bunch of rain and flooding. The main highway to Melbourne was cut – but it still was not quite as dire as predicted for most places. Some rainfall records fell, but it was not apocalyptic.




So, Saturday afternoon, the guys and I thought we’d make a break for it when the radar showed a clear patch.

We headed off for our favourite Bridge to Bridge trail, noting the amazing layers of puffy, dark clouds all around.

About to head over the river on the Tim Fischer bridge. The clouds are all sorts of shades of dark and all sorts of puffy in all directions.
The rain event has been terrible for farmers in its timing. It’s splitting the fruit on the cherries, peaches and nectarines and no one will be able to get in to their fields to harvest grains. Many farmers were working long, long hours to try to get into their fields before the rain, but some will have major losses.
On the Bridge to Bridge trail – my favourite in the area. You ride along in the floodplain of the river with lots of vegetation and constant views of the water. When the humidity is this high, the smell of the veg and eucalyptus is intoxicating.
More Bridge to Bridge trail.
There was no water running over the causeway yesterday – just a couple inches today. We’ll probably end up with 50mm (2 in) or so, which is more than our monthly average, BUT it will push the fire danger period back, which is good. I’d say at least half of that total probably would have just been soaked up by the ground saying, “Aaaaahhhhhh, thank you, slurp, slurp.”

We stopped on the NSW side for a float. The skies were looking a little more threatening, but it was still pretty warm, so I wasn’t too worried about getting wet. People started heading back to their cars as it started to sprinkle, but I only packed up the guys once I could see a fuzzy grey wall of water moving upriver. They went in their little drybag with my phone – doesn’t matter if anything else gets wet.

It’s starting to rain and the few people about were rushing back to their cars. But the guys and I are hardcore and we allow the float session to continue until I can see a heavy squall moving upriver.

We waited out the worst of the little storm cell underneath the pool snack kiosk. Once the rain lessened, I pedaled for home. By the time we got there, it was just sprinkling again. By the time I peeled off my wet clothes, it had stopped.

So there will be more showers off and on all evening. It is predicted to do the same for tomorrow. So no overnight ride this weekend either. I swear it is something weird and wacky almost every weekend that prevents an overnight ride since I came back in September. I am so ready to be done with 2017 and try again/do-over/start afresh in 2018.

The best thing about this whole ‘unprecedented rain event’: it knocked the temperatures right back. We’ve had two weeks above 30C (88F) each day and the last week we’ve had a couple 35C (95F) days that were hot AND humid. So temps in the 70s feel absolutely delightful – and it’s a chance to get the heat out of the house!

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