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Monday, May 14, 2012

Hennessy Hammock and Bartleby's Rainy TOSRV

05/13/12 0m

Sunday I slept overnight in my Hennessy Hammock. I did take a little bit of time getting situated inside the hammock, but then I slept very well. After 0100 it rained heavily, but I was snug and dry in the hammock. A few thoughts on the hammock:

It was cool out, 58F, and the hammock was quite cool due to the airflow around it. The thermal pad below me and a wool Navy blanket were more than sufficient for the temperature.

One thing about the hammock it that's it's a dedicated, specialized shelter; the benefits come at the cost of adaptability. It's difficult to put on a sweater inside of the hammock, or to do much other than recline, and ordinarily that's no problem - but when it's raining outside you're limited to reclining, so things you might do in a tent - sitting up, changing clothes, making a sandwich - are constrained.

As I lay in the hammock the thought did occur to me that the hammock does somewhat resemble an REI bodybag, and then I realized that to a passing (hungry) bear I probably looked like a wrapped candy treat.

I really enjoyed the sleep in the hammock, and the freedom from sleeping on the ground. Even with the rain fly deployed there was a gentle breeze and no condensation accumulation.

DFL beats DNF double-beats DNS

Peering out of the hammock at the heavy rain at about 0500, I was very reluctant to get out of the dry shelter. I didn't bring rain gear or cold gear because of the (optomistic) forecast; no fenders or rain capes.

I checked my smartphone and the weather forecast offered no respite for 12 hours, well beyond my welcome in the park. On Saturday night you're a welcome bicycle tourist; on Sunday night you're a hi-viz vagrant.

Cold and wet outside, warm and dry inside; my lizard brain suggested staying inside. As 0600 rolled around I awoke to the sound of other bicyclists breaking camp, some clamoring into vehicles (to drive home) and others putting on rain gear and doing the carpe diem bit. I considered my options and channeled the spirit of Bartleby the Scrivener, saying "I would prefer not to" out loud to nobody in particular.

I dozed off while considering Bartleby's wisdom, a man ahead of his time who occupied Wall Street persistently in spite of being urged to leave, and who simply asserted his capacity to assert: I would prefer not to. When I thought of stepping out into the chilly rain, Bartleby's shibboleth rang in my head.

A large RV started its engine and teased the possibility of transport to Columbus, so I exited my shelter and tried to scrounge a ride, offering $50 for a lift, but they did not find it persuasive. I made the rounds of others who were filling cars with bikes and gear, but they lacked either a seat or a space on the rack, or both, and so I scarfed a doughnut and went back into the hammock to wait for better developments. I couldn't finagle my way onto the cargo truck, either.

The sun rose and I took my cellphone out of the ziploc bag and called for a lifeline; a friend in semi-quasi-nearby Springfield would come and pick me up, and drive me to my awaiting car in Columbus (and then drive himself back to Springfield). I am grateful for his willingness and his six hours. I spent the time waiting for the ride in the lobby of the local Holiday Inn, which was kindly giving breakfast to riders and wouldn't take any money for the eggs and coffee from a non-guest.

The second half of my TOSRV didn't even make it to DNF (did not finish); I was a DNS (did not start). I did get a night's experience in the hammock in the rain; I did get to ride a Century on Saturday; and it just seemed like bad judgment to choose to ride 105 miles in a chilly rain, on a road bike with no fenders, without any rain gear. I would prefer not to.

Compliments and Mega-Props

All self-justification aside, my compliments and mega-respect to the hard men and hard women who saw the conditions, remembered Rule5 (HTFU), and went out and did what they'd planned to do. You rock.

1 comment:

  1. I've acquired an Eagle's Nest Outfitter's hammock for my summer touring plans. So far it's only had a back yard test. First overnight test is planned for this weekend while car camping with the Cub Scouts. I'm glad to read yours provided good shelter in the rain and moderate temps. I'm hopeful for similar results with my rig. Then it's off to my summer touring plans. Though I may pack a rain shell regardless of the forecast.

    Good call not to attempt a wet 100 miles unprepared.