Should have ridden rain bike (but didn’t want to!)

I knew it was going to be iffy going to bed; the rain should have stopped in the middle of the night (which it did) but the wind was supposed to be so light (which it was) that the roads likely wouldn’t dry off (which they didn’t). I knew all this, and still rode my nice bike (Trek Emonda).

Eric, Kevin (pilot, not my son, who had a guidance counselor appointment this morning), JR, Jeff, and Jeff’s too-fast friend Roger came out to play. Pretty easy pace through the park and up Kings, but not quite so easy that most moved up the road ahead of me a bit. At one point on Skyline a bit of a gap opened up with Kevin, Jeff & Roger up ahead and JR, Eric and I falling behind. For some reason I felt a need to bridge that gap, which I did, and I’ve been feeling that effort since. Still, good to know it can be done if I put my mind to it.

The roads were, as mentioned, wet. Wet in that way that inspires a lot less confidence in your ability to stay upright than when it’s pouring. Thankfully everyone stayed upright. This group is used to riding wet roads.

Tomorrow morning Kevin (my son, not the pilot) and I head out into the scheduled rain with me putting my brand new rain/cross bike to the test for the first time. I’d finished building it tonight with its first ride being the commute home , and it passed the test with flying colors (whatever that means). Looking forward to disc brakes in the wet!

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Why I’m building a new “rain bike”

Last rinse for my old rain bike of many years?
That’s my 5900 rain bike in the background; Kevin’s had a disc-brake ‘cross bike for rain use for quite a while. If all goes according to plan, this will have been the 5900s last rain ride.

It’s time. I’ve been using my 2002 Trek 5900 as my “rain bike” since 2006 or so, and it’s been through a lot (of rain). It’s been through a ton of brake shoes (sometimes a full set after only 3 or 4 rides in the rain; descending Skyline eats them up fast). It’s been through a number of wheels (the sidewalls get eaten away by the brake shoes, causing them to explode apart every year and a half or so). And if it’s really mucky, you dare not ease off too much on the brakes or else you have to wait a couple seconds again for them to start working.

So I’m building up a new rain/utility/cross bike, a Trek Boone frameset plus the 10-speed Di2 group that came off my older Madone. 32,000 miles on the Di2 stuff, and it still seems to have some life left to it, so I’m going to find out exactly how much! The bike’s not finished yet (or else I would have ridden it this morning) but should be before my next ride in the rain. Curiously, it looks like we’re in for a bit of a dry spell after this current storm moves on, which is something of a disappointment! But I’m sure there’s still plenty more rain to come.

getting_awayIMG_6321-1This morning’s ride was messy, but no rain. Think we need to start enforcing the no-fenders no-ride rule though, as one of our regulars was spraying quite a bit of road muck on anybody who happened to be behind him. Who showed up? Kevin, Kevin, JR & George. I was holding up the rear, and today was one of those rare times my son decided to hang with me. Considering my time off the bike lately, I wasn’t unhappy at all with about 31 minutes on my rain bike, even being able to see the others finish just ahead of us.

The skies continued to clear up as we rode, but not soon enough to avoid descending 84 on a wet road. Amazing how we’ve gotten used to riding at a pretty good clip on wet roads; makes you wonder how much faster we could descend when dry, if we really pushed it. I’m not actually too interested in finding out (and yet I do think there should be a separate Strava category for descending when wet, which would certainly encourage me to push things maybe just a bit too far).

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