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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Mammoth down on Pescadero Road!

Hard to believe the storm of the decade was just a few days ago!
Hard to believe the storm of the decade was just a few days ago!

The scale wasn’t telling a very pleasant tale after not having ridden since December 4th (that and finding the food in Peru to be very much to my liking!). No question, this was not going to be a fast ride! But that worked out well since we had Alec (from our Redwood City store) along with us, and Alec doesn’t have too many miles yet. Plus he’s a nice guy and fun to talk with, all of which works for a more social-paced event.

Of course, it had to be the usual. Coastal classic, once again. Up Old LaHonda, down the other side, past the duck pond in LaHonda, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage Road to Tunitas and over the hill home.

Fallen Mammoth on Pescadero Road
Fallen Mammoth on Pescadero Road
Met up with Laura Stern on the way up Old LaHonda, which kinda killed the idea of taking things really easy (for both of us; there are some people, like Laura and I, that find it difficult to just ride easy when you come across each other. It’s not a competitive thing, just something happens where you just can’t ride too slowly, maybe it’s a respect thing?). Still, Kevin and Alec came up very shortly afterward.

We did make one unscheduled stop, to take pictures of the fallen-over mammoth at the farm on the left, a couple miles before Pescadero. There’s actually two giant prehistoric iron replicas in the field, but the triceratops, closer to the road, has never lost a battle. Only the mammoth has been seen to fall over after a heavy rain. After that came the mandatory stop at the Pescadero Bakery, although just for cokes this time, as we’d eaten far too much before starting the ride, thanks to using the Woodside Bakery as the designated meeting place.

Don't worry, we normally don't ride 5 abreast; this was for the photo
Don’t worry, we normally don’t ride 5 abreast; this was for the photo

Heading north on Stage we became a larger group as we came across Linda Jackson, President and founder of the women’s Tibco racing team. Thankfully, she, too, was riding at a social pace today! We even had one of those rare days without a headwind on Stage Road. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Tunitas? That was to be the star attraction of today’s ride, getting to see (and hear) water actually running in the creek again, and it didn’t disappoint. No speed records today; it might have been possible to get under an hour from the coast, but that would have been pushing Alec just a bit too hard.

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