Tag Archives: rain ride

It wasn’t supposed to rain

There was no rain in the weather forecast when I went to bed last night. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. So what do I wake up to? Rain. OK, heavy drizzle, but certainly nothing that’s going to dry up in the next 35 minutes and let me ride my “nice” bike. Plus the “leisurely” 35 minutes I allow between the alarm going off and getting out the door suddenly becomes not-so-leisurely as you have to get all your wet-weather gear on. Motivation for doing things more-quickly seems dulled by the realization you’re going to have a tougher time out there because you’re riding a bike with slower tires, fenders, and an accumulation of crud from the past few rain rides.

But the icing on the cake? The rain bike (my Trek 5900) has a flat tire. Discovered at 7:28am. Need to be out the door by 7:32am to get to the start in time. Still got a few other things to do… this isn’t going to work out. So I grab the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket instead and head out the garage, with Kevin, at 7:38 I think. This was one of those “We’re not going to make it, are we?” moments. On our “nice” bikes it’s an 8 to 9 minute ride to the start. On dry roads. Figure 11 minutes on rain bikes in the muck. 10 if you push it. The ride leaves promptly at 7:45am. We arrive promptly… at 7:48. Nobody’s there (they shouldn’t be, they know the rules!) but was anybody there? We look for tire tracks, but it’s inconclusive. On Albion I’m pretty sure I see recent tracks though. No way to catch whomever might be ahead of us, so instead we ride up through the midpoint and backward on the route, from Sky Londa to Kings, hoping to catch them in the other direction. It worked; we came across John and Eric descending towards Sky Londa, just slightly behind schedule.

Because my Bike Friday doesn’t have fenders I rode in the back; in general, riding when it’s wet, without fenders, isn’t allowed on this ride. It’s just not nice to have water spraying up at everyone else, but of course I’m a professional rider on a closed course. Not! I’ll look into some fenders for my Bike Friday; hadn’t give it any thought up to now, but it’s actually a very capable rain bike. The small tires didn’t have an issue on the tar stripes, and the brakes worked better than expected.

In the end the ride was only 29 miles total, not 30.4, but that’s a lot better than not riding at all. And it gave us a chance to figure out what needs to be done to reintroduce ourselves to real winter riding, when it’s a lot colder than 44 degrees. Need to remember things like wearing a hat under the helmet (allows you to keep the rain out of your eyes by simply tilting your head down a bit) and which gloves work best when soaked (none of them).

Sometimes it rains on your plans (even when you planned for rain!)

We knew it was going to be raining today; one of those few times where the weather forecast is for 100% rain. Still don’t understand what 100% rain means, since anything 40% or above basically means it will rain, and 100% rain clearly doesn’t mean it’s going to rain any harder than a 40% rain day. It was fairly obvious though that it made since to plan for rain, so that’s what we did, a non-epic 45 mile ride out to the coast via Old LaHonda, 84 & Tunitas on the return. I’ve ridden up Tunitas when it was really coming down hard, and it was a lot of fun!

So today Kevin and I were prepared for having fun in the rain, but of course, the first thing that breaks up fun is that it didn’t really rain per so, just a persistant drizzle. What’s with that? Your bike is more messed up by drizzle than heavy rain; drizzle doesn’t clear anything off the road, nor does it wash your bike. It just creates muck, and without it seeming like the elements are against you, your motivation wanes. It’s also a bit less motivating when there’s nobody else out there riding, no rabbits to catch in front of you, no dogs trying to catch you from behind. Still, you’re on a bike, and at least you have the motivation of knowing that you’re out there while others are staying home, sitting out the storm. Or, as some might think, stupid people are out riding and smart people are waiting a few hours for it to clear up a bit!

The ride was not without its excitement though, when 3/4 of the way up Old LaHonda Kevin had one of his all-too-often-lately (and all-too-often-on-Old LaHonda) seizures. As is the case with most, he had enough warning that he was able to stop and get off the bike, but this one was strong enough that it gave him quite a headache afterward so we had to alter our plans and just loop over the backside of Old LaHonda and head home, turning our planned 45 mile ride into about 25.

A Coke in the rain. Kevin almost has the product-placement right, but he's obscuring the label a bit.

We did make a stop at the Sky Londa market for a Coke, since the caffeine would help with his headache (not as well as the meds he’s supposed to bring with him but didn’t, but the only thing more unexplainable than random seizures would be the general workings of the 18-year-old brain).

The red line shows the normal route home (over Jefferson); the squiggly stuff shows the short-cut Kevin chose.

Aside from the Coke, Kevin always feels progressively better (after one of his seizures) as he keeps riding, and for some reason wanted to do a tour of the back roads around the Easter Cross above Redwood City. So, add in another two miles of riding in circles (probably looks pretty strange on the Garmin readout!).

Not fun to think about my last ride for a week being a washout; late Monday night I fly to Washington, DC for the annual League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Summit, where we meet with every legislator on the ‘hill, trying to convince them that it makes sense to not cut bike projects out of the budget. I don’t get back until late late Thursday night/Friday morning, so my next ride will be a week from today.