Tag Archives: rain

Perhaps riding a trainer on Zwift Island might be more sensible?

I was really looking forward to an epic, or at least semi-epic ride this morning. Unfortunately, indications were that the storm was largely heading to the north, leaving me with the icky drizzly stuff to contend with. Light rain, mist, the sort of riding that makes a total mess of your bike without the satisfaction of being out there in the elements.

It did start out that way, but turned out the ride had a bit of a kick to it after all! First off, nobody but me this morning. My son’s getting over a cold (and he seems to think it makes sense not to ride when sick; he certainly didn’t learn that from his dad!). I did come across a guy I know on an electric mountain bike who was descending Kings when I was about halfway up, and further up, a young woman whom I think we’ve seen a number of times before, also heading down. Funny. Nobody was going up! But me. Albeit kind of slowly. Very slowly. I was even concerned about being overdressed, as it was 46 degrees and, like I said, not much rain.

Until Skyline. As I headed south, it began to get a bit heavier, and you could hear the wind blowing through the trees. At Skeggs Point I rolled to a stop and put my lightweight jacket on (helpful hint- leave your zipper connected a few inches when you put it into your bag. It’s still easy putting it on over your helmet, and you won’t have to try and deal with a zipper that doesn’t want to connect when you’ve got gloves on).

The descent on Skyline to 84 felt fine; I was on my rain bike, with disc brakes and 28c tires and felt totally confident. No slippage, excellent braking. And, by the way, I was lit up like a Christmas Tree with multiple rear flashing lights to. Not taking any chances! But I was caught by surprise when I heard what sounded like nearby lightning! A loud crackling noise, and there, on the left-hand side of the road, part of a tree is crashing down to the ground and heading towards me! Truthfully I didn’t even notice how close it got until I looked at the video, and thankfully I’m almost impossible to rattle on a bike (nerves of steel, legs of lead?). But it’s pretty cool watching the video now; glad I had the camera rolling!

I stopped by the fire station at Sky Londa to report it, which they didn’t seem to take too seriously yet when I descended I saw a road-scraper truck heading up, so maybe. Hopefully nobody ran into it in the meantime; there were maybe three cars heading in that direction and no good way to warn anyone.

But yes, one begins to wonder if maybe spending a couple hours on a Wahoo Kickr trainer, one of those fancy ones we sell that varies the resistance according to whether you’re climbing, drafting, descending etc., and displays idyllic surrounding (at least until you get to some gnarly climb and you suffer like a dog!) might make sense on a day like this. –Mike–

What makes a great rain ride, and why you’d want one

Only one other rider out on the road this morning; the man in black! Think you can see why I'm not a huge fan of wearing all-black clothing on a bike.
Only one other rider out on the road this morning; the man in black! Think you can see why I’m not a huge fan of wearing all-black clothing on a bike.
How many people go to bed hoping to wake up to really hard rain for their bike ride? Not many I’m guessing. Most see it as a good excuse to ride a trainer, or maybe go out later in the afternoon when the forecast shows a break in the weather. But my son and I? We live for such crazy days. Days when there’s almost nobody out on the road, at least nobody that doesn’t have a really good reason to be there. Days when it’s not about riding fast, it’s about simply riding. Period. Riding because you can. Riding because your bike is an extension of yourself, and life is about pushing back against walls right? Limitations are things that others can’t do, but you’re not others.

And maybe that’s it. It’s about finding something that you can excel at. The easiest thing is to pick up a copy of OSQ (Obscure Sports Quarterly) and look for a sport where you might be a big fish in a small pond. Never mind the reality; that perhaps you become a bit player in a sport nobody cares about. But cycling is no longer a section in OSQ; cycling has arrived. It’s big, and getting bigger. So how do you make your mark in cycling? How do you push limits further than others? How do you make your name?

By doing things so stupid that others wouldn’t bother to try. It doesn’t start out that way; cycling is a significant part of your life, and you simply want to do more of it. Why let weather stand in your way? You go out on rides when the weather’s iffy, and sometimes get caught in the rain, making a mess of your bike and leaving you with a feeling that it just wasn’t that much fun out there. Maybe should have stayed home. Exactly the wrong way to look at life! You’ve identified a challenge. Should you run away from it? Heck no. Embrace it! Tell the dark clouds overhead to bring it on, ‘cuz you’re ready for it.

That’s about the best description I’ve come up so far for the state of mind that finds me out there in what most would consider to be miserable conditions. Preparation is key; you need a bike that’s reliable in messy conditions (and trust me, disc brakes make a HUGE difference, not just in stopping power but also control & traction), and the right apparel. You give up on trying to keep your legs dry; the key is to keep the engine running at a consistent speed. Don’t go too fast and risk running out of gas and getting cold, nor so slow that you don’t generate enough heat to stay warm. There’s a certain amount of skill in doing that. I’d say it’s safe to say Kevin and I have that skill.

But today wasn’t quite perfect. Sure, it was raining pretty hard a few times, and a good breeze blowing on Skyline. But it eased off just a bit towards the end, and a few hours later, stopped raining altogether. A perfect rain ride finishes hard (as in downpour), and it stays raining throughout the day, so you’re deluged with people saying “You rode TODAY???!!!” That would make it the perfect ride. 🙂 –Mike–