I was talking to a friend last night and mentioned that I had ridden 17 miles earlier in the day. “That’s odd,” she said. “There isn’t an update to your blog!”
As an important an influential blogger, I sometimes forget that many people – sometimes in numbers soaring to double digits – check this site for updates on my incredibly exciting and informative cycling adventures. It should be noted, however, that I do not find all of my rides to be either exciting or informative and thus I do not share them with you. You’re welcome. If you are curious about my progress, you can check my odometer in the top right portion of the blog. This allows you, Dear Reader, to visit the site, see my progress, and say things like, “How lovely. Steve has managed to crack the 2,050 barrier.”
Something of mild interest happened today, which brings us to today’s subject: cycling in the rain. I almost never do this, except on those rare occasions when I misjudge my weather forecast and get stuck in a thunder shower out in the middle of nowhere. This March, I purposefully set out on the Vasaloppet ride in the midst of a deluge. That’s the last time I cycled in the rain until this morning, when I shoved off in order to get a training ride in before next weekend’s Reston Century.
Experienced cyclists are prepared for rain. They have rain jackets and fenders for their wheels. They often have a special bike they use so their special (and usually insanely expensive) road bike isn’t exposed to the elements uneccesarily. I have none of those things and I therefore was able to experience cycling in the rain in all its glory.
Without fenders, I was able to experience the unique sensation of cold water hitting my backside and running into my seat. This is caused by an arc of nasty/filthy water running off the rear tire and arcing majestically in what is known as a “rooster tail.” With enough speed, you can get some spray off the front wheel as well, thus doubling your pleasure.
One must be a tad careful in the wet as brakes are less effective and (oddly enough) the road can be quite slippery. I was unable to wear my sunglasses due to the poor visability, meaning my eyes were exposed to the rain drops that were pelleting my face. I need to get some clear glasses for inclement weather. My shoes quickly became saturated, making me wonder if there is some sort of product besides cling wrap that could waterproof my socks.
When I finished the ride, I toweled off the bike and relubed the chain. I then looked at myself and was surprised to see an incredible amount of road grime on me. I guess those rooster tails kick up quite a bit of sand while they’re spraying you. My shower was like the ones you take after going to the beach.
In spite of the conditions, I finished a 16.8 mile circuit only one minute slower than I did on Saturday (See? I did a short ride and didn’t blog about it!) in good weather. I’ll try to knock out a couple rides on Monday and Tuesday before I build up what little strength I can muster for Sunday’s century ride.