This is a somewhat late ride report (ride was June 24th), but I’m combining it with my July 2nd ride, because they’re on a similar topic.
When I left my house to head to the bike trail, it was partly cloudy and relatively cool. The forecast was calling for scattered showers, but the radar was clear. I rode south on the trail, with the intent of doing 30 miles (thirteen going south, then turning around and riding 15 miles north, then doing the two miles south back to the car). It was gradually becoming more overcast, though it does this fairly often and doesn’t actually rain. I wasn’t so lucky. I was probably 8 miles down the trail when it started raining. At first it was a sprinkle, which I rode through, but gradually turned into a heavy shower. Now, I had never ridden in rain up until this point, and was not sure my dry-only (as suggested by the manufacturer) tires could handle this. I contemplated turning around, but decided that the best course of action would be to get to the trailhead that marks my turn-around for 24-mile rides and wait out the rain at the picnic shelter.
When I got there, I was rather…wet. And very glad I’d bought the Castelli Prologo jersey with the black body rather than the white one! Unfortunately, this particular jersey has a white stripe up the center, and I don’t have fenders, so the “rooster tail” from the rain got my jersey rather dirty. Could have been much, much worse. (Never mind the unfortunate display that might have resulted from a wet white jersey.) My back was wet (I’m pretty sure I voided the warranty on my cell phone), my shorts were wet, my shoes were wet, and my socks were wet. While under the picnic shelter drying out, I took the opportunity to rearrange my seat bag so I could fit my cell phone in it. I think I was there for five or ten minutes before it finally let up. When I left, instead of turning around, I decided to finish my intended ride, or at least the initial 26 miles of it.
The mile-long section of trail south of this point has an S-shaped curve in it, followed by a concrete-paved bridge (rather than asphalt). I don’t particularly like this section of trail, even in dry weather. The curve is a little tighter than I like, necessitating checking to see if anyone’s coming in the opposite direction, then riding in the middle of the trail at 9mph. This was even less fun in the rain, but I survived. It cleared up a bit as I headed north from my turn-around point, but clouded up again as I arrived back at the parking lot. I stopped for a bathroom break, and by the time I got back out, it was raining– heavily–again. I spent about ten minutes under a tree chatting with another cyclist while we waited for the rain to ease up. It slowed to a shower, and we both decided that it looked like it was going to stop in the next few minutes, so we headed out in opposite directions.
It didn’t stop. I was planning on only riding two more miles up to get in my four for a total of 30, but on this particular section of north-bound trail, my bike computer picks up some major interference, so it has a tendency to underestimate my mileage. Since I couldn’t see the mile markers painted on the trail, I just rode up to the next major intersection and turned around. Southbound, my computer is accurate for some reason, and I can simply do some mental math to figure out how far I rode. It turned out I had ridden an extra four miles, for a total of 34. On this last leg, it rained for all but the last mile…and then I got dripped on by all the trees lining the trail. By the time I got back, I was freezing. I stripped off my shoes and socks at the car and changed into my spare shoes, then bought myself a pulled pork sandwich and potato salad from one of the restaurants nearby. I also picked up a latte from the Starbucks on the way home to warm me up…having the heating on in the car helped too!
All in all, apart from the wet chamois, it was actually a lot of fun. My tires held up better than I expected in the rain, but if I were to make a habit of this, I’d have to get new tires. The Kriteriums don’t shed water fast enough for my liking. I backed off a bit on speed, which is probably a good thing, but kept up a pretty good pace. I think I might also need some better clothing. I was freezing in a regular jersey. One of these days, I might buy a nice wool one, since wool retains its warmth even when wet.
I got another chance to ride in the rain on July 2. It was my bike’s “birthday” ride (I bought her on July 2, 2009, you see), and I took her out for a 24-mile ride. It was horrendously humid when I got out (7:30am). I was on my way home when it started drizzling–just a few drops at first. I probably would have missed most of it had I not had to stop to tweak my saddle. I did have a nice conversation with a few people who were heading out for their ride while I did so, though. It got steadily heavier, but certainly wasn’t nearly as bad as my first rain ride. I made the mistake, again, of wearing a jersey with a lot of white on the back. Hello dirt! (Luckily, it came out.)
I had to clean the bike after that ride, though. (I didn’t clean her after my July 2nd ride because she is now at the bike shop with a creaky bottom bracket.) Well, I left it until that Sunday, since I used it as a recovery day. Unlike my last attempt at cleaning the bike, I have figured out the secret to using the Park Tool chain cleaner, so it was somewhat less messy. And she’s all pretty and shiny again! (Except the chain rings. I don’t think there’s a good way to clean them without taking them off, and that’s beyond my skills at this point.*) Here’s the pretty and clean and shiny bike:
This never happens. (Though it might happen somewhat more frequently now that I’m riding more often…and will presumably get caught in the rain a few more times!)
*Well, I could probably take them off. Getting them back on (in a manner that renders the bike rideable) is a different thing all together…