It was the Monday after Easter and it was raining enough to where Travis said for me to not feel bad if I didn’t bike outside. The next few days were to be cooler and rainy, so if I can I will opt to ride in the rain with warmer weather vs. ride indoors. It’s the psychology of it all, warm rain is much more tolerable than cold. If there isn’t a lot of wind that’s even better, and I was kind of lucky in that retrospect.
I put on my jacket over my jersey, grabbed Nikita and headed out for our second ride. I opted to go through less puddles this day, due to her chain having been soaked with water less than 24 hours earlier. I’ll admit, I was a little chilly when I started out; however I was not going to regret my decision for getting out in fresh air.
Sunglasses helped keep wetness out of my eyes as I pedaled forward into the waterlogged world around me. I coasted through a puddle that made me think of a small pond, the water splashing up and out, hitting my socks perfectly. Yup, my shoes and socks were going to be a soaked mess again!
I headed to the first set of switchbacks past Dug Road, hearing my tires grind the gravel into the cement. The grinding crunch makes me feel strong and powerful with no particular reason why it should. I slither up the hill, muscles pushing and retracting, my breathing heavy, and water dripping down my face. When I got to the top of the switchbacks I looked down towards the hill that I would be going down (fast!) and let myself have a deep sigh.
It’s hard to breathe with your nose when rain is splashing you in the face, trying pathetically to drown you in droplet form. I descended down the hill, puddle water splashed in my face and mouth. I looked down for a second and saw all the drowned worm bodies littering the trail. “Worm guts are flying in my mouth…” I decided that I would try to keep my mouth shut after that, because for whatever reason the idea of worm guts in my mouth just disturbed me. (I probably won’t care the next time I ride in the rain.)
The rest of the ride was typical and I relished the “deep clean” feeling that I get when I ride in a nice rain. By the time my ride was over the sun started to peek out from the clouds (just a little) and the air warmed up slightly. I had started to dry off by evaporation and I was feeling mighty good, it’s all just another good reason to go ride in the rain.
Some things to keep in mind for riding in the rain:
1. A wind and waterproof jacket will dramatically improve your ride and tolerance to the elements.
2. Wider tires are a benefit on wet/slick surfaces. If you have the option, save your road bike for a better day if you're not experienced with riding in rain.
3. Give yourself more time to go around corners, slow up, and do not slam on your brakes!
4. If you splash in puddles or ride on a lot of wet days, check your chain to see if it needs to be lubed.
5. Sunglasses will keep water from splashing in your eye, particularly handy for those who wear contacts.
6. Be watchful of leaves or painted surfaces, they are slick!