It was one of those “There’s a 60% chance we’re going to be 100% drenched before the end of this ride” nights. As it turned out, there was a 100% chance we’d be 60% drenched. I liked the latter anyway as downpours can get to be a little degrading while a little rain cools down an otherwise hot ride…
It was warm at least, 84 degrees. At 2 pm the weather channel said that there was a zero percent chance of rain at 5:00, a 34% chance at 6:00 and back down to 2% at 7:00. Um, oops. Only four of us showed up and thankfully I did choose the rain bike for the evening. Also on the plus-side, it was me, Mike, Phil and Dale…no thoroughbreds.
Now, before I get into the ride, I would like to personally kick the crotch of whoever came up with the idea that the bike doesn’t matter. There’s somewhere in the middle of a four and five pound difference between my 5200 and my Venge. It freaking matters, I felt every extra pound. Yeah, aero isn’t that big a deal? Allow me to call bullshit on that right now! If you don’t know what you’re missing it doesn’t matter… Or better, the disadvantage can be countered with more effort, but bet your ass, it matters. I kept up, sure. Took all of my turns up front too, but Phill and Mike had their race bikes and they busted my ass. It sucked! In a good way though. Call me a masochist. I’m okay with it, but only when it comes to cycling.
It was gnarly looking before we ever pulled out of the parking lot. Mike and I took the first six miles or so, with a crosswind then a tailwind for 4-1/2 miles. Phill and Dale took the next three, then we formed up into a single file echelon when we turned southwest into the 20-25 mph sustained south wind.
Rather than mess with a blow-by- blow, suffice it to say, it was hard. Two miles from our 21 mile turn-off the rain started and it was looking nasty. Not quite “seek shelter immediately” nasty, but close enough for it to be a little spooky (fortunately, no thunder or lightning). We dropped Dale, who was riding on some tired legs so we sat up and waited for him to latch back on. He told us we should go on but I’m not dropping a guy in that crap when he’s just a hair off the pace. We had to wait one other time, but he was good to go after that.
24 minutes and eight miles later, we pulled into the parking lot. I let everyone know we had about three minutes to pack up before the real rain started. It took 2m:45s and wham, the deluge hit. We ended up finishing the 20-1/2 mile ride (the short version of Tuesday) at just over a 19.5 mph average. Considering that we went out easy, between 23 & 25 mph (we should have been over 28 with that tailwind) and that I was on the rain bike with tired legs – heck, we were all tired, I was very pleased with the result. Now, about that rain… I am not a fair weather cyclist, by any stretch but I can’t stand starting out in the rain… I don’t mind if it rains during the ride at some point after I’ve started (especially if I’m on the right bike), I just won’t go out if it’s pouring before I even walk out the door… And I ride enough that I can use those rain days for days off anyway. I don’t know what the mental block is and I’m sure I’d get over it in a hurry if it rained more than a couple of days in a row, but I can’t stand starting out in the rain.