Thank Goodness For My Inglorious Rain Bike
I beat the rain bike up pretty good Sunday morning. It had rained much of the day Saturday and well into the night, but we woke up to 60° temps (15 C) and partly cloudy skies. The roads were really, really, very, incredibly wet… but I wasn’t about to miss sunshine and 60°! Normally, 60 isn’t anything to write home about, but in Michigan, in March, 60 is glorious and rare.
Within a mile I had water and dirt dripping off the frame and drivetrain but because the bike is so solid, I had no worries. I just rode on with my buddy, Chuck well off to my side and back so to hold the social distancing norm. My Venge was sitting protected and comfy in my bike room.
My rain bike isn’t perfect, of course. It takes a noticeable amount of added effort to keep her spun up and rolling, but it’s a nice trade-off, actually… I’ve gotta put more effort into it so when I switch over to my Venge, I’m that much faster on it.
The first fourteen miles were wet and gnarly, into a mild headwind, but as we approached our stop, the wind started to pick up. We still had eleven miles to get to tailwind. Five miles later and that once mild headwind was a 20+mph lesson in effort. Three miles later and we were getting into 30-mph gusts. I laughed out loud more than once. Three miles later, the pain was over. We turned for home, the wind having dried the roads out completely. And the push was worth the effort to get there.
My Garmin radar died first, then my Edge 520 Plus ran out of juice… then I ran out of gas. It had been a long week, I think, going from approximately 125 miles a week to almost 250 and without a day off the bike in two weeks. Even with the cross-tailwind I wanted to sit up and soft pedal home a few times. I didn’t, though. I stayed with Chuck, trying to break it down into miles… three to go, only nine minutes. Surely I can handle that. Two miles, less than six minutes. One mile.
I showered up and was off in nap land shortly after firing down some lunch. I woke up with a smile on my face and one hell of a dirty rain bike. An hour later, she was clean, lubed, drivetrain cleaned and lubed, and ready for another go.
My rain bike isn’t one of those ultra-cool aero road bikes. It’s not exactly a lightweight climber, either. It’s just an old Trek that was given a new lease on life. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with riding the bike, too, having rebuilt her from the ground up.
And she still tears it up in a fashion show… after I clean her up and dry behind her gears.