Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I love riding in 35F rain going sideways

You probably think this is going to be a rant, or at least I'm being facetious. I'm not. I really don't mind heading out when most regular people cower inside. True, the weather over the past three days disrupted plans to get some distance work in. A five hour ride when it is raining, windy as heck and 35F would suck and is probably foolish. So you have to roll with the punches and at least get some intensity in. Shorter, intense, sub-glycogen depleting rides let your body generate more than enough heat to stay warm.

High tech clothing helps too. Pearl Izumi AmFib tights perform marvelously in pouring raing. They are not water proof, but use some of the most hydrophobic material I own. They hold air, not water, so maintain a thermal barrier against the elements. Lobster mitts and a windproof balaclava help out with those extremities. Neoprene booties over plastic baggies can keep the feet dry for hours. I do not ride a fendered bike. I use only a flamingo rear fender to keep the derriere dry.

Rain at or just above freezing is the most challenging weather to train in. Any colder, it turns to snow and that is ok. Any warmer, risk of hypothermia is greatly reduced. So when you go out to drill it for 90 minutes, you really don't notice how misserable it is. Just pray you don't get a flat.

So what is the best part of riding in 35 degree rain going sideways? It is what makes nice weather special. Tucson is looking extra special right now:


Mookie said...

Suffered miserably Sunday for 2.5+ hours. Went into the hills to keep warm only to freeze my cajones off on the descents. Nearly blown off the bike on numerous occasions. I just "pretended" I was Belgian. Main issue was feet. I take it you put the baggies over your socks?

CB2 said...

I'd say "you suck", but with 5 days of weather approaching or exceeding 60*F, I'll just remind you to wear sun block.
Have a great trip.

Hill Junkie said...

For the feet, I start with wool cycling socks, Sidi Dominator MTB shoes not buckled too tightly, then grocery store baggies over whole shoe, pulling them up to shins. Then pull Performance neoprene booties over that, making sure the AmFib tights overlap the top of the booties so water doesn't run inside of them. No need to worry about cutting hole in baggie, as they are so thin I think any clipless pedal will just cut right through them. I've even used this method with Speedplay pedals, although I used a lighter booties since the Performance have thick rubber soles that don't work well with X-series pedals.

plum said...

About 2.5 on Saturday and even my best woolies couldn't keep my feet from becoming popsicles. Usually I run booties but the hassle of getting them on and off has worn on me. Shopping bags are an interesting thought; we only have about 4,000 of them so maybe that's worth a go.

gewilli said...


Man there are rides you'd never be allowed to join. Some places require your fenders to be no more than 3" above the pavement level.

Selfish fenders not allowed.

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