I could live in the Mojave Desert and see rain 1 day out of the year and feel slighted as a cyclist. That’s just the way it is for me. I like the sunshine and love the feeling of warm air on a long ride. But, this is New England and even more specifically, Vermont. I have never seen the lake as low as it is which is obviously indicative of a dry summer. However, it seems that I have been preparing for rain on each of my rides as if it were not. Those that look forward to TNW! and GMBC Practice Crit knows what I mean. It still rains, and will do so at the exact same minute I decide to step out for a ride.
With a plan, it is no big deal. I went for a ride today with friend and Pro Training partner Adam Carr. The plan was to ride easy, get coffee, and then ride home. Perfect. But, we both procrastinated by hitting refresh on our Facebook and Twitter feeds and stepped out to darkening skies. Thankfully, I had a plan.
I packed my Castelli Sottile Rain Jacket and stepped out to prep my bike. Today was an easy ride but I still wanted to make sure the bike was in top shape. I just rebuilt my headset and I wanted to keep the fresh feel protected. I smeared a bit of ProGold Cycle Grease on the bottom junction of the head tube and fork crown to keep water out of it. I figure this would be easy to wipe off later. I also used the same grease on my chain. No I was not headed out for 6hrs of racing but still, no need to run the chain dry and decrease its life when prepping with grease only took 30seconds.
We all ride with fancy phones these days so protecting it in a bag of sorts is a great idea. GMBC and Local Motion had some Smartphone sleeves made up last year with Group Ride Etiquette printed on them and I never leave home with out it. Sweat and rain are the same thing so I like to keep my phone safe.
I did make an error on the ride. I went out with dark tinted Oakleys and Adam had clear. It got dark quick on our ride and I took off my glasses to see. Well neither of us had fenders so I had to opt for Winooski Road Goop in the face. Yuck. Clear would have been the way to go.
Returning home, I instantly cleaned the bike. I know, not a shocker. I wanted to get all the grit off the rims, brake pads and drive train. It only took a few minutes to do and with the aid of an air compressor the bike was new again.
I changed out of my kit and put the S-Works shoes on a boot dryer to prevent stink. All in all it was a good ride. Sure I got wet but my gear was no worse for wear. I am not one of the lucky Euro Pros who has a “rain bag” but I had a plan salvaged a great ride.
Body – rain jacket, chamois cream, and a warm weather embryo for the legs
Bike – grease on chain, grease on headset, and a desire to clean it when you get home
Gear – clear lenses, phone protector and headphones you do not care about.
Post Ride Plan – wash gear, dry shoes, hot shower.
*as a coach my only other piece of advice is to put a hydration solution n your bottles. You end to drink less when it rains but you get every bit as dehydrated. Make sure you have something that tastes good and forces you to take on the necessary fluids.