Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Riding in the rain

As I runner, I've always been really flexible about running in all kinds of weather. This past winter was a perfect of example of my willingness to take it outdoors, no matter what the conditions. I don't ever remember a winter as cold and snowy as this past winter. So what's a little rain? Meh. Getting wet never bothered a matter of fact, running in bad conditions makes me feel...shall I say, a little more badass than usual?


But in the past, as a cycler, I've been pretty reluctant to hit the road in anything but perfect conditions. Some would call me a fair weather cycler. The broken foot has changed all that. I need my endorphins and have started pushing past my comfort zone to get them. I've ridden in cooler conditions that I would have in the past. This morning, I rode in the rain.

I didn't plan it that way. When I checked the forecast, the weatherman was all optimistic. "The rain is moving out and the skies are going to clear," he declared. I looked at his radar and all that green on the map, indicative of rain, was moving east. I looked out the window at my deck, and while it was wet, there were no raindrops falling into the little puddles out there.

I put on one of my favorite running shirts, which really motivates me to move, and headed out the door. A cool, east breeze was blowing but I knew I'd warm up quickly. I clipped my shoes into the pedals and away I went.

I'm all dry and feeling optimistic today. I wanted to get in about 20 miles.
As I rode on, I started to feel a few drops of rain. No biggie, I thought, it's going to blow over. As I headed down the hill towards the tunnel that would take me onto the bike path, the raindrops began to increase. I took it slow, because I wiped out once on wet pavement, and it is an experience I don't care to repeat. 

It happened a few years ago. A crabby old man who was walking on the path yelled at me because I didn't call out to him that I was passing by. I hit my brakes and my back tire fishtailed underneath me. He laughed and told me I deserved to fall. I asked him what his problem was as his wife came over to help me up. She told me to ignore him, but that I really should alert people as I approached. I thanked her and told her I felt badly for her. I was pretty banged up, but I felt much worse about such a negative encounter, and now I always shout out to walkers and runners as I pass by.

Anyways, as I pedalled on today, I saw a few runners! The rain steadily increased but I pressed on. Because that is what I would do if I were running, right? My Garmin beeped to let me know that a mile had passed and I looked down to see a 4 min/mile pace. I was surprised, because I felt that I was moving pretty slowly. I had heard that using the shoes and toe clips would increase my efficiency, and now I wonder if that is what was happening, even as I tried to proceed with caution.

I made it to the forest preserve and the 3 mile loop. The wind picked up and the rain came down pretty heavily. It wasn't a downpour, which would have been painful--I've experienced a few of those as a runner--but it was enough to make me pretty uncomfortable. I could have used windshield wipers on my glasses! I felt safer on the loop than I did on the forest preserve path, and so instead of heading back on the path, I decided to make a couple extra loops around, heading home on the neighborhood streets. As I increased my speed, I passed a few walkers and runners. On my second loop, I passed another woman cycling. We smiled at each other. Yep.

I made it home after completing a total of 18.5 miles. My hands and feet were numb. I dried off my bike. When I took off shoes, my socks were soaked. It was then that I noticed all the debris up the back of my legs, shorts, and shirt. Kind of yucky, but kind of satisfying--I felt like I did something pretty awesome today. Some might call it pretty stupid. But it's what I needed.

The good thing about riding in the rain is that I had the path pretty much to myself! Silver lining....

And the post ride shower felt great!

Average mile time 4mins/mile. Not bad for a rainy day!


  1. Yeah I'd be afraid of wiping out. Did that and I've got titanium in my jaw to show for it.
    What a rude jerk to say you deserved to fall!

    1. Oh, that experience was something I'll never forget. I always look for him when I'm on the part of the path. I feel sorry for his wife, having to live with such a miserable a**hole!