Rider vs. Rain

Rule #9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

I can still feel the thunder like a base drum as I nervously waded through the city streets, our group ride abruptly interrupted by a flash flood. During my first century, the sky opened up at mile 65, beating water on our backs, the ultimate test of our commitment. I placed in a Gran Fondo climbing competition on a cold, dreary day in the middle of Pennsylvania and I will forever think of Tour de France rider Bobby Julich when I throw on my black rain jacket. He sold it to me at a bike swap because the manufacturer cut it too short for the Schlecks.

What is it about the rain? Why does it have an almost mythical quality when we’re on our bikes? Sure, anyone can pedal effortlessly under the warmth of the sun, but it’s the dark, stormy days that test our cycling loyalty.shoes Continue reading

Against the elements

Maybe I should have taken a cue from the Tour of California today and examined the sky a little closer before embarking on a long ride. What’s a little rain, anyway? At first, it was merely a refreshing mist, keeping me cool as I whizzed along. An hour in and my chamois was expanding like a tiny foam dinosaur in water. My back marked by a jagged mud splash lightening bolt, I soldiered on. SUVs splashed by. Drivers shot strange looks, as though I was wandering along the shoulder in an orange jumpsuit.

The sloshing kicked in at mile 10 as I felt the side-effects of my extremely well-ventilated shoes. It was like pedaling through a fish tank. I shared the day with ducks and snapping turtles, unfazed by the driving rain. Continue reading