Weather Forecast = rain all day, which actually meant continuous mist and spitting precipitation with scattered "rain" and intermittent downpours!
Training plan reads: road ride of 5 hours!
No worries...pull on the big rain boots, put on a big poncho and get out the umbrella right?...hardly! Although with the weather as it was I wasn't exactly super motivated to get out the door, it is really key to just get going. So after breakfast and wishing I could just cuddle up on the couch and watch movies all day, I finally managed to get myself together. Lucky for me although the forecast was rain it was relatively warm out (low 70's) and stickily humid. I drove down the street to avoid riding on the wet dirt roads from the house, as if maybe I would stay clean enough for this to make sense!
I rolled out of the lot wearing an undershirt, bibs, knee warmers, a jersey, a vest, some wool arm warmers (highly recommended, those things are awesome!), socks and my cycling shoes. At first I felt slightly suffocated by all the layers and warmth on my upper body but I knew it was wise to keep it all with me and just unzip layers, because I would most likely need/want them later.
The first hour was just a nice mist that barely stuck to the lenses of my glasses and I thought "oh this is kinda nice, this weather isn't soo bad"...I think the weather
God's heard me and thought "ahahhh, we'll show her!" Knowing it would be a long day I had been in super hydration mode all morning...and for those of you that know me you know how I'm usually obsessive about drinking water so to be in super mode is most certainly overkill. As was to be expected it didn't take long before I was looking for a bathroom break. I had found a nice road along a lake and was enjoying my ride when I saw a local lake front party store...one of those places you can tell is a local hang out in the winter months but would be swamped with all the cottage goes in the summer and most likely makes most of it's sales off of pizza and beer. I stopped in to use the bathroom and bought a Gatorade so I could continue to foster my need to go to the bathroom for the remaining 4 hours of the ride. As I left the party store the rain Gods were thundering with laughter as they opened their arms and let the ocean above pour down! I was stoked as I threw my leg over my saddle and pedaled away, spraying through every puddle I could find, like a puppy on a walk has to walk through every one! You have to understand once you are wet and dirty it really doesn't matter any more and it is like the more the merrier, at least when it is a bearable temperature that is the case! The rain Gods seemed appalled that I was enjoying myself in this and they tried harder to phase me but it didn't work, it just fueled my adrenaline and made it more fun! It is always kinda fun to be around the lakes when this sort of weather comes because generally they will have overflow onto the low sections of road and there is no feeling quite like riding your bike through a huge puddle where the water seems to engulf your legs up to the knee...or mid calf I suppose for the average person. In any case throughout the ride I was blessed with a few periods of complete downpour and other than that just some scattered showers, lots of mistiness, and some "dry air" if you can call it that, considering the humidity. The roads never dried and I could feel the grit from the roads spraying from my saddle to my neck. I road through one of the local park paths which has recently been repaved. The 7-8foot wide path of new blacktop was glossed over with glistening water and I could see the reflection of the over reaching trees as I road through the quite woods! It was one of the most enjoyable portions of my ride.
It was quite the day, with numerous bathroom stops (I was certainly staying hydrated!) and wondering around on roads I didn't know existed I could only think of how lucky I truly was to be out getting drenched in the wonderful rain. As I returned home my feet were still swimming in water and I no longer had any clean locations on my body to wipe my wet hands on. I road right past my car and onto the dirt road, as getting dirt had this point no longer mattered and I wasn't about to get in my car at my present state. I road my bike right to the side of the house with the hose and spent a good half hour or so spraying off my bike, washing my shoes, and stripping layers one by one, washing each on the paver patio and spraying the sandy grim from my hair to my toes, finally clean enough to warrant walking into the house. My feet were wrinkled like a dried up prune and I just had to smile at the experience of the whole day!
There is something special about riding in a rain like that! Be sure to try it sometime...you might be surprised by what great fun it can be!