Monday, January 18, 2010

Riding in the rain

It's one thing to ride in the rain in Belgium. If you didn't you wouldn't be able to ride very often. But in California, things are a bit different. First of all there are more dry days than rainy days so if you just sat out the rain, you would barely see the difference in your training. So therefore riding in the rain becomes a test of character. Every self-respecting California racer will post at least one comment on Facebook to show how brave they were (or are going to be) enduring rain.

Yesterday was one such test at the Early Bird Criterium in Fremont. It rained all morning long and then some. We decided to go late and arrived at noon. There was barely anyone there and if it hadn't been for Team Specialized, one of the co-promoters, there wouldn't have been anyone at all except maybe the San Jose BC Juniors who all left early, wet and hypothermic. The riders that were still there at noon, were invariably cold, wet, and muddy. They looked miserable. By the time the pro-1-2-3 race rolled around there were 13 die-hard souls left, more than half of them from Specialized. No pros, they knew better.

Although the afternoon races were dry, by that time nearly everyone was so soaked and cold, racing was no longer in the cards. Everyone looked like the pros did in last year's tour of California, dirty and numb. There is a reason why they moved the Tour to May.

Yesterday was the first day of rain in a while and we are told to brace for a whole week of nonstop rain that may bring mayhem and flooding to the area. This morning I experienced the first of it. One of our overflow drains was clogged and the patio flooded. I spent several hours out there bailing water. Not fun. Because California storms, unlike the steady drizzle to mild rain one sees in Belgium, are vicious water dumps accompanied by gale force winds that bring down trees and power lines. Belgium rain is not fun for sure, but it is quite a bit different from a Northern California soak. A water repellent jacket is usually enough over there, unlike here where nothing but plastic, held down with duck tape, can provide meaningful shelter.

Last week I spent most of my time at the JP Morgan healthcare investor meeting so my workouts were low key. On Monday I rested, on Tuesday I ran 5 mi on the treadmill before going to the meeting. On Wednesday I rode on rollers for an hour, and on Thursday, after the meeting ended, I finally went on a real 30 mi bike ride, testing out my new tubeless tires.

Friday I rode my mountain bike for 20 miles in Redwood Park and Saturday I rode another 40 mi on my tubeless road tires. I am sold. I have been riding tubeless on my mountain bike for over three years and I can't say enough good things about it. It appears road tubeless will be equally satisfying.

Sunday, when the rains started I ran for an hour on the treadmill before going to the Early Birds with Alistair.
(Photo credit: Jennifer Lanier)

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