The skies were overcast this morning with a 40% chance of showers forecasted in the morning. Not bad odds for Florida, particularly as there is always at least a 30% chance of showers this time of year. A quick look at the radar showed nothing significant rain wise, so I figured I’d be able to squeeze in the 40 mile Coconut Point ride with the gang from the Caloosa Riders.
Since it was a little darker than normal, I broke out my peep-colored jersey, nothing like a screaming yellow jersey to improve visibility, and switched out the dark lenses from my glasses to the amber ones. As an added precaution, I also zip-locked the contents of my jersey pockets…iPhones and rain do not get along well, switched on the blinky light on my helmet, and headed out to the Sweetbay Market to see what other riders were gambling on the weather.
For a while there, it looked like no one was going to show up, but eventually the braver souls of the gang started to show up. By the rides start time there were six of us in all, Angela, Tara, Jeff, Steve, Andy and myself, hoping to skirt the darker clouds and remain dry, but of course, mother nature had the odds stacked in her favor.
No sooner had we started the ride, a few drops of rain began to fall. An intermittent drop here and there at first increasing to a steady drizzle. As we continued, the drizzle turned into a shower, just enough to saturate the roads and make everything sloppy. Curious thing when riding in the rain is that you actually get wet more from the standing water on the ground than the actual falling rain. The combination of rooster tails from the bike in front of you and your own bike, plus the constant spray from passing vehicles will completely saturate you well before the falling rain soaks you.
As I have mentioned before, the actual falling rain isn’t really that bad, it’s the constant spray from the bikes and added road grit, with it’s awful crunchy texture that will really drive you bonkers…YUCK! The stuff gets all over your bike, your gears, on your clothes, on your face, in your shoes, between your toes, and even in your mouth. Trust me, road grit is not tasty. By the time we got to Panera Bread, we were all soaked through and through and looked like we had been participating in a cyclocross.
Hot drinks were the choice of everyone as waterlogged lycra on a cloudy day can chill you quickly. While we sat there under the patio umbrella, another group of cyclists pulled up for a ride break. I guess we were not the only ones crazy enough to be out on the roads. As we all refueled, the rain looked to be dying down, but right on cue, as soon as we started to mount up, the intensity picked up.
The ride back was surprisingly quick for the wet conditions. Normally a rides pace drops with rain, but ours actually increased, as we hovered around the 24 MPH mark. I guess we all just wanted to get out of the rain. I know I was getting tired of chewing on those nasty, crunchy, gritty morsels in my mouth. Curiously though, I was thoroughly enjoying the ride, even with the crappy wet conditions.
I have stated that I am guilty of being a fair weather cyclist, and frankly, had this not been a group ride, I would have opted to skip it, but being out the with friends made all the difference in the world. Sure, I still hate eating rooster tails and road debris, and I’m definitely not a fan of the post wet ride cleanup (I had to run my kit through the wash twice to get all the dirt out), but so long as there are others willing to enjoy the “fun”, you can always count me in.
Oh, and one more thing…Mother nature has a devious sense of humor. Just as soon as I arrived home, the rain stopped…lets hope it doesn’t come around for a second round during tonights Ride of Silence.
Ride Time: 2:02:46
Stopped Time: 55:00
Distance: 38.38 miles
Average: 18.76 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.40 mph
Ascent: 557 feet
Descent: 550 feet