Well, not anymore. Tonight’s ride took care of that. This is the second time this week that I’ve come home from a ride soaking wet. Tuesday’s ride was my fault, since I rode an hour or so after a rain shower and I knew the roads would still be wet. Tonight’s drenching, however, was more of an unpleasant surprise, especially since I’d just finished scrubbing my bike from Tuesday’s ride.
The term “rode hard and put away wet” is just as bad for a bike as it is for a horse. Water does bad things to the metal parts of a bike, as do road grime and grit. I wiped down the bike after the Tuesday night ride, and thought I’d done a pretty good job. I didn’t pay much attention on Wednesday morning, but it was obvious when I got home from work that there was some cleaning left to do. There was a not very fine layer of grit over almost the entire bike, not to mention a flat rear tire. So, I set aside some time this evening before my planned ride to clean it up and fix the flat. Plus, it gave me a chance to check things out before the duathlon on Saturday.
It took me almost an hour to clean all the nooks and crannies, the chain rings and cassette, and repair the flat. I found a thin piece of wire sticking into the tire, which meant it was sticking into the tube as well. I must admit that there is something therapeutic about a methodical cleaning effort, where you must slow down and pay close attention to detail. As grungy as the job was, I enjoyed it (especially being done).
Once the bike was back together and I had most of the grease cleaned off my hands, I changed clothes and hit the road. The sky was patchy, but it looked like the rain had passed us by. I felt pretty good starting out.
Traffic was heavier than usual at that hour, and I seemed to be hitting every stoplight. Still, I was riding, and it was only about 75 degrees. I had a stiff headwind, but tucked down into the aero bars and shifted up a couple of gears for an easier time.
I should have known something was up when I hit the turn around point and turned back into a headwind. A headwind both ways? Hmm. I fought my way back through the stoplight gauntlet, and was about 5 miles from home when the first drops started. Just a sprinkle, nothing too bad. I considered pulling into a gas station to wait it out under the awning covering the pumps, but decided to push on. Just about the time I passed the station, the heavens opened up. No thunder or lightening, but lots of rain. I was soaked within minutes. Nowhere to stop now… just keep going.
Almost as quickly as it started, the rain stopped. For about a mile. Then it came back with a vengeance. I rode the last 2 miles home in a heavy downpour, soaked from head to foot. The worst part was knowing all the road grime that was getting thrown back into all those places I’d just washed so carefully.
I made it back home, and dried the bike off on the front porch before bringing it into the apartment. We’ll see how it looks when it’s completely dry in the morning.
On the positive side, I did finish my run and my ride today, which makes 5 days in a row for my planned workouts. I intentionally held back on the run this morning, since I’ve got a race on Saturday. I need to drive to Orlando tomorrow, and would like to get there early enough to pick up my race packet on Friday instead of waiting until race morning, but that will require some serous juggling of workouts and work. Darn that work thing.