Cyclists are a fickle bunch. We can’t wait to ride unless the weather isn’t just right. We grumble that it’s to cold, to hot, to rainy, to windy…..
I myself have a hard time getting started knowing that its raining and need to get out in it for a training ride. Funny thing is I don’t mind getting caught out in it I just can’t stand starting a ride in the rain. Having an organized training plan and knowing that when rain does fall on day where I know my work out will have big pay off helps me immensely.
Here are a few tips that have helped me get past a wet ride.
Ride with others
Getting out in the wet stuff for any amount of time isn’t just nasty its mentally taxing. Having a riding partner who is as committed as you are to making improvements goes a long way. Keep the conversation lite and flowing. I have had better rain rides when I have gone out with ridding buddies that are joking around swapping stories or just teasing each other. The less I talk about the weather itself the better I feel. Push your self and go on a group ride with people you have never ridden with before. Who know it might be a blast and you might make some new friends.
Use Chamois Cream and Embrocation
If you Know that your heading out into a down pour or may have the chance of getting stuck in one try Chamois Cream. Your local bike store and online retailers will carry several brands to choose from. Cycling bibs/shorts are the first to get soaked and if you are in down pour it won’t take long before your chamois is soaked through. I know its gross trust me. However if you liberally apply Chamois Cream you may find that the friction is nil or at the very least has been greatly reduced. I will also from time to time apply embrocation on my legs. Embrocation is a wonderful concoction of bees wax, herbs, capsaicin, and other creams. These concoction come in easy to use applicators or small tubs. When applying embrocation I will start high up on the thigh steering clear of the crotch and finish at the feet. Embrocation also fondly referred to as Belgian Knee Warmers. Embrocation in a way will waterproof your legs and keep them warm as the active ingredient capsaicin sinks into your muscles. Be warned that there are many different “heat” intensities when purchasing embrocation. Start off with something “Warm” to “Moderate” before trying the “Intense” versions. Also before hopping into a shower try to wipe off embrocation with a warm wet wash cloth. This will keep it from reactivating in the shower, ouch! Also when using embrocation wash your hands thoroughly and keep hands and fingers away form your eyes or other sensitive areas.
Dress for rain rides
There are NO magic clothes or jackets that will keep you dry on wet rides but there are a few things that can help. rain jackets can be a blessing and a curse. While a typical cycling rain jacket will keep the rain off of you it may turn into a sauna! The typical cycling rain jacket is a plastic creation with very little ventilation to speak of so you may just end up soaked in sweat. Wearing a wicking base layer may help keep you warmer but will also get soaked quicky weighing you down and eventually giving you a chill. If you can afford it go with a wool jersey, base layer and socks. While wool will still get and weigh you down it will not cause you to loose precious body heat. Also wool will not stink like lycra will.
Have warm dry clothes on the ready
When your done with your ride have dry clothes on the ready. If I am going to be arriving at a destination at a location other than my home I will pack clothes in a bag along with a towel. Never ever walk around in wet cycling clothes after a completing a long ride in the rain. While it’s not likely you will catch a cold you could however lower your core body temperature unnecessarily causing delayed on set fatigue/muscle soreness and lengthen your time to recover. Besides hanging out in wet kit is gross and full of bacteria.
What about my precious bike?
It literally takes me 5 minutes to wipe down my bike after a wet ride. I will start with a clean rag focusing on the frame then the cock pit components. I will then take that same rag and go over the tires and wheels. Then I will squirt some orange degreaser on to a rag and wipe down my chain, chain rings, and cassette. Once I am cleaned up I will then run my chain through a chain washer a couple of times then apply chain lube.
Plan for a reward
If I am riding longer than an hour in the rain I will make sure to have some hot coffee and my favorite protein smoothy ready when I get home. If I will be arriving at the local coffee shop I will usually treat myself to an espresso and a pop tart after changing into some dry clothes.
Wet weather riding is a chore to be sure but I can tell you some of the most amazing rides and races I have participated in were in down pours. Don’t be afraid or dread riding in the rain. With a little preparation it could be your best adventure yet.
Well this will be the last of the quick tips for awhile I promise there will be more soon just in a different format. If you have ideas for quick tips don’t be shy email me.
Have a great ride.