We all know this look. And we all love it.

Wet and Wild

by / / 31 posts

I have been spoiled rotten this summer as I alluded to last week and was evidenced through the flatness of the tires on my Nine Bike. I rode more this summer than I have in recent memory and I rode in the rain exactly one time; @snowgeek wondered if it might rain and I scoffed at the idea because it hadn’t rained in ages. He’d been sailing, as it turns out, and had been paying attention to the weather patterns and knew what was headed our way. It rained so hard that cars were pulling off and waiting it out as water flowed down the tarmac in a mini flash-flood. We kept riding, obviously, basking in the bewildered looks on the drivers faces and knowing they likely understood little of Cycling.

The rains appear to have returned to the Pacific Northwest with some regularity, but the cold has yet to return, which means I’ve had the pleasure of riding in just V-Bibs and my Gabba jersey, the only Castelli product I genuinely love. Something about that jersey makes me feel Pro right down to the ground. My rain gear also includes my Specialized Evade helmet, complete with black reflective tape down the middle. That helmet used to look awful on me, but it looks a bit better with my boss orange Jawbreakers, and the two V-Lion decals I slapped on the sides don’t hurt because everything looks better with a V-Lion on it. It’s fun to wear all that stuff in the rain when it’s still warm enough that not too much of your energies are expended on staying warm.

I love it when it’s rained enough that the road has a layer of water on it; the rain drops paint a beautiful pattern on the wet tarmac as gusts of wind weave bands through it. It’s as though I’m part of a living Jackson Pollock painting with me sketching my own pattern over the others as my wheels cut their furrough through it all, inscribing a perfect V as they do.

My legs are very tan – even for Seattle – and tan guns make the orange grippers on the V-Kit stand out beautifully. Riding with leg warmers in the rain doesn’t provide any visual feedback; riding in wet, bare, tanned guns makes the muscles stand out gloriously. If you’re so fortunate to also catch a sun break while the guns are still gleaming, well, try not to ride off the road as you stare at your own magnificence.

The cold will come, and by March I will wonder at the rider who was so spoiled by sun that he brashly praised the indulgence of riding in the rain.

// Belgian Affirmations // Defining Moments // Look Pro

  1. Reminds me of Belinda Carlisle’s ode to the rain bike.

  2. @dyalander

    As big a crush as I had on her, I don’t remember that one! I remember Shirley Manson’s ode to the rain, though!

  3. Seriously though, are you trying to jinx VVhidbey Island?

  4. Frank, I had not picked up that you live in Seattle. Not surprised I suppose. Kills me that I will be on vacation in Seattle a few weeks from now, but not riding. Sigh.

  5. As much as I like riding in the rain (eg Roubaix in the wet is the greatest single ride I’ve ever done or will ever do), I usually avoid it if I can during our winter. It’s been a lean one for me for riding, after KT I was a bit burnt out, but now the warmth is on the way I have a renewed vigour for the bike(s). Sometimes we need to step back to go forwards.

  6. not even a V-Lion can save that helmet…

  7. @frank

    It has been equally magnificent here in Kitsap. Hoping it continues through the Ride Around The Sound!

  8. @piwakawaka

    not even a V-Lion can save that helmet…

    Spot on. U-G-L-Y, Frank ain’t got no alibi!

  9. @brett

    As much as I like riding in the rain (eg Roubaix in the wet is the greatest single ride I’ve ever done or will ever do), I don’t go out of my way to do it during our winter. It’s been a lean one for me for riding, after KT I was a bit burnt out, but now the warmth is on the way I have a renewed vigour for the bike(s). Sometimes we need to step back to go forwards.

    I don’t know what happened here…

  10. @brett

    @piwakawaka

    not even a V-Lion can save that helmet…

    Spot on. U-G-L-Y, Frank ain’t got no alibi!

    Yeah, c’mon @frank lets see a picture of you, ‘that’ helmet and your Jawbreakers…

  11. I’ve done a few extremely wet rides this year and I’m expecting them to become more frequent as autumn and winter set in. I also discovered (much to my colleagues’ incredulousness, as I often do my rides as extended commutes) that riding in the rain doesn’t bother me at all. What bothers me is the wet kit. I think I deserve 5 million V-points for slipping into still-wet, cold bibs and jersey to ride home at the end of the day.

    The only thing I don’t like about the rain is descending in the wet, because I am a total pussy. And I don’t want to have to ring my boss and/or my wife to tell them I’ve stacked it on my way to work.

    In a perverse way I am looking forward to getting fully kitted up, cap or wooly under my helmet, leg and arm warmers, waterproof socks and shoe covers, lights (got some sexy new USB charging Lezyne beauties) and braving the elements. It’s what makes us different from ‘normal’ people.

  12. @brett

    As much as I like riding in the rain (eg Roubaix in the wet is the greatest single ride I’ve ever done or will ever do), I usually avoid it if I can during our winter. It’s been a lean one for me for riding, after KT I was a bit burnt out, but now the warmth is on the way I have a renewed vigour for the bike(s). Sometimes we need to step back to go forwards.

  13. @dark42echo

    There ya go. I know that sense of achievement in that velodrome in those conditions!

  14. agreed. Gabba…only Castelli product that I love….or has survived more than a season without falling apart.

    Apparently they have retired the Gabba name (and the Norwegian flag). Sacrilege!

  15. Rain rides are always better remembered regaled over beers than they were slogging in the wet at the time. Now that I’m officially a card carrying AARP member, I’m not afraid to admit I’m a wimp and won’t ride in the rain intentionally. That said, I’ve been caught out in a couple of good downpours when I’ve tempted fate and trusted the weather forecast.

  16. @Owen

    Seriously though, are you trying to jinx VVhidbey Island?

    Jinx? Hardly. A Rule #9 Cogal is long overdue.

    Also, (N+1=1 therefore N9=N1)

  17. Any fool can get caught in the rain.

    Making a conscious decision to leave a warm, dry room for a cold, wet cave is what separates us from the masses.

  18. @DeKerr

    @Owen

    Seriously though, are you trying to jinx VVhidbey Island?

    Jinx? Hardly. A Rule #9 Cogal is long overdue.

    Also, (N+1=1 therefore N9=N1)

    They can be overrated.

  19. @piwakawaka

    @brett

    @piwakawaka

    not even a V-Lion can save that helmet…

    Spot on. U-G-L-Y, Frank ain’t got no alibi!

    Yeah, c’mon @frank lets see a picture of you, ‘that’ helmet and your Jawbreakers…

    Left it at home and am in Africa at the moment, so sadly can’t oblige. And I never said it looks good – just that it doesn’t look as bad! And, it’s the only helmet I’m willing to put reflective tape on…

  20. @Teocalli

    @DeKerr

    @Owen

    Seriously though, are you trying to jinx VVhidbey Island?

    Jinx? Hardly. A Rule #9 Cogal is long overdue.

    Also, (N+1=1 therefore N9=N1)

    They can be overrated.

    OK OK OK but if it’s a Rule #9 ride it had better be pouring rain and miserable. No half measures.

  21. @Owen

    @Teocalli

    @DeKerr

    @Owen

    Seriously though, are you trying to jinx VVhidbey Island?

    Jinx? Hardly. A Rule #9 Cogal is long overdue.

    Also, (N+1=1 therefore N9=N1)

    They can be overrated.

    OK OK OK but if it’s a Rule #9 ride it had better be pouring rain and miserable. No half measures.

    Ours was. There weren’t.

  22. @frank. This is my favourite sentence that you’ve ever written

    “If you’re so fortunate to also catch a sun break while the guns are still gleaming, well, try not to ride off the road as you stare at your own magnificence.”

  23. @brett

    @piwakawaka

    not even a V-Lion can save that helmet…

    Spot on. U-G-L-Y, Frank ain’t got no alibi!

    How about 2 V Lions?

  24. @Harminator

    Any fool can get caught in the rain.

    Making a conscious decision to leave a warm, dry room for a cold, wet cave is what separates us from the masses.

    Well said.

  25. Wasn’t it Sean Kelly who said something like “the only way you know how cold and wet it is outside is to go out training for five hours then return home knowing how cold and wet it was.” Or something to that effect.

    Or as the legendary Shug Donald of the Regent CC said with regard to the efficacy of foul weather bike gear, “The only thing that keeps ye dry is the fuckin hoose.”

  26. @brett

    As much as I like riding in the rain (eg Roubaix in the wet is the greatest single ride I’ve ever done or will ever do), I usually avoid it if I can during our winter. It’s been a lean one for me for riding, after KT I was a bit burnt out, but now the warmth is on the way I have a renewed vigour for the bike(s). Sometimes we need to step back to go forwards.

    Isn’t the lead photo from KT2015?

  27. @Bianchi Denti

    @brett

    As much as I like riding in the rain (eg Roubaix in the wet is the greatest single ride I’ve ever done or will ever do), I usually avoid it if I can during our winter. It’s been a lean one for me for riding, after KT I was a bit burnt out, but now the warmth is on the way I have a renewed vigour for the bike(s). Sometimes we need to step back to go forwards.

    Isn’t the lead photo from KT2015?

    I do believe that’s @Harminator, yes. I was up the road…

  28. For anyone preparing for a wet season of riding…just saw that Axiom is making eyelet tabs for mudguards that go on a quick release axle. Awesome idea, why not sooner? Could turn your ex cross race bike into a nice 9 bike. Or an older road bike.

    I have one of their quick release-mountable rear racks on my SS commuter, which lacks eyelets. Another awesome idea.

  29. Riding in the rain is solid, character building fun, as is riding in the cold. Riding in the rain and cold is just stupid as discovered recently while climbing up to Paradise on Mt Rainier in lashing rain and thick fog. A short descent before the final ramp was like having ice needle acupuncture while being water boarded. Probably would have sold at least a testicle and a half for a slug of brandy in the bidon if the undercarriage hadn’t nearly permanently retracted into the fuselage with cold.

  30. UCI Montréal Sunday le 13 Sept; 200k mostly in the rain; no, in a raging downpour.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar