Come the Rain

Come the Rain

by / / 45 posts

The northwest has just experienced a spell of dry weather over two months long. It’s been enough to make a man sick.

That’s all over now, thank Merckx. Commuting home today, I was caught off guard. No jacket, no gloves– nothing. A few drops hit, heavy and plump like ripe fruit. Then the drops became steady. By my half-way point, I was soaked thru. As I rose out of the saddle for the final climb to my house, I felt the rain accumulate on the tip of my nose and swing off with each pedal stroke.

The roads glistened in the dull light of street lamps, full of rain and empty of riders. They are all gone now– the summer heroes and the chatting groupettos. The roads are mine once more.

The rain hath returned. All hail the rain.

// The Rides

  1. Oh how I envy you Jim.

  2. monsoon season just started here, flooded road and sheltering under bridges is on the cards for the next tree months. Our rule of thumb for when to stop riding is if the garbage starts to float down the road towards you 

  3. This is pretty funny.

  4. A squall in off the bay! Soaked through in seconds and battling against the wind being smashed in the face with rain. Seems to only happen between about 5 and 6 pm, just about the right time for the evening commute.

  5. my ride home from work on the south coast of England starts in 1hr 10. Its pissing with rain and I have no jacket.

    It’ll still be the best part of the day.  

  6. I unexpectedly met a man in a parking lot a few weeks ago. All he said to me was, “I can’t wait for it to start raining again. It will get the riff raff off the roads.”

    Jim. The Rorschach of the Keepers.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_(comics)

  7. @G’rilla

    I unexpectedly met a man in a parking lot a few weeks ago. All he said to me was, “I can’t wait for it to start raining again. It will get the riff raff off the roads.”

    Jim. The Rorschach of the Keepers.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_(comics)

    “You don’t seem to understand, I’m not locked in here with you….you are locked in here with me”….I reckon he is probably mates with Jens…

  8. @Jim

     The roads are mine once more.

    Well, they’re not *just* yours. They’re mine too. I skipped the long ride I planned on Wednesday because it was sunny. I’ll do it today, because its raining finally.

    I find it much easy to motivate for a ride when its rainy out and I know everyone else is getting cozy with their cups of hot cocoa. 

    Of course, I’ll feel differently in February, but for now I’m only happy when it rains.

    Welcome back to the mainland, mate.

  9. @frank Led Zeppelin The Rain Song

  10. Ah, the rain of the northwest.  Equivalent near the Texas coast is the heat.  Same result – when it arrives the wankers disappear.

    The weather version of the Stockholm syndrome.

  11. @Cyclops

    This is pretty funny.

    Hahaha!!! That is awesome!!!! Even as tired as I am of the whole Armstrong spectacle, that made me literally ‘laugh out loud’! Good find!

  12. I honestly envy you guys and your rain… the “rainy” season here in SoCal is shorter than a grand tour…

  13. They’re expecting our first significant rainfall of the season here in the SF bay area on Monday. I’m thinking I might just be riding my bike to work that day. =)

  14. Rain is OK. It’s not my favorite thing to ride in, but as long as it’s not dumping buckets I’m OK. A gentle sprinkle can be refreshing, however what REALLY gets me this time of year is how early it gets dark.

  15. @mcsqueak

    Rain is OK. It’s not my favorite thing to ride in, but as long as it’s not dumping buckets I’m OK. A gentle sprinkle can be refreshing, however what REALLY gets me this time of year is how early it gets dark.

    The dark is rough, trying to squeeze 200km in without lights is a dark-to-dark endeavor.

    But you’re thinking of the rain wrong. The harder the better. The more it rains, the more badass you are. Just let that sinister grin spread over your face and pump the cannons in time to the drops of rain dripping from your cap’s visor.

  16. Spot on, Jim.  Well written.  I love riding in the rain.  It awakens something in me.  I feel more alive, stronger, alpha.  I actually descend faster, as I was taught to descend in wet thundery conditions, and it is where my US Cycling Sensei forced me to find the limits of the bike – I just don’t have the same confidence in the dry. 

    There is something almost primeval and deliciously sensual about being so wet the water just runs off you – particularly with shaved guns.  You are so drenched it can’t get any worse, and you have to work harder to stay warm.  The brakes don’t work, your face and bike are covered in grime, and you are 60km and two big hills away from home.  Love it.

    It is why Rule #9 is my favourite.  And – as you point out – the roads are so much quieter.  I never ride alone anyway.. there are always the voices in my head for company.

  17. Oh you PNW  guys talk tough about your disregard for Rule #9 conditions.  Where were you last weekend? When the merest chance of rain was forecast for Whidbey Island all but four suddenly had a reason to stay home…  Weddings, exploding heaters, and McSqueak – we got in (almost) before dark.  Come on guys

  18. @roadslave

    I never ride alone anyway.. there are always the voices in my head for company.

    Spot on.

  19. She’s only Happy When it Rains? Fortunately Shirley Manson is from Scotland. She’s happy a lot there.

  20. @wiscot

    She’s only Happy When it Rains? Fortunately Shirley Manson is from Scotland. She’s happy a lot there.

    And an artist can’t be creative when they’re happy; that’s why she moved to LA.

  21. @roadslave

    Bang on. Perfect.

  22. Yeah the only time I’ve been hit is in the dark (even though I had lights on, and my Sidi’s have bits of reflective stuff on them), so I think that still sits with me a bit. Also being someone who needs to wear glasses, a ride that goes from light to dark means having two sets of glasses otherwise I can’t see, which is lame (though I’ll be getting a set of transitions for my Oakleys at some point which will negate that issue).

  23. Yes! I love the rain and am delighted about its return to Seattle. Gives me the opportunity to try out my new Lake CX 140 winter boots. Are they are rule violation? So far I’ve been quite pleased by how much warmer than ordinary shoes they are, and today I think my feet were somewhat drier. In fact, most of the dampness seemed to come from the top of my socks getting wet and then absorbing the water.

  24. I’ll see you out there Jim…live up in the Wedgwood part of N. Seattle. Went out in the PM last Sunday as the drizzle turned into a full blown drench. Out to Marymoor, thru BVue, round Mercer Is. and home. Got so wet with the warm rain that if I squeezed my hands in my gloves a bucket full flowed out. The water and salt from my helmet pads stung my eyes like hell for 30 miles, at times I could hardly keep’em open to see where the hell I was goin’! Next time you’re out in a down pour look for the guy squinting with the sting in his eyes and drippin’ gloves…we’ll trade pulls. Rick  

  25. @wiscot

    She’s only Happy When it Rains? Fortunately Shirley Manson is from Scotland. She’s happy a lot there.

    Ha ha, aye you took the words right out from under me there wiscot, I was laughing to myself when I read the OP ” the rain hath returned” but there is a fair bit of truth in many of the posts, the rain (the heavier and colder variety) sure thins out the number of riders on the roads, and the darkness, yes, shortly we will be daylight from near 10am to 3pm time here so those longer rides are a challenge indeed.

    One thing about all the rain we get in Scotland, it sure makes those sunny days so much more enjoyable, and the cafés like it better when you sit not dripping all over their floor.

  26. @Jim is my favourite keeper.

  27. @motor city

    @Jim is my favourite keeper.

    So hard to pick a fav. They are like planets and stars all having gravity and mass threatening to blow apart, yet remaining stable.

  28. Sounds like you lads are back to familiar weather!

    I’ve got two pals in Seattle & had heard some rumors about this two month span without ran…Sounds pretty sweet as!

  29. @motor city

    @Jim is my favourite keeper.

    We need a line of jerseys for fans of each Keeper.

    First is Jim’s kit: all black with only an orange cog.

    I’ll buy two.

  30. Tucson has only seen 6.7″ of rain so far this year.

  31. @RedRanger Was that when someone dropped a 750ml bottle on the shoot-out?

  32. Dumping! Dumping buckets of rain outside… 4c and gusting to 33 km. Couldn’t be more aptly timed as today is day one of a three week, high duration, training block. Going out on #1 today, just to remind her who’s boss. My washing machine is about to get its ass kicked!

  33. That’s why I love living on the west coast… and can we all agree that this is not acceptable in the peleton…!

  34. @James I like the look of those Lake shoes, much nicer than a lot of other winter shoes.

    I’ve never had great results with overshoes, the water always gets in eventually. I didn’t bother yesterday and my shoes ended up like this:

  35. Man, we had quite the run of nice weather here in the Seattle area – damn nice.  However, did a mountain bike ride today – wet ground, damp leaves, overcast with peeks of sun – felt right…

  36. The only downer with rain are the douchebags in cars who realise it is more dangerous to drive in the wet so drive faster to get home and out of it. The true beauty of the rain ride is the post ride ritual whose pleasure becomes more intense.
    1. Arrive in bike / manspace placing bike on towel.
    2. Hot shower (legshave) if necessary.
    3. Inform wife of inability to partake of household or child rearing duties
    4. Depending on time of day, grab coffee or a single malt
    5. Return to bike space, commence cleaning / maintenance routine standing back occasionally to admire ones work.

    The older I get the more I prefer rain over headwinds!

  37. We went straight from fall to snow.  Looking to convert my old Giant Defy into a rain/winter bike – any suggestions?  I am not sure if I have clearance for studs so anyone that has converted a ride for winter I am all ears.

  38. @Tobin

    Last year I just rode on 28s, wasn’t really a cold winter though.  I did have to ride through snow sometimes, but it was never a problem.  Depends on location, expected weather, and purpose of riding I suppose.  Could you give a little more information?

  39. Commuting – I live in Calgary so the weather is extremely variable.  -20 blowing snow one day – chinooks and +10 the next.  The ride is strictly commuting – usually 20-25km’s depending on route each way.  Route is 5km’s of city streets, 15km’s river valley pathway system/trails.  I won’t ride if it drops past-20.  Rollers in the basement will be my penance if that happens…

  40. Found this, maybe look for inverted tread tires if you don’t think ice is going to be a problem.

  41. @jimmy

    @RedRanger Was that when someone dropped a 750ml bottle on the shoot-out?

    Haha, those guys are legit. As long as I’m in school, ill never roll with them.

    Tucson is actually 3″ under average rain fall. On the upside, we are done with 90 degree days for the next few months.

  42. i live in northeast ohio. so there’s no “rainy season” and it can go from all-out showers to absolutely pleasant in about five minutes time, any day of the year. so sometimes it’s easier to forgo a rain ride with the intention of just riding later on, or putting more km’s in tomorrow. but sometimes, you just gotta say the hell with it. (incidentally, i’ve just purchased a road bike that will allow proper full fenders, because i’m sick of trying to kludge some onto my rain/winter bike. quite stoked for that.)

    i enjoy the cold much more than the wet. and i have a similar feeling of “finally, i can ride in peace!” when the fairweather riders are in for the winter. and i find much enjoyment out of getting all kitted up for a ride, the first few minutes where you’re freezing before you’ve warmed up, the darkness, scrambling to get home from work and out on the bike quickly to get every last minute of sunshine, not having to take as much water/food/electrolytes, not sweating as much, etc. it’s glorious.

  43. What it takes to win:

  44. “Hopefully the rain will do its work, then we can have nice races in Belgium.” – Niels Albert after winning in Plzen, Cyclocross World Cup

  45. @Mclennan

    The only downer with rain are the douchebags in cars who realise it is more dangerous to drive in the wet so drive faster to get home and out of it. The true beauty of the rain ride is the post ride ritual whose pleasure becomes more intense.
    1. Arrive in bike / manspace placing bike on towel.
    2. Hot shower (legshave) if necessary.
    3. Inform wife of inability to partake of household or child rearing duties
    4. Depending on time of day, grab coffee or a single malt
    5. Return to bike space, commence cleaning / maintenance routine standing back occasionally to admire ones work.

    The older I get the more I prefer rain over headwinds!

    Re; Item 3.

    Yeah, that’ll work for a time…

    until you wake up one day with your sack tied around your throat.  Good luck with that.

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