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Old 09-03-08, 01:48 PM   #1
walter231
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Rainy day century?

Should I? It's Saturday, with the forecast at this point being rain showers, temps up to mid-70s, prob. of precip. = 70%. Just wondering if anyone else has done a century under similar circumstances, and either (a) swore "never again" or (b) had a grand time despite sub-optimal weather.

Also, what key piece of equipment am I likely to need that I don't know about? I have a rain jacket and I'm thinking I might get either a rear fender or a rack that attaches to the seatpost, and otherwise go with the usual stuff. Anything else?

Background: I'm 59 and have been riding for 5 years. Just did my first 100-mile ride a couple of weeks ago but have done several organized/supported metrics this year and last. Always have enjoyed them and had no difficulties.
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Old 09-03-08, 02:04 PM   #2
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2001 and only a metric. But this is one ride I try to do as an annual event because it is well organised and good riding country. Circular route around the New Forest but it is held at a time of year-Mid October- when the weather may be a bit suspect.

Got to the ride and it was raining. It was persisting down and it was going to be in for the day and to make oit worse- the high wind at the start was going to get stronger. Several riders pulled out but they were locals. We had travelled 100 miles to the event so were going to ride.

It did not stop raining all day and rainfall for the day was 2". The Fords (Stream crossings) were a bit high and there were around 4 of them. The last two of the day you could not ride due to the current and depth so a detour to miss them had to be made. Last 10 miles or so were across an open Moor with no cover and into a force 8 gale. The rain was horizontal and the only way to go forward was in a chain where you only spent 5 seconds on the front.

Finished the ride to find that two of us could not stop shivering. Much longer out there and Hypothermia would have set in.

What normally took us just over 4 hours had taken 5 hrs 20 minutes and we were finished.

My advice is to prepare for the ride with a good waterproof (I had a goretex on and it worked on waterproofing but gave me no warmth) And for after the ride- Have a complete change of clothing to hand with extra warm clothing aswell. It is surprising how cold you will get once wet.

I still do that ride but look at the weather forecast the night before and only enter on the day. And if I do call it off- I swear a lot as I have just missed out on a fantastic ride.
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Old 09-03-08, 02:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by walter231 View Post
Should I? It's Saturday, with the forecast at this point being rain showers, temps up to mid-70s, prob. of precip. = 70%. Just wondering if anyone else has done a century under similar circumstances, and either (a) swore "never again" or (b) had a grand time despite sub-optimal weather.

Also, what key piece of equipment am I likely to need that I don't know about? I have a rain jacket and I'm thinking I might get either a rear fender or a rack that attaches to the seatpost, and otherwise go with the usual stuff. Anything else?

Background: I'm 59 and have been riding for 5 years. Just did my first 100-mile ride a couple of weeks ago but have done several organized/supported metrics this year and last. Always have enjoyed them and had no difficulties.
On the Oregon Randonneurs 200k this spring, it was typically cool with a predicted 60-70% chance of rain. It spent the whole day threatening, and finally did rain for the last 40 miles. Full coverage fenders (note: PLURAL!), wool clothing and a goretex jacket made it a downright pleasant experience. After almost 30 years living in the Pacific Northwest, I've come to regard all three of the above to be essential for year-round riding.

Fenders: a rear fender by itself will only keep your butt and back relatively clean and dry. Cold wet feet are guaranteed to make your ride miserable, and road spray from the front wheel will wash away any chainlube and coat your drivetrain with highly abrasive road grit. See why I like full coverage fenders (with mudflaps on both wheels)?

Wool: Continues to insulate when wet. Synthetics don't. Cool + wet + wind = hypothermia. No fun.

GOretex jacket: 30 years of riding in OR and WA has convinced me that there's no way to ride a bike in the rain and stay dry. If the rain can't get in, the sweat can't get out, so you get wet one way or the other. The best you can do is try to stay warm and somewhat comfortable. Goretex over wool excels at this.

The other thing you need it the right attitude: "oh no, it's raining, this is gonna be miserable" won't make it. "OK, it's raining. I'm gonna get wet, but I've got the right gear, so I'll stay comfortable. Let's ride!" is more like it.

So get geared up, and go have a fun ride. Even if it rains.

SP
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Old 09-03-08, 02:40 PM   #4
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I did a metric a few weeks ago, actually 67 miles. Three miles out, it started raining and continued the whole way. Temp wasn't bad, low 70s peaking just below 80. Pretty hilly, and varying road conditions from very good to very poor. I can't say that I ENJOYED it, but felt a sense of accomplishment finishing it.

Be sure you have glasses with light or clear lenses, to protect your eyes. The biggest change from normal conditions was that if you hung around too long at the rest stops, it was very cool starting back again. I didn't wear rain gear, because of the mild temps, and had to warm back up after every stop. Be sure to eat and drink enough, you won't feel the need as much as in hot, dry weather. The most uncomfortable part, for me, was the handful of fast descents in the rain. 30+ mph downhill in the rain can be pretty scary!

I still say go for it, you'll bond with your fellow riders in adverse conditions.
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Old 09-03-08, 02:43 PM   #5
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Sure, why not? You probably already paid, too. Just realize everything will get wet. I put my wallet, phone, etc, in ziploc baggies.

My rainy century experience was only for the first hour or so. My buddy and I had previously canceled the previous year century on account of heavy rain, so we didn't want to chicken out again. It was June and reasonably warm, and we had summer kit, no fenders, arm warmers. It rained hard at first, and road dirt jammed my shifter from going into the lowest gear for the whole ride. I got a flat. But it soon dried off.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:05 PM   #6
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Why not? A light wool jersey under your rain jacket would help keep you warm. Be sure not to wear cotton or you might freeze. Wool socks for sure.

Carry things like wallet, camera, snacks etc. in plastic zip lock sandwich bags. A dry rag or bandanna is a nice thing to have on a wet ride for cleaning your glasses.

Be sure to eat something.


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Old 09-03-08, 04:25 PM   #7
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All good advice above, and the only thing I would add is a wool balaclava since you can lose so much warmth from your head. Wool is great in cold/wet conditions and fenders are a must!

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Old 09-03-08, 08:28 PM   #8
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Right now the storm is to be in southern VA at 2pm Saturday, any rain in Mass. should be the "normal" kind, without the wind. I'm hoping to ride in DE on Saturday. I'm only going to bail if winds are too high. But I'm taking the approach I will get wet, so will carry no paper, no electronics and have a couple towels back at my car for when I finish.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:11 AM   #9
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A couple of years ago I rode an organized century called the Bay Country Century along the western side of Chesapeake Bay in the aftermath of hurricane Erensto. Lots of rain, down trees - the road looked like salad with some many leaves and branches down. It turned out to be a fun event and didn't rain the whole time.

In two days the Civil War Century is being held - again the aftermath of Hannah is forecast to bring rain and winds. Should be warm enough (around 80) - so far it is a go.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:33 AM   #10
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Thanks to all, for the tips and encouragement. The forecast is heading downhill and I'm thinking at this point that I'll probably stay home. But I will still check out what the LBS has for fenders (plural) Friday night. It would be good to be prepared in the future. And probably wise to gain a little more experience riding in rain before signing up for 100 miles worth.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:15 AM   #11
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If it's not too cold and you are prepared, riding in the rain (especially on low-traffic roads) can be a different and fun experience. Done it. I wont' usually head out if it's already raining, but don't might getting caught.
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Old 09-04-08, 03:12 PM   #12
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Doing a century in the rain is no biggie and I'd certainly go for it.....as long as it doesn't get cold. Just plan to get wet-there is no way around it. Especially the socks/feet.

Do plan to carry and extra tube or two as the tires/tubes are more prone to flats due to picking up more "stuff".
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