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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 07-30-09, 07:33 AM   #1
StephenH
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Do You Start In a Storm?

Just curious what you long distance riders do when it's terrible weather at the start of a ride?

I had a permanent planned for today, although the forecast was for 40-60% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Left the house and it started sprinkling just as I was leaving, a light rain and distant lightening all the way to the ride site, then when I came out of the convenience store to start my ride, the wind had kicked up and was blowing the rain back under the awning, it was still dark even though past sunrise, and the lightening was a lot closer and louder. So do y'all just hop on your bikes and ride off into the storm, or wait a while and see if it gets better, or stay home in bed in the first place or what?

I've ridden in light-to-moderate rain before, but haven't really tried a blowing rain like that.

Of course, by the time I got back home here, it had quit raining and was looking lighter.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:09 AM   #2
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I don't know I guess lightening would make the big difference. I doubt anybody should be riding while there are lightening strikes nearby.

As far as the storm goes - again a lot depends on the forecast and the temperature. If this early or late season and you have temps going into the 50s and non-stop rain, I think most people would reconsider the ride. On the other hand, I use the weather maps and my own gear and bike setup as the guide for "getting on" through everyday rain.

Everybody has their own danger threshold, and lightening I figure is the only real deal-breaker.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:22 AM   #3
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Rain is OK. Wind is OK. Cold is OK. But extreme combinations of wind, rain and cold are a no-go for me.

As Richard said, seek cover if lightning is nearby.

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Old 07-30-09, 08:38 AM   #4
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I've seen The local randonneurs (never sure if I'm spelling it right since even if I do it shows it's wrong) call off a brevet due to forecast super cell conditions. Most of the riders responding so far seem to be from the middle of the U.S. .

I guess tornados is a good reason to call off a days ride.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:17 AM   #5
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For a training ride I'll start in the rain. I'll also start in the cold. But I wimp out in the cold AND rain and go back to bed. Wind is a constant here so I always ride in it anyway. Living on San Francisco Bay I hardly ever have to deal with lightning (maybe a half dozen storms with lightning in the six years I've lived here?) but I'm pretty sure I'd avoid starting during the lightning storm though. Events are a bit different and I'll usually take what nature dishes up. But again, I've not had to make that decision where lightning is involved. I'd probably wait out the lightning then start.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:21 AM   #6
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I'll call off a ride if it's definitely stormy and doesn't promise to stop.

But I've learned the hard way not to let the threat of rain stop me. That'll lose you half, or more, of your riding time.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:52 AM   #7
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I've only done one permanent, and the only weather related problem was a sunburn. But I had real reservations about going if the weather was going to be bad. For organized brevets, I wouldn't think twice, if the ride starts, I go. Never really been close to lightning though, that does seem like a bad idea. On some of the brevets I've been on other riders got caught near lightning and stopped for shelter.

On my 400k this year I was in rain for 6 hours at night. It's just the kind of thing you have to put up with riding long distances.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:05 AM   #8
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I hate to start in a storm, but if it's a scheduled ride I do. If I'm just going out for a training ride, I wait until later, or another day. If there's lightning, I'll take cover until it passes. I'll ride in monsoon conditions as long as there's no lightning. If I'm already riding and dry when the monsoon approaches and there's shelter nearby -- eg. a convenience store -- I might stop for five minutes to see if it will let up -- and then go out, well wrapped in my rain jacket and helmet cover. If lightning is all around me and there's no cover ... well, I continue since standing still is just as risky. That happened to me recently.
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Old 08-01-09, 05:38 PM   #9
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I'll start and continue roll in anything other than close-by lightning. We had a ride last summer (600K I think; can't recall) where a group of us had to take cover for more than an hour. It was biblical -- tornado siren going off in town in everything. Crazy. But just plain old rain ain't no big deal. There is no bad weather; only bad clothing.... I'm always glad I went and rode in the crap weather. Better than staying indoors. You're still outside and riding a bike!
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Old 08-01-09, 05:46 PM   #10
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I had a permanent planned for today, although the forecast was for 40-60% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Left the house and it started sprinkling just as I was leaving, a light rain and distant lightening all the way to the ride site, then when I came out of the convenience store to start my ride, the wind had kicked up and was blowing the rain back under the awning, it was still dark even though past sunrise, and the lightening was a lot closer and louder. So do y'all just hop on your bikes and ride off into the storm, or wait a while and see if it gets better, or stay home in bed in the first place or what?
Storms with thunder and lightening often go over fairly quickly. In that case, I would have waited 15 minutes or 30 minutes to see what was going to happen.

I've started rides in all sorts of rain, wind, and cold conditions. I've ridden in some major storms ... and had to seek shelter on a few occasions. On the 1000K I did in Manitoba, I spent an hour in a ditch hiding under a bivy while the lightening struck power poles all around ... and again in a barn while the same sort of conditions were going on. There were several tornados in the area on that ride too ... I watched a series of them touch down some distance off from where we were.

If, however, the ride is not an organized ride. If it is something I'm planning to do by myself or with a family member ... I may opt to return to bed ... or stay in bed.
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Old 08-02-09, 12:02 AM   #11
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It's been interesting to see the results- I asked this here and on another forum. I can see why women are good at this- they'll ride through hell and high water!

One of the problems I had was that at my speed, I would normally have less than an hour extra at the 2nd control. If I sit around too long at the start, it messes me up there. There was lightning going on, and it's hard to say how much lightning is too much lightning or too close. But what actually was bothering me more was the blowing rain, which means visibility problems with glasses. This morning, I was out riding, and got caught in a good rain shower, and just rode on through with no problems, but there wasn't as much wind and the only thunder was pretty distant.
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Old 08-03-09, 06:18 AM   #12
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Storms with thunder and lightening often go over fairly quickly. In that case, I would have waited 15 minutes or 30 minutes to see what was going to happen.

I've started rides in all sorts of rain, wind, and cold conditions. I've ridden in some major storms ... and had to seek shelter on a few occasions. On the 1000K I did in Manitoba, I spent an hour in a ditch hiding under a bivy while the lightening struck power poles all around ... and again in a barn while the same sort of conditions were going on. There were several tornados in the area on that ride too ... I watched a series of them touch down some distance off from where we were.

If, however, the ride is not an organized ride. If it is something I'm planning to do by myself or with a family member ... I may opt to return to bed ... or stay in bed.
Will attempt to do a long distance ride(unsupported) here in South Dakota August 5th. The 212 Gut check with idea of doing "hell and back" option of 800 plus miles. Long range forcast has 20% percent chance rain on all of the days I plan on riding, so will likely experince some bad weather.

Hopefully won't have to crouch in a ditch for shelter but with lots of wide open spaces could easily happen. Wondered if you carried a covering of some type for your bike try and keep it dry? In regards to having a bike get wet in the rain and really no way to dry things out. is there any tips on what to do. I am assuming carring extra chain lube. Maybe also relube pivot points on shifters, brakes levers, cables etc.? I may be able to stop a nite or two in a motel. Don't really think motel would appreciate using towels to dry and clean bike.

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Old 08-03-09, 06:49 AM   #13
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Will attempt to do a long distance ride(unsupported) here in South Dakota August 5th. The 212 Gut check with idea of doing "hell and back" option of 800 plus miles. Long range forcast has 20% percent chance rain on all of the days I plan on riding, so will likely experince some bad weather.

Hopefully won't have to crouch in a ditch for shelter but with lots of wide open spaces could easily happen. Wondered if you carried a covering of some type for your bike try and keep it dry? In regards to having a bike get wet in the rain and really no way to dry things out. is there any tips on what to do. I am assuming carring extra chain lube. Maybe also relube pivot points on shifters, brakes levers, cables etc.? I may be able to stop a nite or two in a motel. Don't really think motel would appreciate using towels to dry and clean bike.

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This is my 1000K story:
http://www.machka.net/1000/1000km.htm

I seem to ride with a cloud over my head ... if I'm on the bicycle the chance of rain shoots way up!! No, I don't carry anything to cover my bicycle. If I were worried about keeping my bicycle dry I wouldn't ride. On particularly wet rides, I have stopped and added a bit of chain lube to my chain partway through the ride. And if it looks like things are going to clear up a bit, I've used baby wipes to wipe some of the grime off the frame, etc. If I were going to pull into a motel with a wet bicycle, I'd probably wipe it down with baby wipes outside the room to keep the mud and puddles under the bicycle to a minimum.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:45 AM   #14
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... if I'm on the bicycle the chance of rain shoots way up!!
Machka, please skip PBP 2011. Pretty please?
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