Slippery when wet

9 08 2010

Sunday was a day for cycling’s Hard Men.

Not that I’m worthy of such a designation; but with a steady drizzle soaking the sky and dampening the roads, it wasn’t exactly prime riding weather. Especially after five weeks of warm, dry weather.

Katie had a 19 km run with her training peeps this morning, and then a birthday party for her nephew. So I sent her off in my car, and I would ride out to meet her at the birthday party, and we’d drive back.

The weather forecast promised improvement. It never happened.

When I left the condo, the drizzle was barely perceptible. But the air was fresh and my legs full of pep.

Part of that may have been due to my new wheels; not so much that the Fulcrums are awesome wheels, but their stiffness and smooth rolling reinforced how worm my old Mavics had become.

The new hoops had no flex at all, the magnet for my computer didn’t rub the sensor on the front fork at every revolution. The Michelin Pro 3 rubber felt supple and smooth. For the first time in months, my ride was silent.

And oh so very damp.

As I ascended Burnaby Mountain, the clouds closed in. I had to take my riding glasses off so I could see.

As the clouds close in on Burnaby Mountain, there's not much to see.

The southern coast is renowned for its micro-climates; the weather can change every few kilometers. Over the course of 93 kms, I rode through dozens of them, from steady rain to light mist, to dry, to drenching drizzle even as the sky lightened and seemed to promise sunshine.

I was wet, and my bike looked more like it had done a trail ride on Burnaby Mountain, but halfway through my ride, all I could think about was underwear. While I’d packed a change of clothes in the car, I hadn’t counted on it being so relentlessly wet, so I hadn’t included dry underwear or socks in my bag. I pulled over and called Katie; could she pop by the WalMart after her run and buy me some underwear?

The Orbea looks more like a trail bike after Sunday's soggy ride.

After some drama at the Mission-Abbotsford Bridge, which again forces cyclists onto the sidewalk, but then closes the westbound sidewalk, forcing us to the eastbound side of the bridge but doesn’t properly mark the way to get there, I arrived at the party just in time for cake. A change of clothes, and thanks to Katie’s impromptu shopping excursion, dry underwear, awaited. A long ride turned epic because of adverse weather completed.