1 Aug 2016

1st August 2016 More [stair] rods for my back.


Monday 1st 56F, 13C, heavy overcast, light breeze. Yet more rain and thundery showers forecast. I have goals I would like to reach but am not keen on a soaking. Even if I don't get rained on, the roads will be wet and three wheels spray better than two. Two rear wheels may throw up their shining disk outside of my line of fire. But it takes hardly any wind to bend the line of spray in my direction. If I ride as quickly as usual I will have to hang over the inside wheel on corners to stop the inner wheel lifting. Meanwhile the front tyre is filling my shoes so that it runs out at the cleats. Listening to one's feet squelching at 100rpm is not my ideal pastime.

I have been very lucky in avoiding much of the rain which July brought to Denmark. Though only because I went out much less often. 70 "rest days" in seven months is 1/3 of all the potential days for a ride. Either it has been raining much more often, or my tolerance for rain has fallen dramatically. Probably a bit of both.

Some people cannot get out as often as that because of work commitments or other reasons. Should I be ashamed of my lack of willingness to ride regardless of weather? Where is the 'hero of his own fable' who went out in thick snow and -15C to suffer the slings and arrows of intense pain? As bits of me turned purple and blue and I wished they'd just drop off if only put an end to my suffering.

It would [probably/might/probably] be sensible to invest in a "proper" rain jacket as I have often advised my readers. However a jackets ability to breathe out enough moisture to keep an active cyclist cool remains a serious doubt if reviews are to be believed. Even if several hundreds pounds/dollars are expended these fabrics can't be as "miraculous" as the makers and outlets claim. Odd, isn't it, that we could send a Man to the Moon decades ago but all these years later still cannot protect Mankind from the rain. If I wanted to spend a lot of money, and I don't, I really ought to consider a walking jacket as well. Which immediately throws up incompatibilities between uses. The walking jacket would have good length for lower limb protection but would have pockets where my legs should be flailing around and it would catch a headwind like a spinnaker on a trike.

I have several options in [cheapskate] rain jackets already. Imagine having the water shed off an expensive, bum-freezer, cycling jacket straight into your shorts. This is not an ideal return on a heavy investment. I often thought I'd cut off the legs of some real [cheap] waterproof trousers but usually balked at choosing the required "hemline" to achieve adequate waterproofing versus sweatiness versus social acceptability. "But frayed shorts are so 70s, Darling!"

These things are usually cut quite baggy so might become more like twin parachutes in use. I could even look like a twin-engined fighter jet as I approached to the roar of flapping nylon! Fitting rubber bands around the thighs might be counter-productive if my legs suddenly fall off. Besides, any extra layers between saddle and rider is just another layer to screw itself into an unwanted knot. Some people are sensitive about these things and I swear that area is not ripe for growing protective callouses through long [cycling] abuse.

I enjoyed a walk to the further woods but avoided entering. Large plates of cloud kept appearing on the westerly horizon but the threat of rain never amounted to anything. Huge clouds jumbled up inland, back-lit with dramatic effect. I followed a picturesque, inviting lane away from the traffic. The timeless, rural hush descended around me as I passed between 7' high corn. The purple tassels providing much needed decoration against the towering, dark green of stalks and unlikely leaves.

A small frog skipped briefly along the verge in company with my tread. While a Whitethroat practiced its strangely mechanical song.  Just as I was framing a landscape in my camera a deer popped its head out of the high marshy weeds in the foreground. I continued my approach in the hope of capturing a better likeness if it should feel disturbed. Coming home I had imagined myself crossing a familiar field but the idea was soon rejected. A tractor was  raking and harrowing to break up the remains of the harvested grain crop. The reek of a dressing of pig's muck caused my nose to continuously explode.

A late morning ride was delayed by a sudden downpour. Having left on sopping wet roads I discovered perfectly dry roads after four miles. A cross tailwind helped me up the big hill to my second target. Then into the wind for a few more miles. My final goal and I had a cross headwind to hinder progress on the last leg. It had stayed completely dry and mostly sunny despite the 'busy' and sometimes dark and threatening sky. 24 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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