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the story of an invisible girl
Feels Like Italy
Biking in the rain, yet again. This time it was the club ride that I've been doing on wednesday nights. I was watching my email, half-expecting the ride to be canceled because weather.com was predicting thunderstorms. It wasn't canceled though, so at 6pm I put on my gear, pumped up my tires, and hit the road.

I swapped my sunglasses lenses out for the clear ones, because it looked cloudy. I'm glad I did, too! Just as I turned the corner off my street, I felt my first raindrop. Nice of the rain to wait until I was ready like that...

I wasn't sure if the ride was going on, but it wasn't far to the library to find out. I rode there, and the weather gradually turned from "dripping" to "sprinkling". Still not bad.

There was a small group of intrepid riders gathered at the library. We cast hopeful eyes at the sky. It was raining, but not badly. "It should blow over soon." "I'm sure the worst is already past." "It looks like it might rain." "Shhhh!"

So we mounted up. As we rode, the rain gradually got more and more serious. The first several miles, I could still wipe my hands on my shirt, and it was dry where I'd been leaning over. Halfway through, the ride leader asked us if we wanted to shorten the ride. It was no longer sprinkling, but raining steadily. The kind of rain that will last for hours. "I think it's clearing up," said one guy hopefully. Another added, "It's a warm rain, it's not so bad." The group agreed that we could do the full ride.

As we pedaled farther, somebody commented, "This rain is a good thing, because my shoes were a bit dirty. Now they're being washed clean."

I looked at my pale bare legs, wet and covered with little bits of dirt and road debris. "I don't seem to be getting clean, in fact I'm getting dirtier."

By the next traffic light, I noted that there was no longer any dry parts of my clothing to wipe my hands or glasses on. I was completely soaked, dripping. "They should give us medals, or ribbons for our jerseys," somebody suggested. "To indicate we did the club ride, even through this downpour. Like in the army, for valor or courage under fire."

"Courage under water," I suggested.

"My feet are in little puddles of water," the guy next to me remarked at one point.

"Yeah, my socks feel totally gross," I agreed. I thought my shoes weren't soaked through yet, at first. Then I flexed my toes. squish Yuck, I shouldn't have done that. Once I'd wiggled my toes, I could feel the water soaking into the skin of my feet. squish Eeeew. I like a nice warm rain, but I hate wet feet.

Toward the end of the ride, it was raining hard. Various people dropped off, as they decided to take shortcuts home. There were two flat tires, and each person had somebody stay with him to help, but the core group soldiered on.

It felt silly drinking from my water battle when we'd stop for traffic, what with all the water being absorbed by my skin, but of course the exercise still made me thirsty. I would wipe the drops off my glasses, rub my face with my drenched gloves, knock the raindrops off my helmet visor, then take a nice long drink of water. Ahhhh, refreshing!

As long as we kept moving, I stayed nice and warm. By the end of the ride (twenty-seven miles of rain), my fingers were all wrinkly, and my feet were just all kinds of water-logged-nasty. We all looked like we'd been showering in our clothes -- well, except that if we'd showered we would be cleaner. When I got home, I peeled off my dripping clothes and jumped right into a nice hot shower. Pruned skin or not, the water felt good and the soap felt better.

I might sound like I'm complaining, but in fact it was an entertaining ride. "They just can't handle a little bit of adventure," I said at one point, in reference to the people who dropped off or didn't come. We all had fun, socially dripping together while exercising our bodies. It was good fun, and I'm glad I went -- cold, dirty, pruned feet, and all!


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djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 26th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
That's cool. I was waiting to hear about saddle sores. Never had saddle sores? Pray you don't... skin has ways of making you miserable!

Sounds like you had fun.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: June 26th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
A leather saddle will eliminate that possibility. At least after a couple hundred miles when it's broken in to fit, it will.
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 26th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. T'was a leather saddle, but at a 'dude' ranch. We were trekking in Wyoming and spent the better part of an afternoon playing in a mountain stream where it emerged from the mountain. In our undies, as this was scout camp. Then we dressed and rode out.

Wet + saddle = sores. It was a mild case, but man, they are wicked things, saddle sores.

Adding water to a ride can be a bad thing. And that's the what I thought of when she started out describing her ride in the rain.

Bike seats would concentrate the pain to a much more intimate area. Ouch!
johnridley From: johnridley Date: June 26th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bike seats would concentrate the pain to a much more intimate area. Ouch!

No, they won't. Not unless the bike saddle is not properly fitted. If you are riding on a properly sized saddle, all your weight will be on your sit bones, supported by the wide wing on the back of the saddle. The horn in the front is only there for balance; if you have weight on it, you're going to have problems and you should adjust or replace the seat.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: June 26th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Just like riding in Oregon.
From: writerwench Date: June 26th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been on horse rides like that - when the animals absolutely HAD to be taken out for exercise and it was hissing down. Horses don't like going out in the rain, and it'd rarely be a happy occasion... but yeah, once you're that saturated, it's quite pleasant in a squishy sort of way.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: June 26th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Riding in the rain is fun. but:

"I don't seem to be getting clean, in fact I'm getting dirtier."

You don't have fenders, I bet.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: June 26th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had rides like that as a teen, but not with rain gear and not by choice.

Still it was kind of exhilarating as I was unaware of any chance of hypothermia.
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