Dodging Raindrops.

Historically, I haven't minded riding in the rain. I just accept it as part of the game, kit up, slap on some fenders, and get out there on the road. Until it gets down into the low 40s, rain is something I can deal with. Sure, I'd rather it be 67.5 degrees and sunny, but I'd usually take a rainy ride over a session on the trainer or not riding at all.
I must be getting old.
This year rain has given me pause on more than one occasion. Sometimes it was because I didn't want to get sick(er), potentially killing fitness just before a race or other event. Other times it was because wet roads and the hazards they present made it hard to accomplish the day's intensity goal. Usually my rain rides are just long grinds at a moderate pace, not puke-inducing interval sessions. Recently I've foregone riding outside because of injury. Some of it can be attributed to the fact a cold soaking causes my back and shoulder to lock up, making a bad situation worse. However, a larger part of it is because I'm not 100% confident on the road, and am still riding tentatively. Cracks and bumps I wouldn't have given a second thought to are evaluated for how much they will jostle me. Scattered gravel is given a wide berth if possible, to less the chance of going down again. Rain would just make it that much more stressful.
If you saw me riding on the road, you might not notice the difference. I notice it, and it's something I just have to work through. Occupying my mind with every irregularity of the pavement ties it up with tasks that were previously done automatically. Unnecessary muscular tension caused by that intense focus on the insignificant tires me out faster. My mind isn't free to wander or scheme or fixate on that guy in the F-350 who tried to right hook me as he rushed to pull into the ball fields. I miss that mental freedom.
Miles and miles of riding and healing will fix this. Always does.
If I wake up and it's raining steadily, I don't bother putting the bike on the car. Swinging it up on the rack can be wince/gasp-inducing, and the bike just marinates all day in the rain. Neither one of us needs that. If it's not raining and the roads are more or less dry when I get home from work, I head out. If I get rained on, I get rained on. If it's actively raining, I bail and head for the trainer and the virtual rain on the Zwift London course.
Hopefully this trend won't continue. Hopefully the confidence and health will return and I'll head out into the rain with no thoughts involved other than what to wear and where I left my fenders. That's how it was, and that's how it should be.
The only way I should be dodging raindrops is by trying to ride faster than them.


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