Wet Contemplation.

I was looking for any excuse not to as I watched the steady drizzle fall. My back ached just thinking about it, and my legs felt tight.
Saturday I bailed on doing a few hours of climbing after the Arctic Bike Club Road Division group ride. A four hour ride was suddenly a single hour, with not a whole lot of intensity to show for it. Drops were just starting to fall, and I wasn't in the mood. Stick a fork in me.
While the rain fell, the family and I shopped for groceries and did all of the mundane things people that aren't riding do. As the windshield wipers cleared the spray from my field of view, I congratulated myself on my good sense. I was already tired, and beating myself down wouldn't have served any real purpose.
When I got home, I started removing and cleaning the cassettes on all of my wheelsets. Despite using copious amounts of ozone-depleting aerosol degreasers, eventually the gunk builds up and they need to be removed for a thorough cleaning. One by one, the wheelsets were cleaned and sparkled in the sun that had decided to show up. I almost went for another ride, but instead started washing bikes in preparation for the Disney trip. I hate traveling with a dirty bike.
After the ti bike was clean and dry, I started boxing it up with all of the other stuff I can cram in the bike case. I usually wait until the last minute to perform this task, so I can piss off my wife by not helping pack the kids' stuff. The job went pretty smoothly, since this will be a relatively short trip and not cycling specific. To be honest, I don't know how much energy I'll have left for riding after full days at amusement parks, but I'm willing to give it a shot.
Sunday I woke and stared at the rain, back aching and legs tight. It took forever to eliminate the excuses for not getting on the road, but eventually I kitted up and slapped some fenders on my training Madone. It was freshly washed from yesterday, and I felt a little guilty abusing it like that, but the ti bike was packed and it was the best option at the moment.
I thought about my route options and decided not to do any significant climbing. A lot had to do with the carbon wheels on the bike and their wet braking characteristics. That route has too many switchbacks. The other has a fast descent that dead-ends at a stop sign. Still another has sketchy pavement. I decided on a rolling course that would allow me to get in the miles without undue risk.
One I settle into the sogginess, my mind goes into a reflective mode. And yes, not matter how well I dress for conditions, when it rains I'm eventually going to get moist. If I dress well, it's almost pleasant. Free from the compulsion to push anything approaching real wattage, I get to ponder random thoughts and consider things from various viewpoints. It's amazing the clarity you can achieve when you're disconnected from the ceaseless barrage of electronic stimuli of modern life. All I had to do was turn the pedals and point the bike in a direction that kept me from getting run over. After a while, even that faded into the background.
It's rare that I regret going out on a ride afterwards. Sometimes it takes longer to get going than normal, but once I'm out there it usually all falls into place. Conditions or circumstances may dictate the course and goals, but there's always an endorphin rush at the end to wrap things up nicely. I may not solve all of my problems with a ride in the rain, but at least I have that going for me.


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