After moving from New York to the San Francisco area, I have been really blessed with pretty much fantastic cycling weather all year round. That notwithstanding, we’ve had a pretty rainy January in the year of 2016 which looks set to continue (in fact, since they started measuring precipitation, this is the wettest January ever, except that same month in 1997, in NorCal). I’m not complaining, in fact, I have a sly smirk when I have to contend with ‘bad weather’ that is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and wet; those were the good days on the East Coast.
I don’t aim to ride when it is raining heavily. I usually have some flexibility in my training plan so on those days I will swap the gym session around and ride when the weather is a bit better. Or perhaps, re-jig things slightly to get more rest and take a day off and then the following day hit a harder workout than I might have originally planned. However, yesterday I had pretty much re-worked the schedule as best I could and was ‘forced’ to head out in some pretty heavy precipitation. I kind of enjoyed it. Riding in the wet occasionally, at one’s own behest, is kind of fun. You brush up on a few wet-weather riding skills, gain confidence riding in the conditions, practice with your brakes being a bit slower than normal (knowing to dry the rims before actually needed them proper is a very important skill to know on race day). I knew the forecast the night before and was mentally prepared, something which is essential for bad weather riding morale.
Two hardy commuters aside, I was the only cyclist mad enough to be out that I could see for the entire 2+ hours. These, for sure, were bonus miles. Where everyone else was taking a day off, I was putting in some saddle time. Technical improvements aside, this was for sure bonus fitness. There was no-one else out. I won’t say that riding in the rain is essential, in fact, it can be pretty dangerous and as much as I am pleased with the outcome, if I’d have taken a tumble and broken a shifter or a collarbone this article would have the title “The Folly of Chasing Bonus Miles”. Having said that, I hit the best numbers I had all Winter. I was aiming for a 22 mile start over rolling terrain at 280 w followed by an 18 minutes climb at 300 w. I hit both numbers almost bang on (281 and 301 w averages). I got the bonus miles in and smashed my targets- a great day out. Not sure how much more dedicated monsoon riding I’ll plan, but at least in this case, I got a really cool bonus session in.