My daughter's science teacher told her class that people get less wet walking in the rain than they do if they run. I don't know where Mr. Wille got his info nor why, if his facts are true, walking is less soaking, but if it has to do with speed, my ride in the rain this morning made me wetter than everyone on foot. The only folks wetter than a bike rider in the rain would be, I supppose, a convertible-with-the-top-down driver in a typoon or a motorcyclist without a slicker during monsoon season. Not that we have either around here. We just have run of the mill downpours. With or without lightning, they're pretty much just wet.
This morning when I took off around 8:00 on my Trek, the skies had partly cleared after overnight showers. Not a drop was falling from the sky, but the streets were still damp. I'd seen the forecast and looked at the WeatherBug radar, so I knew the break wouldn't last long, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to ride. I've done the math and I have to ride an average of 17 miles per day for the rest of the year to have any hope of making my 3650-mile goal. (It would've helped if I hadn't taken so many days off earlier in the year, but I can't go back, so I'm just riding for all I'm worth now.)
I headed east when I hit the highway. That's the direction the wind seemed to be coming from and I always like to deal with a headwind when I'm fresh and enjoy a tailwind on the way home. I pedaled past Kiser's flag and the airport windsock. They were flapping this way and that, so I couldn't tell if I was going the right way or not. I had to push fairly hard to get up to speed, so I assumed I was headed into the wind.
After about three and a half miles, I decided I was wrong and turned around. I lost speed as I headed west. I was bummed, but at least it wasn't raining. I returned to town and kept riding toward this evening's sunset.
About three and half miles west of town, the rain started. It was just a mist at first. A few drops dotted my handlebars. Nothing to worry about. I climbed Drouhard Hill and turned around. As I dropped back down into the valley, the intensity of the rain increased to a sprinkle. My helmet started dripping in front of my eyes.
By the time I got back to the correction line two miles out, the rain was coming down steadily, but not so hard that it was unpleasant to ride through. I was definitely wet though. I hadn't put on a jacket, so my jersey was soaked through. My tights and shorts were beginning to get a little squishy. (More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.)
I made it back obviously. I was wet and tired, but none the worse for the wear. I had completed 17.1 miles in just under an hour. 18.7mph was my average. My cycling gear is hanging out to dry on a drying rack in my bedroom and I'm smiling.
The real deluge came later in the morning. Around 10:00 I would've been soaked to the bone walking or riding. It's raining pretty hard right now too. ("Rain, rain go away! Let me ride dry tomorrow.")
I wonder. Can a walker or runner tell the difference in wetness? Does the walker feel that little bit of extra dryness he's enjoying over the rider or the convertible driver? I'm not so sure.