Rainwater Fresh!

My ride today with the Rochester Bicycling Club was not a rainout.

The forecast had been for rain in the morning becoming scattered showers in the afternoon. When I left home, the clouds were breaking up, the sun streaming through and the radar was clear from Buffalo to Syracuse and down to the Pennsylvania line.

What luck, I thought.

Clicky for larger
At the start At the start

Taking pictures of taking pictures Taking pictures of taking pictures

The rest of the group The rest of the group. Now, how many rainjackets do you see?
I wasn’t the only one who left their raingear at home. There were only a couple of rain jackets among the eleven riders who started the ride. (We were later joined by Otto, Ride Chair.) It had clouded over, but that’s our default sky in R-Town. No big deal.

I lead the group on RBC Map #178, Cobbs Hill Park to Mendon Ponds Park. It’s a 26-mile out-and-back. Clover to Tobey to Mendon-Center and back on Clover.

Halfway out, the winds shifted and picked up. A couple of miles further and the skies opened up. It wasn’t quite the rain-of-the-40-days, but it was pretty heavy.

Two riders bailed out and headed back, the rest of us idiots rode on. The pack waited for me to catch up under the Thruway overpass. (This is where Otto caught up with us.)

Did I mention I got my ass handed to me in the first couple of miles? And that they weren’t even trying? There was the group, and big long gap, then me—your friendly local lanterne rouge.

Under the bridge, the vote was unanimous. Take the first cut through the park on Canfield. On the climb up Canfield, it occurred to me I was riding uphill, upwind and upstream simultaneously.

Through the park, out the other side and heading home, I was joined in the back by Brian, who was having difficulty with his vision. The rain on his glasses and the rain seeping by into his eyes made it hard for him to see. He latched on to my wheel and we rode back together, stopping occasionally so he could wipe his eyes.

Meanwhile, the temperature dropped 15 degrees. I’ve never been so cold on a ride. Or so wet.

On the last bit of Clover St, north of Elmwood, we encountered another from our group, pushing his bike along due to a flat. He didn’t want help, explaining he lived nearby, and waved us on.

I split off at East Ave, the first reasonable turn for home. East Ave, and later University, were right into the wind. It was a granny gear slog through the wind and the wet, but blessedly, the rain tapered off to a light shower.

On the last couple of miles up University, I could no longer operate my right hand to shift. I still had full feeling (COLD! It was screaming at me.) but the muscles in my forearm were no longer operational. I could feel everything trying to move, but it just wasn’t happening. I found a gear I figured I could live with and left it there, alternately spinning and mashing.

It was tough gripping the bike to carry it up the fire escape when we got home, but with perseverance, we made it. We left a wet, slightly muddy trail all the way to the shower stall. I stuffed the bike in, turned the water to fully hot, and stripped off my sodden clothes. During this, I discovered my chamois lube had liquefied and saturated my shorts, kneewarmers and socks. Everything was slickery.

Once the bike was hosed-down and put away, it was my turn. I haven’t taken such a long shower in years. For a good long time I just stood there, under the warm stream. Stepping out, the air felt a good deal colder than the 74°F indicated by both my thermometers, which ordinarily seem never to agree.

Although dry, in a sweatsuit, two pairs of socks, a hat, and a bathrobe, I was still on the verge of shivering. Hot soup from the nuke (Progresso Chickarina—a favorite) followed by hot tea seems to have done the trick. A second cup of tea and a nap are on tap, as soon as I get this posted.

Hey! The boiler just came on. It’ll easily be 80° in here within a half-hour.

So back to the title.

Even after a long, hot shower, my skin and hair feel much different than usual. Softer, and in the case of my hair, silky and more manageable. I’m rainwater fresh.

I can’t say I recommend the method, but the result—feeling warm and dozy, all soft and just a little bit sore—seems like a decent reward for the sufferfest.

Oh, and I met my March mileage goal today, with two days left in the month.

Double-oh! Today is my third anniversary of buying my first grown-up bike. My fourth season starts tomorrow.


Otto, the RBC’s Ride Chair sent this email. With his permission, I’m posting it here.

Thanks for leading today’s ride. Did you make it home OK? I was late leaving home to ride to the park so you guys were about 5 minutes ahead of me.

I passed Donna and another guy at Clover and Jefferson. I saw Don headed the wrong way going back to check on Donna. It was just sprinkling a little at that point.

I kept seeing your flasher ahead on Mendon Center Rd. Then wind and stinging rain started. I was glad to get that little break under the Thruway overpass.

The trip from there was mostly uneventful except for the water and cold. I felt bad for Bob and Gary who were way under dressed. Dr. Bill flatted on Clover near Elmwood. He was very close to home so he told us to keep moving. Thank you Bill.

Wayne headed home via east Ave and I parted ways with our group at Landing and Blossom. I got stuck at the light at Helendale and Empire and started to shiver a little. The temperature at the Laurelton fire department read 42.

By the time I reached home my feet and hands were solidly numb. I couldn’t even get my house keys out to open the door. What fun we had.

Please add my name to the ride sheet. After all that I’d like to get my mileage credit.


All the while today I was thinking, This’ll be a great story to tell and re-tell.

By the numbers

  • 25.54 miles
  • 2,705 feet of climbing
  • 1:52:51 ride time
  • 15.6 MPH average
  • 30.3 MPH max
  • 90 RPM cadence average
  • 109 RPM cadence max
  • 142 BPM heart rate average
  • 157 BPM heart rate max

Weather Conditions: Start: Partly sunny, 56, winds SE @ 7. Halfway to Mendon Ponds, heavy rain, gusty winds, continued to two miles from home. Then the rain tapered. Half hour after end: Overcast, 42, winds WSW @ 20 gusting to 32.

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