Or...When Fenders Alone are not Enough
The Team has a rule about riding in the rain. You must have, not just full fenders, but also buddy flaps attached to the end of the fenders. Today was a perfect example of why.
The rain was coming down steadily as I left my house this morning to meet those other hardy souls for a Saturday ride. About 9 of us showed up ready to ride. Most everyone was fully decked out in rain jackets, shoe covers, and warm gloves. I had my helmet rain cover on as well (keeps some of the water off my glasses). Everyone also had fenders and buddy flaps (Jean's is my favorite with the red bike and hand painted British flag), except two people. The two had fenders, but...NO BUDDY FLAPS!
As we took out from the park, it was immediately evident that riding behind someone without a buddy flap is not a good place to be. The rooster tail of water flying off the back of a buddy flap-less bike is akin to a hydroplane boat on Lake Washington during the Chevrolet Cup! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but you get the picture. It's a lot wetter and dirtier (let's face it, the street is not exactly clean).
The two riders without buddy flaps were also pretty strong riders, which means they are less inclined to be hanging off the back of the group. So, the double paceline was sometimes not so double. There would be a couple of pairs of riders riding side by side. Then there would be another pair, one of which was buddy flap-less. After that pair, the rest of the group would line up behind the one with the buddy flap. In a single file paceline, it was a little trickier. There was some definate jockeying to not get stuck in the rooster tail. At one point one of the women was behind the rooster tail. The water was not only hitting her, but also flying over the top of her to me. I backed off a bit.
One of the guys had a flat well into the ride. The rest of us stopped and took the opportunity to eat a bar or, in the case of me, some Shot Blocks. Apparently, the usual scenario is that either everyone continues to ride and the person with the flat takes a shorter route and rejoins at some point, or everyone goes aways down the road, then circles back. The circling continues until the rider with the flat is ready to ride again. That method makes sure everyone stays warm. However, today the consensus was to stop and wait (and eat). Fine by me!
Just before the guy with the flat was done, us three remaining gals (the buddy flap-less gal and guy headed home) started riding (I knew where we were going). The guys caught up to us not too far down the road.
Turns out we were not the only hardy souls out riding today. We passed two guys (one of the guys hollered, "Don't ya know it's raining?"), then just a little later passed another group of three or four on the side of the road fixing a flat of their own.
We went up the really steep hill on Carpenter Rd. I had to drop down to my small ring and was still out of the saddle. Fortunately, at the top we turned right and went downhill so I could catch my breath.
We worked our way back into town and then back to the park. For some reason, my computer was only working sporadically. Based on Jean's computer, I figure by the time I got home, I had ridden about 56 miles or so. I was drenched from head to toe, but not cold. As I've said before, as sweet as I am, I don't melt.
I'm planning on riding again tomorrow, so my shoes are stuffed with paper towels to hopefully dry them. I'm not sure why I'm bothering as I'm sure it will be just as rainy tomorrow.
Today was a great ride, I'm just hoping the two without buddy flaps will get them soon (like before tomorrow if they are also riding).