Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Finds from the Grind - Rainy Reservoir Ride

Three and a half hours of rain on a visit to Cogswell Dam on 3/3/2018.

This is usually a nice 48 mile round trip. The road is well maintained asphalt, not the rough chip and seal that is on Angeles Crest Highway, the cliffs are far away enough from the road not to worry about rock fall during the Winter, and the curves are really gentle for a long descent. Also, it stops being a real climb after you get past the San Gabriel Dam and it turns into a rolling course, which means it's not really a descent until you get past that particular dam heading back down.

Now, I say usually, because I knew it was going to rain the entire time I was on the road and it was a messy ride. All of its positive notes help in the rain too, and it's not high enough elevation to worry about the snow. But still... being wet for three and a half hours is not that fun. And I like riding in the rain! But it can wear on you if it gets too cold. Guess what. It got too cold.

My body was fine and so were my feet, which are the two main worries when it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. My problem was my gloves. I use neoprene long fingered gloves, the same material found in wetsuits, so that means to keep my hands warm, they need a thin layer of water between the skin and glove for insulation. This works well, even in the rain, but when the rain gets to 41 degrees, no amount of body heat is going to help you warm that layer of insulated water. And then there's wind chill on a long descent too.

I learned my lesson. If there's a chance the rain is going to get below the mid-40's, I'll just wear my hard shell gloves. This was the only real bit of discomfort during this whole messy adventure.

The other thing I learned is that my bladder can't keep up with my hydration in the cold and wet. I just don't sweat enough because the wetness from the rain takes care of the sweating for you. It's been a while since I've had to take two bathroom breaks on a long ride, and my hands didn't like getting out of the barely warmer wet gloves either. Still, no cramping yet. I'll have to wait for hotter conditions to start paying attention to which part of legs want to complain.

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