Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Danger vs. Anoyance...

As predicted, the weather this week has continued to be unstable so it's been a challenge to work everything in. While I'm generally pretty thick skinned when it comes to running, I tend to be a little more sensitive to weather on the bike. Risks are certainly higher given the speed and proximity to fast moving traffic, however it's easy to lean on those excuses and avoid a session because of unpleasantness. Sorting out where the line lies between what is merely an annoyance and what is a legitimate danger is often not such an easy thing to do, especially for a relatively new rider like myself.

As such, I headed out on Monday despite the unstable weather. I got rained on a few times during the ride, and had to slow down due to slick roads in parts, but that's pretty much par for the course this time of year. Aside from the safety aspects, riding in the rain is a lot worse than running in it as (a) those droplets can hit like bullets when you are moving at 30-40km/h and (b) you have to control descending speeds a lot more (60-80km/h is dangerous when your brakes are wet) which cuts down momentum that would normally help with the climbs. Adding to the complexity is the fact that cars tend to get a lot more unpredictable, so you really have to watch out.

With that said, I did stop at 50km as I didn't want to get too far from home in these conditions. When the rain gets really hard motorists visibility gets reduced and they can't always see you quite as well, so one has to be cautious. Further, if electrical activity starts up it's generally not the wisest move to be out in the middle of nowhere ;) Normally I'd just schedule around crappy weather, but as we've had it continuously for the last little while there really isn't an opportunity to do that.

I was supposed to go out today for a short ride, but the winds are brutal out there and I've elected to skip it due to safety concerns. Looking at the weather station, I'm seeing a 60km/h base wind and gusts above 90km/h around here. While the headwinds would make the ride hard (although the tailwinds would likely be awesome), crosswinds of that intensity could easily be a serious hazard when riding alongside traffic. Getting used to dealing with strong winds would likely be beneficial, but given the sheer strength of the winds today it's likely not the best time to do so ;)

As far as the rest of the week, Friday is looking like it will be pretty bad but fortunately tomorrow looks decent so I might just swap tomorrow's run with Friday's ride. Saturday is looking like it might be good as well, so hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a good long ride. With that said, these reports have been pretty fluid all week so the outlook could easily be very different come tomorrow.

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