The Threshold for Unpleasant

One of our club riders wanted to go shorter than the planned route this morning. I thought that was a good idea, and planned to join her. But she wanted to leave at 8:15, and the B ride would be leaving at 9:15. Except for one thing: No one had posted a B ride for the day. I emailed her that I would wait until the weather improved.

We’ve been spoiled over the past two weekends, with decent riding conditions, even in chilly weather. Today was different. We had rain Saturday, rain overnight, and when I went out to pick up my morning paper, it started to rain again. In addition, the wind had shifted overnight in advance of a cold front, and was now blowing briskly from the north. The temperature was in the lower 40s (5C). So we had that nasty combination of chilly temperatures, brisk wind, and rain. Even though I had happily ridden in colder weather than this last week, the combination of the three created a threshold for unpleasant riding conditions for me. I decided to wait it out.

Lately, I’ve been reading blogs by randonneurs who live mostly in the eastern U.S. They tell of riding 100-plus miles in conditions much worse than what I faced today. I’m not in their league yet. I was content to sit back, read the morning paper, and drink some hot coffee while waiting for conditions to improve.

My wife Pat was up for a ride, too. “I was thinking, ‘If I can just wait till noon, it’ll work,'” she said. But a check of the radar 10 minutes before noon showed more rain just moving into our neighborhood. The temperature had hardly budged since 5:30 this morning. Pat decided to pack up her gear and head for a local health club she had quit just yesterday. They allow her to stay on until the end of the month, so she decided to take them up on their kindness. This time.

I decided to stay home and do some work. But by 2:30, the rain had passed, roads were starting to dry a bit, and although the temperature was still the same, I decided to get in a short ride. I did 15 miles in the neighborhood and on the Veloway, and was glad I’d put in the effort. I was also glad I’d waited to do it.

But our club president posted online that he and two others had shown up at 8:15 a.m. and done a nice 53-mile ride, which included a tailwind for their return leg. He gently chided us weather wusses by quoting Shakespeare’s Henry V St. Crispin’s Day speech:

     We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Okay, point taken. You happy few rode and had a great time. But I knew I would see several club members, including the ones who rode with him at a Super Bowl party this evening, and I decided to check with them.

Pippa, one of the “band of brothers” who rode (even though she’s a sister) admitted they did hit some rain on their ride. But it was light, and was over by the time they reached the 10-mile mark.

“It started raining again when we were just a couple of miles from the finish,” she said, “but it didn’t really start to pour until we had reached Starbucks and were inside getting our coffees.”

But others took one look at conditions and had similar reactions to me and Pat.

“I went to spin class,” said Jordan, who has been organizing most B rides since moving back to the area from out of town. “And I wasn’t the only one.”

Jerry admitted he did the indoor spin thing, too, and they ran into one of our better A riders there as well. The rest said they just stayed indoors and decided to skip riding today.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I liked my rides to be “pleasurefests” as opposed to the “sufferfests” of some A rides. That includes riding conditions, not just effort. I suppose I need to HTFU, but for now, I think I’ll continue to KBAPMFU.*

*Kick back and put my feet up.




  1. says

    I’m of two minds on working out in crappy weather. First of all, I won’t ride in rain or snow. Period. I will run in both, depending on a few factors (road safety, etc.). I’ve never been big into suffering, seen too much of that for real to play with it, but I’ve really enjoyed some long runs in really bad weather. In the end, some days I’ve got it and some days I don’t.

  2. Jeff A says

    You aren’t the only one who is a weather wuss. I haven’t been out since last Thursday evening for the same reason. I include chilly temps as part of my threshold, but the break-point may change when my new thermal tights and jersey arrive. But like bgddyjim above, Not in the rain, Not in the snow. In lousy weather I will not go.

  3. says

    Henry V was exhorting his men to fight for their lives against a French horde. It was a life and death struggle and things were not looking good for the English. The fate of the kingdom was at stake. What was at stake this weekend in Texas? Even in the cycling context, what great struggle was at hand?

    This was simply a regularly scheduled club ride in poor weather. I submit your club president (while clearly well schooled in Shakespeare) was reaching just a tick with his metaphor. Henry V’s army saved England from French conquest. What did the three cyclists achieve? A good workout. And that’s what you achieved by going later in the day. If he and his two cohorts want to “show their scares” earned during the great and tumultuous “battle of the cold drizzly ride,” then I say they are welcome to them.

    There may be times when such a (relative) sacrifice on a bicycle is warranted. The big competitions, centuries, or other similar events may require a cyclist to brave the elements in order to achieve a goal. I’m afraid a routine weekend club ride is not the cycling equivalent of The Battle of Agincourt. It’s more akin to canceling archery practice on account of rain.

  4. Barbara says

    Yesterdays weather in North Texas warranted only one way out for me….pull out the mountain bike and find dirt. While it was damp windy and cold, there was no real mud. The mountain bike gives me a good excuse for being slow. Got to see red-bud trees in bloom, spring flowers emerging and relearn the lessons of proper fat tire pressure and what gear not to be in when climbing in dirt!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *