Sunday, 17 March 2013

CYCLING LOG: 11-17 March 2013

Sat, 16 Mar 2013
20.06 km in 01:18:21 hours at 15.36 km/h on Surly Pacer.

To Harpenden and back in heavy rain - sleet at times - plus strong winds up to 20mph. Headwind going down -- with effort required to pedal downhill -- and something of a tailwind on the uphills -- and nerve-wracking crosswinds on the Woodside - Slip End - Peppercorn zigzag each way. end odo 2059.8
Tags: road
Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - 28.82 km [Cycling]
28.82 km in 01:41:26 hours at 17.05 km/h on Surly Pacer.

To Harpenden and back; then to Dunstable Travel Hub. end odo 2039.7
Tags: road
Tue, Mar 12, 2013 - 7.30 km [Cycling]
7.30 km on Brompton S1L.

home to Luton station, then City Thameslink station to Old Broad Street and then to Farringdon.
Tags: commute


While significantly more miles than last week (in only 3 outings), this is a bit of a disappointment as my diary indicated I could get three round trips to Harpenden in this week, instead of just the usual one.

However, Saturday's ride was in some of the very toughest conditions I've ever experienced. So when I heard the wind lashing the rain against the windows again Sunday morning, well.... I wimped out.

A few notes about Saturday though -

Temperature 5C.  Winds up to 20mph from S/SW. Rain turning to sleet as I rode through Slip End, then rain again. Strong crosswinds on bridge over M1 and its approaches - a bit hair-raising, so I took care to keep well off the kerb!

Wet weather kit worked well, better than I was braced for, frankly.
  • The Gore jacket in particular, I have to rate 10/10. I can't think of a single thing this jacket could have done better. I'd worn it in drizzle before and in light winds, but never heavy rain (and sleet) combined with strong winds. No water got in anywhere yet it was sufficiently breathable.  My jersey and base layer were only very slightly damp when I got to my destination but this was clearly from my perspiration as the inside of the jacket was bone dry.
  • The Craft over-trousers have been brilliant while commuting but, again, hadn't been tested out on the road in this kind of weather. I'll give them 7/10. Weather-wise, the weak spot was the lack of windproofing - my shins got pretty cold. The fit is sufficiently tailored to be comfortable on a road bike, yet not too restrictive. As noted before, the fabric used on the seat is a bit of a problem with my Brooks Swallow:  it's slippery in dry condition but behaves like Velcro in the wet! The outer surface got quite waterlogged and heavy, especially on the fronts of the thighs, but inside things were almost completely dry. 
  • My new Shimano MW81 boots:  9/10. There seemed to be a little dampness creeping in but I'm not sure of source.
  • Gore Windstopper gloves - coped well first 5-6 miles even in driving frontal winds. Then from one moment to the next, went very damp.
  • Smartwool beanie - I never expected or intended for this to keep my head dry, but it turned out to be warm enough, especially round the ears, which is my main aim.
  • Merino Buff - as with beanie. Got so waterlogged that when I took it off in Harpenden, I couldn't bring myself to put it back on again for the return journey. But it did keep my neck warm and kept the wind from coming down the collar of my jacket. If I hadn't taken it off, I could have happily worn it much much longer.
The fact that I had to take all this kit off when I got to Harpenden (for physiotherapy) and thenput it all back on again to go home gave me a fantastic opportunity to check what was really wet -- and where. Usually, I get home, peel off wet stuff without inspecting, and if the outside is really wet, I have perhaps in the past assumed there was more dampness on the inside as well than in truth there may have been. Putting clothes back on that are dripping on the outside gives you a chance to find out if they're truly wet on the inside -- and if so, how wet and where. 

The only real discomfort I suffered due to the weather came from my eyes getting hit by sleet. My left eye in particular really ached for a while afterwards.  I recently purchased some clear safety goggles in preparation for exactly this situation - must remember to take them next time!

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