So you say you never want to ride in the rain. What happens if it rains on race day? What do you do if you’re out on a long ride and the weather forecast was all wrong and you get a surprise rain shower? Truth is you at some point in time, you will probably end up riding in the rain. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to know how your bike handles in the rain and to have confidence in it and your abilities. Here are a few tips for when you find yourself riding in the rain.
1. Back off
If you are riding with other people, often their back tire will spray water and dirt behind them making making the situation even worse the people behind them. Give the people around you some room. Now is not the time to be drafting.
2. Give yourself plenty of stopping distance
When they are wet, brakes don’t work as well. This is especially true of the normal rubber padded rim brakes most road bikes have. Through in a little oil from the road and I’ve had to actually look and see if my brakes where still there at all. So much like when you’re driving on the snow, apply brakes early to judge their stopping power and give yourself plenty of room to stop. Bikes with rotor brakes, like many mountain bikes and some of the newer road bikes, will be effected less by this and will be able to stop quicker, so even more reasons for the #1 tip.
3. Watch for slippery surfaces
Be vigilant for upcoming surfaces that may alter your traction. Water on the road that has a rainbow look probably has oil in it. Lines painted on the road will become much more slippery. Metal surfaces like manhole covers and grates can be slick as ice so treat them as such.
Many people will lower their tire pressure (5 to 10psi) to give them a bit more traction. Doing though will increase the chance of a pinch flat, so be a bit more careful when going over surfaces that have an edge like train tracks and bridge abutments. Speaking of flats, rain tends to wash things to the side of the road, where we often ride, and wet tires tend to pick up more junk. Be sure you have good tires and have a flat kit of course. Some tires may also be better at handling the rain than others so something to consider when shopping for that next set.
5. What to wear
A waterproof outer shell is good, but I always tend to end rainy rides soaked no matter what I wear. So I tend to try and make sure I stay warm and safe. To make sure I stay warm, I usually dress as if it was a bit colder than it is to offset the cooling effect of the rain. Being able to see where you’re going is essential and I were clear eyewear treated with Rain-X to shield my eyes. You also want to be seen so wear bright colors.
6. Be visible
Rain and fog lowers visibility for other riders and for the cars we often share the road with. Even during the day, it’s important to wear colors that stand out. And I can’t stress enough the importance of having working, charged, and water resistant lights both front (white) and back (red). Just as in a car, when it’s raining, you should have your lights on.
7. After the ride
Give your bike some love after the ride. Wipe off the dirt and water and oil the chain and cables to keep rust away.
About the Author - Larry is a long-time triathlete who has completed every distance of triathlon, including three Iron-distance triathlons. Larry recently qualified for the 2018 USAT Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in Ohio. Larry is currently serving as Austin Tri Club's Director of Training and Group Workouts. To read more about Larry and the rest of the Austin Tri Club board, check out our Club Leadership page.
My name is Daniel Riegel, and I’m one of the founding members of the Austin Triathlon Club. We created Austin Triathlon Club because we believe Austin is the best city in America for triathlon. Here are a few of our reasons why we think Austin is the perfect city for triathletes.
1) Barton Springs. The heart and soul of Austin. Barton Springs is a natural springs pool that is more than 200 meters from one end to the other. The pool is perfect open water swimming practice for beginners and experienced triathletes, alike. Water temperature is always ~ 68 degrees, meaning we can train year-around and practice in a wetsuit whenever we want.
2) Deep Eddy. Spring fed lap lanes, slightly warmer than Barton Springs. Deep Eddy overlooks the Colorado River and is #2 on our list of favorite swimming holes. Each pool length is 33 1/3 yards, so 53 lengths make a mile. Even when the pool is at its busiest, you usually only need to wait a few minutes to find a spot in a split or circle-swim lane. Deep Eddy is also the oldest swimming pool in Texas.
3) Bike Night at COTA. There is no other experience like this in the country. Every Tuesday night from April to October, cyclists can ride the Formula One race track in Southeast Austin. The world-class track is 3.4 miles with 20 turns. We love the beer garden afterwards and the general vibe.
4) Townlake (aka the Butler Hike and Bike Trail). Our favorite place to run anywhere. The 10 mile loop provides beautiful views of Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin. The soft surface -- mostly dirt and gravel -- is forgiving, and there are plenty of water fountains and restrooms. The addition of the boardwalk a few years ago made the run even nicer.
5) Weather. The weather means that there is no off-season for triathletes in Austin. Setting aside our one week of “winter”, we can swim, bike, and run year-around, outside, every day.
6) Races. The Rookie Triathlon, Cap Tex Tri, Lake Pflugerville Tri, Marble Falls Tri, Jack's Generic, Ironman Austin 70.3, Kerrville Triathlon, all in our backyard. Not to mention, the Cap 2K, Pure Austin Open Water Race Series, Splash n Dashes, Deep Eddy Mile, Lake Travis Relay, Highland Lakes Challenge, the Driveway Series, and the Austin Distance Challenge. The list goes on and on.
7) Coaches. Austin is home to 35 USAT-certified triathlon coaches and dozens more highly qualified coaches, trainers, and instructors. Walk into your neighborhood YMCA, and your swim instructor just might be a former professional triathlete turned swim coaching savant.
8) Facilities. Austin has over twenty public lap pools, including three outdoor 50-meter pools, a bike veloway, a state-of-the-art triathlon training center, a gym with its own lake, and over 100 miles of urban trails to run, bike, and play.
9) Community. Austin has a long history of triathlon. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Austin had one of the largest and most talented triathlon clubs in the country – the Austin Triathletes. That club spawned scores of professional triathletes, coaches, trainers, and leaders in Austin’s triathlon community. Our goal is that Austin Triathlon Club can once again provide Austin with a community-based triathlon club, one that welcomes Austin area triathletes of all abilities. We encourage everyone who is a triathlete, or who is just trying to complete their first triathlon, to join the Club.
10) Austin. Austin is home. The people, the music, the food, the weather, the outdoors, the laid-back attitude. We can’t imagine a better place to live and to be a triathlete.
Whether or not you agree that Austin is the best triathlon city in the country, we hope you'll agree that Austin is a pretty great place to swim, bike, and run. We love it here, and hope you do too.
Austin Triathlon Club President
Austin Triathlon Club was launched on October 8, 2017. Austin Triathlon Club is an all-volunteer, member-run community welcoming triathletes of all abilities. We encourage you to learn more about the Club by checking out our Mission and Values, the Club Leadership, and how you can get involved.
We would also love to see you at our Kick-Off happy hour on November 6th at the Ginger Man in downtown Austin. For more details and to RSVP, see our facebook event page.
Welcome to the Austin Triathlon Club blog! Through this blog, Austin Tri Club members can share their triathlon knowledge and experiences. If you are interested in blogging for Austin Tri Club, please contact us.