Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

Me, My Bike and the Rain

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The recent weather in Portland OR has been a hot topic among my cycling friends.  (Not sure “hot” is the best word).  It’s been raining; a lot!  As long as I’ve lived in Portland I have never seen this much spring rain.   And it is this wet stuff that is inspiration for this blog posting. 

In the 7 years I have been coaching, I’ve worked with a wide variety of cyclists and triathletes: the full spectrum from total beginner recreational athletes to elite competitive athletes. I like to think my approach is a compassionate one: offering lots of empathy and nurturing. That is until I hear “I don’t ride in the rain”. That’s when the militant drill sergeant comes out in me.

Come on, if you don’t ride in the rain and you live in Portland, when do you ride? I’ve helped many riders overcome issues associated with riding in the rain.  It seems pretty simple on paper: get yourself a dedicated rain bike (fenders, lights, heavier tires, etc.), and the right combination of clothes (gloves, booties, jacket, etc.) and just get to pedaling.

My Rain Bike (aka as my bad bike)

My Rain Bike (aka as my bad bike)

I’ve had my rain bike for almost 8 years now. I like it. Wouldn’t go so far to say I love it. But I do like it. It’s a tank.  A heavy beast. Almost bullet proof and it needs to be to deal with the amount of rain Portland gets. My recent addition was a front disc brake to give me better stopping power when it is wet. When I was racing I did most of my long rides in the rain and often in the dark too. I was working 8-4:30pm so to get any fitness I needed to put in some pedaling time after hours. The motivation:  the upcoming races.    

It’s 2005. We’ve been blessed with our beautiful daughter, Indie. I had to take time off from riding; probably close to 10 months. Once I got riding again I started to commute to and from work. I would drive to day care, drop off Indie, leave my car, and then ride my bike from day care to work.  It was a good solution to get my riding time.

After Indie was born, I noticed that some things had changed. I was no longer racing on the road so the desire to ride in our rainy winter was…well non-existent. I didn’t need to train for anything. And riding in the dark was something no longer appealing. I was a Mom now. I felt a strong need to keep myself safe.  And in my defense there isn’t a safe way to commute to and from work, and darkness just added to the “not feeling safe” complex.  I was OK with that. I would be dedicated to commute by bike from March to October when there was daylight (and less rain…) 

That was until spring 2010!  This has been a hard one. I was waiting in anticipation for Daylight Savings so I could start my bike commute program again.  But when March arrived so did lots and lots of rain.  With all the rain, it has been hard to be motivated to ride. No doubt about it. And I have a good rain bike and all the necessary clothes to make it as comfortable as possible. 

I was starting to get cranky.  My body (and mind) are at their happiest when I ride.  This past week I decided to just suck it up and ride into work regardless of what Mother Nature was doing. I managed to get all organized the night before so I could just get up and go. I dropped Indie (and the car) off at Preschool and rode into work. There that wasn’t too bad was it?  It was dry in the moring, so being an optimist I rode my “good” bike in rather than my “bad” bike (my new name for my rain bike). 

And of course Murphy’s Law made sure  it wasn’t dry for the ride home. I got very wet. (But it was a warm rain!) Yet I had a smile on my face and I was happy to be pedaling.

One thing that I have been doing this year more than other years is mixing up my activities. I’ve been trail running more often, more yoga, some swimming and mountain biking. The mix keeps me more balanced. My body is happier and I feel better than when I just focus on one thing.  For me these days it’s about an all-round wellness. I like the word “wellness”.