Sunday morning was a day for the hardy. The forecast was bad, the weather worse with rain and a lot of wind. To add to our problems the roads were flooded. There were more puddles and streams running down or across the roads than I have ever seen in all my years of riding. However, as they say, there is no bad weather…. only bad clothing. This theory was put to the test this morning.
The wind and rain were not too bad riding to Rustington. However, I decided to head to the seafront as I love a wild sea but, as we got near the coast, the heavens opened and what was heavy rain became torrential. We could hardly see and as we rounded the bend to ride along Littlehampton seafront we got the full force of the southerly wind. We were blown into each other so riding two abreast became too dangerous. The ride here was so tough that I never looked up nor turned my head into the wind and rain to see the sea. So much for riding there to enjoy the tempest. I don’t even know whether to tide was in or out!
As we turned inland and the rain eased up a little and the remainder of the ride actually seemed quite pleasant. The roads were often flooded, covered in leaves and small stones but, surprisingly, no mud. Not even on the farm road stretch from East Dean to the A285. The roads had been washed clean.
So how did the gear cope?
I was wearing a new Endura Stealth 2 jacket (100% waterproof) over mid weight base layer. My shorts were Northwave Evolution bibs and the tights were and old pair of Sugoi bibs, pretty much identical to the Endura Thermolite bibs that Joe was wearing. On my feet I had Endura Coolmax socks and Northwave Fahrenheit boots. Neither too much nor too little. I was just right for the whole ride. My legs and feet got soaked with my legs staying warm and drying out later on but my feet got cold as my toes sloshed around with boots full of water. There is a slight floor in the design of the great waterproof and usually warm Gortex boot. The designer left a big hole at the top of the boot. I know that it has the useful function or allowing your foot to enter but a hole big enough for a size 9 foot is bound to let some water in. To be fair to the designer some of today’s ride was more like windsurfing than cycling and I’d never expect my feet to stay dry sailing on a day like today. I still rate these boots and have enjoyed many warm and comfortable miles last year in sub zero temperatures. I’d recommend a thicker sock for a day like today.
The Endura Stealth 2 jacket is definitely 100% waterproof and did a great job. If the sun had come out for any time I could have vented it with either the armpit zips or the side vents. The jacket breathes remarkably well and as we were not riding hard I could feel the warmth coming through as my perspiration evaporated and my base layer dried out. The cut of the Stealth 2 is a slimmer fit than the original Stealth and is designed more for mountain bikers than for road riding. As I leaned forward over my road bike the front of the jacket ballooned out which was fine today but in really cold weather I’d want it closer fitting. Maybe I should have got the small? It’ll be fine when riding my Kinesis FF29 and the colour matches too! One other thing to mention is the colour, the Kelly green is bright (and safe) without being flouro-yellow and by all accounts high fashion for mountain biking in 2013. There are two rear pockets, both easy to open with gloves and Napoleon pocket ideal for a phone.
Mudguards are essential now and no roadie will ride with you if you don’t have them when its wet. Crud Race Guards are best, easy to fit and remove and are the only effective mudguards for a road bike. Only £29.99.
In the end it was a good steady tempo ride. I was glad to get out. Here is the ride Strava, Garmin.
If I was training for something this ride would go down as the one that would make the difference in the “big event”. However, I’m not training so why on earth did I forsake the duvet for a soaking?