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  1. #1
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    When Night ride goes bad.

    I decided to go out for a MTB ride tonight; First, to get my first night mountain bike ride in of the year and secondly, to test my knee that I am currently rehabilitating. Conditions were not too promising tonight though. Basically there was a light on/off drizzle that had conditons damp but for the most part doable. I decided to go anyway which is quite unusual for me. I usually avoid riding when rain is possible however I was highly motivated. I had to know how my knee was doing so I could know if I could now do longer/harder rides.

    Just before leaving the house I checked the local radar screens and only saw areas of light rain and most of it looked to be a good ways off. I also packed my Smart phone that gives me the same weather app that provides me with real time weather radar.

    After about 40 minutes into my ride I came upon some major muddy areas. Apparently the trails were not as ready as I first thought. Rather than continue to slog through the muddy bogs I decided to cut the ride short and take a short cut back to the car. During this time I pretty much forgot about the rain as most of it was just a very light drizzle. I also forgot to check out the radar on the smart phone which would of been a smart thing to do ( in retrospect ).

    So I'm only about a mile or so from my car when suddenly the wind picked up and I suddenly heard that sound that no one wants to hear while on a bike. That sound is like the sound of the approach of a hoard of locus as it makes it's way across the tops of the trees.

    I was about to exit onto a power line open area. Suddenly the sound was getting closer. I knew it was time to reach for the rain jacket...only to realize that I forgot to put it in the bag when I left the car. Riding the short distance through the open area the rain started to come down like a monsoon. Although it was a warm day with current temps near 70F, when the rain hit, it was like getting hit with buckets of COLD water. I was soaked within seconds. I knew right away I had to find shelter or risk hypothermia.

    My first instinct was to try to ride as fast as I could to one of the local ball fields where I knew I could find shelter. The problem was it was raining so hard I could only see maybe 5-10 ft. in front of me. I've never rode in conditions like this before. It is totally disorienting. Not only could I only see a small patch of ground in front of me but I couldn't see ANYTHING to the sides.! The helmet lamp was completely useless and actually made things worst by blinding me with with reflective glare from the rain in front of my face. Quickly I turned it off.

    I ended up taking a wrong trail in all the confusion but luckily it actually turned out to be a short cut. Shivering and cold I found a ball field with a covered dugout where I could wait out the storm.
    There I checked out the radar on my phone where it showed a small line of intense rain cells. After about twenty minutes or so the rain abated and I beat feet back to the car. I was one mad, pissed, cold and soaking wet mountain biker. This is what happens when you forget to pack the equipment that you initially intended to bring along.

    Only good thing to come out of this is that the Gloworm and Xeccon people can proudfully beat their chests because their lamps took all that rain without any problems. Thankfully, my knee seems to have gotten better. Not 100% yet but it's getting there. My bike ( which was woefully in need of a cleaning ) has been virtually power washed.

    So....once again I escaped harm with just my pride being wounded. Thankfully the night was warm enough ( and I was warm enough from riding ) that I didn't catch too much of a chill, even though I was soaked to the bone. Trails where I live will be mud slogs for at least a week. That's a b-itch. Tomorrow will be a nice day. Looks like I might have to take the road bike out. If I do you can bet your bottom dollar I won't forget the rain gear. Even so, I hope never to encounter rain at that intensity while on a bike again, day or night!

  2. #2
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    When Night ride goes bad.

    Crappy. Glad you made it out unscathed. I ride in AZ and monsoon season is coming, so thanks for the extra reminder to pack some rain gear


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Cats hate water.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Cats hate water.
    ....that would be saying it nicely...


    I got thinking about what happened last night after I woke up. Strange as it might sound even if I had packed the rain jacket it all happened so fast I really doubt I would of had time to get it out. Rarely will a storm take me by surprise like that. My fault for not thinking to look at the weather app. I remember thinking about it when I was half way into the ride but the phone was in my back pack and I didn't feel like taking it off and fussing with the wire that was coming out to my helmet lamp. Before leaving the house I had the option to mount my phone on the stem with a waterproof Bikase case but decided I didn't need it. I also had the option to pack an emergency poncho BUT I couldn't find it before I left the house. I did have a light rain jacket in the car but like I said before I forgot to put it in the bag when I got to the ride site.


    Rain I can usual deal with even when unprepared. In the summer getting wet is not so much a big deal. Depending on "intensity" it can be rather pleasant if the rain is not so hard. On the other hand I really hate it when I sense a thunderstorm is headed my way. Being caught back in the woods with lightning flashing around me gets me scared. In the summer months when pop-up thunderstorms are quite common I'll be checking the phone app every half hour, sooner if I already know it's near. If I see something heading my way I will usually bail and head for the car as quick as I can.

    Now if I'm too far away from the car to make it back in time I have to go to plan B, that is "hunker down" and hope it doesn't last too long. If I have no jacket I usually carry a small bit of plastic table cloth along that I can throw over me if I have to. These plastic table cloths are really thin and very packable. Too bad I didn't have mine with me last night. All said, rain ain't so bad but lightning scares the crap out of me.

    I have a feeling I'm going to get my share of rain and thunderstorms this year. Already the area I live in is seeing very high numbers when it comes to rainfall. We just got through a bad winter and I have a sad feeling the trend is going to continue through the summer. Right now I am currently rethinking my rain strategy. I can easily keep my torso and pants dry but my head and feet...those are problems I haven't solved yet. ( I hate riding with soggy socks and keeping rain from your head/neck area is almost impossible if you are using a helmet with a lamp mounted to it. )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post

    I have a feeling I'm going to get my share of rain and thunderstorms this year. Already the area I live in is seeing very high numbers when it comes to rainfall. We just got through a bad winter and I have a sad feeling the trend is going to continue through the summer. Right now I am currently rethinking my rain strategy. I can easily keep my torso and pants dry but my head and feet...those are problems I haven't solved yet. ( I hate riding with soggy socks and keeping rain from your head/neck area is almost impossible if you are using a helmet with a lamp mounted to it. )
    Quoting from the last paragraph of my last post; I got a chance to take my first MTB ride since the last one. This time I rode my regular trail that I usually ride when riding night. It had been four days since any rain and the weather was nice. I figured that was enough for some drying to take place. Minutes into my ride I got a rude awakening. My regular trail is just devastated. The monsoon like rains we got over the last month really tore up things. On one particular stream crossing where a drainage tube had been employed ( since last year ) to improve and prevent erosion, the entire section had been completely gutted. There is now a twenty foot wide ditch about four foot deep with the drainage tube just sitting there in the middle of it all. Disgusting to say the least. Without a bridge you just have to try to climb over the mess ( with bike in one hand, side stepping the mud )... which is not easy or fun to say the least.

    After I got over this mess I continued on only to find more areas that have still not dried out. Not going to be a good year for MTB'ing in my area. Yesterday brought more heavy rains and they're just going to keep coming. Looks like I'll be spending some time on the road bike this year while I look for better places to ride MTB.

    I don't know what I'll do without my regular ride this year. I might have to send an e-mail off to Dept of Natural resources and see if they can fix this gulley before it gets worse. Almost going to need a backhoe to fix this crap.

    The sad part is that I have a feeling other trails in the local area are also going to have major issues at the stream crossings. I'm almost afraid at this point to even go out because if a stream is uncrossable
    it could ruin a really nice loop. Looks like when I go out this year I'm going to have to be prepared for the worse.

  6. #6
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    Glad you're ok. Those sorts of things have a way of going from bad to worse in a hurry.

    J.

  7. #7
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    Some strong winds have recently come to places where I ride and some trees falled also making many trails difficult to ride. But on yesterday's ride at night we've had some other problems which refused to move from our way resting on an inside of a turn Image is borrowed but madam was quite large That are those things you encounter when you go riding at night and make your ride unforgettable ...

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  8. #8
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    I had a similar experience with sudden rain that I now consider one of my most harrowing to have had on a bike. 60* with slight chance of rain turned into pouring ride-for-my-life crapfest.

    I had packed a rain jacket and pants because it had threat of light rain. However, the weather was much different between my house where the weather gets checked and the hills I was riding in about 4 miles away. The skies opened up right as I finished climbing to the top of my technical downhill section 8 miles from home, without time to don my gear and drenching me to the core. I had my first encounter with near-hypothermia. Here in Germany there are usually shelters sprinkled throughout the woods, but none were to be found as I needed them. I put my rain jacket on despite being soaked through in attempt to simply hold my body heat in. It worked enough and I limped down the trail where it was dry as a bone.

  9. #9
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    I got chilly reading that because I know what ice cold rain does. goes to the bones



    This is why a large garbage bag or contractors bag is mandatory for the camelbak

    folds flat, weighs nothing, instant poncho

    I carry one always plus a lightweight zip jacket scrunched in there 24x7 too..even on the sunniest driest days... never without the jacket or bag, you just never know....my plan is if I become immobilized for hours (say...break a bone)
    I want those layers

  10. #10
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    Yep, sometimes you never know. Last week saw temps in the 80's (F) but last night ( while working ) it got down to 55F. < That would not be a good time to get caught in a sudden downpour without some rain gear.

    The "Garbage bag" idea is a plan. I also have an emergency poncho ( with hood ) but I doubt the hood will cover the helmet. Better than nothing though. I'd rather carry my cycling Goretex rain jacket which has a hood big enough to go over a helmet. The only problem with that is that the jacket takes up a lot of space in the bag ( and is much heavier ). For MTB'ing not a problem but if I want to take it for road biking I have to carry a larger "fanny" pouch which I'd rather not do. Still, until I start seeing warmer temperatures at night I'd much rather have the good jacket standing by just in case I need it.

  11. #11
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    ME: I smell rain coming.....I'm staying inside, despite how motivated I am.

    Chalk it up as a lesson learned...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    ME: I smell rain coming.....I'm staying inside, despite how motivated I am.

    Chalk it up as a lesson learned...
    Naaah....No can do for Cat-man-do.. But of course it all depends on a lot of factors. During the summer I try to keep track of rain fall totals in the specific areas I usually ride. Weatherunderground helps me with that. If I feel the trail conditions will be dry enough for riding then I start looking at the radar screens to see what areas are most ( or least ) likely to see a major storm. Major storms I tend to say away from but the localized pop-up cells I'll sometimes try to play a cat-and-mouse game with ( only with the roles reversed... )

    Where I live I've gotten used to dryer springs and summers over the past 10 years or so. Just when you start to get comfortable with things...WHAM!...major change! This spring has been one of the wettest I've seen in many a year. The damage on the trails that I've seen is almost akin to what you see after a hurricane has passed through the area. Even after things dry out there is still major debris and damage that has to be dealt with. Total PITA.

    Anyway, if the trend continues I have to find a way to get my ride fix. If that means dodging some smaller storms on the road bike then so be it. I've got some wet weather gear, I've just never really had to use it all that much. For now I've got some nice weather this weekend. Since it drizzled almost all day Thursday I'll likely take the road bike out Saturday and the MTB out Sunday. For the MTB I'll be looking for a place with a lot rock so that will mean a good drive since I don't live real close to the mountains.

  13. #13
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    When vacation goes bad

    Had my first week of vacation of the year this week. Sadly when I checked the long range forecast last Friday I saw that it was calling for rain everyday the week of my vacation. I tried my best to remain upbeat. "Naw, it can't rain EVERYDAY" . Not gonna happen, I'm sure the sun will peak through here or there. Well, I couldn't of been more wrong. I only had one day the whole week with a clear sky and on that day I had some errands to run so I couldn't ride. After that three days of wave like rain patterns. Wave after wave after wave. When one wave of cells moved through another wave followed behind it two hours later. By Friday I had lost my sanity. I had to sedate myself because by that time I was beginning to foam at the mouth. Not to mention that my Boss called me on Thursday and asked me to work Saturday because "they have no one else". ( This being the case I couldn't turn him down ). Doesn't matter that Saturday is calling for beautiful weather, NOW I HAVE TO WORK. At this point I'm completely mental. Next time it rains when I take a day off I going to pull a "Lt. Dan". I'll tear my cloths off, sit in the seat and ride my fool head off screaming the whole time, "You think you can stop me! YEEEEHAAAA, you ain't stopping me this time!". ( Riding at night back in the woods you can actually get away with this....

  14. #14
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    Can U send some of that rain this way. It's like a tinder box out here. Bay Area.

    MB

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