10 tips for Grandfondos in the rain
A Granfondo in the rain is every cyclist’s nightmare. You’ve been preparing for months, you set a seasonal goal, you wake up in the morning and… It’s raining cats and dogs!
What do we do? Do we go or not?
This is a situation we have all been in at least once and we all ask ourselves the same question. The decision of what to do is strictly personal: if you’re not convinced or don’t feel like it, you should not feel bad about leaving.
But if “backing out” is not part of your vocabulary, let’s look at 10 useful tips to better cope with the race.
When it rains, it is essential to lower the tyre pressure to get more grip on the ground.
The best advice is to stay close to the lower limit of the recommended range, which is written on the tyre.
Rain removes the oil from the chain, especially if it is very fluid. Therefore, in a 4 or 5 hour race, it is easy to find the chain “working dry” on the sprockets, and you can imagine the consequences.
Virtually all companies produce lubricants specifically for wet and/or winter conditions in general, so it is very easy to buy. Don’t save.
ALUMINIUM BRAKE ZONE
If you have a bike with a disc brake, you don’t need to take this advice into account. If, on the other hand, you have traditional brakes, it’s really important.
While it is true that modern carbon wheels, combined with the right brakes, have made great progress. But we can’t deny that wheels with aluminium brake zones are definitely easier to use and safer. Braking in this case is more uniform and efficient.
Another tip, always in regard to the wheels: if you have two sets of wheels, choose the lower profile ones, it will allow you to drive less nervously on a certainly difficult day.
It’s raining, all right. But we’re not in Alaska. One of the most common mistakes is to overdress and, above all, to wear clothes that are too heavy.
The market offers breathable and waterproof clothing, perfect for cycling in the rain without suffering from heat or cold.
Be careful with leggings or long trousers… sometimes, it is better to apply a heat oil on your legs: this will allow the water to slide down your legs and you will avoid pedalling with your trousers soaked.
The extremities are always the parts that suffer most from the rain and the cold. To think that they can be kept completely dry is a utopia, but the use of technical gloves and overshoes helps.
Your hands, even if it’s going to be hot, will need gloves to get a better grip on the handlebars.
As for the head: if you have one of those helmets that are prepared for the rain, mount the protections that allow it to close completely. Alternatively, there are many waterproof hats on the market, which we recommend.
- THE DESCENT
Here’s a technical riding tip. The descent is definitely one of the most critical moments during a Granfondo in the rain, but let’s see how we deal with it.
- Reduce your speed, drive smoothly and avoid sudden braking or manoeuvring
- Bend less on corners, but don’t be too rigid when you duck down
- Avoid white lines on the road that become very slippery in the rain.
- Start braking sooner because the braking will be much longer than usual
RIDING IN A GROUP
It’s one thing to pedal alone or with a friend on a rainy day. Another is group cycling. As you can imagine, this involves greater risks. Two pieces of advice:
- Increase the distance you normally keep from others
- If possible, try to pedal on the outside of the group, to have an escape route in case of problems
The rain keeps you focused on riding. And being too focused often makes you forget to eat as well as drink.
Also, if it’s cold, your body will need more calories to warm up, so you’ll need to eat more than usual.
THE FIRST DROPS
When it starts raining, it’s one thing. Riding in the constant rain is another. The change in climate conditions is what causes the most problems.
Firstly, because the first drops are what make the road more slippery: the asphalt is not yet soaked and the dirt (oil and grease stains) will mix with the water turning the road into a skating rink.
And then because it will be difficult to implement all the wisdom we have talked about so far, even by changing the driving technique.
Concentration and courage, but also head on shoulders. Be careful, prudence comes first.
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