RAIN!

I’m thinking about doing my first RAGBRI in 2020, but the thought of possibly riding a day (or more) in the rain doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. What happens if it rains during RAGBRI?? Just push on and ride through it? Is rain common during RAGBRI??

69 Replies

NYC Highwheeler, January 9, 2020 at 4:02 pm

I have done 3 RAGBRAI’s (03,14,16) and each one featured a single half day of light to moderate rain. The boys at Weather Control are pretty predictable and conservative. Sometimes there is a brief downpour, or some high winds as a front moves through, but its usually the type of thing that seems dramatic, but everything is dry and sunny a half hour later. Do watch the weather reports, check the radar, and listen to people who know weather. Fortunately, it is not hard to find farmers, pilots and airforce folks, etc. on RAGBRAI, and they know weather.

What to do when the rain does fall? Enjoy it! It is a refreshing break from the searing sun and high temperatures. If it really pours or the temperature drops, take shelter for an hour or two. Some of my fond RAGBRAI memories include taking shelter with a few other riders in an auto repair shop, and another time hanging out with a bunch of scantly clad riders in a laundry mat while we took turns warming up next to the driers and waiting for our cloths to dry. It was kind of fun really. In every case I was warm, dry, and sun burnt before reaching the overnight town.

Bring a cheap windbreaker, and if you want to be fancy, an extra pair of socks in a plastic bag (your shoes will be the last thing to dry). Note: That plastic bag is a good place for phones, cash, etc.) You can also do some impromptu stuff like wearing a plastic garbage bag, or putting newspaper under your helmet and around your collar. I brought rain pants on every RAGBRAI, but never even bothered to put them on. It just wasn’t necessary.

The best advice I can give for any kind of rain riding is to use fenders! Most of the misery of rain riding comes from wheel spray, not the actual rain.

#1314240

garywilk, January 9, 2020 at 6:32 pm

I see a lot of jackets mentioned but really pack a few small zip lock bags for you wallet and cell and anything else you want dry and just ride. If cooler, a long sleeve shirt or tight jacket works best. I would rather just ride in whatever is warm enough without an extra jacket flapping and then trying to store it somewhere. I have done several years and usually there is a day or two where you get a few hours of rain. You dry out and all is good. Remember, always pack a few small zip lock bags.

#1314243

garywilk, January 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm

Last year start was the worst for rain. Should of started a bit earlier but got going and pushed hard to get in front of it. since most rain goes west to east, if you get into it, you either have to push hard to get in front of it or camp out a few hours and wait is out. Just be careful of some of that beer. The Bourbon beer is 8.2%, goes down smooth and fast. You have all day to get to the end so just enjoy the people. If you have not done it, once you do, you will always want to go back.

#1314244

Dizzy, January 10, 2020 at 7:20 am

Hello David,
GCN has done quite a few videos concerning the impact of rain while riding. I’ve included two links: one compares the differences between hard shell & soft shell rain jackets; the other link offers many videos regarding rain. Enjoy! D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=305nLsKqXM4

https://www.youtube.com/user/globalcyclingnetwork/search?query=rain

#1314252

John Condon, January 10, 2020 at 2:32 pm

If it looks like rain I pack a raincoat and rain pants, and I wear them. I do not want to get cold. That can easily happen in Iowa in the rain on RAGBRAI.

#1314258

David Admire, January 10, 2020 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for all the replies! I normally avoid rain, but today I got caught in the rain on a 2 hour ride here in North Texas. Luckily it was 69 warm degrees so temperature was not an issue. But you know what? It really wasn’t that bad. I believe it’s all an attitude thing!

Lots of good suggestions here….and I’ll consider all opinions and advice.

I’d like to use fenders, but my Lynskey does not have room for them. I can barely fit 700 X 25’s on it!

One thing – I WILL take an extra pair of shoes with me. I’d hate to ride for days with soggy shoes!

#1314260

Jboz, January 10, 2020 at 7:02 pm

David – lots of seat post mounted fender options. Here is one for example:

https://www.rei.com/product/143417/portland-design-works-origami-rear-fender

Also, I have a Lynskey too. GR270. Love the Ti!!!

#1314261

Jose Medina, January 10, 2020 at 7:56 pm

David , you need to listen to us veterans. We welcome you to Ragbrai, but at the same time we want you to have a great experience. Please look into 2 strap sandals and waterproof rain jacket with a breathable flap. Trust us. Once you use the sandals , you will not go back to shoes. Even if it does not rain , the air flowing thru your toes is worth it. It can get very hot here in Iowa in July. I always tell virgins that it is not the miles , but the heat. I recommend staying outside after a training ride. Go wash your car or work out in the garden. Do not go back inside in air conditioning. Stay outside. I have seen riders drop out because of the heat even tho they put in a couple thousand miles in training. I put in about 400-500 miles in, but I stay out in the heat. If you do this you will not have a problem. Where do you live ? I have coached many riders on their first Ragbrai. I am not a professional trainer but an experienced Ragbrai rider. 30 years. Ragbrai is like no other biking experience. Other rides do not come close. I met my wife on Ragbrai on one of the hottest days and she was not even a rider. She thought we were crazy. Instant love at the Surf Ballroom. I needed someone sane in my life. Now she understands. She has even done a day on Ragbrai. She is not a long distance rider. I am ok with that. There is more to this story that is fascinating , please look me up at the Route Annoucement Party for the rest of the story.I will help you in any way I can. I am also a Military Veteran. Now in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Welcome to Iowa.

#1314262

Jose Medina, January 10, 2020 at 9:24 pm

Ok , I have been asked to elaborate on my experience meeting my wife. I was coming in to Clear Lake on Ragbrai on a very hot day. On the outskirts of town I remember a girl sun tanning in a purple bikini in her back yard. I did not stop, but I remember her beautiful body. I then set up camp and decided to go to the Surf Ballroom that night.I love to dance. She was standing by the dance floor and I asked her to dance. After we danced we got to talking and she told me that she was laying out in her purple bikini watching all these crazy riders going by. I said I remember you , I was one of those riders .She drove me and a couple friends back to camp . I gave her my business card with my phone number. That night we had tornado warnings and were marched out of camp to a shelter. She saw this on TV and decided to come back and take some of us back to her place for safety,but the police would not let her thru. She left a message on my answering machine back in Des Moines telling me what she had done. I thought that was sweet and invited her to Des Moines in a couple weeks to dance. We have now been together 21 years and married 11 years. I have been in 30 Ragbrais and the privelege of riding with Karras in my early years. Thanks Ragbrai !!!

This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Jose Medina.

#1314263

LawnchairMan, January 10, 2020 at 9:30 pm

I have been to Ragbrai seven times now, and only once got caught riding in the rain. That one time it was a light, warm sprinkle, so maybe even that doesn’t count. It did soak my tailbag, so it must have been more than I’d thought. It only rained for about thirty minutes.
The first day of last year I heard the sprinkling on my tent about 0330. Our charter had camped in a field of weeds and dirt, so I packed up early. I got out before the mud stuck to my shoes. Others weren’t so lucky. There may have been a light mist at the start of my ride, but no rain until I had made it to Atlantic.
Other years it rained overnight. Once, I was sure it would continue raining through the morning, but putting on my rain gear must have scared it away. Just as I was ready to roll, the clouds broke and the rain stopped. By the way, I’m a firm believer that if you don’t bring rain gear it WILL rain. If you do, it probably won’t.
In 2015 it rained the second day. I wasn’t in it, though, because I had crashed the first day. I sagged that day.
It was a high price to avoid the rain, but for seven years I have been lucky as far as rain is concerned.

One word of caution: beware of road paint when wet. At least here in Vegas, the crosswalk stripes or bike lane dividers are very slippery when wet.

Oh, back to my lucky dry streak. I don’t intend to Ragbrai this year. So it might rain every day. I hope not for your sakes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I hope to see you in two years for the 50th aniversary. I look forward to a dry 2022!

This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by LawnchairMan.

#1314264

Jose Medina, January 10, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Ragbrai is a great place to meet a wonderful mate. Read my story. It is not always about riding. My wife is very supportive about us crazy people. I buried a fellow rider last year in his riding jersey and spandex. That is what he wanted. Only Ragbraiers would understand. He was 83. God Bless !!

#1314266

David Admire, January 10, 2020 at 11:47 pm

Please look into 2 strap sandals and waterproof rain jacket with a breathable flap. Trust us. Once you use the sandals , you will not go back to shoes. Even if it does not rain , the air flowing thru your toes is worth it. It can get very hot here in Iowa in July. I always tell virgins that it is not the miles , but the heat. I recommend staying outside after a training ride. Go wash your car or work out in the garden. Do not go back inside in air conditioning. Stay outside. I have seen riders drop out because of the heat even tho they put in a couple thousand miles in training. I put in about 400-500 miles in, but I stay out in the heat. If you do this you will not have a problem. Where do you live ? Welcome to Iowa.

I live in North Texas – west of FT Worth so I’m pretty used to the heat. Temperatures here in the summer soar past 100 routinely so I understand necessary precautions to guard against heat related injury. It can be very serious! I’ll have to pass on the sandals. I appreciate the suggestion and the air flow sounds awesome! But I like my carbon soled cycling shoes too much and they are surprisingly cool too! I’m retired Army! I’ll definitely be looking up VFW’s or American Legion Halls in any pass thru towns! Cool story about your wife! I met my wife of 22 years in a bicycle shop!

#1314269

RDaryl Daryl, January 11, 2020 at 7:50 am

No need for second pair of riding shoes “just in case of rain”.
After a storm passes during your riding day (storms usually pass after a hour or two), take off your shoes in a pass-through town and hang out in the sun while you enjoy food & beverage. Many bring flip-flop sandals. Others just ride with SPD Bike Sandals. Just DON’T ride with the storm all day long.
Stuff newspaper in your shoes overnight to absorb moisture.

#1314276

Jboz, January 11, 2020 at 9:14 am

My riding sandals are so comfortable, I don’t even bring an extra pair of shoes or flip-flops. I have the Keen cycling specific sandals, which sadly Keen discontinued. The footbeds are rubber and the straps are nylon so they dry out very quickly. The cleats are recessed enough that I can get off the bike and they don’t make that awful metal to concrete scraping sound when I’m walking around. I’ve had these for about 8 years now, and I really fear the day when they finally wear out…so much so that I periodically look at Ebay to find them used in my size, even though I’m kind of grossed out by the thought of wearing used footwear 🙂

#1314277

David Admire, January 11, 2020 at 11:40 am

Unfortunately the sandals with SPD off road type cleats are great. But if you use other types of road pedals with different style cleats they don’t work.

This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by David Admire.

#1314282

Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 69 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Categories

Looking for RIDES

RAGBRAI XLVII – 2019

RAGBRAI XLVIII – 2020

RAGBRAI XLVI – 2018

Training

RAGBRAI XLV – 2017

RAGBRAI XLIV – 2016

Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found

Miscellaneous

RAGBRAI XLIII – 2015

RAGBRAI XLII – 2014

RAGBRAI XLI – 2013

RAGBRAI XL – 2012

RAGBRAI XXXIX – 2011

Clubs, Teams & Charters