British weather forecasts of rain are always a source of amusement to me. To me they appear to embellish the truth sometimes and then prepare us for worse other times. What is reported to be light rain showers are really only what was called “some drizzle in parts” where I come from. Or at least that’s my memory of it. And so the scale moves up. “Light rain” = drizzle, “heavy rain” = light rain but it could actually get heavier. “Thundery showers” = it’s gonna smash it down for a bit and then stop, with or without thunder and then do it again in a while. I have learnt to adjust the forecast to my understanding of what actually is likely to be.
The wind forecast on the other hand is dressed up to appear enjoyable when on the bike is most definitely not. A “mild” breeze (5-10mph) feels more like a moderate breeze. A “moderate” wind or “fresh breeze” (10-20mph) = stronger. “Strong winds” (>20mph but < 40mph) = don’t bother going out on the bike unless you have to or it isn’t raining. “Wind gusts” (>40mph) = go out if you want to get thrown off or smash into a vehicle that is travelling too close-stay in bed.
This morning was a case in point. My weather app showed a 90% risk of light rain with a 20mph “fresh breeze”. I set off under heavy skies, big grey clouds full of moisture whipping along over me courtesy of this fresh breeze. I would call it a “strong B@$T@®D headwind from the SW”. There was no rain, more scattered patchy drizzle with nothing constant until I got 5km from work but I wouldn’t call it light rain.
By this time, as I had prepared by wearing my rain jacket, I was soaked inside and out. Wrestling with the headwind in 15°C tends to make me sweat with a waterproof top that doesn’t breathe so well.
As predicted last night the tail wind was there but is wasn’t as strong. I’m not complaining here. 15mph caressing you along isn’t an opportunity to be missed but I was kind of sort of wanting more after this morning’s battle. While some of it was across me, most of it befriended me and massaged me up and down the hills under a very angry sky. I decided to go for some PBs on a couple of segments but I wasn’t really into sprinting at the @®$E end of a weeks commuting. I half tried in the hope that it was good enough but I didn’t even get near any 3rd bests.
In the end, it was good enough to avoid the 97% risk of rain as it began to drift down as I arrived home. 10 rides in 5 days this week, 315 so far in 284 days this year. Not as many as some but still 111% committed to riding a bike…