GB Cycling team coach and road cyclist Ben Greenwood explains how to avoid disaster on wet and slippery surfaces.
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Don’t change direction too quickly — you don’t have the same grip as in the dry. Take a more cautious line so the bike isn’t too banked over, and don’t start pedalling or get out of the saddle until you’re on the exit or you could lose the back end.
Your margins for error are much smaller and road markings and manhole covers are slippier, so build up confidence and speed slowly.
Try to relax. As soon as you tense up, mistakes start to happen. Don’t use carbon rims if you’ve got a big descent in the wet — from my experience of using them in races, they’re fine in the dry but slowing down with them in the rain is almost impossible.
Keep warm on descents by putting on a rain jacket. Even the best downhillers start to misjudge corners when they get too cold.
Start slowing down earlier than normal; your stopping distance will be greater. Do all your braking before the corner — if you lock the wheels up as you’re turning, the lack of grip will cause the bike to slide.
With water on the rims and pads, don’t expect anything to happen initially when you pull the levers. Give the brakes a quick dab first to clear the stopping surfaces.
4. Group riding
In a bunch, don’t sit quite so close to the wheel in front. This will help you see through the spray and give you extra space if something happens ahead. In the wet, riders leave bigger gaps through the corners between them and the rider in front.
Try to ride close to the front of the group. The further back you are, the harder you’ll have to work to close the gap.