I have always been resilient to heat. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me like it does most people and I’ve never bothered to think much about it. I get hot, but am very much comfortable riding in everything up to the mid-90’s (about 115° off the asphalt) I just maintain my grateful attitude about it and watch as others suffer.
Until last night.
A friend and riding buddy of mine has been avoiding riding with friends because he has a sick relative they’ll be visiting soon. It’s one of those “worst case” scenarios so considering the current state of things, his only choice has been to ride solo. I’ve picked up that he’s been bummed about the fact that, as things open up and we’re all finding small groups to ride in, he’s been left out… so I asked if he’d like to ride the Tuesday night route, just the two of us. He cleared that with his wife and we met out at the church. As I pulled into the parking lot, the digital thermometer in my car showed a balmy 91 F (33 C). Now, if you’re keeping track, we went from the mid-40’s to ninety-freaking-one in two weeks. Not exactly any time to acclimatize in there. Still, I had every intention of having a fun, if warm and comfortable, ride.
I pulled my bike from the trunk, got kitted up and went for a four mile warmup. Yeah, warmup, 91°… I know. I felt fantastic and fast, too. Surprisingly so, considering I hadn’t had a day off the bike in more than a week. I didn’t bother with the full seven mile warmup as that would have been excessive. Four-and-a-half was good enough. Jonathan was prepping his bike when I pulled into the parking lot. There was only one other car besides ours, a E/D Group woman we see regularly under normal circumstances.
Jonathan and I rolled out early as we didn’t want to ride with anyone else. We started out side by side with tailwind for the first six miles. We had a 20 average when we hit headwind and I dropped behind Jonathan. We traded places regularly and were still sitting at a 19-1/2 average when the wheels fell off for me, about 17 miles in. I was breathing hard from what should have been a fairly small effort. The heat and 300 miles from the last week caught up to me. Fortunately, I think Jonathan was struggling in the heat as well.
With just nine miles to go, just maintaining 22-mph with a tailwind was difficult. I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around how I felt because I’ve never felt that way because of the heat. My power to the pedals was just ugly. I got the pedals around but it wasn’t pretty. With four miles left, I was sitting up, tongue dangling down by the spokes, beat. I was just happy to pull into the parking lot and climb off my bike. We’d dropped our average from 20-mph (which should have been easy to maintain), all the way down to 18.8.
I grabbed some dinner at the local Burger King. Firing that down only helped minimally. I’d say it was two hours after the ride before I started to feel… less loopy. I ended up falling asleep on the couch around 9 pm and crawled into bed around 11.
I slept like a baby till it was time to get up. Tonight it’ll be “no rest for the weary”, though I’m going to aim for an average, on the Trek, closer to 16-mph. I think it’s time for some active recovery miles because I cooked myself last night.