Monday, June 6, 2011

I Hate the Heat

Mother Nature must be really pissed off this year. We went from monsoon-like rains and dozens of tornadoes straight into 90+ degree heat with high humidity. I'm a little worried about how I'll do at Racine since I tend to wilt in the heat. If it snowed that day I would be soooo happy.

Last Friday after work I tried running in Washington Park, aiming for a mix of heat and hills. I chose a hilly two mile loop with a number of side streets and played a game wherein I had to run each hill twice. This was fun for about a mile, then it became torture. There is shade in the park but since much of the route is in a low lying area with ponds and a lot of vegetation, it is also rather humid.

I stopped at a water fountain to dip my bandanna in cold water and some people asked me if I was all right. My face was tomato red.

"Oh I'm fine," I tried bravely. They seemed unconvinced.

Made it to 4.5 miles and called it a day.

My schedule for Saturday called for a 70-mile bike ride. Steve, being the good sport that he is, agreed to tackle this epic distance with me. We opted to head out at 6:30, which, by the time I was done putzing around and procrastinating, turned out to be closer to 7. I loaded up Jack-the-tri-bike with two bottles of mostly ice, 4 GUs, some Triscuits, a handful of Saltstix and some gum. Our route was new and bold --- we would ride through the towns of Loami, New Berlin, Pleasant Plains and Salisbury. I knew the location of gas stations and/or friends/family so that we were covered for pitstops and water refills.

Things went pretty well for the first 25 miles. The pollen was pretty high, I had forgotten my inhaler and could feel my lungs burning, but my breathing felt ok. We got to Pleasant Plains and stopped at a gas station populated mostly by farmers and high school football players. I felt kind of silly stomping through the store in my clicky cycling shoes. There was no water fountain that I could find, so I slipped into the restroom to refill water bottles.

Noteworthy on this leg is that we saw a large animal at a distance trundling along the side of the road. Initially it appeared to be a groundhog, but it was barely moving. This was no groundhog, it was an enormous snapping turtle that had just crossed a two-lane county blacktop and was ambling down the embankment on the far side. I could see a pond about a quarter mile off the road, which was probably the turtle's point of origin. It appeared to be headed into a cornfield. To lay eggs? I have no idea. I have been known to stop driving or running or whatever to help turtles cross roads safely, but this monster didn't appear to want or need assistance, so we traveled on.

It was getting really hot. A road I intended for us to turn on near Salisbury had recently been white rocked and looked like a flat tire waiting to happen, so we stayed on Route 97, which is a little too busy and narrow for cycling.

In Salisbury we stopped in the shade of some huge maple trees and took a little break. Lo and behold, along came two cyclists, one of them the husband of a friend of mine. He also owns the Corkscrew, a very nice wine store in Springfield. We learned from them that there was some white rock on one of the popular roads ahead, but chose to ignore this warning.

Yup, Stagecoach Road had some fairly new, loose white gravel. There was really no good way to turn around and backtrack, so we just sort of slogged along and hoped for the best.

Steve didn't get a flat tire until we were about two miles from my brother's house. By then the wind had picked up, the ride was starting to suck. I was craving an ice cold Pepsi and wanting to get off the bike.

We made it to my brother's and hung out there for about half an hour, rehydrating and visiting. My legs were pretty tired and it sucked to have to get back on the bike and head out into the wind, which was gusting about 20 mph by this point.

We got home with 66 miles, 4 short of 70. I contemplated riding a few laps around the neighborhood to make the full distance, but decided I didn't give a crap.


Mike said...

Nice ride in the heat! 66 is close enough to 70 for sure. Don't sweat the small stuff.

The only way to prep for the heat is to train in it. So look on the bright side, you are getting perfect training weather!

Anne B said...

Thanks Mike, I guess 4 miles isn't TOO FAR off!!!