Thursday, July 26, 2012

Man it's hot!

I was lucky to make it home from the ride this morning. I think some brain cells definitely did not make it from the feel of my head melting. I wanted to get one more 100+ mile day in before Leadville and with the xc race this weekend that meant I'd have to do it during the week. I was suppose to do it yesterday when it was nice and cool but circumstances prohibited it. I did manage to get up early and get out before sunrise. Got some beautiful views of the sun coming up as I headed North towards North Carolina. I figured on doing the same route as I did last Wed as I got in nearly a century. I'd just tack on some more miles once I got into NC. Same wind as last week too, from the south. Normally, I'd head into the wind while fresh so I can benefit from the tailwind return when I get tired. Not wanting this to be an easy ride, I put it on 220-250 watts and headed North with the wind so I'd have to work coming home.
It became apparent pretty quickly that the day was going to get very hot. This morning was probably the most humid day I've ridden on that I can remember. Sweat was rolling off me more than I'd ever seen outside. I had some new sensations- sweat running down my cheeks and dripping off my chin. Never had that happen before, especially rolling at 24ish mph. The wind normally blows all that sweat off. Another issue causing concern was the amount of sweat on my hands and covering the handlebars. The brake hoods were soaked underneath and actually twisting around on the levers adding more excitement when I'd sprint on the hoods. The drops were no better with my hands slipping down them with every bump. I've had my hands sweaty and slip off the bars before resulting in a face first crash and seeing rainbows around everything for awhile. Not fun. Not eager to repeat that moment, I pulled over at  convinience store to refill my bottles and dry off my bars. The clerk informed me that it would be a 118 degrees heat index today and that I should drink a lot of water. Um...thanks. I'll do what I can. Perfect. Hottest day of the year and I was out for a long one.
Wasn't bad yet so off I rolled. Pushing north, I hit hwy 9 out of Cherry Grove, crossed the swing bridge and headed inland. Hanging a right onto hwy 57 I pedaled on towards North Carolina. Soon I'd crossed the border and still with a tailwind and feeling strong, decided to keep on rolling several more miles before turning around. All the while I kept wondering how bad the wind would be on the return trip. I was also beginning to notice the heat a little. By 9am, it was full blown hot. Heat waves were starting to appear on the horizon and the headwind I was riding into was no longer cooling me off. By 9:30 that wind was feeling like a blast furnace and I could feel my skin burning when in the sun. There is hardly and shade down here, so that was most of the time. Every now and then I'd get a litttle tree cover and a welcome 1 degree reduction of the heat. The legs were holding up beautifuly, I kept waiting for the power to drop but 4 hrs in and it was still holding strong. I knew it had to drop sometime though, and the thought of limping back home in a headwind and this oppressive heat didn't sit well with me.
Remembering old Floyd from the 2006 Tour and all the bottles he went through had me stopping every 45 minutes or so to refill bottles. One to drink, one for the head. This worked great. Douse my head and I was good for 20 minutes or so till I had to hit it again. I started noticing however, that the time till I felt crummy again was decreasing rapidly. Power was holding steady, I was just feeling worse and worse. Soon the 45 minutes between stops became 30. Then 20. As sunny and bright as it was, my glasses had to come off, they were too hot to wear. Soon after the glasses went, the Ipod earbuds had to go. I just knew those things were holding in heat that was trying to escape from my ears. I probably went through 15 bottles before I made it back to the Myrtle Beach city limits.
One more stop for a cold Coke and I was only 6 miles from home. Revitalized, I rode those 6 excruciatingly hot miles as fast as possible. Other than a momentary mini fit I threw from having to stop and bake at a long red light, the last part wasn't bad. The bike path for the last 2 miles turned out kind of nice as I hit the tailwind again and instantly felt cooler. After a cold shower, food, and a gallon of water, I'm ready to roll again! I'm rolling out tomorrow to head out west and will be there for a few weeks. By the time I get back, he weather will hopefully be cooler! Doesn't matter anyway though as I'll be shifting to shorter, more intense cyclocross training and leave the longer rides for better places. Stay cool out there people! Dink up! DH

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