Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If you can't stand the heat....

Biking during the summer months in the southeast US is going to be a hot affair. You know that going in. While today is technically a day or two away from summer, every kid knows that summer starts when school lets out. That's why it's called "summer vacation," silly. None of that common knowledge helps much when you roll out at 7 AM and it is already 80 degrees and humid. I turned to Tim as we pulled away from the parked cars onto Flowers Rd and said, "Enjoy it. This is the coolest temperature we'll see all day." Truly, if you can't stand the heat, you won't want to cycle in Alabama between May and September.

Alice posts the Club Lite rides. She does spin class during the week, and stays pretty aerobically fit. 15 - 16 mph is her target range for riding. I really, really like Alice, but have to disagree with her characterization of Club Lite as 15 - 16 mph avg. If we were on a rail trail, sure, no problem. We're not though. Our rollers are well known (courtesy of the annual supported club ride, The Glassner Memorial. It's always on Labor Day weekend) for tiring out even legs used to tall climbs.

Today, after about 6 miles, I decided to fall back from the 15 - 18 that this crew of high rollers was cruising at and keep company with Wendell. He stays around 12 - 13, and if I had to deviate from my usual pace of 13 - 15, I wanted it to be on the slower side today, not the faster. We enjoyed a conversational pace as well as well paced conversation, but Wendell opted to cut his ride short and I had to "kick it up a notch" to hang with the other guys.

The day was gorgeous, beyond the steady rise of the temperature. Winds were calm to start and never much of an issue. They provided some cooling action when we rested. Our advance scouts always found us some shade to rest in and I took advantage to re hydrate each time. I have always perspired PROFUSELY from the top of my head, so I feel like I am riding with someone running a hose of warm water on me all the time. A brim cap under the helmet at least diverts the flow away from my eyes, or the salt in my sweat would blind me all the time. Wool has turned out to be best for me, wetness-management-wise. It wicks away a lot of the water, it is still comfortable when wet, and dries odor free. In addition to a wool cap under the helmet today, I wore a sleeveless thin merino shirt. And the Boosuckers once again over wool boxers. It all was pretty comfy. Just pretty wet.

I was reminded on the ride today that if you wear spandex, and have gained a little weight, your modesty will suffer when the sun shines on that tautly stretched fabric across your back side. And it's not a pretty sight, either.  I'm just saying, it's good that baggy shorts never have the same issue.

Since the last ride on it, I swapped wheels and tires out on the Rambouillet. It's now running  (26") Velocity Aeroheat  rims / Phil hubs and 37 mm Panaracer Pasela tires. I very much like the set up. These are the biggest tires the bike can run (well, maybe a 38 would fit in if one were made) and they are smooth, plush and fast. They are also the biggest rubber that the ShimaNO SLR brakes will reach around, although I have some bigger Tektros avail, if the fork were wider. Which it's not.

We came across some black headed vultures at a fresh armadillo road kill and they reluctantly ceded the road way to us as we approached. Flapping to a low roost in a nearby tree, they waited for us to pass by. I chimed the brass bell at them anyway, and they sounded their replies. I thought THAT was pretty cool. I like birds in general, so anything bird related is interesting for me.

As always, it was good to see the crowd on the ride. John C was especially cognizant of my taking a bit more time and water (I drank and sweated 66 oz in just 2 1/4 hrs!) and he was kind enough to make sure I was not dead somewhere along the roadway. Alice assured me that she would direct EMS to my last known location. No, she would have checked on me too. I decided to linger 5 more minutes at the last rest stop and get a few more ounces of water inside, and let my absolutely torrential sweat pour get under control, before heading out again. I was never exhausted or cramping, but wanted to KEEP it that way. I'm glad I took the added few minutes, because as I sit here and clack this entry out, I feel good. Not depleted and beat as happens when over heating occurs.

I ended up with around 34 miles at around 14.45 avg spped. Pretty normal for me, but shy of the posted target zone. None seemed to mind though. Not me either. This is my second club ride while on this attempt at the Dr. Atkins Diet, and I am pleased that energy level is not a problem so far. I used Propel and low cal Vitamin water as fluids and drank about 85 cals worth. Far more calories were expended on the ride, so my daily net carb count was not affected. I am down 7 lbs since last Friday, which I am pleased to report.

Now, I'm looking forward to the beginner ride tomorrow. It may be shortened due to heat, and it will be slower, but it will happen!


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