Back in June, I wrote a cute little post about it hitting 100 degrees once. Now, after about 30 days of 100+ days, June seems like sweater weather. For regular, or in my case currently daily bicycle riders, or anyone who walks, runs, or exercises outside, this is a problem. I’ve already written a post about how to deal with it, so I won’t repeat that here, though this is the link. This post is mostly to complain about it. Because who doesn’t enjoy a good rant? And blowing off a little steam might make us feel a little cooler.
The thing about the heat is that climate change is causing more days of hotter weather here in Central Texas and many other places of the American South and around the world. But there’s also the heat island effect, which comes from buildings, parking lots and roads using concrete that reflect the heat instead of the earth absorbing it. Or something like that. Hey, this is not a science blog. I can’t tell you the details of why that is, but take it from me, you probably could fry an egg on the road. As Alexis on Schitt’s Creek would say, “Eww, David, gross!”
Riding downtown on an errand, I quickly found myself suffering from the exertion in the hotness. It’s not a long ride — just 15 miles round trip — and even on warm days normally I have no issues. But this was mid-day on another 100-plusser at the worst time. I drank some water from my bottle hoping that might help. But it was warm and it was not pleasant. I was pedaling slower and slower, even though downtown means downhill. (“It’s all downtown, George!”) Turning around at the halfway point, sweat dripped off my brow, etching surface lines on the thick layer of zinc oxide sunscreen. I felt a little woozy.
The possibility of heat exhaustion entered my mind. I tried to brush it away and thought to myself, “This is just part of the challenge of the car-free life. A little heat should be fine. I’ve been acclimating, right?” But human pleading, logic and even reason are not things Mother Nature cares about. There was escape from the heat, sure. Without the modern miracle of air conditioning, society would not function. Some people still don’t have AC, somehow, and they live. I survived that way myself for a time. During Corona times, hanging out inside public places is not a good idea.
I was much younger and thinner, not the mid-aged fathlete I am today. It was still uncomfortably warm in the summer, but nit as bad. I was renting a room in an upstairs room, with access to the bathroom and kitchen and screened in porch. There was a small, cute and friendly tortoise shell coated cat named Jane. Sometimes she’d sleep with me. But the only way I could get to sleep on hit nights was to take a cold shower, lie down on top of the sheets in my birthday suit with the fan blowing on me, and hope that I’d fall asleep before the warmth raised my body temperature and I couldn’t fall back asleep. Sometimes I’d wake up in a puddle of my sweat a d have to repeat the process But the rent was $150, so I couldn’t complain.
I finished my errand and pointed my trusty bike Sophie the Fairdale toward home. I wasn’t to the point where I needed to surrender to the indignity and virus risk of putting bike bike in the rack of a city bus. But I considered it. Gradually rising out of the lower elevation, the road for flatter, I found my legs and gutted it out. I had a protein bar but didn’t eat it to avoid throwing it up. Vomiting is a sign one is not doing well.
Finally, home was in sight. I got in, disrobed and jumped in a cold shower. Washing the sweat and sunscreen off, I relaxed. Drank copious amounts of water with hydration powder. Laid down under the fan with the AC running, and quickly fell into a slumber. Another ride survived. “Next time, I’ll get up earlier and leave earlier,” I thought. We’ll see about that. Damn writing, yoga and walking habits keep me up. Reading the news. Chores. Life. It goes on, but dang it’s hot outside! Sometimes it hit. I do not.
Stay frosty out there, people.