We’re on track to have the hottest summer EVER in Austin, Texas. (Climate science deniers ought to move along right now.) Texans are accustomed to the heat, but not like this. In 2011 we had 90 days over 100 F. So far in 2022, we’ve had 58 of those 100+ days. May, June, and July were record breaking hot. August is the worst month. Also, it’s barely rained, so we’re in an extreme drought. Many places from France and the UK to California are experiencing extra high temperatures. The hotness makes bicycling, as well as other important activities like standing up, breathing, and putting on pants a bit challenging.
But were a resilient lot — to a point. I’ve written about what to do about heat before (Surviving the Summer Heat on a Bicycle). These days I’m trying to do night rides, drink more water than I think I need, and hide out in the air conditioning. So far, so good, for the most part. Sometimes you mess up and forget to reapply the sunscreen and you get a reminder from Mother Nature.
Naturally, my biking goal has suffered. It doesn’t help that as in summers past, I have a job that’s outside. Although mercifully that part is over, I was having some pretty serious heat exposure. Also, I am having some knee pain and am often still short on the sleepy time. Let’s not forget that my dear Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer was stolen seven months ago today. “Universal sadness all around,” to quote a guy in Slacker.
So, I’m still riding Sonnie, the GT, which is a lot heavier than Sophie or my retired Fuji Sookie, and has some gearing and shifting issues. All together, those make for pretty some good reasons to do less exercise. I’ve realized that I’m doing what I can and if I don’t make my goal, well, that’s life. I don’t need to prove to anyone that if I’m not strong on the hills or fast on the flats, I’m at least a dedicated cyclist, after biking 1,000 days in a row (and still counting), as I wrote last month on 7/7/2022.
When I have had to ride in the heat, I try to be more mindful of my intake of water and hydration tabs. Also, I tend to take disco naps before a ride if I can. Until I recently lost it, I was using a fishing cap with a three-sided neck protector and longer bill. And I take water over the head, ride through sprinklers, and accept free water bottles whenever possible. Hydration tabs during and after are key to surviving, and eating more fruit. So yes to bike and survive in the heat; it’s doable, but it ain’t easy. If you’re in a hot place you know as well as I the difficulties.
But you do what you can. I prefer the heat to the cold. And in the end, one must do as Sam said: “live to ride another day.” And oh yeah, maybe first you better put those pants on.
Hope you enjoyed this post and recent pictures from about town.
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