walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer FTW

Last night, after an argument with a good friend, I was not in the best of moods, and I decided that a good ride would clear my head.

Riding part way home had been in the plan anyway, but I had planned on leaving a little earlier so I could (in theory) hit the bike shop and pick up a floor pump. The inherent perversity of machines (laundry machines, in this case) interfered, so I wound up leaving around 6:30 PM.

I expected a fairly easy ride to the bus route 4 stop at 4th Street and Broadway. It's a reasonable distance with no climbing (the knee is not yet ready to climb anything that your average 95-year-old granny couldn't climb with a walker). I expected to roll up to the bus feeling considerably calmer.

I did not expect the blistering — or should I say smothering? — heat.

This isn't to say that some degree of smothering heat isn't the norm, this time of year, around here. Louisville is located in that particular part of the country blessed with both chilly winters (though nowhere near as cold as those in Syracuse were) and brutal summers. It's also obscenely humid — especially down town, in the low-lying region that hugs the river.

For June, heat indices in the mid-to-high 90s are about average, if I'm not mistaken. It so happens that we were having a relatively cool spell when I blew up my leg, and I haven't acclimated to riding in the staggering summer heat yet.

Yesterday's heat index was in the triple digits. I think if it had been dry out, I would have been significantly more comfortable. As it was, I made it the whopping four miles or so to the bus stop through a combination of hydration (48 ounces of fluid intake in the span of about 20 minutes) and stubborn refusal to quit. I reached the bus stop with (nominally) around 12 minutes 'til the bus would swing by, debated continuing my ride, and decided to pack it in.

Stepping into the arctic, air-conditioned bus was delightful (also, loading the Allez on a bus bike rack was, as always, delightful — I have roughly the upper body strength of an anemic nine-year-old: this is my primary reason for wanting my bikes to be light, LOL). The ride was uneventful (except for the part where my seat-mate nodded off and was nearly catapulted into the seat ahead of ours by a sudden stop*).

At the other end, feeling considerably refreshed, I unloaded the Allez and zipped off down Taylor Boulevard (well, for values of 'zipped...'). The ride from there to PT Guy's house was roughly 5 or 10 minutes, but by the time I made it, I was literally soaked with sweat. Walking into the house felt very much like getting into a nice, cold swimming pool: instant relief. PT Guy heard me come in and called up from the laundry room, "Are you still breathing?"

Suffice it to say that I plan to pay closer attention to the weather conditions from now on, in order to be better prepared. For example, if it's a billion degrees out with 99.99999999~% humidity, I will not wear my heavy cargo shorts and a thick cotton t-shirt or carry my backpack (to my defense, I realized that I had made some very bad wardrobe decisions about the time we rolled into Panera to get lunch — but by then it was too late to go back and change). Instead, I will ride in the lightest wicking loincloth I can find, daisy-chain as many water bottle trees as I can carry without flipping over backwards and fill all the bottles with ice, and completely forego carrying anything on my back, period (I'll just thread my locks through my loincloth; I'm sure that's how they do it deep in the jungles of the Amazon, where I understand monkeys stealing your bike can be a serious problem).

Or maybe I'll just wear summer-weight cycling shorts and something wicky and breathable on top, such as a cycling jersey or one of those weird 'technical' polos and make sure both bottle cages are equipped with appropriately chilled water (or DIY sports drink, which I hereby dub 'Ghettorade'). Um, once I get the bottle cages mounted, anyway.

In other news, I have decided to name the Allez 'Quicksilver.' This is not actually in some kind of misguided effort to draw upon the cachet of certain cycling-related movies starring Kevin Bacon — nor, indeed, to increase my Degree of Kevin Bacon. The thought process was more like, "Oh, hey, the Allez is quick, silver-colored, and a bit mercurial."

Initially, I hesitated, because I was afraid all the Cool Kids in the World of Cycling would snicker behind my back about naming my bike after a corny bike-messenger flick (which, nonetheless, is one of the great classics of American bike movies, solely because there are really only about five of them, so they're all classics). Then I realized that opting not to name my bike what I want to name it because other people might think it was silly is very much like opting not to wear a certain shirt or whatever simply because it's trendy: if you specifically decide against something because it's trendy, the trend still dictates your decision.

The real answer is simply to do what you like, within the bounds of reason and moral perspicacity.

Thus, the Allez now has a name, and that name, henceforth, is Quicksilver :)

*Don't worry, she was okay.

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