What a Difference Weather Makes

Memorial Day Weekend, an extra day off complete with extra high temperatures. It got up to the high 90’s with heat factors of 105+. This didn’t stop us from bicycling but maybe it should have, at least on Monday.

Sunday’s ride was good, if you discount the initial hindrances caused by Sweetpea. While I was getting ready, John good-heartedly put air in her front tire. She repaid the favor by  breaking off  the valve into his pump. The next tube had a puncture in it. I had saved it but forgotten all about the puncture during last fall’s move. Luckily John had one more tube. There was some more fiddling with bikes after getting started on the BWI-Annapolis trail. This time the QuickBeam’s fender had gotten knocked askew by the rooftop bike carrier.  It was a hot day but manageable and the trail was not too crowded. During the ride we met up with two people with flats. One of these was a man riding solo who had stopped at what I think of as a rest stop along the trail. It’s a little park area, with bike racks, a table, and importantly, bathrooms.  This cyclist had things under control, with a spare tube and a pump. As we began the return ride we came upon a father and son trying to change the son’s flat.  When I asked if they were ok, instead of the usual “Yes we’re fine,” the father said they could use a pump. We had both a pump and CO2 cartridge which we let them use. They hoped to make it to the Severna Park bike shop to get a new tube.  We didn’t see them again so I hope they made it!

We made a stop in Severna Park ourselves for gelato, a welcome refreshment on a hot day.  We had headed out in the late afternoon and got home around 8 pm. It took us a while to complete the ride partly due to the stops and partly due to me slowing down toward the end. I had started out strong but lost oomph (technical term) as the ride progressed.

Monday was even hotter, with increasingly intense heat predicted through Wednesday. We went out for John’s almost-25 mile training loop. I  quickly realized this was going to be a tough ride for me. My legs were a little sore from the previous day, not a big problem, but the heat and humidity immediately established themselves as serious adversaries. I walked the last bit of Heartbreak Hill, even though the previous week I had gotten up it with relative ease. I learned last summer to pay attention to the warning signs of being way too hot!  After that hill,  the terrain is normally manageable. So why was I struggling so much?  It was a combination of the heat and a bit of extra friction that turned out to be my front brake rubbing the rim. John fixed that on the side of the road, which was not fun for him but which I was incredibly grateful for.  I’d like to say that after that I sailed right along  but the truth is a slow jogger could easily have passed me up. We cut the ride short as I clearly wasn’t going to make 25 miles. As we headed  back John offered to go home and come back for me with the car if I felt I couldn’t deal with the final three hills of the home stretch.

Now that was a very tempting idea.  A vision played out in my mind of relaxing at Bean Hollow, sipping a smoothie, while  awaiting John’s arrival in the air-conditioned Mini. But no, I was out cycling. If at all possible I would get home under my own power. I can’t quite explain why this was important; something about pride, persistance and not giving in.  So we did stop at Bean Hollow, and I did have the smoothie. It was a blueberry-banana which I highly recommend, by the way. After that I felt like I could make it back. Probably.  And so I did, not in fine fashion, but under my own power and without having to walk up any of the  hills.

The rest of the week was crazy hot until Thursday when happily we resumed the beautiful spring time weather that we hope for around here at this time of year; low 80’s and gorgeous. Summers can be brutally hot and humid in the DC-Baltimore region and the hope always is to get at least a few nice weeks in the spring before that starts.


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