Two [Very Hot] Days, Two Rides

It’s 101 here near Baltimore at 2 pm. Not sure what the heat index officially is but I would rate it wretched. Yesterday was maybe a few degrees less hot. We’ve adjust our riding routine and have been out the door and on our bikes before 8 a.m. for the past couple of days. Today we got going at 7:16. Understand, neither of us, nor our dog, are morning people, so getting on the bikes so early on a day off  is a major big deal.

Yesterday’s ride was going to be 50 miles and got scaled back to 38 as the temperature climbed. We opted for riding out of the park on Gun Road in order to get finished faster. I’ve ridden down that very steep hill  many a time and have encountered more than a few cyclists walking up it. I had little confidence I could make the hill. But if it came to it, I could walk it. Really, that’s what I expected to have to do.

As we approached the park exit, John advised granny gear for the front derailleur and maybe 3rd for the rear, as the climb starts right away. It was good advice. Before long I was in the lowest gear on the rear derailleur too. I just kept pedalling, perhaps in some sort of fugue state. Every so often John made an encouraging remark which I was unable to respond to. I was too busy breathing.

Yes, I did it.  I got to the top, whereupon John congratulated me and I focused on slowing down my breathing and heart rate.  Would I do that hill again? To be honest, I would rather not.  But very  likely  I will. It gets us home from the route we rode  without having to double back. And it has tremendous training value. It might even have changed my perspective enough to make me stop thinking whiney thoughts about my commute home from the MARC station. Last night’s great     dinner at Tapas Teatro followed by seeing Safety Not Guaranteed at the Charles Theater  made a fun night out after working so hard in that morning.

Anticipating major rebellion from my quads today, I was pleased to find just a little soreness there. Today’s ride was short and relatively brisk. We were done by a little after 9. It was fun to sail through Ellicott City with no traffic and to catch few red lights along the route.  It was becoming brutally hot as we wrapped up, so the early start was more than worth it. This heat wave is due to end tomorrow. Next week’s temperatures in the 80s are something to look ahead to!

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