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Central Arkansas sauna

It’s hot. Unfortunately my hobby (which doubles as exercise) is most fun when done outdoors. To adjust for the heat, I take my bike rides early in the morning. I can’t even remember the last time I left for a ride after 8:30 a.m.

Once upon a time, I looked forward to weekends so that I could sleep in a little. Now if I want to go enjoy my hobby and not gain 300 pounds, I can’t sleep in. It’a rough life. Hopefully, we’re only another month or so away from cooler temperatures and I can sleep a little longer on the weekends. Along with my inability to sleep in, I’ve also found that I am horrible at trying to take naps. Every weekend I give it a good try, but then find something interesting on the TV or get too restless to just lay on the couch.

Anyway, lets get to this weekend’s activity.

For the third Saturday in a row, I had planned to ride out to the Lollie Bottoms and back and then tack on my usual 12-mile route that I ride weekday mornings before work. This makes for a nice 46-mile ride with some hills while the last 12-mile stretch is pretty flat.

For the second week in a row, I decided to alter the route once the sun started really beating down. Anytime I had to stop, you could just feel the heat blanket you, it was miserable. Instead of tacking on the 12-mile route, I decided to just do an extra 10 instead. It really doesn’t make much of a difference, but my alternate route would provide a little more shade and smoother pavement.

I should have known better than to change my plans, though. Silly me, I rode right into a kids triathlon that was taking place. I didn’t ride onto the course, but I ran into the finishing area. I had to hop off the bike and walk around the course to get back on to open road. Another good plan derailed.

I knew full well that this event was going on. Announcements seeking volunteers were made the last couple weeks, I’ve seen signs posted in yards and at businesses. It was the last thing on my mind Saturday morning, though.

The mishap in route planning sliced a planned 46-mile ride down to 44 and eventually, since being re-routed during my re-routing, I ended up riding just 40 miles or so.

Other than that mistake, though, it was a great ride. My legs felt great and it was probably the best longer ride I’ve had in a while until the triathlon threw off all momentum and I realized the temperature had climbed near 100.

I was poised to make a similar routing mistake this morning, because I rolled out of the garage with no plan at all. In the end, maybe this was a good thing.

I guess the fact that my legs were good most of the day yesterday resulted in a harder effort than I had planned on, because my legs were quite the opposite of good early on this morning. They were tight as I rolled out of my neighborhood. And that’s when I decided to do an easy 30 miles. It was the exact route I did last Sunday and a typical go-to route for me in the cooler months when I’m just trying to get some miles.

Apparently when the temperatures are in the 30s or near the 100s I have the same mentality. Just get some miles in and get back home to comfort. But on a Sunday morning, the 30-mile ride through town is a nice little ride. There are lots of stop signs and traffic lights, which are generally annoying to a cyclist, but with the lack of traffic early on a Sunday and the legs feeling a little rough, they’re not much to get upset about. For the most part, the lights stayed green and I was clear at most of the stop signs. If nothing else, they provided a forced slow down to rest a bit.

Once I was warmed up and the legs loosened up, the ride went pretty well as long as I was out of the wind. The ride was pretty pleasant despite the temperature being in the mid-90s at 9 a.m. The wind was coming from the north, so maybe that helped keep things from being to hellish. Except that there was a wind that was gusty at times.

For the most part, though, I just sat up and rode comfortably without too much of a care. I just enjoyed a nice Sunday ride dreaming of the fall.