It’s that time of year when many of my cycling friends here in Phoenix start complaining about the heat. Even if it is a “dry heat.” Even during the “cool” morning hours, when it’s “only” 80 or 90 out.
What are they complaining about? To me, the weather is just getting ideal! Ha!
I must be twisted, for I love this time of year. Now I can go out at 5 am, when the temperature is a nice 80 degrees, and not feel the slightest chill. That’s what I like. And if that means it’s going to get up to 90 or 100 later in the morning, so be it! As long as there is air moving past me, I’m fine.
Well, that is, up to about 108 degrees. Then even I will admit, that maybe it’s getting a wee bit hot.
Last year, I discovered — quite by accident – that there is a way to inoculate yourself from the Phoenix oven-fest. Do this trick, and unless the weather is extreme, the heat won’t affect you all that much the rest of the summer.
The vaccination works like this: Go out and do a long ride, 100 miles or so, on the hottest day of late May or early June. Ideally, you want to finish your ride with temperatures in the 105-108 degree range.
How does this work?
It’s simple. I guarantee you, that after riding the last ten miles of a 100 mile day when it’s 108 degrees outside, any rides you are likely to do the rest of the summer won’t seem so bad!
“Ha ha!” you laugh. “This guy must be joking.”
I swear I’m not. I swear on a stack of smelly, salt-encrusted bike jerseys.
I inadvertently gave myself this heat inoculation last June. I was out riding one Saturday, on a very — shall we say, “warm” day — and as I’m often wont to do, when the odometer reached the 80 mile mark, I kept on riding, telling myself, “It’s only 20 more miles to complete a 100, so why not keep riding?”
A sane person might have said, “Um, because it’s hot out there? What are you doing?”
It didn’t seem that hot. Okay, it was hot, but not terribly hot. There’s a difference, ya know.
But when I reached a favorite stopping point, about seven miles from home, I noticed that I felt cooler stopped than when I was moving.
That should have been a clue.
When I moved to Phoenix in the early 80′s, I used to commute by motorcycle to work. During the summer months, I learned very quickly the following rule: When the temperature is below 110 degrees, it’s best to be moving in the wind. When it’s over 110 degrees, the air is like a blast furnace, and it’s best to be stopped.
It was more the latter I was feeling, on the last few miles home that day last June. When I finished the ride, I found out it was a nice cool 108 degrees outside.
Because I’m not totally insane, and because I usually ride in the “coolest” part of the day in the summer (that being 5 am when it’s often in the 80′s or lower 90′s), I didn’t see such high temperatures during any riding I did the rest of the season. So any heat I later encountered didn’t feel all that bad. Even 102-104 was tolerable. My cycling friends continued to moan and groan about the heat. I would just shrug and think to myself, “I’ve seen worse.”
It was like I had been vaccinated for the summer temperatures. That one long ride in the heat was all it took.