TCI Friday

I’m not sure when I came to devilishly devour extreme heat on my bike. It very well could have been many, many moons ago when I ventured out to the desert in Borrego Springs, California to cover the Junior National Championships.

How many moons ago? The buzz for the juniors was a whiz-kid from New York named George Hincapie.

I covered the kids racing in the early morning heat that continued to soar from the 90s to 100 and beyond. They packed up and I unpacked my bike and hit the road.

I became fascinated with the impact the heat inflicted upon my body, pedaling along with the temperature rising above 105 and sweat drenching my kit.

I monitored my perspiration closely, as well as my hydration. By the time I took a swig from my second water bottle, I swear I could have boiled an egg with it.

Today this fetish manifests itself in this manner. My wife Debbie rides first in the cooler portion of the morning. I ride later, often times not until mid-afternoon when the mercury jettisons to its zenith.

On vacation we love our rides from the Klipchuck Campground up the hill from Mazama, Washington down into the Methow Valley. The return final 2-mile climb to the campground turnoff is shade-less, and the final mile climb is brutal.

It was 107 when I pedaled up that climb last year, probably pushing myself harder than ever since Debbie said she had never seen me so red-faced — this after I drenched my head in the icy water from the campground pump. About 15 minutes later, I was feeling fine.

This week’s question: How do you feel about riding in extreme heat? (Talking 95 and above).

Join the conversation
  1. tcfrog says

    I do not do well with heat. Having grown up and mostly lived in the more northern climes of the country, my body is not acclimated to working in heat much over 90. Over that, I’m a puddle and not good for much at all. Cool weather is when I can really hammer, 55-65 being the sweet spot.

  2. Emlyn Lewis says

    I really dislike the heat. Humidity compounds that dislike. I grew up in Alabama where the heat and humidity are oppressive for long stretches of time. Moving to New England improved the situation for me, but we still have about 6 weeks of pretty hot, humid weather. I like to say that I’d rather it was 45F than 85F, but I’d go further. I’d rather it was 40F than 80F. I thrive in colder temps.

  3. khal spencer says

    I was doing it this past week but it does get old. Mainly, more bottles of Gatoraide and shorter rides. Heat saps me but in my case, my muscles always worked better in heat than in cold. Learned that while on my high school track team.

  4. jlaudolff says

    Last year I planned a 3-week bike tour in eastern Oregon and Washington in September. Once upon a time, this would have been flirting with the rainy season and certainly would have guaranteed cool weather. But when I set out just before Labor Day, I encountered soaring temps and just north of Mitchell, climbed up a canyon with temps around 110F. It was pretty brutal, but I came to become acclimated to the heat and learned how to deal with the dry heat. Ride early in the day and seek shade in the afternoon were the best tricks. I would not have sought these conditions intentionally. But it was much better than working! I kinda swore I would just pause biking in the summer when the temps get above 90F but I didn’t stick to that. Luckily it has been a cool summer in WA so far this year.

    I remember having my first 10-speed as a kid in central Wisconsin and setting out for a ride in 100F weather and having to crawl up the porch of some random farm house and use the phone to call home. That humidity is brutal.

  5. hmlh33 says

    Heat’s not my favorite, but sometimes it’s hot and I’m riding. I find road biking to be a better choice than mtn biking on hot days; too sweaty and buggy in the New England woods versus a pretty good breeze on the road, except for the climbs. The “road ride to the swimming hole and back” routine is a well worn classic.

  6. trabri says

    I’m not part of the dawn patrol so it is usually afternoon rides for me. Up here in the northeast the humidity usually dips after lunch so while it is the hottest it is also the driest part of the day. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  7. Fido Castro says

    I’ve cycled in heat (Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico) and cold (Ottawa, Canada, Colorado, and New Mexico). All things considered, I prefer chilly weather, because while you can always add layers in the cold, you can only shed so many in the heat before the gendarmes take a professional interest.

    Plus, if it’s stupid cold with snow on the ground, you can let most of the air out of your mountain bike’s tires, bundle up like the younger brother in “A Christmas Story,” and ride slowly and sweatily until you’ve either (a) had enough or (2) toppled over and can’t get back up again.

    Also, there’s cyclocross, which heats one up nicely and gives the neighbors something to talk about.

    “He was at it again today, running around in the snow with a bike over one shoulder. Do you think he’s … unwell? His poor wife.”

    My personal preferences aside, here in The Duck! City with the ongoing heat advisories I’ve been trying to roll out before Tonatiuh gets his comal smoking, which means 7:30-ish, the idea being to get home before the tires liquefy like licorice whips left on a car dashboard. I like to have my heat stroke at home because it amuses the cat, who expects to eat my lips when I croak. The joke’s on her because she doesn’t know where my lips have been.

    1. John Rezell says

      POG you made me spit up my coffee all over my campfire, which will no doubt attract the campground Grizzly the locals affectionately call Cinanmon — who left a calling card pile of berries and such the size of a shoebox just 20 feet from our firepit. Not sure if he has his heart set on my lips or Debbie’s …

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