Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Extreme Heat Advisory

The last few days have been brutally hot, with ambient temperatures in the low 30s and humidity in the 50-70% range. That works out to the equivalent of about 40C (~104F) and combined with the clear skies and limited wind, it gets quite uncomfortable trying to get a decent workout done. Given that we're still used to the cold temperatures, that makes it even more difficult to get used to these kind of conditions.

Fortunately, I managed to squeeze out a decent long ride on Monday before it got really hot. I brought along four 500mL bottles of water (two on the frame, two behind the saddle), and had to stop on the way back to buy some more. While I was refilling my bottles, I ran into a few other cyclists who were also going dry, including one fellow who was making his way down from Collingwood (he had traveled 115km before we met up in Kettleby). Given that we were both heading in the same direction we elected to stick together to make the trip back down a bit easier. As such, we traded pulls every 4-5K before splitting off into different directions at Kirby Sideroad.

By the time I got back home I was pretty much wiped, as even with proper hydration the heat takes a significant toll. It was still a great ride, but the conditions drained my energy near the end so I'll have to retry this route on a more comfortable day. Either way, these are the types of conditions that we'll likely be seeing more of in the coming months, so it's good to try and get the body used to it.

Yesterday I had a 6 mile run scheduled, but the temperatures and humidity had gone up significantly since Monday so I chopped it down to 5 miles and slowed down the pace. Even with those efforts, however, the heat was getting to me and I ended up taking a few breaks to let myself cool down. I brought along about 500mL of Gatorade which worked out to be about right, however some water would have been handy to wash the sweat out of my eyes near the end of the run ;)

This morning, I headed out for a short and easy recovery ride. Given yesterday's heat and the fact that the weather reports were calling for warmer weather today, I took it really easy from the start. I allowed myself to simply coast downhill and immediately downshifted to an easy gear for any climbs. I allowed myself to speed up a bit on the flats to generate a bit of a wind to better evaporate the sweat, but I kept the effort in check so as not to get too hot.

About 5K in, a City of Vaughan works truck slowed down alongside me and offered me a bottle of water. I declined as I hadn't even started on either of my bottles, but was quite appreciative of the simple offer. I continued on, and about 3K later another truck offered me water again - I thanked them and politely declined again. I made my way onto Weston Rd and started heading north and into King City. After clearing the large hill along this route, I made my way over to Jane and started heading back. When I turned onto Teston Rd and started heading back home, a third truck drove by and offered me water once again. I was still doing well with my own supply, so thanked them and continued on.

While I wasn't able to really take advantage of it, I do appreciate the city crews going out of their way to help. We're under an extreme heat advisory right now, which means that municipalities take extra effort to help people cope with the weather - but I didn't expect them to go to these lengths, and am very appreciative of the offers. Having their trucks acting as rolling aide stations on days like this is something that's relatively easy to do, but can make a significant difference for a cyclist who didn't bring along enough to drink. Had they been around on Monday, I most definitely would have taken them up on their offer ;)

Either way, we've got a group run scheduled for tonight that should be interesting and the weather is expected to stay in this range for the next couple of days. Fortunately, it looks like it will be cooling down a bit over the weekend so hopefully I won't have to fight through too much more of this. Unfortunately, it's just May at this point and summer hasn't even started so I'm a bit nervous about what the next few months are going to bring...

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