Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
You know how my last post talked about temperatures in the drizzly 60s? I want that weather back! By the end of the workweek, nearly the only thing my coworkers could talk about was the predicted weekend temperatures, which were expected to reach into the mid-90s. Alas, despite my fervent hopes otherwise, the meteorologists’ predictions proved all too accurate. Anticipating this unfortunate event, Ian and I left the windows wide open last night, bringing the inside temperature down to about 65; then when the temperature reached about 70°F outside (about 9:00 am), Ian shut the house up tight. With the windows closed and covered, our cavelike apartment has remained in the 70s, while the outside temperatures climbed inexorably towards 95°F.
Unfortunately, I ended up outside in the blazing sun for five hours and twenty-two minutes today. Actually, I started my 76-mile ride at 7:30, in a relatively balmy 68°F. The heat steadily climbed (much like the first half of my ride, alas) throughout my time outside, and that combined with the rain-dampened roads evaporating rapidly to make me sweat more than I think I ever have in my life. On the way home, from Clinton onwards none of the roads had more than a slight bit of shade, and most had no shade whatsoever. This was during the hottest part of my ride, too. I literally shone with perspiration on my arms; I could see light reflecting — and also watched with dismay as a thick, yellow layer of pollen accumulated on my arms in the crook of my elbow. Dirt and bugs stuck to my arms and legs thanks to unbeatable the sunblock + sweat combination, so by the time I got home my extremities looked like the front of a car driven across the country. I’ve stayed cleaner and less sweaty on multi-day backpacking trips. Scrubbing off in the shower involved lots of soap and vigorous application of a washcloth. My route:
Although heat and shadeless roads comprised a significant portion of my ride, the other major factor I have to mention is the HILLS. Oh my goodness, the hills. I rode up the longest, steepest hill (barring Mt. Wachusett) that I know of around here; it goes into Princeton via Route 62. First it starts off by softening you up with a steady, unrelenting, but not excessively steep incline. Then it steepens, but almost immediately takes a quick dip down, and you might hope it’s over then. In reality, all that is just preparation for the really killer quarter-mile Climb Of Death (shown in the Google map below), which Ian tells me is approximately an 11% grade (assuming it was 0.25 mi long with 150 ft elevation gain; those are just rough estimates, though). No wonder it felt freaking hard.
The hills after that — and there were plenty, some short and steep, some long and shallow, some a delightful mix — felt hard, but nothing compared to that climb. Bleargh, indeed. The ride home involved lots of downhill riding, though, which is good (and makes since, seeing as how I started and ended at the same point. It could hardly be uphill the whole way, no matter what it feels like at the time). I barely had the energy to schlep my bike up the stairs when I got back to our apartment after this long ride.
One bright spot was riding for about 10 miles with a coworker who met me in Princeton. We rode to Route 68 and down it a ways together, and I enjoyed having company. It was nice not to be alone the whole time. The other bright spot was stopping at Joe and Stacey’?s house for fresh water and a bathroom break around mile 50. Stacey overcame her surprise at my sudden appearance and rallied well, providing me with deliciously cold water from the fridge. I felt much better after that, at least for a while.
I plan on spending my afternoon sitting in the shade of our apartment, reading a book, and sipping some iced beverage.
Please help me raise money for the MS Bike Tour Cape Cod Getaway. Donate today on my MS Participant page.