Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hot, hot, hot.

It's stinkin' hot. Tulsa may reach 100F today. That's 37.7 C. I took the shortest route home yesterday, a 7-mile ride that usually takes about 30 minutes. It was quicker than that due to the tailwind, but even so, I emptied an entire water bottle in that 30 minutes.

The Bianchi is a good hot weather bike. Air-conditioning would be nice, though. Much as I like the fixed gear Centurion, coasting when possible is preferable in the heat.

And this is just June. July and August will likely be hotter.

My kids gave me a heart rate monitor on Father's Day a few years ago. I use it as a 'rev limiter' in the heat, and I've learned a lot from doing so.

First, my heart rate hits 110-120 just walking across the parking lot when temperatures reach the 100F mark. Riding at a moderate pace (like with yesterday's tailwind) only increases it by 10 to 20 beats/min.

The strange thing is what happens when I put in a moderate effort. My HR hits the alarm limit (set conservatively at 160) very rapidly. The weird thing is that I don't FEEL like I'm working hard. There's no shortness of breath, no burning leg muscles, nothing to indicate that I'm pushing my heart's limits, other than that annoying alarm. My heart is working hard just moving blood around in an effort to keep the body cool. Loading it down with a hill climb or a sprint send it soaring into the upper limits. I’m sure this is responsible for more than a few heart attacks around here, just like snow-shoveling season up north.

One last thing. They also gave me an electronic bathroom scale that reads in half-pound increments. I weigh myself in the morning and again when I get home. When it’s hot like this, I often weigh 3-4 pounds less in the afternoon. That’s all due to dehydration. It’s been bad enough a few times to cause some dizziness. Some evenings I just can’t drink enough water. Glass after glass goes down, and then I’m up several times during the night, making the old man’s walk to the bathroom!


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