Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Heat Is On!

What a hot day it was yesterday (Saturday, July 22). I think the final high for San Jose must have been around 106 deg F. Whew!!

I had decided the evening before that I would bike instead of run on Saturday. I got up warly to watch Floyd Landis finish 3rd in the individual time trial in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France and secure the yellow jersey AND become a virtual winner with the last stage, mere formality, left.

By the time I got on the bike, it was 10:45 am. It was just starting to get warm but it was not boiling hot like it would be in a few hours.

My legs were feeling kind of out of it. I had tried running 4.5 miles in brand new Teva Wraptor running sandals the evening before and was paying the price! Anyway, I finally got into some kind of a rhythm about 7 miles into the ride which is when I hit Foothill Expressway going north.

By the time I reached Palo Alto, it was burning up. It was going to get worse. After the left turn on Alpine Road, I was looking forward to the gas station just after Interstate 280 in order to refuel. Was I glad to see it show its face around the corner! A cold bottle of water, a cold bottle of Orange Powerade and a bag of Frito chips were what saved me. By blood sugar came up and my body cooled a bit after the water and the Powerade. That was just shy of 19 miles into the ride.

I rode for another 2.5 miles up the slowly climbing road before calling it a day and turning back. The sun was out in full force by now and my body kept going back and forth between having it and losing it! Back along Foothill, past Palo Alto and Stanford College and into Los Altos I went.

I espied a small gazebo, across from downtown Los Altos, i a small park called Lincoln Park. Propped my bike against a seat and I lay down on a bench inside, away from the fierce sun and closed my eyes for 15 minutes. My legs were up against a post (I was "draining" them) while I enjoyed the sporadic breeze.

Anu called right then and, upon hearing what I was doing and my state, offered to come and pick me up. I almost gave into the temptation of really calling it a day but reasoned my way out by telling her (and myself) that I needed the heat acclimation for Rio del Lago in September.

So I got on the bike and made my way down Foothill again. The left turn onto Homestead Ave came soon and mentally I felt better. I was soon at the right turn onto Blaney, climbing the 280 overpass when I felt a slight pull in my left quad. That sure scared me! It went away after a few minutes and did not surface again. I drained both my bottles of their last drops of fluid and welcomed Lakshmi Bazaar, an Indian grocery store, at mile 41. Here is where I guzzled down a cold, cold can of Coke. I got on the bike to "power" my way home (the Coke really helped).

The odometer read 42.70 whan I stopped, in relief.

The ride was good and bad in portions. There were some parts where I was flying at 21-22 mph and others where I was having trouble maintaining even 13 mph on a straight road. My respect for all the other roadies flying by me and the professionals who had almost finished riding 2200+ miles in heat in the Tour de France went up many, many notches.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

whew, that is *hot*!

I grew up just down the road in Salinas. I remember it was sooo hot when it reached 85 degrees. Now I'm living in Tucson, where it's 110 outside today (and 90 degrees in my living room), ouch! Glad I'm recovering from surgery during the hottest months. But I am so ready to get back out there and run!

Rajeev said...


I hope you come back to running soon, stronger than ever before! You are a trooper.


anil said...

That seemed quite tough.. ultrarunning dude fighting out a tough bike ride.

in a way good you got a good 4 hrs workout for RDL ..:), every workout finally adds up to this race