cycling · fitness

Why would you do that?

Earlier this week I blogged about riding in a heat wave. See Heat cramps and aging? Really? Some readers wondered why I even did that. Why would you go out on the bike for a long ride on a hot day? Why suffer when you don’t have to?

Here’s my attempt at an answer.

The ride was a training ride for a larger event. In this case, the 6 day Friends for Life Bike Rally. All participants commit to a fairly rigorous training schedule and this weekend was our weekend of back to back rides.

In theory, I could have done that earlier but I didn’t. I could have ridden during the week, but work.

One thing I could have done, had I paid enough attention to the heat, was leave earlier but I’m the only early riser among the group that was riding and I’m no fan of long rides alone.

Also, it mostly wasn’t suffering until it got really hot and we hit the hills on the return part of our trip. I’d say it was about 60 km of rather pleasant riding, followed by 25 km of being too hot and hilly.

I also didn’t expect the barfing and cramping. I didn’t choose that. It happened. For anyone pushing their limits in terms of physical endurance in less than ideal conditions, it’s a risk.

Sometimes you ride in less than favourable conditions to get good, to get experience, riding in those conditions. That’s why I think cycling in the rain can be good. It’s all about skill development. I’m not sure that’s so true about heat though I did learn a few things–my new jersey isn’t as breathable as I thought. And I got a reminder about electrolytes.

Some people think you get used to running and riding in the heat by doing it. It’s about acclimatizing yourself and I guess there’s a bit of that in my answer. We won’t be able to opt out of hot days on the bike rally itself. We need to get to Montreal.

Now we’ve ridden on heat alert days before. See Heat, Hills, and Happy Birthday for one account. And in the past I’ve opined about riding the rally in the rain versus riding in a heat wave and said I preferred the latter. Now I am not so sure.

This week my Facebook memories also featured photos from our cold, wet Newfoundland cycling adventure and I got all nostalgic about the chilly days of riding.

The short version is that sometimes you do hard things to get better at doing those hard things. And in the case of the rally, those of us doing it care lots about this very important cause. The money raised goes to help people living with HIV/AIDS. It helps people who need food, wellness care, peer support or just to be in a place that is welcoming and safe for them.

Our group in Newfoundland, bundled up!

The hardest part for me really is fundraising and I got the plea this morning that the rally as a whole is not coming close to its goal.

You can help by sponsoring me here.