Monday, July 31, 2006

Wintry ride

Date: July 30
Mileage: 39.2
July mileage: 710.3
Temperature upon departure: 47

It's been a little while since I doubled over in the shower to claw at the searing, itchy pain of blood circulation returning to my feet. But that happened to me today.

How quickly my long-term memory fails me. I looked at the thermometer before I left and observed the 47 degrees it was. I stepped outside and felt a light drizzle hitting my skin. But I'm so inclined to routine that my mind said "July" even as February weather descended outside. I thought little of my cotton T-shirt and light rain jacket, the only layers that stood between me and a soggy refrigerator.

I froze. It wouldn't have been all that bad, except for I stopped to wait for Geoff at the fishing hole. And waited. And waited. I was already drenched from a two-hour ride and standing still beneath a narrow balcony for a half hour nearly put me into convulsions. I was shivering profusely by the time I realized the pain I was in for if I didn't get moving. So instead of fishing like I had planned to do, I biked 9 miles home in a state that ranged between shivery annoyance and mild distress. I could have stopped at a number of businesses along the way, but at that point all I could think about was a hot shower. If staving off hypothermia in July isn't bad enough, the worst irony was that hot shower. Wincing through the prickly warming of my numb extremities was by far the most unpleasant experience of the day.

Geoff called me a few minutes later to urge me to come back to town, but it was too late. I was spent. The task of staying warm can be so much more exhausting than riding in the sun. As cold rain continued to pound the roof, I settled in with some hot tea and read an article about the Badwater Ultramarathon. Ah. I love Alaska.