Today the temperature reached 103 degrees F (about 40 C). It seemed that even the places that normally seem like iceboxes--like the central building of the college, where, it seems, the air conditioning is turned on in June and kept on full-blast until September--felt soggy today.
I woke up later than I'd planned, and by the time I got outside, the air already felt as if a knife would stand up in it. I was going to ride to work, but decided against it as soon as I stepped outside to go to the dry cleaner's.
Even people who don't normally complain about the heat were wishing that they were taking an Antarctic cruise.
I've cycled in weather that's as hot as today's was, but couldn't see the point of riding today. For one thing, there's an ozone alert, and while I suppose I could wear a filter mask, I don't think that, given the sinus problems I've had, that doing any outdoor exercise in that heat and air would do me much good.
Plus, I no longer have the need I once had to prove myself to...whom? People who didn't care? Myself? What, exactly, would have I proved to myself by taking a ride on a day like today. Now, if I had to ride, that would be another story.
There were a few times when I had to ride in heat such as what I experienced today. It was even more difficult when I wasn't expecting it, as when I was cycling through a mountainous area and found myself in a pass or valley. The day after I had my life-changing encounter in St.Jean de Maurienne, an Alpine town a few kilometers from the Italian border, I rode down a mountain and into a valley where the thermometer on a bank in town read 40C. I felt my skin burning, but I wasn't sweating. That, I understand, is common at very high elevations, which tend to be drier than lower-lying areas.
But at least I knew it would be hot--if not this hot--today. I just wish I'd awakened earlier.