Goodness Gracious Me…It’s a tad warm!
Well then, a little trip out into the countryside this afternoon turned into a bit of a marathon and a war of attrition. The roads were deserted as if post zombie apocalypse and the dirt trails were dry, dusty and devoid of life…on two or four legs.
I had set out at high noon and the temperature was already 30 degrees and I was expecting another 2-3 degrees on top of that on my route. It was hot and very uncomfortable especially with my riding gear on. At times the hot breeze that blew across the open plains, only blew dust and pollen into my helmet…it was laboured breathing, it was heavy going and sweat was oozing out of me as if I’d been punctured numerous times with a nail gun.
I wanted to revisit some backroads and byways to the West of Basingstoke in Hampshire. As soon as I cleared the urban sprawl, I eventually arrived at my start destination after a 40min ride in this oppressive heat. I was holding it together but I was suffering in the midday sun and almost welcomed the helmet back on my head to act as the ultimate sun block.
Just a mile off the main road, the air as still and everywhere around was silent. It was as if I had been dropped onto a uninhabited planet and the instructions were to go explore and terraform. The entrance to the byway looked relatively easy going and whilst I thought it wouldn’t always be so…it was a welcome start to a journey which soon had me operating near the max to keep the bike upright.
The heat has a way of draining the body very quickly, but it also drains the mind too. Everything becomes a harder task and maintaining concentration can also become a chore. Then around the bend the open track suddenly turned into an overgrown rut fest and I was reduced to crawling along to avoid being flipped off the bike. The heat seemed hotter, the dust seemed thicker and my breathing seemed more laboured…but strangely I could still breath properly without effort…almost being tricked to thinking that something could be wrong.
A few long byways ensued and I contemplated on numerous occasions just ending the day’s ride in favour of a cooling ride back with air flowing through every vent on my jacket and to end with a cool beer at the home bar…very reminiscent of ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ I continued until the end and that beer never tasted so good…and cold too.
Whilst out on the plains and in the hollows, the temperature surged another 2-3 degrees, topping out at 33, however by chance, some of the other byways took me beneath some tree cover. The shade seemingly dropping the temperature and cooling air would wrap around me to offer encouragement to persevere.
I continued on without a break for longer than I should and the going was slow for the first part. However, when I eventually stopped and got off the saddle…the drink I had taken in my top box was welcome relief, albeit it was putridly warm…but at least it was wet.
As I progressed, the heat continued to beat down on me but almost naturally I was becoming accustomed to it also but very aware that I could be prone to making errors in judgement or losing balance due to increasing fatigue. The journey remained a test and possibly more than a little bit of me was left out on those trails…but it was well worth it in the end.
We can all have these journeys where the going gets tough and the conditions just make it so much worse…but sometimes making it to the end and knowing you’ve passed this mini test is the only reward you need.
Today it was hot…just like last week and the week before. Tomorrow will be the same as will the day after that and who knows when it will cool down again? But getting out there on your bike, whether on the open roads or on the dirt trails…will open your world and will bring upon another adventure…a test of your spirit, will and stamina and also your decision making whether to stick with it or come back another day.
I’ll be on the road again tomorrow, riding the Cotswold back roads and visiting a few forts, castle ruins and almost inaccessible hilltop towers. It’ll be another scorcher for sure…but the prize is waiting at the end of the road but I’ll be in no rush to get there as long as I still enjoying this ride.