Cooking yourself?

Yesterday, I’m out riding 70 miles on a familiar route. The last two times that I’ve done this particular route, the temperatures were just awful, nearing or well exceeding 100 degrees each time.

Anyway yesterday, I’m riding with two friends, and about 55 miles into the ride, one friend comments that her computer is reporting the air temperature of 97 degrees. Really? This early in the day?

That’s when I remembered something. I was equaling the 97 to what is reported via “proper” weather stations for air temperatures, and I had to correct my perception. Think about it. Where are these weather station temperatures taken? Oh…up 40 or more feet. Up there sheltered from direct sunlight with better access to any passing winds, the temps are lower than what they are just above the pavement.

So, could my friend’s sensor be correct? Absolutely. Later when I was able to download the log from my heart rate monitor computer/watch, it was confirmed. Mine said the same temp as hers did.

So, what gives? We all tend to forget and discard that the temperature just above the pavement is much higher/hotter (during the summer) than it is at those weather stations. We don’t think of them as “real” temperatures, but they are! That just-above-the-pavement temperature is what impacts us more, especially if you happen to be on a newly paved, black, asphalt road. No matter what surface you’re riding, it’s hotter.

So when you get out for these remaining summer rides, take into account the temperature reading your car, HRM, or computer displays. Make adjustments – be it slower speed, lesser distance, more pit stops for fuel/hydration, drink more, etc. Also to add one more factor into the mix which we all already know, higher humidity makes these temps feel worse. That’s why the 97 yesterday wasn’t so bad as the 98 back last September when I was totally COOKED by the end of the ride. Literally. Back in September, the humidity was very high, and I felt like someone had put me on a BBQ spit.

Oh…and what’s the hottest I’ve ever done that 70 mile route? 108 degrees, with (yep, you guessed it) a wicked humidity. That made for a traumatic ride, and one I won’t soon forget!