I do this thing I call “mountain biking”; that is to say, I ride they type of bicycle which is commonly referred to as a “mountain bike”, and I do, in fact, ride it in the mountains, albeit in a manner in which dyed-in-the-wool mountain bikers would acknowledge, if at all, only with disdain and turned up nasal orifaces. I do, at times, brave singletrack and, on occasion, trails that the guidebooks refer to as “somewhat technical”, but I have yet, to find within my soul, sufficient courage to launch myself headfirst into, atop of, and subsequently over what said bikers call a “rock”, or what a geologist would identify in technical terms as a “big f***in’ boulder”.
But I digress. This morning, as it happens, I was winding, or perhaps better describe as wheezing, my way up a trail road (and already we can hear the sniggering from the hardcore among us) in the San Gabriels toward a modest topological feature known as Mt. Lukens. The early part of the road (from the NFS Fire Station just up Hwy 2 from La Canada) has a nice bit of coverage and is quite doable, if a bit steep, but up above the trees disappear and the road is in full sun, or what passes for it in the smog-ridden state of Southern California. Today, though, the inversion layer is sitting pretty low I was right up with the clear azure sky and Mr. Bright & Shiny peaking down like a Bill Clinton at a Kappa Delta lingerie party. While the ride is (mostly) within the means of my questionable fitness on a cool and cloudy day, the sun beating down and prohibiting, by methods quantifiable via the laws of thermodynamics and radiative heat transfer, the effective cooling of my personage. So, I found myself having to stop frequently and eventually, prematurely abort the voyage, owing to my lack of maintaining appropriate body temperature, even though my aerobic and muscular stamina was unchallenged. And yet, there were other people tooling around the mountains, riding in apparent comfort without so much as a by-your-leave regarding the unreasonably elevated temperature, leading me to believe that there is, within my methods or fitness, some lack of ability that others possess.
So I call out to others who choose or are forced to exercise in the full and bright of the Sun’s relentless outpouring of radiation, how do you learn/train/compensate for elevated heat, and what can I do to improve my ability to cope?