Hot. Very hot. Hotter than I’m used to. I’m a North European – no question. When it gets over 25c I need to lie down. Recover. Hide. Not climb hills in the midday sun like I’m chased by the press gang (though I am “a man of seafaring habits aged between 18 and 45”).
Saturday morning I rode with an outrageous headache. It was not self inflicted (the previous night spent at an Alabama 3 gig sipping soft drinks). It was purely the work of the sun. I carried lots of water, covered up in sunscreen and wore the least amount of layers you can get away with. If I could, I’d have stripped back further. But this is South Wales, not the Burning man festival (though try telling that to Ra). After about 10 minutes of riding, the headache came out to play. Its the tell tale sign of dehydration, plaguing me from beginning to end. Of course I could have been more sensible and gone out at 7.30 or 19.00. but being stubborn, I didn’t. So every hill felt like riding theVentoux with Chris Froome after a night on the town with Oliver Reed. I often lament the amount of time I spent in Scouts; a meagre 6 sessions. They might have started all the ‘be prepared’ stuff on the seventh.
So….. I have a confession to make – I have a preference for the autumn sun, the cool, crisp air and its more forgiving attitude to prep. Its in my genes (a Welsh/Cornish/English/Belgian mix apparently). It probably explains my love of cyclo-cross, the start of the rugby season and Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’ album. Falling leaves and mud are a better fit than flowering fields and dust. It’s not a complaint though. Just an observation. Even dehydration and headaches beat saturated clothes and trenchfoot.
Enjoy the sun, but be prepared. Burning man image courtesy of Next City