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Beating the Peloton to Paris!

July 21, 2011

Today’s Ride: 87km—Paris and back

Weather: So hot my bike was sweating

Today’s forecast was for temperatures in the very high 30s, getting up into the high 40s when the humidity was factored in. A good day to skip the ride, but since I’ll be spending the best part of the next two weeks off the bike, it was hard to pass this up. I rolled out in a soup of hot, heavy air and was beginning to think this was a pretty stupid idea at the bottom of Sydenham Hill. I’ve never ridden up Sydenham in such sweltering conditions: dead, hot air. I was dripping at a deliberately slow and lazy pace. My hoods and shifters were sweating (I noticed that the frame was quite wet, too, a bit later on). Very stupid idea. At the top of the hill, though, I was greeted not by heatstroke and death but breeze. At the time, it was very welcome. By the time I got to Paris—about 40km later—however, that headwind kind of sucked. I was exhausted. Not overheated, but pushing into that headwind had been slow and painful.

I had hoped to get a photograph of the sign welcoming me to Paris and make some snide remark about beating the Tour riders by a few days—or where the heck are les Champs Elysées—but either I passed it without seeing it (unlikely) or there wasn’t one. But here’s the Seine. Or the Grand River, if you insist on the Ontario version. Not much in Paris early on a Thursday morning. Construction on the bridge into town took away from some of the potential view. Paris is tucked between Brantford and Cambridge and I was out of Paris and on the outskirts of Brantford before I knew it.

I was also defying Tuesday’s law of headwinds (much to my relief) on the way home along Powerline Rd. and managed to make up a lot of time and speed lost on the outward leg. Once the smooth, straight road turned into a bit of a winding and bumping affair, my legs were reminded of the hard work on the way out, and I slowed to a crawl. I think the biggest mistake was my trying a new energy bar, which was very chewy and made me quite thirsty, so I pounded back the energy drink a good deal faster than I typically do. I just didn’t feel quite right, and I don’t think the heat was the major factor here. But still managed to get home in time for the finale of today’s grueling Tour stage (which humbles my feeble efforts for the day).

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