My ride today was tougher than today’s Tour de France stage. It was twice as long in brutal heat. I am therefore a tougher cyclist than the pros on the Tour.
Some of you may point out that today’s stage was a short 26-mile time trial which comes at the end of 2,100 miles of cycling in 19 stages over some incredibly tall mountains with only two rest days. Thus, comparing my single ride to this one stage is a logical flaw on the scale of Icarus. Those people would be right. They would also be kill joys, so lets speak no more of them and move on, shall we?
My goal was the town of Somerville, which is southwest of the Quantico Marine Corps Base reservation and about 25 miles from my house. When I left at 7:30 AM, the temperature was already above 80. I had frozen water and Gatorade in my water bottles. After one hour, these blocks of ice were cool beverages. After two hours, the temperature was into the 90s and what was left of my Gatorade was tepid, bordering on warm. But I’m getting ahead of myself. All I’m trying to say is that it was hot outside.
The ride out on Aden Road was enjoyable. The corn stalks are quite high in the fields and we should have some locally grown produce in the markets any day, I would think. Despite the heat, there were still cyclists on the road. I passed a large number of people on aerobars today. Triathalon season must be upon us.
With the temperature rising and my fluid supplies dwindling, I reached Somerville. It was as advertised: a single building which serves as the post office, convenience store, and a house. The town’s Wikipedia page states that there are no other mailboxes in this zip code. I believe it. It was definitely a lonely place. I thought the sign announcing the location as “Downtown Somerville” was a nice touch.
Having taken in all the sights, I began my return trip. A key stop for me would be the Handymart convenience store about five miles away. I needed a resupply of cold beverages to make it home and this was where I planned on getting them. Imagine my dismay when I learned their cooler was broken. I bought a room-temperature Gatorade and a cold Mountain Dew from a still-working soda cooler. I downed the Dew (very nice!) and poured the Gatorade into my bottle. It wasn’t great, but it was wet and that counted for something.
There was one more convenience store on my route – the Aden Country Store, nine miles away. I pulled in and happily discovered they had ice-cold Gatorade for sale. I drank a bottle, remounted my trusty steed, and made it the final 12 miles with only a little difficulty. It was hot as blazes and I could see salt forming on my shorts. As I pulled into my driveway at 11:30, the thermometer read 102 degrees. That’s enough for one day, I think.