-Well, it is that time of year again. Unless you live in Boston or Newfoundland, where it is almost certain to never be warm again, most of us are dealing with our first sweltering training weekend of the year. And there's just no way to prepare for it so read along and maybe together we can come to some constructive solution to what I like to call the 'winey ungrateful sportist eliteism', or WUSE for short.
There is a real irony to triathlon training, in that we do so much pre-season prep indoors, mindlessly racing a clock across a moldy pee-filled chlorinated bath tub, or sweating all of the place in our living room floors - then, when the glacier fields of New England winter finally recede, we are left wishing our outdoor experience could be just a little more like our indoor one - controlled. Well, that just not the way it works bub. Being a real triathlete isn't a package deal. You can't just go order up a Number One podium package, with large fries and a coke. You gotta deal with the real deal, and mother nature can sure be a B I T C and so fourth.
Maybe it's because we are a bunch of leg shaving princess WUSE boys who hate cleaning our bikes. Maybe it's the fact that when roads get even a little damp the chance for crashing increases exponentially with every drop (except in my case, because I never crash - I am invincible and don't be jealous, there's nothing you can do. you just have to be born this way). Whatever YOUR reason to slack off from a decent outdoor workout is (I have heard Brett say on a number of occasions "My great Aunt was the second cousin of a Wicked Witch and we're pretty sure that whole melting thing runs in the family so I just can't take the risk". Brooke uses much the same reasoning to excuse herself from eating artichokes, which also baffles me because everyone knows that witches love artichokes. But I digress) I'm sure it's a good one. At least good enough for you.
But what happens when the weather is just too damned nice to get outdoors? You can't layer down past a certain point (unless you live in france and own a pair of those little bike undie things), and god help you if you bother with that sun screen stuff because it's going to get in your eyes and make you blind (then you'll be dum, blind and impotent too - see what triathleteism gets you??). But seriously folks, heat is nothing to mess with so take it easy and follow a few simple tips.
1. Drink water. And regardless of whatever crazy signs your body is sending you, NEVER EVER PEE.
2. When you're not drinking water, eat salt. Or add it to your water. And when you're not drinking salty water, lick the expelled salt off your forearms and squeeege it out of your eyebrows because that SH(#$ is precious so don't waste a drop!
3. Remember (as I so often do not) that some people (like me) just can't drink enough water to keep up with their loss to evaporation and other essential bodily functions like thinking and breathing and not falling off your D A M N bike. Ask your coach or loved one to help you conduct a 'sweat rate test' - these are fun (you get to be nudie) and informative (you get to quantify your sweattyness, and get a great out for awkward sweaty handshakes with strangers. Just let them know you lose 3.4 pounds of water per hour of aerobic activity, so thus have really sweaty everything and would love to shake hands but want to help them avoid an awkward hand-wiping-on-pants experience and excusing of oneself to the bathroom to 'freshen up')
4. Under no circumstances engage in extraneous physical activity, or anything else that could raise your blood pressure and get you pumping out of your ideal HR zone. This includes thinking about naked ladies, wishing ill-will against the CEO of UHaul (may he or she go to trucker H E L L), or getting in superfluous shouting matches with local LBI Dbags about your inherent right of way as a cyclist while riding along clearly delineated 4 lane roads and causeways (also, may you rot in H#@% NJ licence plate number RRW 23X). Blood pressure up = certain death.
So, maybe you guessed it but I had a really lousy ride today and totally blew my workout because I can't get up early enough to ride when it's not a million degrees out (this is probably the most obvious solution/thing to remember about beating the heat). But if you have to, for the love of god cut your ride short just a nail the spirit of the workout, rather than getting nailed yourself. Right in the pooper, man, right in the pooper. But more on this later (See "Places I have pooped", to be written at some point, and the follow-up article "Blowing it big time: Why corn is not your training friend"). See what you get for reading all the way to the bottom. Gold, Jerry. Solid Gold.