The Midland Reporter Telegram said the temperature on Monday at 5:00 p.m. was 113 degrees, making it the third hottest day on record in Midland, Texas. The two hotter days were back-to-back: June 27, 1994, temperature 116 degrees; and June 28, 1994, 114 degrees.
The readout in my pickup said it was 115 degrees when I drove home from downtown but those extra two degrees were probably a gift from the parking garage.
As soon as I got home about 5:30, before I could change my mind, I left for my regular bike ride. I knew it was too hot; maybe even dangerous, but I was determined to ride. It's always too hot, except for the days it's raining, or the days when the dust is blowing 35 miles-per-hour, or it is freezing cold. There’s always a reason not to, so I just go anyway. When people ask why, my stock answer is – “It doesn’t cool off until October and I don’t want to wait that long” – but my unspoken reason probably has more to do with arrogance.
Monday’s ride was, at least in the first half, more fun that I’d expected. Nothing felt oppressive for the first ten miles right up until I bonked. I pulled over under the first shady tree and drank water and caught my shortened breath. I considered climbing off my bike and sitting on the grass against a fence but decided I’d probably fall asleep and some Good Samaritan would call 911 about a cyclist who passed out from heat exhaustion and I would be embarrassed when the paramedics arrived, so I didn’t.
When I got back home, as I put away my bike, I promised myself not to do that again, at least not this year, or this month. Although once I was inside under the air conditioner and sitting next to my fan and eating ice cream, I felt much better and already planning my next ride.
And those two days back in 1994, the hottest days in history? I dug out my logbook and found my entry for June 27: 5 miles. Hot. But good. Ran 3 miles, then run/walked back home at 3:00 intervals.
And for June 28? My logbook shows I ran five miles again, but I didn’t leave any comments. There was nothing left to say, I suppose.
We all do something that everyone else thinks is crazy. We each have our own bizarre behaviors. I shake my fist at the sun and yell, “You can’t change my plans. I’m going to ride!” as if I know what I’m doing.
Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t love the heat. Every year by mid-May I’m already tired of hot days and ready to move to cooler climes. I believe I’d enjoy living in a place where the temperature never climbed above 75 degrees, except if I did, I would be single. Cyndi won’t live anywhere that gets cold, and she thinks 75 is too cold, even inside the house, even in the summer. She once asked me not to interview for a job in Wichita Falls, Texas, because it was “too far north.”
Here is the amazing part of the story. I rode again on Tuesday and it was 93 degrees, 20 degrees cooler; and again, on Wednesday at 83 degrees. I hope this a trend.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32