It’s a mild summer in Austin. Here we are in August, and today will be our first 100-degree day of the year. That’s way different from last year, when we had 69 100-degree days — nearly every day during the summer. What do you do when it’s that hot? You go for a bike ride.
I was feeling pretty good this morning. Yesterday, I rode 33 miles and felt strong throughout the whole ride. No reason that shouldn’t be the case again today. I ate my usual big breakfast, got the bike in order, and went out to meet the club for the start of the ride.
They were taking a route I didn’t want to ride, so four miles in, I broke off and went my own way. My route took me through a hilly residential area, then out to a four-lane highway with a nice shoulder. Lots of other cyclists rode the same road, so there was plenty of opportunity to chat while passing and being passed.
I took a break at the turnaround point, about 17 miles out. A big tree at the edge of a parking lot provided plenty of shade. I ate a Clif Bar, and drank from a water bottle with Nuun added, as well as plain water.
Did I mention all the rolling hills on this route? I could feel them on the return leg, when I was pedaling directly into the late morning sun. I leapfrogged with a young woman, who stood on the pedals to power away on the uphills, but gave way when my heavier mass passed her on the downhills.
Finally, I was within eight miles of home, going up a bridge along an expressway. Suddenly, it hit. A cramp in the right thigh! I eased back on the pedals, shifted into an easier gear, and slowly climbed the rest of the bridge.
A decent hotel stands at the top of the bridge, and I took advantage of its cool lobby to relax and refill the water bottles. The air conditioning helped revitalize me, and the cramp wasn’t a problem anymore.
But the rest of the way home was slow going. Every so often, I’d get a twinge in my thigh, but made sure it didn’t hit me like before. A mile from home, one of the club riders caught up to me. I’d gone 35 miles. He’d gone 50. We talked about my cramps.
“Do you have a potassium supplement?” he asked. “Like a banana?”
“I’ve got a water bottle with Nuun,” I replied.
Then it hit me. Yesterday, I had capped off my breakfast with a banana. That was the only difference between then and now. I shoulda hadda banana this morning, too!
After a cold shower and a nap, I made a run to the grocery. During the upcoming spate of hot weather that’s coming, I’ll be eating a banana every day.
What’s your favorite cramp preventer?