Every commuter has them, and if they haven't been keeping track for themselves there is usually a co-worker or friend that asks "what's the xxxx you've ever ridden in?"
Rainiest, coldest, hottest, snowiest... etc. So, eventually, whether one admits it or tracks it, the question of extremes comes up.
For me, at this writing, my coldest commute is minus-9ºF, back in 2002. I can't fathom cold at that level with the way this summer has been... but it's all relative and gradual in nature. At the time leading up to that day it was slowly and slowly getting colder and colder each night, so my body adjusted. If it were to drop into the 50's right now, for example, it would feel absolutely frigid! Still, anything below-zero Fahrenheit is downright cold. That's -23ºC, after all. Celsius always looks more impressive when talking about cold.
My previous hottest commute was in 2006 with a high mark of 106ºF. I remember that whole week was quite hot, with temps well over 90 for days on end in the month of August. Ever since then, however, it's been remarkably "cool" each summer. In fact, I think it was 2008, we barely broke into the 90's at all if I remember correctly. This year, however, has all my old records beaten - even randonneuring temperature records.
Sticking with commutes, the last two weeks have approached the 100's for days on end. Finally, this Tuesday, the hottest day in over five years for a commute home in the afternoon, with the official thermometer topping 110ºF at Olathe Executive, and my probably-skewed unofficial home thermometer read 113.1ºF for a max temp. Just stinkin' hot, and my new hottest-ever commute by a good margin. For the KC-area at large, 8/2/2011 was the hottest in almost 30 years. I doubt I'll best that record anytime soon.
Hottest brevet? This year, also. The ride about a month ago, the last brevet post for July's Princeton Roundabout route out of Shawnee saw a high temperature of about 103ºF. For a full day in temps and humidity leading up to that maximum temperature late in the ride, I'm still surprised it went so well. Even the Tinbutt 12-Hour Challenge from '05 wasn't as hot as this last brevet was. My thoughts turn to cyclists in Texas and Oklahoma, where the Excessive Heat Warning is still raging on.
Hottest camping trip ever... also this year.
It's been a hot, hot summer. But, with today's passing "cold front" and rain, that acclimatization that helped make the negative-9 winter ride seem possible has also rendered the mid-80's today feel chilly by comparison to earlier this week. I can't minimize the fact that despite it being only a few degrees hotter than all the days leading up to it, Tuesday felt just wicked, furnace-hot. Combined with slightly lower humidity I ended the day pounding water and electrolytes to replace what had to be a couple of quarts of perspiration in only the hour it took to get home. It gives me a feeling of respect for the racers that will cross Death Valley later this year on the Furnace Creek 508. Can I take more? Sure! Bring it on! ... There might even been hotter days still ahead, but knowing that September is around the corner makes me feel good, too.
Ride smart and safe, everyone... thanks for reading... and drink lots of water!