Wednesday, June 8, 2011

103, you say? (unedited)

We hit 103 degrees today in God's Country.

It didn't last long, I'm told, but we hit 103F for a short time. For several hours, however, we hovered at 102.

Considering we were shoveling snow less than two months ago, that's hot. In Nevada it routinely tops 100F in the summer. When I was in Nevada last July it was hotter than 103. I went geocaching during our first morning in Laughlin and it was 100 by 9 a.m., and that's dang hot, even if it was dry heat.

We spent two nights in Vegas before spending one final day in Laughlin. It was about 116F that Wednesday afternoon. It may have been a dry heat, but it's still too hot to spend a lot of time outside.

Minnesota never gets that hot, but it's almost always humid when it's hot. I'd argue a 95-degree day in Minnesota is as bad, if not worse, than 115 in Nevada. Bottom line, neither is tolerable if you're not in the shade, or a swimming pool.

We rarely hit 100F in Minnesota. It has been almost five years since the last time we hit 100. There's not much difference between 100 and 103, but it has been more than two decades since we hit 103, if I understood the weather report. The last time we hit 103 in Minnesota the mercury climbed to 105 in 1988.

So how did I commemorate the 102F day we had in Minnesota? I went bicycling.

I learned several years ago, on a 99F Sunday afternoon, that I have limitations. I was bicycling three loops around a lake at the time, and each loop was about 8.25 miles. I thought I could do my usual three laps around the lake as the mercury climbed toward 100, but I realized I was kidding myself by the time I started my second lap. I finished two laps, but that was all I could do. I'm not sure I could have finished a third lap if my life depended upon it.

Given today's heat, and the fact I'm behind my usual bicycling pace for early June, I had no problem limiting my evening bike ride to 13 miles. No matter how hot or humid it gets during the day, I don't have much of a problem bicycling after 7 p.m., as the sun isn't overhead, so it isn't beating down upon me as I ride. I waited until close to 8 p.m. to start riding since I'd be on the road for less than 60 minutes.

The biggest challenge wasn't the heat, or the humidity. Although there's rarely dry heat in Minnesota, when it gets ridiculously hot, the humidity typically drops. It was rather humid on Monday and Tuesday morning, but the humidity decreased during the day on Tuesday. By Tuesday night I'd argue we had dry heat.

But it was windy this afternoon and evening. When it's hot, wind provides little comfort, but on rare days like Tuesday, it wasn't the worst thing to deal with, unless you were bicycling. It certainly made my final miles home more challenging than I cared for.

But I made it, and in a couple of days the high temperature is going to fall short of 70F. In my old age I don't need heat, I'd rather have a high temp of 65 than 85, so you won't hear me complain that it's not warm enough. Today reminded me of that.

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