sunscreen and sweat

A typical week-end for me involves at least one bike ride or one run. I tend to exercise mid to late afternoon, getting into early evening because it means that I don’t have to get up early, and it’s not too hot. Of course, the sun’s still up, which means the sunscreen goes on. Sunscreen is the smell of the week-end.

I checked the weather forecast on Saturday morning, and found that temperatures were going to reach the mid-30s (Celsius) with high humidity (not that I really needed a weather forecast to tell me that – it was already frickin’ hot in the morning). However, the forecast also predicted storms for Sunday, so I knew I had to ride/run that day.

I don’t often go to Westside, but I’ve tagged along with a friend on a few drives along the Western Freeway / Centenary Motorway recently, and noticed there was a bike path that ran alongside it. I finally decided to Google Map it the other night, so on Saturday I was ready and rearing to go. It had also been a long time since my last “epic bike ride” outside of my neighbourhood and surrounding suburbs, so I was doubly keen. No high humidity or scorching sun was going to stop me!

It always feels great being on a bike going somewhere. Nothing but the sound the wind rushing past and the smell of sunscreen. Before I’d even gotten onto Legacy Way (which is what the bike path was called, according to a sign), I was covered in sweat. As I rode along, I could feel the sweat dripping off me, could taste the saltiness as it trickled past my lips, and could see the shine it created all over my arms. I was feeling kind of Zen at this stage.

Anyway, Legacy Way was pretty good, as far as bike paths go. Would have liked more shade from the setting sun, but you can’t have everything. Also, only had to cross a few roads, which is always a plus. I must say, though, that it seemed to be more downhill than up going outbound, so I found myself worrying about the return trip more and more as I went along.

In the end, I made it out to Jamboree Heights before deciding to turn back. With the power of Google Maps, I estimate the total journey to have been about 42km over approximately 3 hours. Admittedly, on the way back, there were a couple of gradients I couldn’t quite conquer and had to walk my bike up, but I somehow pushed through the pain on all the other ones (seriously, my legs have never been in so much pain from cycling). Also, by the time I got back to the City / South Bank area, I knew it would not be worth the struggle to ride all the way home, so I caught a train for part of the way. (And in case you’re wondering, the 42km estimate excludes the train ride.)

When I went to bed that night, I figured that Sunday would be a rest day. But by the time Sunday afternoon came around, I was itching to get outside. Sure, it was about 35 degrees and humid like no tomorrow, but the skies were clear and there was no sign of those storm clouds we were supposed to have. Plus, surprisingly, my legs weren’t sore. They were a bit sore in the morning but I stretched a bit, and by 5pm I’d made up my mind to run.

Still mindful of the heat, though, I decided I’d do high intensity, short duration, so that I wouldn’t be sweating away for too long. So after about 40 minutes of jogging, burpees, sprints and random other things, I was done.

What a satisfying week-end. I’m glad I didn’t get discouraged by the heat, and managed to pull myself away from the comfort of the air conditioner. And I’ve realised again that I never regret going for a run or bike ride. It’s just always the right decision.

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