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100% Humidity

The next couple of days feature a high humidity and heat warning for the Montreal area. It’s funny how a few weeks ago we were moaning that spring seemed to be getting off to a really slow start and it was always raining and cool. Well I tell you, if you ever needed more proof that human beings just love to complain then bring up the weather. Now no-one can stop going on about how bloody hot it is and “Oh my God, will someone tell me when this heat is going to break?” People! You cannot change the weather. Deal with it. And you know what? Enjoy it. Fast forward a few months and you’ll be crying about the snow all over again and dreaming of days like this. OK. Lecture over.

When I left the house at 5.40 a.m. there was a heavy dampness in the air that actually made it feel slightly cooler than the recorded 21c. Down across the lake there was a heavy mist that hung right over the water, creating the most ethereal image. The wind was almost non-existant adding to the eerie feeling. Hardly a car was on the lakeshore and it was still too early for most of the pre-breakfast joggers.

At about 25 km of the total 40 km ride this morning. Very humid even at this time of day.

I made it to Parc Levesque and began my laps. I have mentioned this park before. It’s a spit of land that juts out into Lac St-Louis and with its 1km straights it is perfect for hard intervals or just cruising. The weekends, forget it. But at 6.00 a.m. on a weekday morning you have only the sea gulls and two or three other riders and joggers to interrupt what is otherwise perfect serenity. The park smelled incredible. At times it reminded me of the family house in Rivière-du-Loup with the smell of the pine trees in the dampness. At other moments I rode through what can only be described as a wall of scent, lilacs I think, so overpowering you can’t help but marvel at nature. The water was glassy calm, as you can see from this shot, and I wish I had been quick enough to get a picture of the lone kayaker making his way across the mirror, only his oars creating a tiny ripple as they dipped into the water.

Ten laps later it was time to make the return ride along the lakeshore road to home. I would have kept a slightly higher average speed had I not been stuck behind a beaten up Pontiac Sunfire for the first kilometre. He was not leaving me any room and there are a series of about five stop signs in a row that I felt absolutely obliged to recognize. Judging by the baseball cap tipped aggressively to one side and the dings and dents that seemed to cover the car from bonnet to boot, I determined that the driver was definitely unconcerned with my well-being and any demonstration of cheekiness, such as running the stop sign, would give him just the ammunition he would need to justify doing something silly. I’m not saying he would hit me on purpose, not at all, but he seemed like the type who would honk, drive close and scream out of the window. Having said that, stop signs are there for the bikes just as much as they are for the cars, so really I should not even be having this dialogue!

Pulling into the driveway at 7.00 a.m. I was dead chuffed to see that I had completed 40.5 km in 1hr 14m at an average speed of 32.1 kph. Not a bad start to the day. Now I can hide in the air conditioning until tomorrow morning. Ride safe.

The early morning sun tries to break through the cloud at Parc Levesque.

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Humidity

It was only a matter of time before the weather finally began to feel like the summer we know and love, and I think that this morning marked the beginning of the humidity. For those not familiar with Montreal summers, we typically get some pleasantly warm weather, low 30s centigrade is the norm for much of late June through to August, but we also get some extremely humid conditions. Much like in the winter there is a “wind-chill” factor that estimates the ‘feel-like’ temperature, in the summer we have the humidex which also provides an accurate estimate of what temperature it actually feels like outside.

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Almost tipping 30c with the humidex.

Despite the fact that this morning the true temperature was around 16c, I was sopping wet by the time I pulled up to the campus after an hour of riding into the wind.  There was a dampness in the air that resulted in seriously sticky arms that meant I was a firm favourite landing place for the many bug species that come out and hover frenetically near the water.  I don’t know how much protein I consume on the typical commute, but some days are definitely worse than others.  Today, and for the next few days, the high humidex will bring out all sorts of flying creatures that are usually no bigger than a centimetre of so, but have the velocity when consumed at high speed to cause a sharp thwack at the back of the throat.  This is then followed but some serious hacking as I try and dislodge the offending creature from my uvula onto which it has latched, seeing it as the last thing between theslim chance for life or a quick trip into the blackness that is my oesophagus.  I have given up trying to extracate the bugs from my throat as it is infinitely easier to accept that the path of least resistance is to help them down rather than up, and so a few glugs of water are applied, along with some energetic swallowing to help things along.  Hmm…..delicious!

The ride back proved to be even more sweat-inducing, and to add insult to injury the wind had changed direction and was right in my face, again!  Nothing could dampen my spirit, but the heat sure did dampen my shorts.  When I got home Marie had the most magnificent supper ready to hit the BBQ and I guzzled a can of sparkling water just fast enough to give you one of those rather uncomfortable moments when there is a huge buildup of gas stuck somewhere in the middle of your chest and it won’t go either up or down.

Tomorrow I do all it over again.  Ride safe.

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