Saturday, January 17, 2009

Record temperatures

I think Oakland set a new temperature record every day of the past week. We had temperatures that soared well into the mid-seventies, sometimes topping out at 75-76. That is 9-12 degrees warmer than our previous records. And I don't think we ever had a week of records before.

For anyone who is doubting that the climate is changing, I can put in my 2 cents worth. I have been an avid bike rider since the late 80s with only a few short breaks in between. I remember having an extensive collection of cold-weather gear, including neoprene booties, neoprene gloves, and several jackets and vests. Some of these are still with me, but others either fell apart of old age or were lost in the 1991 hills fire.

In any case, I remember buying neoprene booties every year during the early 90s. The booties are not that expensive and they usually do not last all that long because they tear easily. I remember always wearing them in winter and at times being very cold nonetheless. I also used to have several pairs of tights and a face mask. Towards the end of the decade I stopped buying booties, buying toe covers instead. I also stopped buying heavy tights. Now I find that with few exceptions I can get by with wool socks only (no toe covers) and I never need tights anymore, preferring knickers instead. I have not worn the face mask in over 10 years.

Throughout these years I have ridden consistently and always at the same time of day. Sure there are still chilly mornings when you can use booties and heavy tights, but I used to need them in the middle of the day. And although there has been an occasional cold year -like a few years ago when the citrus crop froze- the overall trend has been towards warmer weather. This is all the more remarkable because I am definitely more cold sensitive now than when I was younger.

I rode 2 hours on my mountain bike on Thursday and 2:40 on the road Friday. On Friday I totaled 2,065 calories and had an NP wattage of 254W with an average of 205. Not a bad ride. Today, 2:30 hours mountain biking, 32 miles with Alistair, a solid ride too.

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