Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 31, 2011

Vicious Heat


Today I rose early and left Fayetteville about 7:30 AM, and it was already hot.  The first couple of miles every day seem to be just lulling me into a sense of complacency. Fairly easy… nothing to write home about.

But today even the little hills seemed to beat me up terribly.  I tried to ride through it, but I just kept getting weaker. This was a sign I needed a true rest day, but today was not it.  After ten miles, I was stopped by the side of the road, resting and drinking the last of my nearly two gallons of water, when a man pulled off of a road on the other side of the highway and went down the highway where he did a u-turn and came back to me.

My new rescuer of the day is Mark Lamon, whose family has been farming this piece of land across the highway since 1812.

The house is on the national register of historic places and he lives in it, farming the land, and also working at, I believe he said, the Honda factory in Winchester.  He offered to let me fill my water bottles at his home and also gave me ice, although it melted before I was back on the highway.  This section of Hwy 64 is the “David Crockett Parkway,” and Mark said David (Davy) Crockett had been known to stop by the home back in the early 1800’s.

Mark told me it was twenty miles to Pulaski and the road was fairly flat.  He said it does have some hills, but nothing like what I had ridden already.  He was right… it had some hills but nothing vicious, normally.

Today was to be a very difficult and potentially dangerous day.  I kept riding up and down, frequently walking the uphill portions because I just could not ride them.  I ended up doing this 50 yards at a time, then I would rest and drink water and push the bike some more, then ride the downhill portion that went past all too quickly.

On and on, I pushed up and down, and on and on, seemingly forever.  I kept taking an electrolyte supplement and also carbs in the form of waxy maize, mixed in my water.

I kept getting weaker and weaker.  My legs were cramping and nothing was helping.  I could not ride, and my legs could not push my bike any more.  But I had arrived, or so I thought.

Actually, the town of Pulaski is about three miles off the highway.  I could go no further.

I laid my bike down on the side of the road and crossed to the other side to sit on the guardrail, in the shade.  I thought I was getting better, so I stood up and then suddenly got dizzy and started to fall, so I sat on the ground.  The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with traffic whizzing by.

I sat up and remained sitting on the ground for a few minutes, or maybe much longer I really do not know.

Finally, I felt better, so I crossed back over and picked up my bike.

This is when two officers with the Pulaski Police Department pulled up, apparently someone had seen me on the side of the road and thought I needed assistance.

They were right.  I was good enough that I did not feel as though I needed an ambulance.  My mind was once again clear, but I was weak.  One of the officers put my bike in the trunk of the squad car and the other hooked up my trailer to their bumper hitch.  They gave me a ride a quarter of a mile up the hill to the top, and then let me out.  They recommended I rest in the shade and told me about a park where I could spend the night.  They also told me how to get to the hospital.

I rested awhile before riding down the hill and directly to the hospital.  I did not check in, I just sat in the air conditioned lobby and drank the last of my water.

Then I headed to the park, and on the way a couple sitting in their front yard waved to me so I stopped and asked if I could fill my water bottles, which they let me do.  The woman filled the bottles and also brought me two bottles of cold bottled spring water.

Tomorrow will be a rest day, probably.  I need to recover and heal my body.  I know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and I know how to take precautions against them. The precautions do not always work, though, and I was reminded of that today. I do not know what I could have done differently other than getting in shade or air conditioning, but neither were available today.

Still, I must remain diligent and cautious because heat stroke, especially, is a dangerous thing.

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Responses

  1. Glad you made it to Pulaski Ok. Good luck on the rest of your trip. I will be checkin in periodically on your trip.


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