Ill-advised Adventure

“Am I ‘hurting’ right now?”

I kept rolling that thought around in my head yesterday around 4:30 in the afternoon. I was on FM 2696 on the homeward leg of a 40-mile out-and-back loop. My original plan for the day had been to get up at 6:00, drive to Boerne Town Lake and do the 50-mile Tall Texan Triathlon bike course. I was going to get an early start to avoid the 95° heat we were expecting. But when the alarm went of in the morning, I knew that my body wasn’t ready to get moving yet. This week has been pretty stressful at work, and I just needed more sack time. So I fell back asleep and awoke again at 11:00. I felt much better.

But I still wanted to get a long ride in. So I suited up, had a power bar, checked my bike and took off from my apartment to ride to Bulverde and back. By the time I left, it was 1:30 in the afternoon. I knew this was a stupid thing to do, but I was bound and determined to get in a long ride.

On the way out I headed through a little town called Hollywood Park that lies right next to the area where I live. Hollywood Park is a really nice neighborhood with lots of trees and beautiful houses and no commercial developments. But it has this thing with deer. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden through there without spying at least three deer. They are everywhere, and it’s become a bit of a problem for the people who like them, but don’t want them devouring everything in their gardens.

Because the deer are so common, they get a lot of people time and they don’t spook very easily, even at the sight of a lycra-clad fool on a bicycle. Which is why I was able to get this photo:

chillin' doe.jpg

I had to move slowly around her, but she had no problem posing for me.

I got out of that neighborhood and onto 2696 for the trek out to Bulverde. Along the way I started to appreciate how hot it really was. Africa hot, as they say. I had three packets of energy gel and a Camelbak full of water, which I was drinking liberally. I think I drank about six litres of fluid over the entire ride. As I crested a hill and looked out at the landscape, I was very thankful that I knew where there were stores where I could re-fill on water. Without that knowledge, a view like this could be pretty daunting:

hot part of the ride.jpg

That was the terrain I was riding through, for the most part. There was one very nice stretch along a mostly dried-up riverbed where I saw a Crested Cara-Cara, but unfortunately it was too skittish for me to get a picture of. I saw all sorts of other interesting things, including this fellow whom I dubbed Captain America. He was out testing a vintage WWII D-Day invasion motorcycle. I didn’t get a really close picture of it, but this bike was in pristine condition. He must have had it packed in grease for the last few decades and just cleaned it up.

captain america.jpg

captain's bike.jpg

I really appreciated the fact that he was willing to dismount and let me get a shot of the other side of the bike considering how hot it was.

Not long after running into the Cap’n, I arrived in Bulverde. Much to my delight, they were having a farmer’s market. I got off my bike and clumsily clomped around in my road shoes, looking into the booths and sampling the wares. I tasted some really wonderful goat cheese made up in Seguin and some barbecued salmon covered in candied walnuts. I had no idea the farmers in Bulverde were so fancy.

I really wanted to buy some of the goat cheese, some brisket and some fresh vegetables for dinner, but there was no way I could transport them home. Maybe next weekend. So I got on my bike and headed back home.

As I was climbing up a hill on the way back, I started thinking about the word “hurt”. My butt definitely hurt. I felt pain there. But the rest of me? My legs were tiring, but I wasn’t getting any cramps. My neck was getting stiff but it didn’t really “hurt”. And my whole body was overheating. Three quarters up the hill, I felt that I’d stopped sweating. As I crested it, I felt my self shivering a little. I drank more water and poured some down my back. On the downhill side I had a gentle headwind which helped cool me down more. I thought about the limits of the language I was thinking in. I was dangerously close to heat stroke, but the word “hurt” really didn’t apply to my condition. It’s a quibble, I know, but this train of thought was really fascinating at the time. I wasn’t too worried, because I knew there was a convenience store about two miles down the road.

I got there and went into the air conditioning and sat down on a stack of Coke twelve-packs. I stayed there, staring at a sack of Friskies cat food until I started sweating. Then I sat there a little longer. I stocked up on more water, downed a power drink, rinsed some of the salt off my face in the bathroom and then headed back. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I saw some more lovely deer in Hollywood Park. And finally, I was home. It was 5:30. I’d been out for four hours in the hottest part of the day and very nearly given myself heat stroke.

Well, I’ve got a better idea of where my limits are now. And that’s the first step in expandng them.

No Responses to “Ill-advised Adventure”

  1. denise Says:

    Well, you could have actually had heat stroke and still found out what your limits were, but that isn’t a good idea. Come on, we don’t want anything bad to happen to you–so take care of yourself, darnit!

  2. Todd Ditchendorf Says:

    Have you gone insanity?

  3. pippy Says:

    Such a pretty deer!
    You be careful with heat stroke and all!