I’m out for a 35 mile ride, it’s below freezing and I’ve got one H2O bottle on board. Twenty miles in I reach down and take a swig – I chuckle to myself as a thin layer of ice crunches when I squeeze… That’s the last time I touch it until I get home. I pull my phone out of my back pocket to hit the stop button on my fitness tracking app and it tells me I only needed to drink 10 ounces on that trip. Above 60 degrees that’s a two bottle trip.
I’ve run a below zero half marathon without a drop. Above 55 degrees I carry a bottle of water for anything more than seven miles.
So one of my riding friends was out on Sunday… Temps in the mid 40’s, for a 2-1/2 to 3 hour ride. Almost home, having not touched his single H2O bottle once, he’s having a great time. It’s cold but at least the sun is shining. In fact, my post for the day was entitled: Great Day For A Ride.
41 miles in, 5 to go he passes out, while pedaling. He goes down hard, cracks his helmet, smacks and bruises his face, scrapes the hell out of his left arm, hip, leg and bike. Thankfully a couple of motorists stop and help him. They call an ambulance which takes him to the hospital. The doctors are concerned because of his age and the fact that he passed out on the bike so they run a battery of tests and keep him overnight for observation. On Monday I found out that he’d gone down and that initial reports were not good, that he had some problem with a name that I can’t pronounce that caused the fall. My worry, of course, was that his riding days were done unless he got a trike recumbent or something and/or limited himself to short rides. Trying to do that, for me, would be a fate worse than death. For him? Even worse.
At dinner that night, as a family we prayed for my friend, and I added a little extra: “Please let it be something simple that won’t limit his riding”.
Folks, I put some ass into that prayer. I meant it with everything I had. So I see him yesterday evening…
Dehydration. He didn’t drink enough and that made him pass out.
Folks, I’ll never look at cold weather hydration so nonchalantly again. He’s lucky.
Now, all of you non-helmet wearing folks out there… Imagine the damage if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet. He cracked his helmet on the pavement. Your head has, roughly, the resiliency of a watermelon. Think on that a minute…
Helmets seem a little cooler now, don’t they?
UPDATE: Please scroll down to the comments section, especially to fatguy2triguy‘s comment which is eerily like my friends, there’s a lot of first-hand experience in there.