Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Racing - July 17, 2012 @TuesdayTheRent

The summer seems to be slipping through my fingers like it always does. These hot days (it's been in the 90s and that's hot to me) really zap me. My cool weather preference meant that I've been camping out in the relative cool of the house (and any businesses I visit).

Last week took me to a few places for some much needed maintenance (my eyes and my bike). Along with the regular stuff during the day I didn't ride outside at all so Tuesday would be a test of both pedaling and temperature resistance.

At the start Aidan, CCNS bossman, quickly went over the symptoms of heatstroke, mentioning things like nausea, dizziness, goosebumps, and some other stuff.

I privately recalled another symptom - passing out. Back in the day a promising Junior from close to home was in a break in the Danbury Crit. At some point I didn't see him in the break, and shortly thereafter I saw him walking his bike, scraped up a bit, his parents with him.

Ends up that he passed out in one of the turns and just leaned over until he hit the deck. After some IV fluids and a bit of cooling off he was okay, albeit a bit red faced from the heat and wobbly from the heatstroke.

I'd taken my standard preparations for hot weather (anything over about 85 degrees for me) - two Podium Ice bottles full of ice and topped off with water, two Podium Chill bottles with the same, a 2 liter bottle of water (for dumping/drinking), and a couple extra bottles of ice and water (non-insulated).

The cooler also held a bunch of bottles for Junior - with temperatures forecast in the mid-upper 90s we wanted to give him cold feedings, not warm ones.

I had my trusty Halo headband. I don't think I've written a post about it but it's the best thing since sliced bread as far as I'm concerned. It keeps sweat out of my eyes, I don't notice it until I take my helmet off, and it comes in a few flavors. The only problem I have with it is that I misplace it or can't find it because the headband is small.

Of course I had all the other gear. I misplaced my Sportiiiis so that was missing (it's also very small and easily lost in even a small gear bag) but I had my helmet cam, phone/Strava, and my SRM computer (PowerControl V or PCV for short) and heartrate strap. I wear just a jersey and shorts, and for this race I decided to skip the team shoe covers and race in my Vegas socks.

(The shoe cover zipper scrapes my ankle and I have to wear my Swiftwick Expo socks to prevent that, and if I didn't want to wear the Expo socks I skip the shoe covers.)

The Missus set up camp with Junior, a regular thing for us now. She has a good system for the camp bit and I deal with the cooler and spare wheels.

The race itself was difficult. It felt windy like normal but the heat was a bit much for me. About 20 minutes in I came off the back. I don't know what it was but I know I sat up - I definitely had more efforts in me although not for the 40 minutes required to get to the finish.

I jumped in twice, sitting at the back. Apparently a lot of people felt the same as I did because the second half of the group was carefully and politely trying to let the non-lapped people ahead. Problem was that most of us were lapped so the gaps would form and we'd scramble to stay on.

After the second "jump in" I realized that I was starting to overheat. I sat up when a bunch of us got gapped, rolled for a lap or two, and decided that I'd do a sprint before climbing off the bike. It felt like a good plan, I thought it was a good plan, and I even dumped ice cold water on myself so I didn't think I was in the temperature redline.

As soon as I jumped I knew things weren't right. I tried to keep the bike rolling but after maybe 10 seconds I flipped the switches. I thought of the cooler at the car, with two more bottles of ice water and that 2 liter dump bottle.

We picked a restaurant that was kind of warm inside and that didn't help any. In fact, until we got home, I never felt like I'd properly cooled down. Junior wasn't happy with the temperature either and fussed for a while - I think he's more sensitive to the heat than even me (which is normal for a baby).

The heat and fatigue felt vaguely comfortable. I want to say "uncomfortably comfortable" although that doesn't make sense. It brings back the whole feeling of "this is summer, this is racing season". There'd be 4 or 6 or 8 weeks of this, hot, tired, fatigue. Then the days will cool down and it'll feel like "back to school" time, the chill in the mornings, the sun trying to warm up the cool air during the day.

I complain about the heat, the lethargy, the doldrums, but it also means that very shortly we'll be heading into cool weather and, for me, the end of racing season.

Maybe the heat isn't that bad.

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