Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Monday, December 3, 2012

4th of July Bike & Build Style


I got a couple requests for how I set up my bike for the 4th of July. But before I go any further, I must state that I do not recommend riding a bike with a flag. Let me repeat that. I do not recommend riding a bicycle with a giant 5' x 8' sail. I got blown off the road and into the ditch after crossing into the lane of oncoming traffic. I was fortunate, and there were no cars around. It was rather windy that day: 10 mph mean wind speed, 30 mph sustained winds, and over 50 mph gusts, so you would probably be just fine on a calm day. All that being said, will I try it again? Yes. Will I try a bigger flag? Absolutely.

The wind was not fun sometimes.
I first had this idea when I saw the brochure for Bike & Build. "Wow, bike across the country for charity and be patriotic at the same time!" I wanted to do the entire distance with my flag but soon decided this was not a good idea. It would be difficult to keep the flag clean and off the ground, so I decided one day would be feasible. I had my brother mail me my flag during the summer. I had used it before on a few occasions:

I bought the parts in Amarillo, TX, at Home Depot on June 25 on our day off. I had no idea whether it would work or not or if I would even have the tools to work on it. Thankfully, our host on July 3 had tools. I stayed up late and put it together. I didn't have a vice or some other niceties, but it worked. I used two round electrical plate covers and a flag mounting bracket along with a couple bolts and pipe insulation. I used round covers so I wouldn't cut up the back of my leg when stretching on the bike. Make sure you don't come into contact with it while pedaling; it will be really annoying. The pipe insulation was only to prevent scratches (not that my frame doesn't already have its fair share). I drilled holes for four bolts, but I was only able to get two in since they weren't aligned quite right, and well, the seat stays are in the way. I used a one inch 10' PVC pipe for the pole. It didn't quite fit the mount, so I had to shave it down a little with a file. I used PVC as opposed to other material for its light weight, and I also hoped that the flexibility of the PVC would allow more time for me to react to any wind gusts. The flag was attached to the pole with eyelet screws and key chain rings. For additional stability I used some accessory cord and attached it to my handlebars to the top of the pole. Check out the pictures and let me know if you have any questions:

The gap at the rear of my saddle allowed for an additional contact
point and the most upright position of the pole possible.

I made it 102 miles before a storm rolled in. I tried to ride when the front came through, but my front wheel was coming off the ground. I took the flag off and had a nice lightning rod for the last 11 miles. It was made of PVC, but it was unnerving, nonetheless. 113ish miles were completed five months ago, but I was a little worried the day had taken a toll on my bike and bent my seat stays out of alignment. I finally took my setup off when I got home, and everything seemed fine.

The toll on my body was worse.
Other riders got slightly different stats, but you get the idea.
For more summer stats, check out this post.

I forgot to mention the reactions of drivers on the road. This was not something I expected or thought of, but made a great memory. Over 100 drivers gave friendly honks, fist pumps, and waves. I counted. :) Keep in mind much of the ride was in the middle of nowhere (see next photo). A couple drivers even made me pull over and take a picture. It made 4th of July feel like it should even away from home. Perhaps better.

I also added a tie down between the seat post and the pole.
The second point of contact adds a lot of stability.
A couple other items to note. Advantage: increased visibility. Disadvantage: due to the hydration pack, you can't sit up. It makes changing hand positions quite difficult. I stayed on the hoods most of the day and paid for it for months.

So if you build this, do so in a safe environment. Get some riding in with the wind and get plenty of experience with it before you take it to other places. Do good; don't die.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3 Months Later

3 months. Incredible. I imagine shortly I will be talking about this in terms of years. I still miss it as hard as some days were. I miss the people. The journey and adventures. The group suffering. It made us become close quickly. But now we are spread across the country (and around the world), and I feel like I lost some of my closest friends, but that's not true. Kristina reminded me the dynamic has only changed, but I've been thinking the hardest part of Bike & Build is no longer doing Bike & Build. So many things remind me of it. Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros is playing on my Pandora station right now. Ugh. I went back to sleeping on my therm-a-rest. My bed was uncomfortable so I did what I knew from this summer. Two months later, I am still sleeping solid. There is usually something major every week that reminds me of summer.

The Bike & Build blues can get you down, but there are bigger and better things. It was the most absurd time of my life, so it's hard to imagine what will top it. Natalie, one of the program directors, rode with us the first and last few days of the trip. She gave a short speech about four miles before we reached the Pacific. I don't remember what all was said, but she told us to not let our summer be it for us. Rather, go on and do big things. Jay ate his first PB&J right there.

I am trying to figure out what that means for me. My professor posed a strange but interesting question to me last week. "Do you want to help one person, or do you want to help millions?" He says he can give any of his students a proven method to become a millionaire/billionaire, but I ask myself, "Is money the answer?" Investing time in people does a lot of good things. Maybe there's a balance. I digress.

I made a video. Natalie is the last rider you see. That would have been day 2 or 3 in Florida.

I did P90X starting back in January, so I have some of my body measurements to compare to after Bike & Build. Full disclosure: I only completed 45 days of P90X. I just retook some of the measurements tonight to compare. I've cycled only about 250 miles since August 3 (yikes!). My chest and hips are about the same. I gained an inch on my waist. I actually lost an inch on my thighs, but they are certainly stronger and more defined. I lost half an inch on my right bicep and a full inch on my left. My weight immediately before and after Bike & Build was about the same. That was one of my biggest concerns, truthfully.

My biggest concern I didn't have was highway riding. I kept all my cue sheets from this summer and was curious as to how many miles we rode on them. This was my biggest (perhaps, unfounded) expectation that was not met. I thought we'd be mostly on country roads. To be fair, many of the highways were low traffic and had decent shoulders. However, some were downright terrifying (particularly in New Mexico) when you look up and realize the speed limit is 75 or there are literally a dozen crosses on the side of the road showing where a drunk driving collision occurred. Many times the highway was the only available road. Same story for the interstates (it's legal for bicycles in some states).

We rode 1505.2 miles (36.59%) on US highways, and 137.3 miles (3.34%) on interstates. I actually felt a lot safer on the interstates than most of the highways -- ten foot shoulder and rumble strips make for a nice barrier between you and the cars. I write this not to scare anyone away from biking across the country, but to set up a proper expectation.

Additionally, if you're looking to do Bike & Build, the route on may change a few times. SUS changed three times by our first biking day with the following mileages: 3921, 3988, 3993. Now the web site sits SUS at 4035. It probably won't change too much as long as we left a good impression on all those who hosted us this last summer.

$1413.22 is the updated cost of my summer = $17.66/day. And the reason I remember visiting DQ and McDonald's more than my receipts is because we got so much donated.

Fun fact: I used over 40 ounces of sunblock last summer. 3 applications per day of SPF 50 looks like this:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bike & Build by the Numbers Part II

2 months ago SUS hit the Pacific Ocean. Time is zipping by, and I still can't believe what we did this summer. I've processed most of it now, so I will try to tell the tale over the next few months, but for now, more numbers.

As a team we raised $144,057! I raised $4500. I had 44 donors plus the 4 fundraising events I did on campus, at Walmart, in Cincinnati, and my local bike shop. I was fundraising for Cover Indiana as well, so some wrote checks for that and not Bike & Build, and as promised I ended up matching by 20.1682%

Route Total Funds Total Riders Funds/Rider
P2C:  $180,119 31 $5,810.29
ME2SB:  $180,461 33 $5,468.52
P2S:  $169,095 31 $5,454.68
CUS:  $167,074 31 $5,389.48
SUS: $144,057 27 $5,335.44
SC2SC:  $159,590 30 $5,319.67
NC2SD:  $99,361 19 $5,229.53
NUS:  $166,068 32 $5,189.63

On our route B&B spent $4.03 per rider/day of which only $0.71 was food. This was $8704.80 over the summer of 80 days.

In an earlier post I reported that I had spent $1,133.39 on gear before the ride. I kept all my receipts while on the trip and now I present the hidden costs of Bike & Build. I post this to let future B&Bers see what it may cost them. There were several occasions when I borrowed money, and the May 15th receipt was faded so my total and dates are not exact.

13-May 1.33 Cracker Barrel - Henderson, KY
14-May 3.11 BP - Eufaula, AL
15-May target
16-May 10.58 Panera Bread - Sanford, FL
17-May 3.75 k-Mart - Neptune Beach, FL
17-May 28.87 Champion Cycling
18-May 7.89 k-Mart - Neptune Beach, FL
21-May 0.98 Walmart - Lake City, FL
25-May 15.88 The Owl Café - Apalachicola, FL
25-May 22.3 Chili's - Panama City
27-May 1.07 Walgreens
27-May 16.29 Walmart - De Funiak Springs, FL
29-May 17.72 Mary's Place - Coden, AL
30-May 11.25 OK Bike Shop - Mobile, AL
31-May 59.95 Cadence 120 Bicycle Works - Mobile, AL
1-Jun 6.83 Cane's - Pascagoula, MS
3-Jun 25.44 Walmart - Chalmette, LA
6-Jun 3.29 McDonald's - New Orleans
7-Jun 2.2 McDonald's - New Orleans
8-Jun 2.2 McDonald's - New Orleans
10-Jun 2.73 USS Kidd
11-Jun 7.1 McDonald;s - Port Barre, LA
12-Jun 22.73
12-Jun 5.79 McDonald's - Eunice, LA
13-Jun 6.45 Melrose Plantation
15-Jun 9.21 8th Air Force Museum
15-Jun 30.41 Scooter's Bike Shop
18-Jun 307.72 Plano Cycling and Fitness
22-Jun 2.71 McDonald's - Lawton, OK
24-Jun 3.36 Subway - Hollis, OK
25-Jun 4.6 Starbuck's - Amarillo, TX
25-Jun 5.77 Dairy Queen - Claude, TX
26-Jun 30.59 Home Depot
26-Jun 16.33 Ye Old Pancake Station
26-Jun 32.47 Radio Shack - Amarillo, TX
28-Jun 7.85 Dairy Queen - Clayton, NM
1-Jul 18.55 Walmart - Santa Fe
2-Jul 162 Mellow Velo
3-Jul 8.2 Blake's Lotaburger - Espanola, NM
5-Jul 4.27 Dairy Queen - Farmington, NM
6-Jul 32.14 Cottonwood Cycles - Farmington, NM
7-Jul 5.08 Beclabito Express - Shiprock, NM
8-Jul 3.77 McDonald's - Kayenta, AZ
9-Jul 3.27 Keibeto Market
10-Jul 3.16 Big Lake Trading Post - Page, AZ
11-Jul 11.3 Jacob Lake
11-Jul 10.23 Jacob Lake
12-Jul 27.91 North Rim Country Store
12-Jul 8.03 Grand Canyon Lodge
14-Jul 11.3 Jacob Lake
17-Jul 27.3
17-Jul 6.69 Sub Zero - St. George
18-Jul 4.21 Dairy Queen - Mequite, NV
19-Jul 6.49 All Mountain Cyclery - Bouler City, NV
19-Jul 14.04 Radio Shack - Boulder City, NV
20-Jul 2.69 Dairy Queen - Las Vegas
21-Jul 6.82 Charles Brown General Store - Shoshone, CA
21-Jul 27.6 Denny's - Baker, CA
23-Jul 2.56 McDonald's - Ridgecrest, CA
25-Jul 12.22 Walmart - Ridgecrest, CA
25-Jul 2.99 McDonald's - Ridgecrest, CA
26-Jul 4.29 McDonald's - Bishop, CA
26-Jul 6.77 McDonald's - Bishop, CA
27-Jul 14.26 Whoa Nellie Deli - Lee Vining, CA
29-Jul 9.97 Meadow Grill - Yosemite, CA
30-Jul 4.3 Happy Burger Diner - Mariposa, CA
31-Jul 6.28 Bass Fork Mini Mart - North Fork, CA
31-Jul 4.03 Friant Depot Shell - Friant, CA
1-Aug 4.31 McDonald's - Fresno, CA
1-Aug 6.75 Subway - Fresno, CA
2-Aug 11.5 Fosters Freeze - Hollister, CA
3-Aug 2.98 Los Lomas Market - Salinas, CA
4-Aug 10.94 In and Out Burger - Salinas, CA
4-Aug 16.77 Gilbert's Monterey
15 Flat Rate Box
10 Half Dome
5 Leader picture frame
15 SUS t-shirt
7.5 lunch at random bar
5 Monument Valley
3 Four Corners

$1323.22! That's $16/day and $112/week.

Ouch. But let's adjust this a bit. I'll take away some not so typical expenses. Without my $300 bike fit and new saddle in Plano, TX, some tights ($60) on sale at a shop in Mobile, my flag project ($32), two-way radio from Radio Shack ($32), and hammock ($28) from the Grand Canyon, my expenses seem a bit more reasonable. $10.54/day and $73/week. Before this summer I had budgeted for $50/week.

The bike fit was a process I went through in Plano, TX, because I started to experience a lot of pain on the bike. The more you ride, the more you find out is wrong with your bike geometry. Riding 70 miles/day is way different than 150/week I was doing before Bike & Build. A host in Athens, TX, recommended a shop and I couldn't have been more pleased. That shop was the friendliest and most knowledgeable I've ever experienced still to this day.

I bought tights in Mobile because they were dadgum cheap.

I don't see anyone in the future doing what I did with the flag. I don't recommend it. I will explain the building process in a future post.

Trent and I split the cost of two-way radios in Amarillo. We are both introverts and riding with the buddy system policy instituted by our leaders was quite draining (not that the buddy system was a bad idea, but occasionally I need to ride ten miles by myself). So, Trent and I used these to ride a quarter of a mile or more apart to get some down time. Unfortunately, Trent injured his knee for quite some time, and we were unable to use these as much as we would have liked, but they were definitely worth it.

I bought a hammock right outside the Grand Canyon, and I am really glad I did. I've used it a few times since  Monterey as well. I never had to camp inside our tents this summer, and I was able to sleep under the stars... and rain... and hail...

Others bought some not so typical things as well. Some bought cowboy boots in Texas. Other souvenirs were purchased... shoot, I just remembered I spent about $30 or $40 on parasailing in Panama City. Maybe everyone buys not so typical things, and future B&Bers should budget that for their summer.

Cold at McDonald's. A lady bought us hot chocolate and coffee. I managed to get a free refill of hot chocolate and then I bought a third :: Alexandria, LA

I visited McDonald's and Dairy Queen 17 times for a total of $72.77. I seem to remember more, but that's what the receipts and credit card bills say. These places were a refuge this summer. It was great motivation knowing that a DQ was only 20 miles away. Just imagine being in the heat with no shade for scores of miles. Ice cream is heaven, and I was willing to spend on it after I figured out how much of a difference it made in my day.

Dadgummit. I just remembered I bought two pairs of socks and a cycling cap during orientation. +$40

Update (11-3-2012): I updated the total in the "3 Months Later" post. Also, I just noticed that Cracker Barrel is supposed to be $11.33 and not $1.33...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bike & Build by the Numbers

One month ago today, we dipped our front tires into the Pacific Ocean. I'm still processing our summer. It was the most incredible time of my life as well as the most difficult. More on that in the future (gosh, I haven't posted in 3 months). For now, I've crunched some numbers for you to wrap your mind around to get an idea  of our summer, physically.

There are some discrepancies between my software (TrainingPeaks), uploaded data (, and observed/actual. For example, using data from my software, I calculated my average heart rate for the summer was 115, but using data from Strava yields 126. Also, some days my batteries died in my equipment and my friends got different numbers according to their computers.

Orientation Days

Build Days

Biking Days

Days Off

Total Miles according to

Total Miles :: TrainingPeaks (my Garmin software). This does not include travel to build sites or other post host arrival adventures.
4113.892 (Allison recorded 4159)

Total Duration (time from host to host)
492:51:52 = 20.53 days

Total Moving Time (time from host to host less time off the bike eating or resting)
277:06:28 = 11.55 days

Average Speed based on moving time

Max Speed
55.3 mph :: Lee Vining, CA

Total Elevation Climbed
118330 feet = 22.4 miles (We climbed Mount Everest 4 times, essentially)

Average Cadence (how many times my pedals go around in a minute) :: Strava

Total Pedal Strokes

Average High Temperature among destination cities ::

Average Low Temperature among departure cities ::

Average Temperature :: TrainingPeaks (my Garmin computer is obviously susceptible to direct sunlight and increases temperature significantly)

High Temperature :: TrainingPeaks
138.2 (I know I saw it over 140 in real time. We were taking a break in Death Valley, so it was sitting in the sun, but when we started moving again, it didn't drop below 130. All summer I'd never seen it above 120 in direct sunlight. It was kind of hot.)

Average Heart Rate :: Strava

Average Max Heart Rate :: Strava

Total Heart Beats

Total Calories Burned according to my power meter (which should be fairly accurate. This does not include the Calories needed for me to live and breathe)
140090 = 40 lbs

Most Calories Burned in One Day
5488 :: Cuba, NM :: 112.78 miles :: 5629 feet (this was also July 4th)

Total Work :: Strava
124000 kJ

Most Difficult Stretch based on Mileage
Opelousas, LA,  to Dallas, TX :: 7 days :: 515.27 miles (NUS had 11 days without a day off or a build day. 725 miles. Kudos)

Most Mileage in One Day
120 :: Hollister, CA

Least Mileage in One Day
Page, AZ :: 36.1

Most Difficult Stretch based on Climbing
Overton, NV, to Ridgecrest, CA :: 20520 feet :: 6 days

Most Climbing in One Day
6734 feet :: Jacob Lake, AZ :: 81.8 miles

Most Climbing in One Day based on Elevation per mile
6734 feet :: Jacob Lake, AZ :: 81.8 miles

Least Climbing in One Day
157 feet :: Palatka, FL :: 40.975 miles

Least Climbing in One Day based on Elevation per Mile
436 feet :: Baton Rouge, LA :: 117.7 miles

Most Difficult Stretch based on Temperature
Overton, NV, to Ridgecrest, CA :: 6 days
Average High :: 104.67 ::
Average High :: 123.5 :: TrainingPeaks
Average :: 103.73 :: TrainingPeaks

Hottest City
Baker, CA :: 108 degrees (Shoshone,CA, which was mid ride that day recorded 122)

Coldest City
Bishop, CA :: 47 degrees

Longest Duration in One Day
14:03:52 :: Las Vegas, NM :: 97.653 miles

Updated new stats:
4113.892 / 0.002096mm = 0.001302394 miles (circumference of my tires) / 57 riding days =
55416.06 revolutions of my tires per day

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lake City | Perry | Tallahassee | Apalachicola | Panama City | DeFuniak Springs | Pensacola | Mobile | Biloxi

Blueberry picking on the way to Perry, Florida. They let us pick 20 pounds free of charge!

I ended up just eating a lot and not helping fill up the buckets...

First flat on the way to Tallahassee. That tube was the original of when I bought it from one of my professors in 2009. I rode with an alumni that day and he gave some advice for the trip such as "book it to New Orleans."

Stopped by Tyndall Air Force Base on the way to Panama City:

Build day in Panama City. The goal was to move this shed forward and save it from becoming swallowed by nature.

Towing it out proved unsuccessful, but we were able to trim the vegetation around it quite a bit.

Second flat on the way to Pensacola. Rear tube once again, but it burst while eating lunch. Maybe I shouldn't leave my bike in the sun.

We finally made it across Florida!

It is nearly a century ride to get to Mobile. We found Mary's Place on the way. 2 pound burger? Challenge accepted.

It was destroyed in less than 9 minutes.

Two build days in Mobile, Alabama. I volunteered to help out with a shed out back that had some rotting wood. I've worked with my dad before with these types of projects, so I was pretty excited to help out with these problems.

I've worked with the skill saw before, so I was tasked with some cutting. I am very thankful my dad has taught me some of these things over the years. I didn't realize how much I have gained from him.

Mostly finished:

Doors on the other side:


And they open.

Wandering the streets of Mobile one evening we found a police museum that was open at 9pm. 

Made it to Mississippi the next day:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Heat Illnesses Part I

Since we are in the southern route, heat is a major concern and should be addressed. You should know that heat illnesses are preventable, but many deaths occur every year. I just learned on Facebook that a girl in marching band with me passed away on a hiking trip in Arizona and was most likely heat related. It's a real tragedy, so please take the heat seriously.

So from Athletic Management, all you want to know about heat illnesses.

An ever-present concern of practicing or competing in a hot humid environment is the problem of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia refers to an increase in body temperature. In recent years, particularly among football players and wrestlers, a number of deaths have been caused by hyperthemia. It is vitally important to understand when environmental heat and humidity are at a dangerous level and to act accordingly. Remember that an individual does not have to be in the south to experience heat-related illnesses. Heat and humidity occur in every geographic region of the United States, and anyone who supervises athletes that practice and compete in these environmental conditions must be able to recognize the clinical signs of heat stress and manage them properly.

Regardless of the level of physical conditioning, extreme caution must be taken when exercising, particularly in hot, humid weather. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can result in heat illness. Heat stress is certainly preventable, but each year many athletes suffer illness and occasionally, death from some heat-related cause. Athletes who exercise in hot, humid environments are particularly vulnerable to heat stress. The physiological processes in the body can continue to function only as long as body temperature is maintained within a normal range. Maintenance of normal temperature in hot environment depends on the ability of the body to dissipate heat. Heat can be dissipated from the body through four mechanisms: conduction (direct contact with a cooler object); convection (contact with a cooler air or water mass); radiation (heat generated from metabolism); and evaporation (sweat evaporating from the skin surface). It must be added that the body can also gain heat through conduction, convection, and radiation if the surrounding environment is hotter than the body temperature or if the body is exposed to direct sunlight. By far most of the heat that is dissipated from the body is through the process of evaporation.

Sweat glands in the skin allow water to be transported to the suface where it evaporates, taking large quantities of heat with it. When the temperature and radiant heat of the environment become higher than body temperature, loss of body heat becomes highly dependent on the process of sweat evaporation. THe sweat must evaporate for heat to be dissipated. But the air must be relatively free of water for evaporation to occur. Heat loss through evaporation is severely impaired when the relative humidity reaches65 percent and virtually stops when the humidity reaches 75 percent. The heat index takes both ambient air temperature and relative humidity into account and attempts to determine how hot it actually feels to the human body.

It must be emphasized that, while heat illness is most likely in occur in a hot, humid environment, it is possible that heat illnesses can also occur in colder environments when the athlete allows himself or herself to become dehydrated and the body cannot dissipate heat through sweating.

It should be obvious that heat-related problems have the greatest chance of occuring on days when the sun is bright and the temperature and relative  humidity are high. But it is certainly true that various forms of heat illness, including heat syncope and exertional heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or hyponatrmia can occur whenever the body's ability to dissipate heat is impaired.

Heat Syncope

Heat syncope, or heat collapse, is associated with rapid physical fatigue during overexposure to heat. It is usually caused by standing in heat for long periods or by not being accustoed to exercising in the heat. It is caused by peripheral vasodilation of superficial vessels, hypotension, or a pooling of blood in the extremities, which results in dizziness, fainting, and nausea. Heat syncope is quickly relieved by laying the athlete in a cool environment and replacing fluids.

Exertional Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are extremely painful muscle spasms that occur most commonly in the calf or abdomen, although any muscle can be involved. The occurance of heat cramps is related primarily to excessive loss of water and loss of electrolytes, particularly sodium. Electrolytes are ions (sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) that are essential elements in muscle contraction.

Profuse sweating involves losses of large amounts of water as well as electrolytes, thus destroying the balance in concentration of theses elements within the body. This imbalance ultimately results in painful musle contractions and cramps. The person most likely to get heat cramps is one who is fairly good condition who simply overexerts in the heat.

Heat cramps may be prevented by adequate replacement of fluids and increased intake of sodium. The immediate treatment for heat cramps is ingestion of large quantities of fluid and sodium and mild stretching with ice massage of the muscle in spasm. An athlete who experiences heat cramps will generally not be able to return to practice or competition for the remainder of the day because cramping is likely to reoccur.

Exertional Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion results from inadequate replacement of fluids lost through sweating. Clinically, the victim of heat exhaustion collapses and manifests profuse sweating, pale skin, mildly elevated temperature (102 degrees F), dizziness, hyperventilation, and rapid pulse.

It is sometimes possible to spot athletes who are having problems with heat exhaustion. They may begin to develop heat cramps. They may become disoriented and light-headed, and their physical performance will not be up to their usual standards when fluid replacement has not been adequate. In general, persons in poor physical condition who attempt to exercise in the heat are most likely to get heat exhaustion.

Immediate treatment of heat exhaustion requires ingestion and eventually intravenous replacement of large quantities of fluids. It is essential to obtain an accurate core temperature. Temperature can be measured in the ear with a tympanic membrane thermometer. However, a rectal temperature is most accurate indicator of core temperature to differentiate heat exhaustion from heatstroke. In heat exhaustion the core temperature will be around 102 degrees F. If possible, the athlete should be placed in a cool environment, although it is more critical to replace fluids.

Exertional Heatstroke

Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening emergency. The specific cause of heatstroke is unknown; however, it is clinically characterized by sudden collapse with loss of consciousness; flushed, hot skin; less sweating than is seen with heat exhaustion; shallow breathing; a rapid, strong pulse; and, most important, a core temperature of 104 degrees F or higher. Basically heatstroke is a breakdown of the thermoregulatory mechanism caused by excessively high body temperature; the body loses the ability to dissipate heat through sweating.

Heatstroke can occur suddenly and without warning. the athlete may or may not show signs of heat cramps or heat exhaustion. The possibility of death from heatstroke can be significantly reduced if body temperature is lowered to normal within 45 minutes. The longer the body temperature is elevated to 104 degress F or higher, the higher the mortality rate.

It is imperative that the victim be transported to a hospital as quickly as possible. Every first-aid effort should be directed to lowering body temperature. Get the athlete into a cool environment. Strip all clothing off the athlete. It is most effective to immerse the athlete in ice water. Alternatives would be to place ice bags in the armpits, groin, and neck, or sponge him or her down with cold water, and fan with a towel. The replacement of fluid is not critical in initial first aid.

Exertional Hyponatremia

Hypornatremia is a condition involving a fluid/electrolyte disorder that results in an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood. It is most often caused by ingesting so much fluid before, during, and after exercise that the concentration of sodium is decreased. It alse can occur due to too little sodium in the diet or in ingested fluids over a period of prolonged exercise. An individual with a high rate of sweating and a significant loss of sodium, who continues to ingest large quantities of fluid over a several hour  period of exercise (as in a marathon or triathlong), is particularly vulnerable to developing hyponatremia. Hyponatremia can be avoided completely by making certain that fluid intake during exercise does not exceed fluid loss and that sodium intake is adequte.

The signs and symptoms of exertional hyponatremia may include a progressively worsening headache; nausea and vomiting; swelling of the hands and feet; lethargy, apathy, or agitation; and low blood sodium. Ultimately, a very low concentration of sodium can compromise the central nervous system creating a life-threatening situation.

It hyponatremia is suspected and blood sodium levels cannot be determined onsite, measures to rehydrate the athlete should be delayed and the athlete should be transported immediately to a medical facility. At the medical facility the delivery of sodium, certain diuretics, or intravenous solutions may be necessary. A physician should clear the athlete before he or she is allowed to return to play.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Orientation | Jacksonville | St. Augustine

Forgot to post this photo with my nephew when I was in Birmingham. Future cyclist, Calvin:

Orientation began last Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, where we able to meet the entire team and our leaders. We did a lot of team building activities. 11 weeks is a long time to be around the same people, so unity is very important this summer. The leaders talked about bike safety, nutrition, bike fitting, and many other topics. I've been cycling for about 2 years now, but it is always good to hear the basics, and I was able to help some teammates with some basic bike maintenance and setup. 

One night we were able to score some discounted bowling. We talked to the manager and got 50% off. Bike and Build calls this donation magic or DM for short. There will be much DM'ing this summer.

On Friday we had our first build day in Jacksonville. We split up to go to three build sites. I ended up at a home that was getting refurbished by Habitat. It was a two-story duplex, which I think is atypical for Habitat, but this model works for them for a few reasons: land is expensive in Florida, refurbishing is cheaper, and the duplex saves energy. The home was about a week from being complete. We were charged with sodding the entire backyard. 8 large pallets of sod were in the front yard. Enter wheelbarrows and much heavy lifting. We had a motivated crew and we finished just in time at the end of the day. My back still hurts. Lifting my friends was easier than the sod...

I also got to remove a stump in the yard. Our supervisor, Bob, asked if anyone was good with an axe. I lit up with excitement like a kid in a candy store. Sadly, I don't have any action shots, but it was a good, sweaty time. I love manual labor. Seriously. No sarcasm.

Saturday we got on bikes and headed for the beach. I guess cross-country riders often dip their rear tire in one ocean and their front tire in the other, so Bike and Build does this on each route.

Lining up for the wheel dipping and photos.

Being a little crazy with the bike. The waves got a bit strong, but I was able to hold my ground, fortunately.

We made it to St. Augustine and DM'ed some carousel rides. Jay and Jessie having a good time:

Saw a flamenco performance:

We didn't have dinner provided from our host the first night, so we were charged by our leaders to find food. Along our way to St. Augustine, we stopped at castle on the side of the road. Because we stopped there, we saw a sign for an estate sale. We met some folks there and Braden, a 14-year old local. He does triathlons and really enjoys cycling. He heard that we needed food and took Stephanie and I around town to places he thought would donate. And we totally scored some drinks from Subway, three 18" cheese pizzas from  Giovanni Cucina and some rice and beans from Burrito Works. If you're in St. Augustine, go give them some business. They were really generous.

We get to paint our trailer. Jay had a friend make a cool design for some t-shirts, and we were able to project it on our trailer. I'll post the final product later.

Our first day of riding was Allison's birthday. We celebrated appropriately with ice cream cake. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Adventure Begins

The day after Cover Indiana Kristina and I left to head for Orlando, FL, to meet fellow rider Stephanie. She had offered a few months prior for any of us to come down if we needed a place to stay, so we took her up on it since she lives only a couple hours from Jacksonville.

Getting there is easier said than done. I woke up at 5:30 on Sunday and frantically searched my apartment for anything that I was forgetting. I finally got out of my place at 8:30 or so and drove to Terre Haute to pick up Kristina. We packed up the bikes and headed to Birmingham to stay with at my sister's for the night and get a couple meals. I slept most of the way. I got really sick during Cover Indiana (against my better judgement, I continued to bike), and Kristina offered to let me sleep (or really, offered to let herself drive my Mustang), which I kindly obliged.

I got up and played Lego's with my nephew the next morning. I think he had fun for the limited time we had. My sister made us breakfast and sandwiches for the road. Once again, I slept for most of the way to Orlando. Kristina did me a huge favor, so I worked on her bike and got her some access to the Internet in return (so far).

Stephanie is on the triathlon team at the University of Central Florida. She even went to national's this year. She introduced us to many of her teammates and we went out for pizza, courtesy of the tri club (thanks, guys!). The next day we planned to go for a bike ride because 4000 miles isn't enough for this summer. Haha. We went to Clermont, FL, and it was very warm out. I haven't exercised in the heat for a while. The real heat. I thought I would be used to it being raised in Louisiana, but Indiana has ruined me. I am no longer acclimated to the heat, and I still can't stand the cold. I was having a hard time moving the pedals as I normally would. My heart rate was really elevated. 
There was a decent climb along our route. It didn't seem any more difficult than some of the hills back at Purdue, but halfway up the hill I noticed my heart rate was at 197. Whoah! "This hill isn't that difficult," I thought to myself. I found myself at the top of the hill feeling terrible. I regurgitated a bit and felt light headed for a moment, but my friends we right behind me, so no worries. I felt a lot better after a few minutes rest, and I was on my way again careful to not work too hard for the rest of the ride. We got in about 41 miles, which puts me at about 1641 miles for this season. 
Later in the ride we met Harry. He is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. He puts out water everyday in his driveway for cyclists and runners, alike. He was very kind and let us fill and refill our water bottles,  Thanks, Harry! Some of the best tasting water I've had. From left to right is Allison (another Bike & Builder), Stephanie, myself, and Harry.

That evening we met with other riders and had a BBQ. It was great to get to hang out a bit and get to know each other. The next morning we left for Jacksonville for the official adventure to begin.