Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Mile To Ride Before Sleep

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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mail Drops and Route Schedule

If you would like to mail me something (i.e. cookies), we have several places along our route which will accept mail up to 15 days in advance. Also, feel free to mail anything to my home address, which I will not list here. Just email me if you don't already know it. I most likely will be coming through Bossier City on my way to Carthage. You can track my progress here. The route is listed at the bottom of this post. Please get in contact with me if I come to a city near you, and I will be happy to accept cookies in person. :)

May 24
General Delivery
Bike and Build
*Rider Name*
June 14
General Delivery
Care of: Bike and Build
Rider name
Elm Grove, LA 71051
June 21
General Delivery
Bike & Build
Rider Name
Wichita Falls TX, 76037
June 28
General Delivery
Bike & Build
Rider Name
CLAYTON, NM 88415-9998
July 05
General Delivery
Bike & Build
*rider name*
2301 E 20TH ST
(will not hold for longer than 15 days leading up to 7/5)
July 19
General Delivery
Care of: Bike & Build
Rider name & Chika Kusakawa
Boulder City, NV 98005
July 26
General Delivery
Bike & Build
Rider Name
BISHOP, CA 93514-9998

05/16Jacksonville - FL0
05/17Jacksonville - FL0
05/19St Augustine - FL33
05/20Palatka - FL42
05/21Lake City - FL76
05/22Perry - FL65

05/23Tallahassee - FL52
05/24Apalachicola - FL76
05/25Panama City - FL60
05/27De Funiak Springs - FL68
05/28Pensacola - FL77
05/29Mobile - AL100

06/1Biloxi - MS57
06/2New Orleans - LA85
06/3DAY OFF0

06/9Baton Rouge - LA96
06/11Melville - LA66
06/12Alexandria - LA75

06/13Natchitoches - LA53
06/14Elm Grove - LA53
06/15Carthage - TX70
06/16Athens - TX92
06/17Dallas - TX75

06/20Decatur - TX88
06/21Wichita Falls - TX78
06/22Lawton - OK85
06/23Altus - OK56
06/24Memphis - TX72
06/25Amarillo - TX90
06/26DAY OFF0

06/27Dalhart - TX82
06/28Clayton - NM46
06/29Mosquero - NM88
06/30Las Vegas - NM97
07/1Santa Fe - NM74
07/3Abiqui Lake - NM56

07/4Cuba - NM63
07/5Farmington - NM102
07/7Teec Nos Pos - AZ55
07/8Kayenta - AZ73
07/9Kabito - AZ66
07/10Page - AZ37

07/11Jacob Lake - AZ80
07/12North Rim - AZ43
07/13DAY OFF0
07/14Fredonia - AZ74
07/15Zion National Park - UT48
07/16St George - UT39

07/18Overton - NV92
07/19Boulder City - NV72
07/20Pahrump - NV80
07/21Baker - CA84
07/22Barstow - CA56
07/23Ridgecrest - CA89

07/25Lone Pine - CA79
07/26Dixon Lane- Meadow Creek - CA60
07/27Lee Vining - CA64
07/28Yosemite National Park - CA76
07/29DAY OFF0
07/30Oakhurst - CA70
07/31Fresno - CA59

08/2Hollister - CA115
08/3Monterey - CA40
Total Mileage: 3999