Day 31-32: Oppressive Heat Dome Engulfs East Coast   I don’t make this stuff up.    Not sure why they said “East Coast” other than it is the Washington Post.   We are in the middle of the “red area” over Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, etc.

While I couldn’t train for the hills or the altitude, I have reasonable training for the “hot stuff.”   Today I rode for only 5.5 hours, and drank 7 water bottles (each is probably 16 ounces).   The first six had electrolytes; the last one was pure cold water.   My goal was to get in by 12:30 in order to avoid the hottest part of the day.  I made it with at least 5 minutes to spare.

At dinner last night the main TV feed was highlights from the US “Special Olympics.”   It was incredibly  motivating to see these kids and adults give everything they had to compete in these games.   I also thought about how many thousands of volunteers it must have taken to put on these games, and the joy it must have given them to provide such special moments for the athletes.   I had trouble feeling sorry for myself and my knee problems when I looked at the handicaps these athletes were overcoming.

My dad (seconded by my sister) has asked if I could run through a “typical day.”   Every day is actually very similar — getting ready, riding, post-ride recovery, socializing.   Since I am writing on Tuesday afternoon, I’ll run through yesterday afternoon / today:

Yesterday’s post ride.   Didn’t get to Chillicothe until 2:30.

2:30-4:00.   Ate lunch at Applebee’s and watched England squeeze by Columbia in penalty kicks.   Split some quesadillas and an oriental salad with Father John.   I had two strawberry lemonades; he had two beers.

4:00 – 5:00.    Took a shower; cleaned up; did my Compex “post training” routine for 25 minutes (This is something Tony May put me onto — using electro-stimulation to vigorously massage the muscles, reducing lactic acid and beginning the recovery process).   It’s a bit science fiction but I’ll grasp at any straw.

5:00-5:30.   Route rap.   Attended a mandatory meeting with the full group to go through the next day’s ride.   We run through all of the potential navigation and safety issues for the next day (e.g. narrow bridges, bad shoulders, where there is heavy traffic, where we have to do left turns across traffic).

5:30 – 6:00   Read a little bit — Financial Times, Apple newsfeed.   Did my words with friends

6:00-8:00.   Went to dinner with John.  There was a group dinner at the “Golden Corral” which has a reputation for food that is below mediocre.   What we found was probably no better —  I had a Reuben sandwich.   We split some potato skins.  I had this shockingly overcooked peas and carrot mix that I forced down.   They had no other vegetables.

8:00-8:30.   I did not have the energy to blog.   I replied to a few messages, made sure all of my items needing recharging were charging, did a final clean up and went to bed.

Pre-bike preparation:

5:00  alarm

5:00-5:15.   Basic cleanup, get the butt ready and suntan lotion — antibiotic cream, Band-Aid, chamois butter, apply suntan lotion (everywhere but above eyes — it is agonizingly painful to have suntan lotion mixed with sweat drip into the eyes)

5:15 – 5:45.   Stretch.   I’ve had to adjust my routine to slowly build to the really tough ones — my legs are so sore when I wake up that I can barely walk.   So jumping right into tough stretches would be beyond my capability.   I turn on Spotify, set the timer at 35 minutes, and then do the same stretching every morning.

  • 2 minutes “cat / cow”
  • 3 minutes “downward dog” — 1 minute both legs, 1 minute each leg alone
  • 4 minutes lunge (with back knee on the ground) — 2 min each side
  • 2 minutes reclining butterfly
  • 4 minutes spine twist (lie down, bring knees to 90 degrees, and then bring them down on one side, with arms extended straight out).   2 minutes each side.   Usually get a mild “crack” as the vertebrae loosen up
  • 4 minutes “wind removing pose” — 2 minutes each side.   Basically lie down with legs straight out.   Bring one leg in towards the armpit on the same side, place your hands on the upper shin, and pull in.   Stretches the quads.   This is the second toughest one for me given my right knee is sore
  • 4 minutes hamstring stretch (2 each leg).     Sit with legs out in a v.  Bring in one leg to touch the hamstring of the other leg.   Stretch over the extended leg with both hands on the foot (or further up).   Should feel the stretch in both legs
  • 2-3 minutes back stretch.   I don’t know how to describe this.   You start by lying down, then bring your legs straight up into the air in a shoulder stand.   Then you carefully drop both legs back until you touch the ground with your toes (I do this very slowly — it might take me almost the whole two minutes to touch the ground some days).
  • 2 minutes Virasana.   This is basically kneeling.   I put a pillow or a folded towel behind my knees to soften the stretch.   It’s too painful to sit up straight, so I often put my elbows and head on the ground and gingerly apply pressure to my  knees.   This is the most important stretch for me, but I count the seconds.   It takes me 15-20 seconds to straighten out my right leg after
  • 4 minutes pigeon (2 minutes L/R).   Hard to describe this one.
  • 3 minutes neck stretching.   1 minute each up/down, L/R and then having my ears go down to the shoulders, alternating left right.   I do this very slowly, breathing methodically, and listening to my arthritis crackle
  • 1 minute — 20 pushups.   OK, not technically stretching, but it wakes me up

5:45 – 6:00.   Lay out the clothes I will wear for the day and then start packing.   Check that bike tires are fully inflated (we have all experienced a “hotel flat” where the tire goes flat overnight and needs to be replaced)

6:00 – 6:20.   Breakfast.   Every hotel now has a free breakfast.   Despite staying at independent hotels, Holiday Inns, Comfort Inns, Drury Inns and Best Westerns, they all of 3-4 kinds of cereal, ready to heat sausage, scrambled eggs or omelets, biscuits and sausage gravy, yogurt, oatmeal packets, basic breads for toasting and waffle irons.   It’s predictable, it’s not bad.   But it ain’t home.

  • Today I had raisin bran, peach yogurt, some scrambled eggs with salsa, one sausage patty and coffee

6:20 – 6:45.   Finish packing and dressing.

  • I have one bag for all of my clothes and one bag that has several “organizing bags” — my backpack (for computers, chargers and office stuff), medical bag (Band-Aids, supplements, prescription drugs, aspirin and ibuprofen, skin creams), food bag (I generally carry some fruit and nuts), protein supplements (when I don’t have time for lunch I make a “shake”), bike tools and spares bag, cleaning bag (dish soap, laundry soap), Compex
  • I apply a second coat of suntan lotion over my knees and on my face, the two places that get the most sun

6:45-6:50.   Normally I arrive 5 minutes before loading to pump up my tires, but I was slow this morning.   We turn in our two bags, sign the document that we are loaded, and head off, all in 5-10 minutes.   Generally the fast group leaves first, then the main group.

6:50-12:30.   Ride.   I had two 15 minute “SAG” breaks today

  • SAG 1 I refilled both bottles, had half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, 3 fig newtons, some blueberries, a banana and a cold Starbucks mocha I bought at the gas station to “pay for the porcelain” (it is considered good manners to buy something if you use their toilet facilities).
  • SAG 2 I refilled both bottles, had some fig newtons, another half PBJ
  • Midway between SAG 2 / finish I refilled both bottles with plain cold water (at this stage I’m finishing a bottle every 10 miles)

12:30- 12:45.   Check in (lucky today — room was ready).

12:45-1:30.   Get cleaned up, unpack, sit in a chair and stare at the ceiling to catch my breath

1:30- 2:45.    Eat lunch.   I didn’t see anyone around (today people were quite spread out — winds tend to bring people into groups; hills tend to fragment the groups) so I walked to Diner 54, only about a 10 minute walk away

  • Today I had 2 strawberry pancakes, 2 eggs over easy, a massive fruit salad with cottage cheese and raisin toast, chocolate milk, cold water.

2:45 – 3:45.   Write blog.   I can do this if I don’t do anything social.

Today’s image.   Dan Swanson took this picture as I crested one of the roller coaster hills in Missouri.   If it looks straight down it kinda felt like it too.   Some of these hills had 11-12+ grades.   Thanks Dan.

Song of the Day.   God bless America, by the Boston Police (2018).   Happy 4th of July.

Ride Summary Day 31 (Saint Joseph MO to Chillicothe MO):   Rode through Amish territory.   Hard day: 90.4 miles, 3461 feet of climbing, very hot, wind against us for more than half of the day.   I struggled a bit to keep up with the main group — I blame my blood pressure medicine.   Got a flat at the 65.5 mile SAG stop (#2) — the big group was leaving so Jean repaired my tire while I cooled off in the shade, and then I rode the last 26 miles on my own.

Ride Summary Day 32 (Chillicothe MO to Kirksville MO):   I decided not to take my beta blocker until after the ride.   My cardiologist had mentioned it was better not to take them when I am dehydrated, and it is inevitable to get dehydrated in this heat.   Felt a ton better — started with the main group, and then realized they were falling behind, so I decided to ride on my own.   Ended up catching the “fast group” and then riding mainly on my own after that.   I guess I upset the fast group because a couple of them ended up riding past me (they are DEFINITELY better riders), but the group did not stay intact.

One thought on “Day 31-32: Oppressive Heat Dome Engulfs East Coast

  1. looking good. EAT. I eat more than you and I am not doing nearly what you do daily.
    Cooling cap. Get something white on that head, soak in water prior to leaving.
    cant believe how you LOVE Golden Corral. Sitting on the grocery store curb and eating PBJ sounds better.
    let me know your Indiana schedule. Cruella and I would like to ride with you. sent message to Reynolds also.



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