The cycling team is training hard for the October 7th ride from San Antonio to Corpus. I thought we'd had our one and only scare a few weeks ago when Chel was muscled off Bee Caves Road by a big truck pulling an even bigger boat. She opted to crash into an orange construction barrel rather than let the boat boot her off-road, a wise choice that netted her six stitches but no broken bones. Unfortunately, my hopes were too high, as this weekend held another alarming ride event. After my time trial with Austin Fit, I jumped in my loaded up SAG Wagon and took off to find the team.
I've been tweaking my homemade Gatorage concoction, fondly called Purple Stuff or Purple Passion, depending upon which teammate is asking for some. The added potassium seems to be cutting out the cramping some of the cyclists were suffering from after a long ride. This weekend the Purple Stuff was more popular than Gatorade, which is fine with me as it's less expensive to make. The real bonus is less muscle cramps and better hydration. My mixture has less sugar than most sports drinks, so it's easier on the tummy and doesn't need diluting like Gatorade or Powerade. Coby swears by her E-Load too. Good stuff.
The chaos of the weekend ride was twofold. To start things off, I drove the SAG Wagon to the wrong location for the first water stop. Hang, Jason and Matt rode up at their halfway point for the 46 mile route they'd chosen. After topping off their water bottles with both beverages and H2O, eating some Fig Newtons, Gummi bears and tomatoes, they took off. I chatted on the phone with a friend before it hit me: I was in the wrong spot to meet the group who chose the 70 mile route! I hurriedly drove to the correct spot and met up with Coby, Frank, Gilbert and Mark. They ate & drank and laughed at my mistake.
The second water stop was a high traffic spot and difficult for the cyclists. Coby had problems clipping out and fell, bashing her left knee. Yes, the one that she had work done on earlier in the year after the skiing incident. We cleaned her up, refilled water bottles and the team hit the road. The temp was rising so I decided on another water spot about 15 miles further along the route. After arriving, scouting out a good spot and taking a bathroom break, I went a few more miles up the road to scope out conditions. Then the cell rang. Never a good sign when a teammate's calling when they're supposed to be on the road. It was Frank. "Where are you? Can you come back to Turnersville Road and pick me up?".
He sounded frightened and/or in pain, I couldn't tell. Whatever that quality was in his voice, it spurred me to action. I broke all kinds of laws getting back to the team. I spotted them when I topped the hill on a straight stretch of Turnersville: three people riding in a straight line and one weaving all over the road. I screeched to a stop, jumped out of the car and watched Frank go down in the grass. Coby stopped and fell right over, too. Mark, good surgeon that he is, gave report. Frank was overheated and needed cooling off, immediately. I opened up the Wagon, grabbed a 3 liter of water and dashed back to where Frank was sitting in the grass, wetting him down with water. He started shivering as if it was ice cold water instead of car temp cool. We got him up and into the car, a/c going full blast. He was shaking, but his heart rate was dropping. I handed him a water bottle of my Purple Stuff and instructed him to down it.
Checking on Coby, we cleaned up her knee again and commiserated over the nice scar she'll end up with after repeatedly scraping up the same spot. The guys loaded Frank's bike in the Wagon and the remaining riders set off, determined to finish this grueling ride. Frank was out of danger and hydration was working it's magic but my worry meter was still off the charts, especially when he revealed that his heartrate had gone up so high that his vision was affected. The temporarily high blood pressure resulted in a loss of vision drastic enough that he couldn't see to dial my phone number and just pressed redial in the hopes that I was the last call he'd made. Luckily for him, I was the last call. Frank waved off all suggestions of going to an ER for IV fluids and kicked back in the Wagon, giant water jug in his lap.
I stopped two more times but the team didn't need any supplies. The last stop was at the top of a hill on Thaxton, by Texas Disposal System's exotic wildlife ranch. I watched the riders grind their way up in the brutal heat. Gilbert was at the top, all smiles, Coby next, gritting her teeth and Mark as the caboose, muttering about hills at the end of a hard ride. Back at the finish, I passed out more Gatorade and Purple Stuff. The team was hot, sweaty and tired enough to decline cold beer (I drank one for them). None of us lingered at the parking lot as we were all anxious to get home to a cold shower and food.
After much discussion, it was decided that Frank would carb load three days in advance and up his normal 3-4 liters of water a day by at least a half liter or more extra. He also vowed to get more sleep. It's looking as if we'll have to start our long rides an hour earlier, to avoid as much of the heat as possible. Whatever it takes to have a peaceful ride, free from accidents of every variety!