Monday, June 30, 2014

It was a dry heat.... that can sizzle a fajita

It was as hot as the devil's dwelling during the last half of the 600-mile ride to Tucson. Luckily, I found where to lodge well after sunset and just before the heavy rain hit.

At 100+ temps, you must make several stops to cool off. For those who have never ridden in those conditions, it feels like you're riding through a pizza oven. Wearing clothing is imperative to keep hydrated.

The less clothing you wear in that type of heat, the sooner the body dehydrates in hot and dry weather. And the symptoms of heat stroke come at you quicker than you can imagine.

One trick I learned was to douse myself in water at rest stops. And that's what I did as I descended into Phoenix' lower desert. The folks that are taking a rest from their long drives look at me like I'm strange - a homeless bum - as I come out of the bathroom leaving a trail of dripped water in my wake. The only thing better than pouring water on myself would be to jump into a pool.

It looks ridiculous, I know. But who cares? The water on my clothing feels like a cold air-conditioner on my skin as I ride through that desert. The faster I go, the colder I feel. It's like magic! And it's fascinating how quickly the clothing dries up when you're riding fast in desert heat.

I've been known to put wet socks in my bra to both cool me off and make my boobs look bigger.

I hadn't taken such a long, hot ride in ages and I'm not getting any younger. So I was a little concerned about my electrolytes. Fortunately, I took with me a quart of homemade frozen raw whey in a thermos. It was a good thermos because it kept the whey frozen for a long time. But then it got REALLY hot inside my saddlebag and the whey melted and got hot. I don't think a thermos exists to have kept anything cold in those conditions. So I sipped the hot whey. It was gross. But despite the miserable heat and the 600-mile ride, I think it was the raw whey that helped me feel better than I ever had in those riding conditions.

One advantage to riding through that inferno was that I had ZERO arthritis. Since I live a mile high in the Utah mountains, my arthritis is so intense that by 8:00 p.m. I can hardly stand up. It's gotten so bad, that I've contemplated getting one of those old-folks toilet support chairs cause my left knee gives up if I sit on the pot too long.

Besides the risk for heat stroke, a big disadvantage of riding through hot weather is that it can fry up electronic equipment. My husband put a little tripod on my left handlebar for a video cam. But by the time I reached Tuscon it had temporarily stopped working. Also, the heat caused permanent damage to my spyware watch cam.

Having stopped several times to cool off during the ride to Tucson, I felt lucky and relieved when I found decent, low-cost lodging well after sunset and before the rain.  Lightening ahead in the dark illuminated the desert.  But I hurried and beat the storm.  I showered, took my sleeping cocktail of pills, and went to sleep listening to thunder and knowing that beyond my loud a/c, a refreshing night-rain was cleansing Tucson.

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