Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Leesburg, VA
Bikes: Cannondale Killer-V 900 (Mountain), Jamis Aurora (Touring)
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An Interesting Ride
I've been in training for my upcoming ride from Pittsburgh to DC and have been taking regular rides in the evening. I live in Northern Virginia along the Washington and Old Dominion bike trail to naturally I use that for most of my cycling. Today I got a late start so I took my lights (an old halogen handlebar light and a spot helmet light). Probably overkill but I like to be prepared and since I'm training I don't care about how much weight I carry.
Anyway, got near the end of the trail in Purcellville and came up behind a guy on a racing bike on his way up a long hill (those of you that know the trail know the hill right before the town limits). The guy was really poking along and I said to myself when I first saw him "ha ha... gonna pass you mother-f**ker". See, I'm pretty slow most of the time but I can climb well and I generally disdain the guys on racing bikes because most like to pass with no words of warning. So, I catch up to him rather easily... a bit too easily actually. I think that if this dude can't beat me up the hill when he's already halfway up then he's hurting. So as I pass I notice that yeah, he's sweating a lot and looks like he's bonking. So I wait at the top of the hill at a little pullover they have there. It takes him a while to make it up and he pushes it the last 100 feet.
I ask if he's okay and tell him he says he's getting dizzy and that he's going to stop at the fire station to get help. He says he's been riding since noon (it's 7:30pm on this 92 degree day). I tell him to rest and take my 1/2 a bottle of energy drink. He refuses saying if he drank it that he's cramp up. Um... no dude... but whatever. He still has 1/2 a Camelback full of water but he's not drinking. He says he's gonna go on and I insist that he take the rest of my water and he puts it in a gatorade bottle and I tell him to drink at least half of that right now. He actually does this but that's the end of his ride. He gets dizzy again and sits on the trail. I ask if there is someone to call (I always have a phone) and he says that his parents are out of town so there is no one to call. He stands up and then I decide this is enough and tell him I'm calling the rescue squad. After all, if he's going to stop at the fire department why not make them come to him. He's not in shape to ride on city streets anyway.
So I call 911 and they get there in just a few minutes. A fire truck, a rescue truck, and an ambulance. Overkill but, eh... they have their protocols. I tell them what I know about the guy... name is Davis and he's asthmatic and they work on him a few minutes and take him away.
So now it's a bit later than I planned but since I have the lights I decide to go for the whole 20 miles I planned and zoom to the end of the trail, phone the significant other about my lateness, and boogie for home.
Thing about riding at night on the W&OD is that out in the country it can get rather spooky. the trail out there is totally tree covered and gets dark fast. So I have all the lights blazing and I'm tooling along trying not to run over any critters. Of course the lights attract bugs. Not much of a problem but bugs attract BATS!! Well, I saw one fly in front of me on a previous ride but I guess he was just sizing me up because tonight I got smacked by a bat right in the face! It's like getting smacked with a 1 pound beanbag in the face. I took it right on the mouth. If I had been climbing in my usual open mouth panting sort of way I would have swallowed the damn thing.
Luckily, my mouth was closed and I managed to keep the bike on the trail. I'm not sure that these evening rides are such a good idea now. It's a good way to beat the 90+ degree heat but getting pelted by flying mammals is not something that I think I need to be experiencing at my age.