John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 10 17:36:08 PET 2011

                                          READY TO ROLL !
by John Del Santo
Getting prepared for the Big Ride !  Over the mountains,  across the desert,  Through the Heartland, 
and Beyond. Wow !     I’m pretty sure that I’m prepared for the trip.  The last time I had the Bike tuned-
up was last year at that neat little shop we found in Cache Peak, Idaho.  The altitude was about 12,000
feet, and I am  going through Death Valley next week, which is about 280 feet below Sea level, but I don’t think I need to be concerned about the carburetor setting.  What the heck ! This baby just takes a kickin’
and keeps on tickin’ !  I changed the air filter just last year, just before that dust storm in Arizona,  the oil and filter were only changed about 8,000 miles ago…this modern oil really lasts !  I did check the oil level last month, so it should be O.K.   And the tires look round, so the air pressure is probably fine.
We have pretty much just described a rider who must spend a lot of time sitting next to the highway, and spends so much time in the back of a Pickup Truck that he gets Frequent Flyer Miles there.  All of us recognized what the rider was doing wrong,  and none of us would start a trip this way….But how often could we start out when our physical  condition is less than it could be ?   Some possible results are:  
Sleep Deprivation:  That sounds like a pretty fancy term, but if I spent a lousy night on that lumpy mattress, but then ended up getting a few good hours of sleep,  and started out on a long days ride, 
then that  is sleep deprivation.  Our body needs the down-time…and we didn’t get enough of it to last the day.
Dehydration:  Is one that can sneak up on you. Lower or higher elevation, hot or cold temperature , 
Drink!  Drink!  Drink!  Gallons each day !  And not  diuretics like coffee or alcohol drinks… they just make it worse. Our body needs the liquid, and if we don’t get enough, gallons, our body will let us KNOW about it, sometimes with…
Heat Exhaustion:   That can make us feel like just stopping and laying down next to road and going to sleep.  Maybe forever.  We can fall asleep as easy on a bike as we could driving a car… and “falling” asleep has a whole ‘nother meaning when it happens on a bike.  Drink!  Drink!  Water and Sports drink, Get in someplace cool,  dump water on your head and down your shirt,  rest.   Because next in line comes the worst…
Heat Stroke: which can worsen from heat exhaustion with little warning.  Our body’s temperature control
Stops  working.  Hot dry skin, severe headache, exhaustion, hallucination.  THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE POSSIBILITY OF DEATH.     First call 911 !!!!    Move the victim to a cool place,  douse with water, fan breeze onto the victim.  If we act quickly and correctly,   maybe we can prevent permanent brain damage or death.  Once someone has suffered a heat-related illness,  the chances of it happening again in the future are higher.
Feel like the road is beating you up?  Take a day off ! ! !   Sleep late.    Sit by a brook with water running over your feet.   Look at some scenery.   Take a nap.  Sack in early.  And start the next day as a whole new person.  We may get there a day later,  but So What!  The Journey is the Goal.  
And then as we climb up the mountains, up to 12,000 feet….It’s Cool,  It’s Beautiful, but if you don’t live at this altitude for most of the year, then Altitude Sickness may be the next thing to affect you.  From what I know, you can’t beat it,  you can’t stop it,  It’s just THERE until it decides to go away, maybe in a couple of weeks.   There’s a fuzzy kind of feeling,  your timing is a little off, when you’re walking, the ground is just a little bit further down than your head thought it would be.  Your Perception and Reaction time is just a bit off,   and your Blood Pressure goes DOWN.    Follow the old rule found on medicine bottles:  “Don’t use any power tools or operate heavy machinery.”  The local Pharmacist said there is  an over-the-counter med that might help a bit.  Any one of these maladies can affect us and be a serious health problem.  If we are traveling and we ignore the symptoms, and these
 sicknesses double-up on us, we can expect  Big Time Trouble.
Drink,  Drink,  Drink,   Rest,  Rest,  Rest,……. How the heck are we supposed to get any riding done ???
We WILL get it done,  and finishing the ride in good shape will make the Journey that much better.

John Del Santo
( 619 ) 223-0421   


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