Seth McBride tries to cool off by sitting in a headwind while a friend provides shade

Seth McBride tries to cool off by sitting in a headwind while a friend provides shade.

 

In late summer I felt like I was baking myself as I pedaled my handcycle up a false flat. A thunderstorm gathered along the edge of the Cascade Mountains. The temperature was in the mid-80s, but the air was stagnant and thick with humidity.

The heat generated by my working muscles congregated in my core, and unable to escape, quickly built inside me. Ahead of me, my wife could not ride any slower and was disappearing into the distance. I rode at the limits of my steadily diminishing power, but my heart rate would barely rise.

Ten minutes later she turned off the road and I followed her to rest under the shade of an oak tree. We had ridden seven miles and I could ride no more. After 20 minutes I started to feel more functional, but I was despondent. We were set to leave on a very long bike trip in the fall, cycling south for thousands of miles. How was I supposed to ride through Mexico if I couldn’t even cover seven miles on a summer day in Wa