Getting to Colorado Springs
At the end of the dirt road, I pulled over in the shade of a tree to have a snack, try to get down some of my new fluids, and generally cool off. It was really hot by now and there was little respite from it all. After an apple and peanut butter, I reluctantly got back on my bike and headed south again towards the Springs. After another few hours of riding, I started noticing that I wasn't sweating very much, if at all anymore. That was not a good sign. I started walking my bike to try to cool off but it didn't really work. My water was so hot still that I couldn't drink much of it and it did next to nothing to cool me down. I did have to pee though and so I found a spot in the trees and took a leek. My urine was dark orange, which was the darkest I've ever seen it before. Yet another not great thing to see.
Well, not just any vehicle can accommodate a bicycle, a ton of gear, and a human being all of a sudden, so after many, many failed attempts, a young woman finally stopped to see if I was "ok." She thought I might have had a flat but after explaining my situation to her in a surprisingly weak and raspy voice, she gave me a lift to a town called Monument, about 35 miles north of Colorado Springs. Turned out she rode bikes too, as evidenced by the bike rack on her car. She had also just landed a job as a chaplain at one of the area hospitals. Fortune and God were on my side that afternoon it seemed. She dropped me off at the grocery store in town and after thanking her immensely, I proceeded to head straight to the ice-cream section. I bought two of the mini store-brand ice-creams and two big, cold Gatorades and consumed all of said purchases methodically but deliberately. I had never experienced heat exhaustion before and I hope I never have to do it again. The weariness was bad enough, but a pretty severe head-ache had sprung up too, all from the dehydration.
I spent about an hour in the air-conditioning, eating my frozen life-saver items and telling my friend Luke (whom I was going to be staying with in the Springs) that I was probably going to miss his party that night on account of my terrible day, which made me then feel even worse because I told him I was going to be there for it. I eventually collected myself and got on my bike towards the highway. It took about three pedal-strokes before I knew I just physically couldn't ride worth a damn anymore. I got to the entrance ramp of I25 and once again stuck out my thumb in hopes of getting a ride for the last leg of the day.
Luke had told me via text to let myself in and so I did. I quietly snuck in because the party was a birthday party for one of his roommates and everyone in attendance was saying what they liked/loved in turn about Donavan, the birthday man. I quietly listened and continued to drink as much fluid as possible with as much ice as possible. I had recovered enough by this point that my appetite had started to come back with a vengeance. Much to my pleasant discovery, it was also the group's first annual "salsa-off," and everyone had brought a home-made salsa to compete for top honors. The never-ending salsa and chips made for a perfect medley of things to snack on while everyone continued the circle of comments.
Eventually the party got more party-ish again and I got to meet many of the main characters, including Luke's roommates, or housemates as it were. I helped eat some cake and I cracked open a beer, but not before I ate more food and drank more water. The night was cool and they had a little fire pit outside on the porch that a bunch of us sat around and chatted. After the party more or less disbanded, I took a much-needed shower and the guys set me up with an air-mattress in the living room. It didn't take long for me to pass out like a rock. I was glad for that day to be very far behind me.