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Dec. 7, 2021, 9:01 a.m. -  Mike Ferrentino

I'm "big boned", so to speak, and I hate hot weather. So I kinda falsely assumed I was hypothermia-proof. That day was a perfect storm of poor decisions on my part. Hot and sunny day, I didn't bring any sort of warm or waterproof layer. We stopped and ate lunch on an out and back, and I sucked down a huge sandwich. All my blood was busy in my stomach as we started riding back. The storm hit right before we entered this huge meadow, and we cowered under some trees as it started hailing. Lightning was striking and making trees sizzle and pop in spite of the hail on the other side of the meadow, so it seemed risky to continue into that. After about 20 minutes, the storm was still raging and I was getting really fucking cold, even standing surrounded by a not-very effective bro-hug. It was about 12 miles back to camp, mostly open going. I figured if I really pinned it, maybe my core temperature would stay high enough through exertion to be okay. If I stayed there any longer, it wasn't going to be good. I figured the chances of getting struck by lightning were still lower than the chances of going hypothermic. About halfway back to camp I couldn't really feel my face or my arms below my elbows, and my mind was definitely slowing down. I was counting my heartrate, and in spite of pedaling as hard as I could, it seemed to be stuck around 100. And I couldn't really hold my line for shit anymore. Camp, when I finally got there, was wrecked. But I had a down bag in a drysack, and we had a van. The sun had just come out. I stripped down, got in the bag, got in the van, cranked the heater, and then when things dried out I lay outside in the sun, in the down bag, for the rest of the day. My body thermometer was totally wrecked for the next several days.  Not really keen to try that experiment again.

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