The agony of the feet
My feet still hurt this morning as a result of a mistake I made while riding back in mid-June. I did not even crash. The day was hot and I knew that when I left the Colorado rockies behind and headed east across Kansas on US36. I stopped a lot to drink water and Gatorade and sat in the AC during fuel stops. I had ridden on days as hot or hotter than this one. I later learned that the day's high was about 118F. I was wearing mesh jacket and pants with leather gloves and boots. I was actually fairly comfortable for much of the day. At around 3:30 PM I had enough and stopped at an air conditioned motel for a nap.
I awoke at 6:00 PM with a need to urinate. As soon as I stood severe pain radiated from my heels and knocked me back to the bed. What the hell? I hobbled to the toilet on the balls of my feet and peed profusely from all that water earlier in the day. The heel pain slowly subsided and I was able to walk down the block for dinner.
Every morning since that day has begun with foot pain that slowly gets better. The cause is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the feet and heels. The treatment is ice, rest, and various stretching techniques. I had never had a bit of foot pain before that fateful day, and I have not been completely pain free since. I guess the mistake that I made was assuming that I could ride as long as wanted without consequence as long as I remained well hydrated. My feet did not agree.
I saw a TV program about the crystal caves of Mexico. These caves lie under a mine and are extremely hot and toxic inside. The scientists and photographers who entered the caves limited their time inside to prevent damage to their extremities. Apparently heat will often damage the hands and feet first in the same way that extreme cold causes frostbite damage to the feet and hand first. I did not know this. Had I know I might have worn ventilated boots, or perhaps just quit riding when it got so hot.
My feet slowly get better. I shall be back on the bike next spring, but my days in the saddle will be a bit shorter.