I rode my bike on the surface of the sun.
The heat index was well over 100 degrees on the day The Tour Of The Litchfield Hills was recently held. The National Weather Service rolled out a heat advisory with stern admonitions to remain in air-conditioned rooms and avoid the sun.
Race officials posted liberally on social media, advising riders they had more water on hand than ever and warning that if a rider needed to “discontinue,” to get off the bike, rest in the shade and wait to get picked up.
A lot of folks decided it wasn’t such a good idea and never showed up. A lot of folks opted to ride the shorter 25 or 50 mile distances.
Why then, you might ask, would I want to ride 100 miles in a blast furnace? Because the ride benefitted the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills. A community in need. A community relying, in part, on funds raised by this ride.
Proper training in the books? Check. Correct nutrition on hand? Check. Hydration plan in place? Check. Should I stay or should I go?
And then Orson Welles got me moving. Of all people, Orson “Citizen Kane” Welles? He once said “our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.”
So I decided to sing. With my bike. Through the towns of Litchfield, Warren, Bantam, Cornwall, Sharon, Lakeville, Canaan and Norfolk, among others, on asphalt baking up to 135 degrees. No signs of life, all heeding the NWS warnings, even the cows at the dairy farms staying in their barns.
One of the refueling stops was in the shadow of the Beckley Furnace in East Canaan, a 40-foot structure built in 1847 which produced pig iron until the First World War. The delicious irony of positioning a rest stop at a blast furnace was not lost upon me.
When all was said and done, the numbers were humbling. 100 miles ridden on the surface of the sun. 7,877 vertical feet climbed. $80,000+ raised by 649 intrepid riders.
I have zero musical talent, but I can sing through fitness. And that’s what I did - for six hours, I sang for the Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills.
How will you sing this week? How will you sing to take care of yourself? How will you sing to serve others?
Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in the fitness game to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He has run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you're ready to get back in the game, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.