Monday, July 21, 2008

Sweltering Weekend

Here is a quick recap of some of my weekend which was probably the hottest weather we have had so far this year.

Friday night - I started the so far most boring class ever in my fire department career. 80 hours of Driver/Pump Operator. Friday nights class was 6:30pm till almost 9:30pm. We did have a great instructor, former Cabot Chief Gary Meadows was our teacher and he always teaches a great class even if the content is boring. When I get done with the class I will be "Internationally Certified" as a driver/pump operator. Just means I am trained as much or more than any paid firefighter out there and I could go anywhere in the world to do it.

Saturday - Went back to class at 8am. Yawn. Part of the class was actually how to properly wash a fire truck and why you don't use gasoline of other toxic chemicals to clean the upholstery. was so boring and elementary. I was assigned to the engine company in case we got a call and we were actually wishing someone would do something stupid so we could get called out of class. I know this was just the first part and since this is a required class from FEMA in order to get a grant on a truck, we figured the only reason they have some of this stuff is because some podunk department somewhere probably got a new truck and actually cleaned their seats with Pretty bad. Lunch was the highlight. Stouts diner on Hwy 107. We all got cheeseburgers and these were the biggest, greasiest burgers around. They were good. The clientel was more interesting. Some of the people coming in there looked like they had just came from the movie set of Deliverance. Pretty scary looking characters. We also had some FD Groupies hanging out for us. A group of young girls had to have a tour of the fire truck. I'm sure we are all on My Space now.

Our Fan Club

Annette ended up going to Forest City with Michele to watch Gary, Curtis, James, Rock and Cindy participate in the triathlon there. They had a lot of fun. Rock and Cindy placed 3rd in the team event. I wish I had been there instead of where I was.

As you can see, Annette and Michele was trying to encourage Curtis!

I think they jinxed Gary who usually gets ALL the attention. He ended up having a flat on the bike portion but he was still able to finish though he wasn't a happy camper.

Rock, David Wonn, James, Gary

I finally got home about 5pm, and we never got even one bs medical call. Go figure.

Sunday - I was dieing to ride Sunday but we had a practical to run through at 1pm so I was going to have to go early. I found out Saturday night that Gary and Curtis were riding at 6:30am and then again at 9:30am from Cabot. James called me and said he was doing the 9:30 portion so that sounded good to me. I figured I could do one hour out and one hour back.

Gary and Curtis were waiting at the school when I got there. James was running late as he had to wait on Michele to get back from her and Annette's long run. Ended up Gary and I took off. Curtis said he and James would catch up to us. It had already started getting warm and there was some wind. We headed out 89 towards Keo. We didn't really have a tail wind but there were times we were easily pushing 24-25mph. We made it just past I40 before James and Curtis caught us. I know they had to fly to catch up and we did slow to about 16-17 for a little while. After crossing 70, it was a nice ride, no traffic. I hit the one hour mark at mile 18 and told them I was turning back. They were going out 25 and back. Curtis decided he would ride back with me. The ride back was slower at times but the heat had gotten to the almost unbearable point again. Luckily I had enough water to get me back. My tri bottle was already empty and I had drank about half a bottle of my acceleraide mix. We stayed pretty steady going back till we hot the store at Furlow then Curtis picked up the pace a little. Or maybe I started slowing down. In either case, I fell back and didn't hang with him. My heart rate was very high and I wanted to get it down. I didn't feel like I was working that hard but evidently the heat was getting the blood boiling. There are a couple small hills on this route that will slow you down and with the heat they did me. I was sweating more than last weekend which I didn't know if that meant I was better hydrated or it was hotter. I think it was both! I ended up finishing the ride with 36 miles in 2:03. Just under the 18mph average.

I got home at noon, had to be at the church parking lot at 1:00 to drive fire trucks. I wanted to quit right then. This was the worst class and now I had to do the emergency vehicle driving practical again which I have done at least 15 times in the past. Mostly consists of standing around in the parking lot waiting your turn at the wheel. Lucky for me, chief assigned me to work the diminishing cones portion of the course. Only thing was, no air condition in the brush truck we were using. I worked about 20+ firefighters through the course, and probably used at least one bottle of gatoraid and one water to get through it. Let me tell you, it was hot. 97+ in a parking lot with no shade. Yuck. Finally when I got all those guys through I got to drive some. I took E65 through the slalom course of cones to show the boys how its done. Most were just easing through but I added a little speed to mine. Weaving in and out of cones and not hitting them is tough in a fire truck. The it was a road test, down the service road and back up the freeway. The Asst. Chief was with me and when we hit the freeway he told me to give it all she had and see how fast we could go. Well, today 65 would only hit 68mph. Usually its about 70-72. Finally the class was over. By the time I got home I had to be dehydrated. The girls were in the pool when I got back so I jumped in for a few but I headed for the AC after that. I was burnt out and done.

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