Beating the heat – By Brett Safran

Waking at 5:30 this morning, our fearless group left the comfort of Stafford Crossing Community Church and embarked on the 81-mile journey that would take us to Midlothian, Va.; home of the Clover Hill Assembly of God.

Waking up that early is rough, but it sure beats riding in the sweltering afternoon heat. While riding sweep, Kyle and I enjoyed a peaceful ride through the countryside for the first 40 miles or so. But by 1 p.m., the going got tough. The sun had come out in full force and the blacktop was hot enough to fry an egg… or a group of cyclists. We inched into the parking lot of a Wendy’s Restaurant, our last scheduled rest stop, and cooled down with a round of Frostys. When Ivan checked the thermometer on his fancy new bike computer, the temperature registered 118 degrees! Official reports put it closer to 104 degrees. It was so hot that my bike computer fried! The picture on the screen resembled a black blob, and I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see my odometer hit 1,000 miles later this week. Surprisingly, once the temperature dropped, it started working again! 

Fast-moving automobile traffic is a reality of biking. In Richmond, we had the joy of riding with only inches separating our elbows from the side mirrors of passing cars. Traffic filed down to one lane through a construction zone, and Kyle and I were literally run off the road. I swerved to avoid an orange traffic cone, while Kyle, showing off his biking skills, plowed right though a cone and kept on riding, as if nothing had happened!

The intense heat started taking a toll on us during the final 10 mile stretch. I realized that I had stopped sweating, Chris mentioned that he was getting chills, and Kyle reported a headache. Some of us were out of water, and most of us were running dangerously low. A quick break under some shady trees on the side of the road, a refreshing run through somebody’s front lawn sprinkler, and an impromptu water stop at a gas station eased some of our pain and allowed us to reach our destination.

When we arrived at the church, we were greeted by Tracy Werner, who was kind enough to arrange our stay and see to it that we had showers, food, and anything else our hearts’ desired. Thanks again Tracy!

We’ve been spoiled these past few days! Kathy Lyman made sure that today was no exception. She invited us into her beautiful home to share dinner and relax in the pool. Aaron, Ivan, and I were so excited to cool down that we jumped into the pool in our bike jerseys and shorts. Dinner was amazing! We had smoked salmon, massive hamburgers, french fries and ice cream. It was so great that Aaron took pictures of his plate before digging in! Thank you Kathy!

It was great to interact with members of the church after this evening’s service! Thank you Clover Hill Assembly of God for your hospitality, and thanks in advance to the ministerial team who I’m told will be providing our 6 a.m. breakfast tomorrow!

Brett (read his bio here) will be surviving the summer sun all the way to New Orleans so he can raise $5,000 toward eliminating poverty housing. Help him meet his goal by clicking here!

Want to MAIL your favorite biker an encouraging note or some cookies? They’ll be at the address below on July 16, so send quickly!

Hopewell Presbyterian Church
10500 Beatties Ford Rd.
Huntersville, NC 28078


  • In ’08, when we rode through the CA desert, it got to 115 several days. We used to ice down our bike computers to make them work again. Also, ice in the helmet vents. The slow melt feels awesome. 

  • We received your post card, it was a nice surprise. I was asked to say "Hello, I am following your ride. We are proud of you. Thank you for the post card. I would write myself but I don’t know how to do the blog thing" Ms. Sandra Spencer. As you well know 100 deg. in the shade is bad and even worse if the humidity is 100 %. Take care, be careful!

  • Thank God for sprinklers, frostys and wonderful people along the way. Glad you guys are making it in spite of the killer temps. You are amazing!

  • I can only imagine riding in such heat! Our 85 degree days in OH & PA seemed exhausting. You all are tough bikers!

  • Go riders! What stamina and determination you have! Remember to drink electrolytes (like Gatorade) along with water. Sounds like you may have been on the brink of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Be wise. You are wonderful!

  • Ice in the helmet vents, I totally forgot about that! I’m going to do that again tomorrow, thanks for the reminder, Kat…

  • Nice post, as always I am very proud of you Son. Keep up the good work, stay cool and have a ton of fun. Miss ya

  • Alright Brett! You are my hero. It’s great to be doing something so helpful for others while having such an adventure the same time…Can I expect to see you on the Tour de France next year? Keep up the good effort… Aunt Paulette


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