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  #16  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
"So sorry to hear about all three of these people."

Linking these two together, this 3rd guy will blame himself for a very long time;
Very sad. My first thought was for the two guys and their families: they were brothers! What a hard time for their family. And the 2nd thought for their friend who survived, he shall be now enduring the toughest moment of his life, hopefully he will overcome it. Sure his friends wouldn't want him to blame himself when he tried his best.

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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
It was just the wrong time of year.
Add that in summer in dry and hot climates, what may be feasible at 9:30am may be almost suicidal at 3pm, so plan ahead to avoid midday hours when the sun is more vertical (ex. 12pm-4pm).

An experience here in Andalusia: table olives are still harvested by hand in the 1st days of September, so it's still very hot. Olive pickers start at 6 or 6:30 am and stop at ca. 12:30pm, working 6 days/week instead of 5, only in order to avoid the hottest hours of the day. Keep in mind that we are west of GMT, so it's actually 1 hour less (aka start at 5-530), so pretty early. This has been done for ages. Thus, hearing cicada song means it's good time to stop any activity.

If no chance to avoid the activity at that risky time, apart from the typical advice of looking for shade, wearing a hat and drinking a lot, act in slow motion: yes, move very slowly, do not overexercise at all to avoid sweating profusely and wet your face, head, neck and shoulders with water to keep you cooler. The same effort that can be done at 9am, should be avoided at 2pm. If possible, just go for a siesta instead, it's not by chance that during the summer we do it...

Esteban

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
When close to heatstroke, you stop sweating !
PD: Thanks for sharing that precious info. I didn't know it either, fortunately I have never seen myself a headstroke.
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  #17  
Old 18 Jun 2012
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Very sad indeed!
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  #18  
Old 18 Jun 2012
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Another sign of heatstroke is rigors (uncontrollable severe shaking) which I had once in Israel, another time in Greece. Because I am not good in high temperatures I have an accurate temperature gauge fitted to my bike with the sensor in the shade away from heat.

My take is as follows:
20C typical English summer day
24C English heatwave
28C lovely--warm enough to ride in T-shirt
32C about as hot as I like it. Take lots of water, sugar, salt
36C getting silly, especially mid summer, head for a swimming pool
40C TURN BACK, head for the coast or mountains

Once it's over 40C you can no longer raise your visor to get air flow over the face as it's like facing a hair dryer, so you have to ride with the visor closed. These are shade temperatures and you have to understand that 36C in October isn't the same as 36C in June/July when the effect of the sun is far more severe.

I also was in the same area last week. I had been planning to do the route Foum Zguid - M'hamid - Taouz - Merzouga - Rissani with Alfie, my son-in-law. He was flying in to Marrakech, so before he was due to arrive I was checking out some of the pistes around Zagora. But the conditions were insane with highs of 41C and overnight lows of 28C. Coupled with absolutely zero shade... I saw two groups of Spanish riders on pogos, but no northern Europeans.

The only way to deal with heat like this is to start real early (I started pre-dawn once) and then find somewhere with a pool to handle the heat of the day which is from 2pm to 6pm. But when it doesn't cool down overnight your body can't handle it. The high overnight temperature was the main cause of the 14,000 heat-related deaths in France in 2003.

Another trick, if you have access to sufficient water, is to soak your clothing in water. This particularly helps if you are riding, even slowly, but is less effective if you are stuck. I have been doing this for the last few days as it is still hot in Morocco, it was 36C yesterday leaving Marrakech. But you can't do that if you are with little water in the sand dunes.

Because of the heat I decided that when Alfie arrived we would discard the idea of the southern sandy pistes and after visiting Ouarzazate we would go to the Todra then into the High Atlas at Imilchil and then head west to check out the connecting pistes across to Anergui and then on to the Cathedral. Nevertheless the 39C temperatures of Ouarzazate took their toll and on the road to Boumalne du Dades Alfie was complaining of headaches. He was fairly well hydrated but we stopped for sugary mint tea and I mixed up three rehydration sachets and more salt (really essential as salt encourages the body to keep hold of the water rather than passing it straight through).

After we got to the Todra Alfie could go no further--bad headache, lethargy, nausea. So even though it was only about 2pm I organised a room in Kasbah les Roches and off he went to sleep in the cool dark room. Later that evening he was much better and we cooled down in the freezing cold spring water of the Todra river and once we got used to the cold water we spent 30 minutes immersed in the stream cooling down our core body temperature.

Icy cold water of the Todra - YouTube

Then more helpings of salt with the evening meal and lots of hydration. After that, the altitude did the trick as the next overnight stop was at 5C! And after finding the highest navigable tizi in Morocco it was me who was suffering, this time from altitude effects with slurred speech and running out of breath.

Exped Mira II tent - YouTube
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 18 Jun 2012 at 08:21.
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  #19  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
The high overnight temperature was the main cause of the 14,000 heat-related deaths in France in 2003.
This was year and month when we were riding through Alps and southern France with my mate on 2 roadster bikes in full leathers for 10 days. We made it, but we were pouring water each chance we get all way over leathers and helmets and drinking water all the time and only slept high in mountains each time. One day we decided to spend night on the seaside and this was worst night I had. I was amazed how cold leathers get when soaked in water and riding anything above 30 kmph.

Some people seem to be able to take it thou...my wife just came back from trip to Israel "on feet" where she faced +47 to +55 daytime and +42 at night and she loves it. But she hates cold.
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  #20  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Quote:
And the 2nd thought for their friend who survived, he shall be now enduring the toughest moment of his life, hopefully he will overcome it. Sure his friends wouldn't want him to blame himself when he tried his best.
Quote:
And the 2nd thought for their friend who survived, he shall be now enduring the toughest moment of his life, hopefully he will overcome it
You both are right the man is indeed passing a bad moment!

Found the tv news with the interview of the rider that survived, the emotions on his voice are very touching, brings a tear to the corner of your eye. if anyone understands a litle of Portuguese you can hear it here http://www.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php...=8&layout=122&
visual=61

I'll be back to Morocco next year and definitely better prepared.

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  #21  
Old 20 Jun 2012
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Very sad.

Last June/July in Morocco we experienced 3 weeks where the minimum temperature (overnight/early morning) was 32degC!

I spoke to a very experienced desert biker a year or two back who despite all his experience still ended up with heatstroke. The route was through dunes, and riding along the tops the breeze kept him and his friend cool and his camelbak sipping was part of his riding. A rider in front came down in a hollow so they went to help. Suddenly he was distracted into forgetting his sipping regime, and the dune hollow had no breeze, he was out of it very quickly. His friend was OK and more help came quickly, so thankfully all were fine, but it surprised him how easy it was.
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  #22  
Old 20 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubman View Post
You both are right the man is indeed passing a bad moment!

Found the tv news with the interview of the rider that survived, the emotions on his voice are very touching, brings a tear to the corner of your eye. if anyone understands a litle of Portuguese you can hear it here http://www.rtp.pt/noticias/index.php...=8&layout=122&
visual=61

I'll be back to Morocco next year and definitely better prepared.

Tito
More than one and well beyond the corner of the eye. Hard to hear when he bursts into tears explaining how he tried to resuscitate his friend and failed, unable to get a single sign of life from him and the soldiers tell him his brother dead as well. God, that has to be tough. I try to figure out that with my friends and part of me would be dying that day, I hope he will be stronger than that.

They had to push a couple of times the bikes out of the sand and after 30 min like that the fatigue was extreme. When one of the brothers started to talk incoherently, the 3rd guy removed all the luggage from his bike and rushed to look for help (if the images of video are form his helmet camera, he was riding a 1200 GS). It looks he was unaware of the seriousness of the situation, as if he could not expect that at all. I read elsewhere that it was their 4th day in Morocco and the 1st on sand/dune.
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  #23  
Old 21 Jun 2012
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I agree mate that the size of the bikes was not the biggest issue. But my personal experience there indicates it is still a major issue.

I was there in first week of sept last year (like june a fringe summer month) in 41 degrees the day I rode the dunes at erg chebbi and 43 the next day for the piste from Merzouga to Tagounite.

If was fu@king hot ... but because I was on a bike 100 kgs lighter, I only had to dig the bike out in erg chebbi a couple of times, and never at all on the Merzouga-Tagounite piste. The few times I did had to dig it out were much easier than it would have been on a 250+kg Varadero.

So contrasting my experience with this, the time of year made no difference. The difference was how many times I had to dig the bike out, and how easy it was to dig the bike out. - i.e. the physical effort resulting from the weight factor.

Obviously the time of year was the main factor, but weight and the ability of the bike to handle the terrain seem to have led to the exhaustion, that would not have been there in exactly the same conditions on a lighter more suitable bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
Shocking how quickly it can all go wrong, but IMO the size of the bikes was not the main issue - scores do Moroccan pistes (98% stony) every year on giant Advs and manage what little sand there is with a bit of a fright.

It was just the wrong time of year. When it's hotter than body temp, exposed on a bike the margin for error becomes very small. One little problem (unsuitable tyres, falling over, lack of water, vapour lock) and it becomes a matter of survival.
Iirc, in 2008 a tourist died sitting in a punctured car near Remilia while her partner staggered around looking for a phone signal. And before the road was built, others have perished on the short drive back from Merzouga to Erfoud.

None of this would have been a drama in the cool seasons.

Ch
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  #24  
Old 22 Jun 2012
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The reason I decided to cancel our intended southern route from Foum Zguid through M'hamid to Taouz wasn't because I was worried about the size of our bikes, but rather that there isn't a scrap of shade the whole way and I could envisage a situation where we would be stuck with a puncture. The lip on the Tenere rim makes it particularly hard for tyre removal.

Although I was carrying a tent and also a footprint that would act as a tarp, the thought of changing an inner tube in 40+C heat was enough to persuade me to head for the mountains.

It's reckoned that by the time you feel thirsty you are already 10%* dehydrated, yet just 5% affects your judgement. The following exchange of texts between me and my wife from last July indicate how it can creep up on you (and this is in northern Morocco).

Tim: Don't want to worry you but I'm not very well mentally at the moment which is probably why I've 'retreated' to Azrou. Confused thoughts, can't remember what I've been doing, much thinking going off at tangents.

Irene: Can you go to the people you know there who will be sympathetic? I don't think you should be on your own if you are feeling vulnerable. Could you stay at the Childrens Haven? Let me know when you get this.

Tim (next day): I've realised it's dehydration. I've listened to my notes on my voice recorder and my speech is frighteningly devoid of expression and very slow. Since then I've drunk one litre of coke, 1.5 litres of water, five banana milkshakes and will keep pumping in liquids and salt/sugar the remainder of today.


The point in the exchange above is that despite my past experience of dehydration, once it hits you lose the ability to detect that you are in trouble. And this is probably what happened to these guys. The only good thing is that it was a quick, and not unpleasant death--light headedness and loss of consciousness.

*10% is probably wrong, but certainly by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 27 Jun 2012 at 14:03.
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  #25  
Old 24 Jun 2012
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This is a sad story but thank you for posting as I have learnt already reading this thread.

My girlfriend and I are riding through Europe at the moment and riding through Macedonia and Albania. The highest temperature that we have had at the moment is 37 degrees. Mostly around 33-35 though and so we have been pouring water on ourselves and are sure to drink a lot of water and we never ride longer than 2 hours. Being from QLD in Australia where the average summer temps are very high we are pretty used to the heat although 2 winters in a row (one Australian and then the European) has adjusted us back to the cooler weather. After about a week we seem to be handling it again pretty well.

One point below that I think is really important is the cooling of the body overnight which allows you to handle the heat again the next day. We have been staying in hostels and budget accommodation and not all of them have air con. Sometimes when they do have aircon, they come in and turn it off at night to save on the bill and then you wake up in a pool of your own sweat. We had to argue with them to turn it on. One point in that BBC thread is that travelers not used to the heat because they come from colder climates need to be more aware... sometimes local hostel owners here don't understand why someone from Britain can't sleep easily in a dorm room with 28 degrees. So atm our priority when booking a hostel or room is air con and we confirm they have a liberal policy with regards to use.

One thing not mentioned so far... Sunscreen. It reflects a lot of light, stops your skin getting burnt but also helps to stop you absorbing heat into your skin. Will help against heatstroke in a huge way. Face, neck, arms, any exposed skin.

We have both made a decision to get up earlier now and head off in the morning when it is cooler and not ride in the middle of the day like we have been.
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  #26  
Old 25 Jun 2012
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I agree with colebatch, big bikes are unsuitable for heavy conditions. Only chosen ones are able to manage that bikes in sand and usually they do it with lighter bikes.
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  #27  
Old 26 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post




. Nevertheless the 39C temperatures of Ouarzazate took their toll and on the road to Boumalne du Dades Alfie was complaining of headaches. He was fairly well hydrated but we stopped for sugary mint tea and I mixed up three rehydration sachets and more salt (really essential as salt encourages the body to keep hold of the water rather than passing it straight through).

After we got to the Todra Alfie could go no further--bad headache, lethargy, nausea. So even though it was only about 2pm I organised a room in Kasbah les Roches and off he went to sleep in the cool dark room. Later that evening he was much better and we cooled down in the freezing cold spring water of the Todra river and once we got used to the cold water we spent 30 minutes immersed in the stream cooling down our core body temperature.
The first time I rode in Spain, I found I started developing headaches during the mid afternoon. It took me a couple of days to realise this was caused by dehydration.

Normally I seem to be able to take any amount of heat but I do naturally move quietly when hot. Over the last ten years or so I have become more susceptible to heat but in turn seem to be able to accept more cold than I used to. I used to find I would really come alive and feel great in 28-35 c but now much over 30c I really have to shed workloads dramatically. So now to avoid dehydration I make a point of stopping frequently from noon onwards, for not just a drink, but also to cool and rest. The head ache thing is for me the first warning that I have exceeded my design limits.
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  #28  
Old 26 Jun 2012
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staying hydrated - MHO

Quote:
... mixed up three rehydration sachets
Regarding dehydration (much less severe than heat stroke which befell the two brothers), if planning on riding in Morocco at this time of year it's worthwhile mentioning that there are two types of powders that deal with it.

• the relatively expensive Dioralyte/Rehydrat/[+Supermarket versions] which I'd classify as 'medicinal' for when you're losing it as Tim describes above. About 50p a shot (200ml). Also good if you have the runs and are losing water that way.

• the less expensive 'preventative' tablets like High5 Zero or Nuun tablets, or 'isotonic' tubs of powder like Gatorade sold for sports activities. Tabs about 60p/litre.

Dioralyte/Rehydrat especially are much more than just sugar and salt, though that mixed at 8:1 is better than nothing if you're feeling crook. They include a specific ratio of other key minerals to rebalance your body's electrolyte levels, the medium through which signals are transmitted back to the brain and why your senses (eyes, balance, touch, etc) all start to go when the electrolyte balance is off as you lose minerals in your 'salty' sweat. I've watched a person staggering around and seeing double come round in minutes after taking a Rehydrat.

I always carry a few Tesco-branded 'Dioralytes' on my travels but rarely use them these days unless I get the runs. I think that's partly because I now regularly use Zero tablets when doing energetic stuff in warm places.

And if i'm in a hot place (as we were in AZ/Utah a month ago when temps hit seasonal records), I'd buy it in powder form by the tub. We got through a kilo in ten days but had no headaches or other dehydration symptoms walking 5 hours at up to 40C.
On ebay High5 Isotonic Energy Drink 2kg (not quite the same as sugar-free Zero) goes for 23 quid and they say makes 24 litres @ up to 40°C, maybe twice that if it's less hot.
When I do my camel walks (Alg winter, <30C) I take one tube of H5s per four days, plus plenty of Rehydrats to dish out as needed.

Riding one time in southern Algeria in September (a big mistake...) I was having to stop and drink every 30 mins (10 litres a day and another couple at night trying to keep up). So that tub would have lasted me two days. I appeciated then how, without water or shade but not exerting yourself in any way (like the puncture example given above) you'd be too far gone to help yourself within just a few hours.

Just drinking water was not enough. After a few days I came over all groggy, realised what was happening, did the 8:1 thing and recovered.

btw, plain salt tablets are not the same, and are now discredited AFAIK. The one time I tried them after a long day on the sands in Mori with the runs, I threw up (normal reaction when ingesting too much salt at once). 8:1 is better.

So if you're riding in Mk in summertime I'd strongly recommend drinking something like Zeros regularly (along with taking all the other usual precautions to reduce water loss which others have described).

Ch

PS:
Quote:
... It's reckoned that by the time you feel thirsty you are already 10% dehydrated
That did not look right to me so seeing as we're all having a go at Tim's stats, I'd suggest this may not be accurate.
A quick Google to a health site came up with:
4-5% = mild dehydration.
'Severe dehydration (>/= 7%)'
So 10% down and you're collapsing or worse.
I'd guess thirst kicks in at 2-3% - the first symptom of gradual dehydration that I experience. Which is another good thing with those tablets: the fruity flavours make you want to drink them more than plain water.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 27 Jun 2012 at 22:05. Reason: sp
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  #29  
Old 27 Jun 2012
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There's been even more unseasonably hot weather in Morocco. Yesterday Marrakech airport recorded a high of 46ºC and low of 29ºC . The 'low' illustrates JetJackson's point about the body not having a chance to recover.

The high of 46ºC is only a few degrees off the all-time high for Morocco of 49.1ºC recorded at Agadir's Al Massia airport. Higher temperatures might well have happened elsewhere but official records can only be recognised when taken with properly calibrated instruments.

____________________________________

You're undoubtedly right, Chris, on the percentage issue. It was something Si Pavey was trying to drill into my head on a particularly hot day and I obviously haven't remembered it correctly. Maybe I was dehydrated

Though I'm pretty sure the 5% bit was right...
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  #30  
Old 15 Jul 2013
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Here we go again.

Bump.

Because:-
1. It's that time of year, again (comes around every year, strangely).

2. Some folks never learn, so reminders are valuable. Others never knew.

3. It is pretty hot across most of Europe, not even considering other bits of the northern hemisphere - it's your turn next, in the south, by the way.

4. The news in the UK has this subject as a topic at present.



This thread should be a sticky???? (maybe in the health/safety on the road forum).
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