Hotter 'N Hell Hundred: Medical Volunteers

In this Hotter 'n Hell Hundred preview report, we're focusing on volunteers you'll find in medical tents each year.

Madeleine Steele's one of the newer members of the MSU Cycling Team, here all the way from Australia, and she's about to discover just how grueling the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred can be.

"Heard the average temperature in the last few years has been really, really, really high. So, I come from a hot state, but it's actually winter in Australia. So, I've come from winter straight into this heat. So, we'll see how it goes," Steele said.

With Madeleine's experience, she should be just fine.

Not everyone will be, which is why Dr. Keith Williamson says medical tents are going to be set up about every 10 miles.

"On the 100- mile route, we put one in at 95 miles, just in case. There's a total of 18 rest stops and medical stops along the 100 miles, 100- K, 50 mile and 25 mile routes," Dr. Williamson explained.

"We have to have people. We have to have IV setups and IV fluid. We have to have suturing equipment. We have to have equipment to maintain sanitation, universal precautions. Ice water and towels. We have to have fans. We have to have the ability to cool them off, clean up lacerations and abrasions, and even splint some fractures and sprains," Dr. Williamson said.

Elaine McKinney/HHH Steering Committee Member: " A lot of medical personnel. We have over 80- doctors who help on the course, plus all the nurses, nurse practitioners. Lots of people involved."

Roby Christie, Hotter 'n Hell Founder told us, "They provide medical services to people that would cost a lot of money if they had to go to the hospital. We don't want to send them home sick. So, they get them well before they leave. That same medical crew, they have done surveys and statistical analysis over 32 years, where they have been able to publish information about heat stress and exercise in heat that no one ever knew existed before these guys did it."

In fact, some of that information has everything to do with cyclists drinking too much water, and suffering from what some call water intoxication.

Dr. Williamson explained, "We have every year seen this thing called exertional hyponatremia. Now, that sounds a little technical. It's interesting because they'll walk in, and they're obviously a little sick, but they sit down and they get worse and worse. They become confused and delirious, and have seizures and slide off into a coma. So, if we recognize that, we can get very aggressive with appropriate IV fluids and prevent that."

Doctor Williamson says there's more medical technology in the Hotter 'n Hell than ever before, but not everyone in need will be treated in one of their tents.

"Most of the really exciting things we don't see because they call me and I say, they're bleeding from where? Why don't we send an ambulance. They go straight to the hospital."

There have been years when the Hotter 'n Hell's proven fatal.

Over the past 3 decades, there have been at least 7 deaths, all because of health related issues.

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