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True Grit Heat Safety

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-Cyclists are gearing up for the True Grit Ride and with the heat and humidity so high, local paramedics and organizers are taking precautions.

Sebastian County paramedic, Kendall Beam said his team will be there just in case.

"Fort Smith EMS and Sebastian County will work together and follow the riders," Beam said. "If somebody goes down due to trauma or a heat-related illness, we'll be right there to take care of them."

Beam said the main key to preventing a heat-related injury is to stay hydrated.

Cyclist and River Valley Cycling board-member, Carl Norris has been riding for more than 26 years. He said that hydrating your body before the ride is most important.

"Early in the ride, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement during the first 10 or 20 miles, and not drink, then your body gets behind, and you'll never catch up." Norris said.

Nurse, Lisa Cullen has been preparing for the day of the ride and the heat that comes along with it. She said she will be at the rest stations with a special treat to help keep the cyclists hydrated.

"We have frozen pickle juice, which the cyclists love." Cullen said. "We've done that since the first ride we had five years ago. So, we get dry ice and have pickle pops at every location that helps rehydrate then with the salt that they lose."

Cullen said there is a reason why organizers have True Grit during one of the hot Summer months.

"When this inception came about, the cyclists wanted something that prepared them for the Hotter Than Hell [ride] in Texas," Cullen said. "So, that's why we have it in June."

Always be sure to hydrate before, during, and after any outdoor activities.


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