As I return from my recent out of county fire assignments I realized just how similar it is to stage racing. The preparation is no different - you train and train until you feel ready then you carefully chose and maintain your gear right down to the smallest detail -like what socks to use. Instead of mapping out a TT course and choosing gears ratios, I am now mapping out a fire perimeter to chose resource needs. The physical exertion is very similar as well. As a matter of fact Steel WÜleur and ex-Cat-1 racer Brent Marks said he never suffered in cycling as much as he has while working a fire with San Francisco Fire Department. The hydration and calorie intake is almost identical. As we drive to fire incidents we are drinking fluids just like an endurance athlete would be. I saw more powerbar wrappers on the fire line than I have ever seen at a feed zone.
Here is a our latest Tour of California:
Prologue: 'Ranch Fire' Solono County. 106 degrees, 70+ acres, grass oak woodland. 12 hours in the boots
Stage 1: 'Coyote Fire' Amador County. 2600 lighting strikes, heavy brush & timber. 27 hours in the boots
Stage 2: 'Mountain Fire' Amador County. 100 degrees, steep inaccessible terrain. 16 hours in the boots
Stage 3: 'Black Oak Fire' Amador County. inaccessible terrain. 95 degrees, remote access. 15 hrs in boots
Stage 4: 'Nice Fire' Lake County. 80+ acres, grass / oak / vinyards. 18 hours in the boots
Now off for a ride in the mountains...oh yea, did I mention that I love the coastal fog!