I’ve been fascinated with hummingbirds for a long time. I had a bike riding experience that left a imprint that never left.
One of the first years I rode the Coor’s Race in Colorado, I had driven to Boulder to train and acclimate. Foolishly, I decided to ride the complete Boulder Mountain Road Race course plus an extra loop the first day there. It was super hot and the ride was nearly 125 miles with tons and tons of climbing. Anyway, I’d ridden about 90 miles or so and had only gotten to Ward and was done. I felt cramps coming on. Ward was a super small mining town with virtually nothing there. But, there was a small cafe/grocery store.
I bought a Gatorade and a candy bar. My legs were twitching like they were firing on their own. I drank the full Gatorade and instantly virtually every muscle in my body started twitching. I was cramping in my hands, my forearms, my feet, everywhere. It was so weird. And painful. Must have been some mineral imbalance. Anyway, I didn’t even think of getting on my bike for a while. I was sitting out on a deck in front of the store and the whole time there were dozens of hummingbirds doing aerial combat. It was nuts. The speed, the numbers, the sounds, the colors. Nothing I’d ever witnessed before. Or since. I could have stayed there all afternoon and watched. It was fascinating. It made the cramps seem inconsequential.
Anyway, I was watching a show on PBS on Hummingbirds last week. It was pretty unbelievable. Hummingbird hearts beat between 600 and 1200 beats per minute when they are awake. That is 10 to 20 beats per second. But, when they sleep, their heart rates decrease to the mid 30’s. That would be like a normal human’s heart rate lowering to 4 bpm sleeping. Or, a cyclist’s heart rate going down to 2 or so. Lot of other fascinating stuff too. The show was great. Super slow motion of hummingbirds in flight. Made me reminisce of that ride in the mountains.