July 22, 2013
Why Stop Now?
I hope everyone is having a good summer so far. I decided I would check in today for a couple of reasons.
First, I wanted to share this picture of Randy taken a few days ago. Yep, this is July in BC.
While the rest of us are sitting on the dock in the throes of a heat wave, there are a handful of hard-core riders who stay cool in other good ways.
I went through something last weekend that scared the hec out of me that I thought I should share. Won’t be an issue when on the sled, but if you like to get out and enjoy the sunny weather on wheels – as many of us tend to do – or even thrash away at golf or some other frustrating pass-times. Take heed!
I recently entered a Canada Cup mountain bike race in Sudbury Ontario. I have trained and raced quite a bit this season and am in pretty good form but in hind-site, I was not fully hydrated and did not drink enough during the race. I went out hard and about an hour in, dehydrated, began to ‘overheat’. I had no indications of what was happening to me, again in hindsight I realize now that I quickly lost co ordination and became mentally confused… The rest is history.
Hyperthermia aka ‘heat stroke’ – sweating stops, body overheats (my temp was up to 39.5C) heart rate goes way up and organs begin to shut down. Evidently, when found, I was unconscious and in convulsion. I was in a very dangerous place.
Quick response by first aid and EMT were able to cool my body and stabilize me. Potassium was way off, as well as electrolytes were sky high both of which needed to be balanced slowly to avoid brain damage. In Emerg, multiple bags of saline were pumped into my blood for re-hydration and my body was cooled with water sprays, cold packs and a fan for several hours.
When I came to in the ambulance, I had limited memory, didn’t know where I was, could not remember my address, phone number, b-day and had no idea what was wrong with me. I thought I had taken a header and sustained a concussion. Also my body would not respond to my mental commands, I was twitching like a stuck chicken and struggled to form words. It was about six hours later that my memory began to return, now, 5 days later, I am feeling near normal, albeit humble and am back to work.
I have been competing in endurance sports since the late 70’s, Over the years, I have trained, studied and worked with professional coaching. I have pushed harder and longer in other events and I understand the importance of hydration. Given my experience, I am shocked at how quickly this happened, that I unknowingly let it happen and how dangerous it really is. I had no idea it was happening to me. One minute I’m having a good race, next thing I know I’m fighting for my life.
What did I learn? Never underestimate the effect of extreme temperatures on your body, doesn’t have to be endurance sports – golf – yard work – whatever, I have spent a lot of time reading up on the subject this week, it could happen to anyone, even you!..’hydrate or die’ – believe it!