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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.

fuji 2013 jump

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!

Cheers cr

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Posted @ 11:09 am in Competition and Racing   

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8 Responses to “Why Stop Now?”

  1. Rich Olynyk says:

    Hey Chris glad to hear you are okay, have been close to that during a 24 hour mountain bike race, but I have brothers who are EMT’s and they noticed the symptons and got me re-hydrated. It is amazing how quickly the onset occurs. Hope the rest of your summer is good and see you at the fall snowmobile show.


    Thanks Rich, hope you are getting some saddle time this summer!

  2. Carl says:

    Did you win? Just kidding. I play soccer and found the water break they add when there is a heat wave somewhat annoying. Reading your story changes my mind. But wonder how long does the water take to actually help you during the activity. Always though at that point its to little to late. I do have my jug of water as it seems it helps the mental if nothing else.

  3. Carl says:

    Forgot to add I am glad your ok Chris.

    Hey Thanks Carl.. I looked at the course map and from what I can see I was almost to the finish line and the hard stuff was behind me. I am sure if I had one more water bottle with me I would not have had a problem…
    cheers cr

  4. snoguzzler says:

    That is scary stuff. Glad you are OK. I’ve used the hydration thing as a joke with beer while doing work around the house etc, but never took it serious.
    Any chance you’ve been out on a Viking yet? They look interesting!

    Thanks! Actually raced last night, took it pretty easy but everything seems to be working, just keeping the heart rate slightly below max
    Yes I had several ops to drive the Rhino. It is worth a look for sure, a very different vehicle than our last SxS…
    Cheers cr

  5. Dave says:


    I am glad you are on the mend and thanks for the first hand warning!

    That was too close!


  6. Pa Sledhead says:

    Great story, Sort of like being in the middle of summer with no information on the new product that so many have pre-ordered, and the new direction of our beloved product and corporation.

    Information is like a cool drink of water….

    I detect a note of sarcasm in your comment LOL, well done! cheers cr
    Hydrate and live!

  7. Scott says:

    Wow Chris,glad to hear you we’re okay! I’ve never experienced heatstroke and didn’t actually know what was. Makes me appreciate my nice, cool and damp maritime climate here in AK even more. : )

    I got to ride some newly built single track trails up in Anchorage a few weeks ago with a buddy. It’s good to see mountain biking getting more popular here in the state. I hadn’t been out for a good ride in years and he kicked my butt. It was so much fun!

    Thanks Scott, glad to hear you have discovered mountain biking, hope you get bit hard by the bug. Tell you one thing it is great X-training for motorsports, just ask guys like Tucker Hibbert and Ricky Carmichael, hard to find a work-out that is as effective and as much fun as mountain biking. I’ll bet your sled racing results would benefit from a stronger human engine 😉 cheers cr

  8. MikeyJ says:

    I can’t say I’ve been hit that hard with the heat on the mtb, but then again I live in NL! With that said I remember one summer ride that ended with an ER visit that involved sewing my ear back on and setting a broken elbow, wasn’t a fun day. With the new job, I have zero time in the saddle this year and the body is paying for it. I’m thinking I better start a new regime soon, the new Apex XT-X is on it’s way and I’ll need to be ready for the snow, bring it on!

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