Ride Report

Qld’s first 1000 permanent attempt

 

 

Early December 2023, on a Thursday afternoon, I parked my camper trailer at the Esk Caravan Park. Many months of planning and preparation had come to this point. 

 

19 hours later I was in hospital with quite a serious case of heatstroke. (I understated that a little)

 

It was my intention to start riding at 1am on Friday morning, but, as I was tinkering with my bike and gear on Thursday afternoon, I was sweating profusely and continuously! I kept drinking water, had some food, a swim in the park pool… but did not stop sweating. 

With that, I decided to start riding at 10am on Friday night. These are the first two factors in play. Starting with my water bucket partially empty & Minimal sleep.

 

This is not a story about the course, this is a shared experience in an attempt to prevent others injuring themselves.

As I rode through the night, it was cool but humid. (See this linked relating to ‘dew point’ and ‘feels like’ temperatures.I ate and drank well. However… I went further into fluid debt and the sun was not up yet. This is factor number three.

As the sun began to rise, rapidly, so did the temperature. I continued to fill up up electrolytes and eating well. lots of fluids and the occasional salt tabs. All the while continuing into fluid debt.

 

Lunch time. Upon reflection, this is when the first of the symptoms began to be recognisable. I was a little light headed and a bit wobbly on my feet. My excuse was, I just needed some food. I smashed a toastie and a strawberry milkshake. Factor 4.

Lunch caused some stomach issues for a few hours. Nothing unusual on long rides, however, this played a part in a slightly reduced water and food intake. Now riding into the hottest part of the day. 42 deg c. The intense heat an obvious factor.

My symptoms began to increase and intensify. Dry mouth. inability to cool down, blurred vision, greatly reduced thirst and hunger. Always looking for a shady spot to lay down in… and more.

 

The second last hill into Esk, I had to walk. My bucket was nearly dry. I recorded a short video clip of myself saying a few things and still today, don’t recall doing it. I was able to roll down the hill do some soft pedalling and walked the last hill into Esk. 

I rolled into town in a bad way. Once at my camper I attempted to self managing my heat injury, all the while not acknowledging how serious it was. I vomited a few times. I couldn’t concentrate enough to make the decision on how to fill my water bottles or charge my light batteries as I began preparing to head out again in a few hours.

 

Thankfully, something snapped, making me realise I was not capable of self managing this scenario. I was too messed up to walk the less than 1km to Esk Hospital, so I drove there. (The things we do when the brain is fried)

When the nurse was taking blood, it was so thick it looked like toothpaste coming out of the tube. 

Esk Hospital were unable to treat me so I got scooped up by QAS (Totally amazing humans) and taken to St Andrew’s Hospital in Ipswich. 

 

There was serious concern I had, had a heart attack or was going to have one. 

Upon reflection the culmination of factors that lead to my emergency hospital stay were clear. At the time, on their own, the factors were insignificant and are just a part of endurance cycling.

 

A few of you that know me, I can be a little-overly self reliant and stoic in my approach my cycling. It scares me to think “what if there were another 20, 30, 40kms to go before you got to Esk?”

 

The answer is I would most likely have dug deeper to ride them and the result would have been much more serious, even terminal. 

Take care of yourself and your ride buddies. 

 

Matt Powell (Matt-Dog)