Today I got scared. I left the house early for a wee morning ride on the road bike, I hadn’t ridden for nearly 3 weeks, a combination of work and a cold/chest infection that wouldn’t shake off. A wee ride was what I needed to clear the tubes and get my sanity back. The morning was cold, really low freezing fog was filling the glen which was beautiful but very cold. I wrapped up extra cautious; I knew I wasn’t going to be working too hard so I wanted to keep warm. I set off and straight into the climb that leaves the house. I was labouring, my chest was ripping apart and huge spoonfuls of phlegm were being released, with every discharge my chest definitely felt better which was good, my hands however had started to get very cold.
Initially I didn’t worry too much about my hands, the rest of me felt pretty cozy and I was aware that as I worked out and my circulation got a move on they would come good, this felt different though. I stopped and removed gloves after only about a mile or two. I blew on my hands in the gloves rubbed hands jumped up and down and got going again. By now I had climbed above the fog and the suns rays were warming and lifting my spirits, the road though was dampening them. Ice and frozen leafy tarmac was what lay ahead, I could feel the tension rising in my body waiting for the inevitable fall. I ploughed on convinced that as I warmed and the sun rose it would all come good.
The first and only downhill section of note met me at around 6 miles, my hands now were devoid of feeling and my head was quickly unravelling on the precarious road surface, gingerly I made my way down to meet the main road deciding at the bottom I would stop again to try and get some heat in my hands. I stopped, got off the bike and was overcome by a sense of anxiety and nausea, leaning against a sign post I tried to control my breathing and awaited vomiting, it never came. I felt terrible, cold and alone and only 6 or 7 miles from home.
Common sense took over and I turned back following the cycle path home which was flatter and would be easier cycling, after about a mile a tension so tight in my neck and shoulders made the bike unbearable, I reached a small stone bridge and once more dismounted and leant on the bridge, head swirling violently now I couldn’t feel my hands. I looked up and saw a car coming to the gate of a private road.
The next thing I remember I was getting up off the ground, I felt light and warm like coming out of deep sleep, the car now was the other side of the gate but stationary, its passengers staring at me. I waved and they flashed their lights and drove on. I got on the bike and rode, still feeling the warmth of sleep. Within minutes though the shivers started, I was only some 3 miles from home and my legs were shivering uncontrollably, I looked at my legs, the left covered in dirt from the fall, what fall? I thought to myself, noticing the dirt all down my jacket too. I made it up the final climb and got on the homeward straight barely remembering any of it. The last descent to the house I was petrified to let go of the brakes, I just needed to get home in one piece.
Finally the turn to the house appeared I grabbed at overshoes to get them off I couldn’t feel the buckle on my helmet and had to get help, I headed straight into bed and there I tried to piece together what had happened. Fed with high protein food and pints of ginger and honey tea I slowly regained temperature and composure, mind still racing though.
Now hours after it I am assuming for whatever reason I fainted, I’m pretty certain it wasn’t for long but I’ve never fainted before so it left me kinda spooked. I have a bruised knee and a cricked neck probably a result of the impact that my helmet is showing on the left hand side. All day I have had a mighty headache and hunger and have struggled to keep warm.
A visit to the docs is in order I think.