May 27, 2012

The Diary of a Cyclist

It was just a post form Facebook of Don Acts with a written permission, coz it’s worth a reading and inspiration. Read cautiously, here it goes...

It was not just an ordinary Sunday. We a 24 man Team participated in an Extreme cycling event in Malaysia today. 12 Cyclist on roadbike, 12 on Mountain bike.

We flag off from starting line on a roadie at 8am with 11 km as a warm up pacing. When the safety vehicle went off it was time to race. I was initially with d front pack when suddenly after a few minutes they all seem to breakaway. The stronger riders tried to catch up & 5 of us in our team can still be able to follow the peloton. It was a terrible up & down course. I’m catching up my breath upon every climb. I took my water bottle with what they call "power drink" for a sip & put it back in the carrier but when I look up the pack was gone w/ the 3 of my teammates. It was impossible to follow at that moment. I only managed to catch some not so strong riders. I followed the fastest rider in our pack to gain some aero advantage & also to close the gap from d front when in a few kilometers I saw one of my team flagging me down for an airpump. I stopped to lend a hand and luckily 2 race marshalls also stopped to help us. Most of all of the riders had overtaken us including almost all of our teammates before we can take off again. The first checkpoint was coming near according to the signages. I’m hoping for a few minutes rest but to my disappointment it was just a water station with people serving an opened bottle for us to drink. I don’t have a choice but to continue pedalling & to wait for the 2nd checkpoint. After 55km finally there were again people serving water but not just water but an energy drink "100plus” with peeled ripe banana (Malaysian call it "pisang").

I reloaded my 2 water bottle, 1 with plain water & d other 1 w/ 100plus energy drink. I took 2 bananas, borrowed anti-cramp spray to cool down my overheating engine, "legs" and its time to roll again. Most of the riders keep on moving ahead when 3 of us in a team decided to move and I followed on w/ a thought that too much rest will tire me more.

The next stage has no difference from the first. It was a never ending straight hi-way of up & down with the sun shining on its insane degrees. When suddenly while I’m concentrating climbing the steep it was the same person in my team flagging me again. I notice there was a rider down on the side of the road with abrasions on face, elbow, knees, legs & was unresponsive. Triaging Instinct came to my panting brain and started assesing the downed rider. Other riders came to help with not knowing what to do trying to fan him & wake him up.
He was not breathing, pulse was very weak, & pupils was almost dilated. I wanted to start to give him Rescue Breathing to no avail. I cannot even breathe myself. I was panting with no energy to move so I asked other people around to call for whatever helps they can contact & to give the guy some breathing blow. One of his teammate bravely started blowing his mouth with the nose pinched. I noticed that the stomach was rising so I tried to reposition the neck with the "tilt head jaw lift maneuver". The guy continued to give breathing blows but was tired so I asked other people around to whoever has still got some energy to give blows to please do so. Police van finally arrived with no emergency kit. We carry the victim inside the van and asked the driver to rush him quickly to the nearest hospital. I asked also for the friend in a van to please continue giving him blows to spare his life. The van left and we continue to climb again. I was alone at the moment climbing a steep hill & tried to stand up on my bike to pedal heavier when my right thigh cramp. It was too heavy I almost fell but I managed to flexed my knees with my hand and continued moving up.

We were in our 90km when we encountered a city intersection. There was no marshal no direction so we insisted to wait. There were 2 other rider shouted at us “turn left” & so we did. We were racing with the car traffic uphill when the guy ahead fell down in front of us. He said cramps. He was down on his bike holding back the traffic of cars & bikes behind. A friend quickly sprayed his legs with anti cramp spray. I can’t help anymore I’m even having cramps myself huh!

Then I think were lost! We had no idea whether it is left or right. We with 4 in our team just continued to go on straight ahead. Well maybe there’s a light at the end of a tunnel? We were supposed to be searching for the 3rd checkpoint when unexpectedly alamak finish line!
Medal again :)))

It was an exciting adventure of a true to life story. But somehow I had a heartache. I didn’t won the first price $5,000 Giant TCR all carbonfiber Ultegra groupset roadbike. And kept on praying that may God save the life of the downed cyclist, he’s a brother!

Before hopping on to the bus I met the team of the unresponsive rider and told that he passed away! I extended my condolences to the family.

May God bless us!

Happened last May 20, during the KULAIJAYA EXTREME CYCLING CARNIVAL 2012 (Metric Century Ride – 120km Road Race category) in Kulaijaya Malaysia. Don D. is based on Singapore and a member of Team Prison (Captains of Lives) Singapore. Photos are courtesy of Don D. and Cycling Malaysia 2012.

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