2010 Tour de Cure … The Century, pt. 3

Previously on SnydeRemarks: Tour de Cure 2010 …

“I think Becca put it best … me riding my first century on a mountain bike is a “measure of my badassness.”

I didn’t stick to my hydration plan, which would have been easier to do if I, in fact, had a hydration plan.

A man on a bike rides up to me; I’m standing at the end of his driveway.

“You okay.”

“Um, not really.”

I’m having trouble standing.

Now the exciting conclusion of SnydeRemarks: Tour de Cure 2010

When the T-1000 drove away, I said to myself, “You might want to check up on me in about 10 minutes.”

I discovered that when I stopped riding and got off my bike, I would have issues, so even though my neck was hurting, I kept pedaling. Nevertheless, a few miles later, I stopped in some shade with a guardrail, so I could sit down. Holding my bike up, my hands were trembling.

In my mind, I was rewriting my Facebook status: “Me riding my mountain bike in my first century is a measure of my dumbassness.”

With about two miles to go, I started looking around for any random pickup truck traveling down the road that I might toss my bike into.

With a half-mile to go, I prayed.

“Please let the finish line be close.”

And behold, I crossed the next street and saw the banners for the fairgrounds.

I said, “It’s the fairgrounds.” I was happy.

Two blocks to go, I rose out of my seat one more time to stretch.

Then I crossed the line. The announcer said, “Charlie Snyder, a 2009 Top Fundraiser and Red Rider.” Rose yelled, “Way to go, Charlie.” A volunteer held up my medal and I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I wasn’t so sure I could grab it and ride my bike at that point.

I got off my bike and then a weird thing happened. I had the same experience when I finished the marathon. I could almost literally feel a blanket of adrenaline slip off my body.

When Rose reached me, I was like a man crawling out of the desert, I said, “I need water.”

Rose went to the nearby booths asking for water and she found some at the third booth; it was the medic tent. By the time that I had walked those 20 feet it became very difficult to breathe. Some would say I had a shortness of breath; I just thought, “I can’t breathe.”

The doctor asked, “Is he okay?” I said no.

I told them the story of my ride, minus the cliffhangers. They checked my blood sugar level and I think I set a new state record; it was 191. My blood pressure was something like 97 over 58. Rose said my skin was white. The paramedic said my skin was cold.

The doctor thought I was having a heart attack. He said, “Look, you’re grabbing your heart.” I started arguing with him. “I can’t breathe; I’m gesturing … the lungs are also located in your chest.”

He asks if I have a history of heart attacks. Attacks, plural, as in more than one.

I think, “Who the hell do you think you’re talking to? If I could breathe, I’d stand up and kick your ass. Provided that I could stand up.”

The doctor, who works in an emergency room, then turns to Rose and gets in her face, saying, “On Monday morning you are taking him to a cardiologist for a complete work up.”

I’m not having a heart attack. My body is just reacting – post-adrenaline — to the trauma of the ride. Within five minutes, my breathing is back to normal.

I tell him that my calves were cramping at the end. He thinks I could be experiencing blood clots. I’m not.

I ask them what the temperature is. “Couldn’t this just be happening because I just rode 100 miles in 94-degree heat?” I say.

He calls 911.

(I should say that I really appreciated the medics’ help and concern. Later, I’m diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.)

Before you know it, the ambulance sirens were sounding and the doctor says, “That’s for you.”

They slapped me on the stretcher and I’m carted out of the fairgrounds; didn’t even get to buy any souvenirs.

In the ambulance, a very attractive woman tries to stick me with an IV. She tried and failed twice in my left arm. Then an IV is successfully installed in my right arm. The dude asks me how I feel. I said, “I feel dumb.” Then he asked, “Anything hurting right now?” I said, “Not to be a jackass, but the only thing that hurts right now are all these puncture wounds on my arms.”

Before we even leave the parking lot, he tells me that he thinks I’m just dehydrated.

They take me to Longmont United Hospital where I laid in a bed watching TV for about four hours as they gave me three one-liter bags of saline. I was ‘significantly dehydrated’ and had heat exhaustion. They monitored my vitals until my blood pressure got back to normal.

That should really be the end of the story. But because that first doctor mentioned ‘heart attack’ and ‘blood clots’, I got a chest x-ray and an EKG.

Rose says, “Do you realize that you’ve been wearing those shorts for 14 hours?”

I turn to the nurse and say, “I do have a biking injury that you could help me with … it’s located down here in the buttock region. You wouldn’t happen to have some ointment or salve on you?”

I’m about ready to check out but I still have a dozen EKG electrode pads on me. With Rose filming, I start ripping the sticky pads off. I’m not the hairiest of men, but when I took one off in the center of my chest, I had to yell, “Kelly Clarkson.” I looked down and saw a circle of redness where hairs use to reside. We were laughing our heads off.

Looking back …

I’m glad that at the end it didn’t come down to what bike I was riding or how much I trained or how old I was. At the end it just came down to one thing: did I have the stones to finish?

I’m happy to report that I have ginormous nads. That’s right. I’ve got big balls and my balls are filled with guts. And on that hot August day in Longmont, my guts that are located in my balls would not let me quit. Clearly, on this ride I did not listen to my brain, I went with my gut. Next time, I will listen to both.

The emergency room doctor said something that I appreciated. She said that if anyone thought I needed to take a stress test to check the strength of my heart, I just passed a good one when I crossed the finish line.

That night Rose and I found a cool cottage in the mountains near St. Vrain River in Lyons. We went into the two-block long town and found a pizza place with a big-screen TV. The Broncos were playing and all was right in the world.


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