Today I did a bike ride with Katydid and Rozmo, one of our favorite rides called the Beautiful Backroads Century. It IS beautiful (possibly the loveliest route we do all year), they ARE back roads, and you don't HAVE to do a century. It also begins and ends at a Budweiser brewery about 2 hours from us, and that has nothing to do with the title of this post.
We were struggling a little at the end, as we typically do on long rides. At least I do. It's hot, I'm tired, and the 66-mile route that we chose to do has morphed into a 68-mile route. Those two miles may not seem like a lot, and the logical (and rational) response would be, "If you can ride 66 miles, surely you can ride two more." At that point in the day we are neither logical nor rational.
We became aware of this fact as we kept expecting the last rest stop to appear. On top of its stubborn refusal to appear on the horizon, I was out of water. And we were getting score updates on the UGA football game that weren't promising. Actually toward the end they WERE promising, but the promise evaporated on an Arkansas 40-yard pass with :14 left in the game. Poof. But I digress.
We finally realized we were just about at the rest stop, at the bottom of a nice downhill and around a curve. When we rounded the curve, we saw a cyclist down who was being attended to by other cyclists. Unfortunately, that's not an uncommon sight, and I figured he must have lost control coming around the curve and down the hill. Then I realized they were performing CPR on him.
Witnesses reported that he didn't wreck first; he just keeled over. Naturally there were a lot of injuries that occurred AFTER he fell, but the initial problem wasn't a wreck. They had been doing CPR for about 10 minutes when we arrived, and it didn't look good. Eventually he started breathing, but it was labored. He could tell them his name but not how old he was. They couldn't find any identification on his bike. (Note to family: I have a Road ID tag hanging on my bike. I plan to get the bracelet kind as well.)
EMS arrived fairly quickly, and we got ready to leave. That's when we realized they were taking him in the ambulance to a spot where a helicopter could land. We were right next to some pasture land, so it was good that we were out in the country.
He appeared to be riding alone, so I called one of the ride organizers so she could look up his emergency contact information. She called me back to ask if I were sure about his name (as sure as I could be, hearing it from a semi-conscious, badly injured man), and she said it appeared his wife was also on the ride, but riding a shorter route. I wasn't sure what else she wanted to know because I couldn't hear over the sound of the life flight helicopter.
I've never seen CPR in action before. I suppose I've seen a fair number of injured cyclists, but none bleeding as badly as this man was. I wasn't sure I could get back on that bike and ride the last 10 miles.
Suddenly football scores, heat, the pain in my legs, my extreme thirst, and my exhaustion weren't nearly as important as they had been half an hour earlier.
I hope that man is all right.