It was about a mile from the creek to where we'd parked our vehicle, and a quarter-mile into the climb I fell apart. I could stay on my feet and keep walking, but only at a fraction of my usual pace. I told my buddies to proceed ahead, hike to the car and wait for me there.
About 15 minutes later I heard a vehicle approaching along the old gated logging road. It turned out to be a conservation officer. My friends had sent him down the hill after me, and he generously offered to transport me to the top of the hill.
The heck of it is, I was in pretty darned good shape at the time. I was in my late 20s, and while I took blood-pressure medication, I jogged and played basketball regularly.
For years, I believed the incident occurred because I'd forgotten to take a dose of medicine. It wasn't until my mid-40s, when I started bicycling for fitness, that I discovered the true cause - the dreaded "bonk." In short, my body ran out of fuel.
I hadn't eaten much that day, and my body used up its available stores of glycogen, a substance the body converts to energy to fuel its muscles. When that happened, I "hit the wall."
The same thing happened to me years later, during the final 3 miles of a 20-mile pre-breakfast bike ride. I finished the ride barely able to turn the pedals; if the road hadn't been dead flat I might have had to walk the bike home.
The moral, dear readers, is that we all need to take into account our physical condition before we start doing strenuous things. The better shape we're in, the less likely we are to require help from those who protect and serve.
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com