A picture with a story to tell

In this time of uncertainty and stress I wanted to share something with a positive vibe.

The photo is a result of an ‘incident’ that happened in 2015. A little history is in order, I’m 48, raced bikes from the age of 14 over in the UK, left the bike alone when I got married (aged 26) and used running to keep fit.

Followed my son through junior soccer until I was aged 40 and got the cycling bug again (I don’t think it ever leaves you tbh) I jumped back into training with relish using my old school technique of thrashing myself into the ground at every opportunity.

I got really fit (un-structured but fit) and was loving it.
One Tuesday night in early July 15 I went out for my usual 1.5hr loop and didn’t come home.
All I can remember is cresting a short punchy hill on my loop and passing three guys (cyclists) taking a leak in a hedge :grinning:.

I recall saying hi and shooting off on the downhill, that’s all I remember. The photo is a screenshot from Garmin connect of my HRM/speed trace, shows my heart suddenly stopping, from 150 ish to 0, the speed trace that carries on is the bike in the back of the police car. I woke up a week later being told by my Mother that I had a crash and suffered a cardiac arrest.

I have another photo that shows my route as an overhead satalite view, it shows my trace as steady on the left side of the road and then gradually veering over to the right over half a mile or so, so it looks I was having issues for a while before I crashed. Lucky as this is normally a busy road.

It turns out that one of the guys I had passed has wanted to chase me down, they did and a good job they did as one of them was a surgeon from the local general hospital.

They found me lying on my bike on the opposite side of the road, bloodied and with no pulse and not breathing.

I later found out what Cefin (the surgeon) did, he restarted my heart and performed CPR until the helicopter arrived. He did this for an hour I’m told, bloodied knees and exhausted. Guy saved my life that day and something I can never repay.

I was airlifted to hospital (my heart stopped twice more in the chopper and needed a de-fib) I was induced into a coma for a week and upon awaking endured every test the cardiologist could think of (I was lucky enough to be taken to a University teaching hospital).

I had ECG’s MRI’s etc with my cardio baffled, ‘you have a big healthy heart, no artery issues whatsoever but it just went into ventricular fibrillation ( I had to google that😀) and Cardiac Arrest, I don’t know why’

I was there for three weeks and he finally found a minuscule scar on my heart which he thinks had shorted out the signals, very common amongst long time endurance athletes he told me.

I have since read a fantastic article: https://www.drjohnm.org/the-mysterious-athletic-heart/

Very interesting read. I was not allowed to leave hospital without having an ICD installed which would intervene if the issue ever recurs, I’m told it would be very very unlikely to happen again, I was just very unlucky and very lucky at the same time.

I asked my Cardiologist if I could ride/race again, he basically told me to do what I want.

I have ridden/raced over 25 thousand miles since and part of that recovery was Trainerroad, not all the way through but on and off, it’s a staple part of my routine now and I continue to make progress, racing the UK equivalent of masters. FTP floats around 300 (I’m 78kgs) and I hope to bump that in this extended period of qurrantine.

It just shows you that when you are down and you think its impossible, things have a way of working out, I feel very privileged to have the ability to see my Son grow up and ride my bike, not a religious man but it seems things happen for a reason.

The only thing I’m down about is I didn’t race the TDF with Lance as I kept telling my Mum when I woke up in hospital😃 ( must have been the meds😉)

Ride safe.


Wow, what a story. Glad you are ok.
The surgeon that assisted you was amazing.

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He sure was, apparently he had just done his CPR requailfcation a week previously. Mind boggling when you think about it. I couldn’t for a long time due to bouts of PTSD but I actually laugh about it now.

I’m a very lucky boy.

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Wow, just wow!

Hope you live a long and fruitful life.

Sorry, gonna have to flag that Strava ride! :triangular_flag_on_post:

This possibly showed up on one of my tests…still under investigation. As per my latest entry, docs aren’t all that experienced with ‘sick healthy’ patients and most likely end up treating them as they would ‘sick unhealthy’ patients.

A family member had a “heart incident” (no conclusive or definitive results) in an airport and, like you, went down like a sack of hammers. There was a nurse and a cop very near by, both worked to bring him back to life and keep him alive until the ambulance arrive. Couple years later he invited both of them to his wedding and remain close friends. Sometimes you gain more than you lose.

Yup. In one way or another most of us usually keep moving forward. :+1:

Thanks for the feel good non-COVID story! :hugs:

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Yes, you were lucky. The part on the chart where you BPM goes to zero :astonished:

This ride screw your statistics in pwr:HR… but to be honest the story is amazing and I am glad that you could write it.

I have a question.
When your heart rate went to zero, did you see a bright light or any afterworld stuff?

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Not sure if you are 100% serious (it’s been asked before, many times in jest) but no, nothing but black. I’m told the brain gets rid of any such traumatic memories.

I waved to the three guys one minute and woke up a week later with no memories of the following events.

But I was classed as clinically dead at the scene, not brain dead, so mabey things happen during that phase.
Who knows🤔


Thanks, I am serious.

Yeah, that is true your brain was still receiving oxygen.

One more thing.
Did your views on religion or the afterlife change after this event?

No, not really, I would class myself as someone open to everything but I’m firmly in the science camp tbh (it was science that saved me but I guess the guy had to be there to apply it).

I do believe in bad/good luck though, it’s a big universe out there and I do think there is an awful (understatement) lot we don’t know, it’s fun trying to find out though.

Debates on religion are for others to contemplate.

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What? Wow!, Thanks for sharing such an amazing story!

Hi Simon
Read your story with the highest interest because it’s amazing how fate , destinity has been treating you ; a surgeon from the local hospital chasing you down as your heart stopped ! I hope you play the lottery every week.
I also have an ulterior motive…I’m 62 , never raced but I have riding since I was twelve (cyclosportives, Bordeaux- Paris, and such…). I take a "test d’effort " every year and my cardilogist recently told me that I had a minute area on my heart where blood did not flow properly when BPM>155. On the ECG it sends out a signal that mimics a small scar and my cardilogist mentionned the risk of my heart stopping unexpectidly when e.g. climbing a “short punchy hill” . …I guess you see where I am coming from.
I 'd love to discuss some of the issues related to this problem , could you contact me on my email ? (raphael_reig@yahoo.fr, I am in France)
Whatever you decide hope you’ll be riding for many years to come…