Author Topic: Possible cause of crashes?  (Read 1717 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Possible cause of crashes?
« on: April 13, 2011, 02:20:09 pm »
I came across this http://news.softpedia.com/news/Why-Do-People-Faint-after-Strenuous-Physical-Activity-37715.shtml while trying to find an explanation for the mysterious death of a friend (climbing not cycling) and it occurred to me that it may be the cause of some unexplained bike crashes. Is it possible that people can faint going downhill after hard climb?

Offline PeteJack

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 05:25:49 pm »
Opinions are like...

Offline csykes

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 07:26:52 pm »
As a 200+ pound rider, I have turned myself inside out on long hard climbs.  I have never felt anything but wonderful on the way down the other side!  I have low blood pressure and sometimes black out just from standing up quickly; never experienced any thing like than in many miles of suffering on the bike.  Just my experience...

Offline PeteJack

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 07:46:34 pm »
Quote
As a 200+ pound rider, I have turned myself inside out on long hard climbs.  I have never felt anything but wonderful on the way down the other side!  I have low blood pressure and sometimes black out just from standing up quickly; never experienced any thing like than in many miles of suffering on the bike.  Just my experience...

Thanks for a thoughtful reply. What got me going on this was first my friend who died who was seen standing at the top of a rock climb having successfully completed it; next thing anybody knew he'd fallen. This guy was a fit, apparently healthy, experienced climber.  The reason I got to thinking about cycling is that I have a friend who has twice been hospitalized after crashing on downhills. Neither time can he recollect how it happened. If that article is to be believed it can happen to the fittest among us...

Offline John Nelson

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 10:36:03 pm »
PeteJack, has your friend gone back to the scene of the crashes and looked carefully for anything unusual? Something in the road? A pothole? Railroad tracks? Wet leaves? Gravel? A rock? Might also be caused by high-speed shimmy.

If you hit your head in a crash, it would be expected that you might not remember what caused the crash because the impact would erase your short-term memory.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 12:13:14 am »
John Nelson. Hard to investigate. One time was in the Italian Alps the other in North Wales. Of course there was all kinds of theorizing at the time but no conclusions. You've got a good point about not remembering. Have you read he article? It seems that fainting after strenuous exercise is a known phenomenon even with "highly trained athletes". If no one want to think about it, so be it.

Offline Tandem4Rider

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 07:06:29 am »
If this misunderstood phenomena cited in the article has been observed and studied - the quick answer to your question is: Yes, it is possible.  In fact anything is possible.

The brevity of that article leaves me with more questions than answers, though.  How long does the intensity have to endure?  At what point does the fainting occur - immediately or some seconds or minutes later?  Does it always happen?  What other health factors about the athlete/participant played a part?  What is the health history of the athlete/participant?  Are the results typical for all activities or only some?  What were the body fat percentages/BMI?  Sadly, there is not much here to discuss in depth without further research.

Personally I have never experienced the phenomena, therefore I can bring nothing to the discussion in that realm (thus, my personal interest in investing time to seek this deeper is rather limited).  I tend to pedal downhill as well as up.  I've climbed mountains, ridden long distances, and hiked significant ascents, etc...  I RARELY ever do these things alone - the people I'm with have also never complained about these symptoms.

The comment at the bottom of the article suggests this phenomena occurs when activity is halted "cold turkey."  Cycling is rarely done like that.  Perhaps researching if this problem occurs in mountian top fininshes in bicycle racing will shed some new light on the topic.  When I get home I'll post the question on a racing forum I belong to, I'll get back to you.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 09:50:26 am »
The article says that exercise can "make a large number of people pass out, and this does not refer only to people who are not usually active, but also highly to trained athletes." I don't know how many people it takes to be a "large number," but it's not large enough that it has ever happened to me or anybody I know, nor have I ever heard of it. That doesn't mean, of course, that it doesn't happen.

If you google the name of the lead researcher, you can find out more about his study, but it starts to get very technical.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 11:37:40 am »
Yes the article is infuriatingly vague. I do know that I've stopped at the top of a hard climb to have drink and take in the view and felt decidedly woozy. Which leads me to think it's immediately after stopping that this occurs.I don't know if this was the same phenomenon. If it this does happen I suspect it will be like falling asleep while driving, very hard to be sure about.  I also suspect that men are much less likely than women to admit to feeling faint. A physician acquaintance of mine looked into the research, apparently it was people doing research on astronauts who came up with it. Consequently said physician poopooed my suggestion but nowhere in the article does it mention astronauts, weightlessness, space or any such. The article does go on about technical stuff beyond my ken. Any bofffins out there got any input?

Well it was just a thought. And if we didn't have thoughts where would we be?  Mind you, all I felt on getting to the summit of Hoosier Pass was relief and I didn't see any other cyclists falling over either. Hummm guess I'll have to try to contact the guy for more details. If I do find out more I'll let you know. But don't hold your breath (you might faint)

Offline whittierider

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 04:35:18 pm »
Quote
I don't know how many people it takes to be a "large number," but it's not large enough that it has ever happened to me or anybody I know, nor have I ever heard of it.
Ditto here, and I've never heard of it happening at mountain-top professional race finishes either, or after time trials, etc..  The only thing I've experienced that was related was when intentionally doing very hard intervals on hill climbs where I'd end with a sprint and run myself nearly to the point of fainting, and stop before I do, with my heart rate 20bpm higher than the bogus 220-minus-age limit.  As soon as I'd stop though, things got better, not worse.

Offline csykes

Re: Possible cause of crashes?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2011, 11:57:20 pm »
It would be interesting to find out what tire pressure your friend runs on his bike.  My experience is that way too many people run the highest pressure the tires will hold on their road bikes.  It can cause poor handling and at high speed going downhill, one could lose contact with the pavement due to a very small bump and crash.  I'm not discounting the possibility of fainting, but it could also be something very simple.