The time when I almost died biking on the Black Canyon Trail

I thought I would share this story about when I almost died from heat stroke while biking the Black Canyon Trail, since I have not hitherto shared this story on my bike blog.

I ran out of water today on the Black Canyon Trail. I was certain that I had more water in my Camelback but suddenly, when I sucked, no water came out. In the meantime, the temperature was getting hotter and I was still about 4 miles from the trailhead where my car was parked. As the temperature continued to rise (it was about 10:30 at this point) I began to feel weak, fatigued, tired and nauseous. I also started to get some chills. However, I figured if I could just make it to the top of the Skyline Segment, I could just coast downhill from there and, for the first time ever, drink water direct from the Agua Fria River. Fortunately, I made it to the top of Skyline, but I was feeling weaker. I wondered if I would even make it to river. It got so bad that it felt difficult to even go downhill. I had to stop and take rests. I just kept telling myself I was only a few minutes from the river, and if I got there, everything would be fine. I was also wondering where all of the other mountain bikers were. I had passed three others around 8:00 AM and figured I would run into more and ask for some water, but, alas, the mountain was empty. Just me, my bike and the sun. I arrived at the river around 11;30 and thankfully began drinking large portions. It tasted awful….it had sort of an algae/moss-like taste along with an earthy feel, no doubt because the river was rather muddy. But, I really needed to drink right away. Unfortunately, after drinking the first bit, my stomach could not handle it and I vomitted it all. However, I kept drinking, removed my shoes and socks and laid down in the river. After about a half hour in the water, I started to feel a little better. I refilled my water with the Algae-stuff and managed to limp the remaining mile and a half back to my car. So, the moral of the story is, be thankful a river runs through Black Canyon. Otherwise, I’m not sure what I would have done. I’ve never had to call search and rescue before but I’ not sure that my phone had reception there anyway. I still wonder if anyone has any idea what kind of affects I can expect after drinking water from the Agua Fria River? I’m hoping that its fairly clean and, given the circumtances, I don’t really feel I had any other choice. I’m really hoping I don’t come down with some gastrointestinal illness over the next week or so. Also, where was everyone today? I assumed there would have been a few more mountain bikers on the trail.

Here is the link on

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