Well, burning a day at Fish Creek didn’t provide an improvement on the weather; it was still raining. We woke up about 6:30 am, and after eating breakfast we filled our water bottles, packed up the bicycles.
The good news, as we set out heading on down the road, was that the surface was still mostly asphalt. There was more good news: the mosquitoes were dormant due to the inclement weather. But wait, there is still more good news: in the past two days I managed to sleep almost 30 hours.
The bad news was the asphalt road surface disappeared after about 5 miles, and we were stuck riding in mucky goo: again. Occasionally there were patches of asphalt, but as the road started up Finger Mountain the surface became mud and the cold rain seemed to pick up even more.
About half way up Finger Mountain hill I finally had to get off and push. I was getting very winded and was totally exhausted. Over the past several days, during stressful riding conditions, I had become somewhat light headed but it quickly went away when I eased off a little. Pushing up this big hill brought on more light headed feelings, and I began experiencing some type of chest pains. The chest pains really concerned me because I had had a heart attack 6-7 years ago and had a stent put in.
At first I would stand beside the bicycle, rest, and wait until the light headedness and pains went away, then I would start out pushing the bicycle up the hill again. Slowly, very slowly, I was getting toward the top, but it was taking longer and longer rest periods. Finally I was so light headed that I had to sit down to keep from falling over. It was at this point that I decided that maybe something serious was wrong. It was only another 100 or so yards to the top, where Tom was waiting patiently for me, but I wasn’t even sure I could make it that far.
Finally I was able to stand up and flag down a passing pick up truck. Jim and Mary were driving a fellow worker in to Fairbanks to see a dentist, and they quickly pulled over for me. I explained the situation to them, and they readily agreed to take Tom and I to Fairbanks. After loading my ‘stuff’ in the back, they drove to the top of the hill, picked up Tom and his ‘stuff’, and off we went to Fairbanks. I slept most of the way there and when we arrived the rain had stopped, and the sun was shining.
As soon as Tom and I unloaded our bicycles and equipment at a local hotel I went to the Tanana Valley First Care center to see what was going on with the ol bod.