Brutal bike ride brings pride

Sgt Dan Bodden

Sgt Dan Bodden of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre recently completed a 515 mile bicycle race across Oregon State.










 The human body has limits, but no one seems to have told Sgt Dan Bodden. 

The search and rescue technician at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre scratched another high intensity race off his bucket list July 22 when he finished the Race Across Oregon. 

For two days he rode his bicycle non-stop across the Oregon countryside, racking up 828 kilometres. The bicycle race starts and ends in Hood River, Oregon, and offers up 40,000 feet of vertical climbs through the mountains that dot the state.

Sgt Bodden has been competing in endurance sports for almost 20 years. He has completed a number of Ironman Triathlons, and twice the Hawaii Ultraman Triathlon, a three-day event that circumnavigates the Big Island of Hawaii. 

This particular course was tough, even for him. 

“There isn’t a lot of flatland. If you’re not ascending, you’re descending. There isn’t a lot of time to rest. You really have to stay alert.”

The plan was to complete the race in 36 hours. But the best laid plans can lead to exhaustion, forcing him to extend his time in the saddle into the next evening. 

“I took a 20 minute nap, but besides that I hadn’t slept, having trained for that.  I really suffered that second day, and it obviously slowed me down significantly,” he says. 

Sleep deprivation lead to hallucinations for most of the second night. 

“I started seeing animals and people on the side of the road that weren’t there. For a while it was kind of funny, but after a couple hours it really became a problem. I didn’t know what was real.” 

During the last leg of the race, a 24 kilometre climb up part of Mt Hood, his mind and body gave out just three kilometres from the crest. 

“I couldn’t hold myself upright, and if I rested on my handlebars, I was nodding off while riding.  It became unsafe,” he says. 

His crew pulled him off the road and let him sleep for an hour. 

“After that, it was worse. I wouldn’t get on my bike and apparently I thought I was at a softball game.” 

With coaxing from his crew, he remounted his bike. His mind cleared and his competitive nature kicked in when another cyclist passed him.  

“I didn’t like being passed, and I was able to shake off the fog,” he says. “We were near the end of the pack, but it was still a race.”

Despite exhaustion and hallucinations, he completed the race in 46 hours and three minutes. After this year’s huge learning curve, he plans to compete next year.

What attracts a regular guy to extreme sports? 

“You have to know what you’re getting into, accept it and commit to it for the right reasons,” he says. “I want to know what I’m going to do when things get tough. I want to know how I react mentally and physically to a challenge. I am okay with what I saw and very proud of my results.  I’ll take it.”

Shawn O’Hara, Staff writer

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