Prior to the race, each participant is strongly encouraged to consult with his or her own doctor about any potential physical or medical limitations.
It is important for each entrant to recognize the potential physical and mental stress which may evolve from participation in such a road race. Adequate physical and mental conditioning prior to the race is therefore essential. If you have not been able to prepare properly, it is best to not attempt the race. Riding 115 kilometers is not an easy task if your training is not up to it. Remember that you should never seriously and indefinitely hurt yourself in playing sports. It's just not worth it. There are many bicycle races out there in the world you can attend later.
Every one should understand that participating in such cycling event is at the participant's own risk.
Aside from its relatively difficult length, what makes road biking difficult is its cut-off times. As much as they may be considered to be very much doable for a serious and experienced cyclist crowd, we considered that, because Indian cyclists do not have an extensive culture of road biking, our distances and cut-off times are a perfect balance for a first year event.
Road biking always presents numerous medical risks, few of which can be extremely serious or on rare occasions fatal. At selected aid stations, at the start of the race and at the finish line, the medical staff will focus on how the participant feels and looks but ultimately participants must understand their own limitations. The best advice we can give you is: the less experienced you are, the more you listen to your body and the alarm symptoms it is sending you.
Please also understand that rescue, medical decisions and actions may have to be taken on your behalf under extreme time constraints and adverse circumstances and that race management will never be responsible for any debts incurred.
We will make the best efforts to give assistance at all times but, ultimately and primarily you are in charge, and you are likely to be solely responsible for creating your own crisis that we must then respond to. Be careful, be responsible, and do not exceed your own abilities and limitations. Please note that in the event that a participant requires emergency evacuation, the participant assumes all financial obligations connected with this service.
Some of the main risks of The Impossible Race - Polo Forest Road Biking but certainly not all of them, are listed here.
These should be understood, eventually discussed with your personal doctor and remembered by all participants, families, before and during the event. No drugs of any kind should be taken before, during or immediately after the race! Many drugs can increase the risk of heat stroke. A partial list of problem drugs includes amphetamines, tranquilizers, and diuretics. Just be very careful with this matter because to this date there is little scientific knowledge about drug reactions with the stress of racing long distances during an event like this. A good way to avoid over-dramatizing the risks is to be fully aware of them and to understand the immediate and emergency response to apply in case of an emergency. Please note that death can result from several of the risk conditions detailed below or from other aspects of participation in The Impossible Race – Polo Forest Road Biking. Although medical and other personnel will assist you when possible, remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own well-being on the road. Only you will know how your body and mind feel at any given time. Monitor yourself during the entire race, and prepare yourself to drop out at the nearest check-point if you find it just isn't your day. Remember and get inspired by the fact that every year, several of the elite participants of some of the most hardcore adventure races out there have dropped out in some years but have come back to win in others. It's OK to DNF (Did Not Finish). It's certainly not enjoyable on the spot but your life is more important than a bicycle race.
Cases of renal shutdown (known technically as acute kidney injury or AKI) have been often reported in adventure racing events and have sometimes caused the death of the participant, possibly weeks after the event (Ironman France in Nice for example saw one of such case in 2011). Appropriate training and adequate hydration are key to prevention of renal shutdown. While usually reversible in healthy people, renal shutdown may cause permanent impairment of kidney function. It is indeed crucial to continue hydrating for several days following the race or until the urine is light yellow and of normal frequency.
As its name suggests, it is a heat-related disorder. It is caused by environmental or metabolic heat load which can quickly become a serious medical emergency. In addition to the generation of heat from metabolism, environmental heat stress can be significant during your race. Heat stroke can cause death, kidney failure and brain damage. It is the third leading cause of death in athletes besides cardiac disorders and head neck trauma while falling or tripping over an obstacle. Your muscles produce tremendous amounts of heat when exercising. The faster the pace, the more heat is produced. Evaporation is the most important heat dissipation mechanism in warm environments. High humidity limits sweat evaporation and therefore, heat loss during exercise. Each litre of effective evaporated sweat removes about 550-600 Kcl from the body. When heat production exceeds the body's heat loss, body temperature rises.
Heat stroke occurs when thermoregulatory natural body mechanisms fail to compensate for elevations in the body's core temperature. Heat stroke represents thermoregulatory failure, with core temperature elevated - 40°C or higher - reduction or cessation of sweating, rapid pulse, rapid respiration, hypotension but also unsteady gait, confusion, reduced consciousness, convulsion and, finally, coma. It is important that participants be aware of heat stroke symptoms. These include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, faintness, irritability, lassitude, confusion, weakness, and rapid heart rate. Impending heat stroke may be preceded by a decrease in sweating and the appearance of goose bumps on the skin, especially over the chest. Heat stroke may progress from minimal symptoms to complete collapse in a very short period of time. The heat stroke is more frequent with high temperature in high humidity, but hyperthermia can occur even on cool day.
Consequently, the risk of heat related illness is greater when participants may be inadequately prepared in terms of training and have not acquired natural acclimatization to the heat of the location the event takes place. Light-colored apparel and ventilated helmet will help. Acclimatization to heat requires approximately two weeks. For some of you living outside of India in more temperate climate it's impossible. We recommend regular training 90 minutes in over 30°C heat for at least two weeks prior to the race. Dehydration and exhaustion (about 70% of treated problems during endurance events) that can lead to a heat stroke are reportedly much higher in longer distances but it can also occur on short distance events, when athletes run at their higher speed, higher % of their VO2 max and when their rate of metabolic heat production is at its highest. That will be the case for some of you who would race each other hard so be careful because a heat stroke is a serious incident and it is associated with high mortality rate if treatment is delayed.
To treat a heatstroke casualty, first, the participant shall be moved to a cool and shaded area where he should be layed down with his feet elevated. Then his clothing should be loosen or removed completely. Then, try to fan and cool his axillae, neck and groin with towels immersed in ice water. If this does not produce a rapid fall in his core temperature or his mental state does not improve, emergency race response team should consider a rapid evacuation to the closest hospital.
Risks associated with low blood sodium
Low blood sodium concentrations in the blood (hyponatremia) in long distance adventure sports have been associated with severe illness requiring hospitalization. Generally, those individuals have been overhydrating with water only. The best way to avoid developing symptomatic hyponatremia is to not overhydrate. The best way to not overhydrate is to be properly trained and know yourself. There is no evidence that consuming additional sodium or using electrolyte-containing drinks rather than water is preventative of exercise-induced hyponatremia. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia may include bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, incoordination, dizziness and fatigue. If left untreated, hyponatremia may progress to seizures, pulmonary and cerebral edema, coma and death. If symptoms develop, one needs to assess whether they are due to overhydrating. If you know that you have been drinking a lot (and we mean a lot), then stop fluid intake until you remove excess fluid through urination. If severe symptoms are present, this is a medical emergency where you should be transported to a hospital. Because of the remoteness of the race, be aware that this will not be possible immediately.
Injuries resulting from fatigue and falls
One of the biggest danger in biking is falling. Fatigue, combined with the effects of dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia, sleep deprivation and other debilitating conditions can produce disorientation and irrationality. It's a common problem adventure racers share in the difficult events they participate around the world. Appropriate long distance training and racing experience which both help to know yourself are key to prevent unbearable fatigue and dramatic consequences such as loss of focus and falling. First thing first: wear your helmet with the chin strap still securely fastened at absolutely all times. If you feel dizzy, disoriented or confused, do not risk falling. Stop, get off your bike, sit or lie down on the route until you recover or are found. An unconscious participant even a few feet off the road could be impossible to find until it is too late. A few minutes gained in your final cycling timing are not worth risking a serious injury.
Rhabdomyolysis and overuse injuries
It has been found that some degree of muscle cell death in the legs occurs with participants who have exerted themselves beyond their level of training. The recovery can take several months. To prevent it, you must train accordingly and not try to bike a distance you have not been seriously preparing for.
Note: This information has been compiled from some of the best and most recognized adventure race events in the world, including but not limited to The Tour de France, l'Etape du Tour,The Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS), the official site of governing body of adventure racing in the US and also a few Ironman triathlons.