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  • Andy Hitch

ATV and Dirt Bike Riding While Infected with COVID-19

Since my business (Backbone Adventures) is considered a non-essential company, we were ordered to close in late March 2020. In truth, I decided to close down a few days before the order came from the state. The scare was bad enough that I couldn't imagine putting my employees and customers in danger.

When we closed up shop, we all sheltered in place. Me and my wife and daughter live on a secluded mountain above Estes Park Colorado. We felt good knowing we had lots of food and 65 acres bordering National Forest to roam around on during the shut down. We knew we could hunker down for at least 2 months without going into town.

After a week, I started developing COVID-19 type symptoms. I called on day one in hopes of getting tested. I was told by everyone I called that no tests were available. My symptoms got worse. However, after 10 days and some damn long nights without sleep, I started to get over it. We chalked it up as the common cold because I had a really bad sinus thing going on toward the end. On that 10th day though, my doctor called to let me know they were able to test me if I wanted it. I was against it, but my wife thought it couldn't hurt. We'd been staying away from everyone this entire time. She wanted to know if we had to continue that way.

On day 14, I finally got tested. On day 17, my results came back positive for the virus. Since we had not been around anyone this entire time, I can only imagine I picked up the virus on March 22nd when I was buying the last of our groceries. I was even wearing a mask and gloves that day. I felt like an idiot in the store because nobody else was wearing anything. Guess I was the unlucky soul. Actually, I think more people have, or have had this virus than we can wrap our heads around.

Although I had all the symptoms, (fever, chills, dry cough, trouble breathing, headache, sharp pain in my temple, I couldn't piss right, sore throat, lost my sense of taste and smell, and had this very strange sinus thing unlike anything I've ever had, my wife and daughter never showed any symptoms. We are assuming they're infected as well. They just might be asymptomatic.

I'll be honest, I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, weather is still wintery here so I'm out of shape, and being 50 years old, I was pretty damn afraid of getting the virus. I'm not going to say it was easy, but I've had worse flu symptoms in the past.

The biggest struggle for me was getting motivated because I was so lethargic. Wondering whether I had it or not, I knew I needed to drink hot liquids and get active. On the worst of my days being sick, I dug out the planter in front of our cabin. It's 30 feet long x 4 feet deep. I dug it out, pulled out some old aspens, and put down new weed barrier and mulch. It was a hell of a struggle, but I felt I had to do it. The next 3 days I spent staining the entire 3 story log cabin.

In between work, I found time for play. I have 7 miles of difficult single track on my property. I spent over an hour each day ripping it on my dirt bike as hard as possible. I pushed myself to the limit. I guess I hoped I could sweat it out.

I can tell you right now with absolute certainty, pushing myself in the physical activity of riding did the trick. Every inch of my body was telling me to go lay down and take it easy. However, each time I rode, even though I had to stop a number of times to cough up a lung, I felt 100% better at the end. In fact, I thought I kicked it after the first time I rode. But, it came back again that night. I just kept doing it though. Each time I did, I felt MUCH better. I'm no doctor, but I'm telling you, being seriously active is the cure. It may not be for an elderly person or someone with serious pre-existing conditions, but for the regular Joe, even one as out of shape as myself, it worked like a charm. One thing though, drink lots of water and Gatorade if you have it. COVID-19 dehydrates you big time. It'll sneak up on you.

When you get this, (and you will eventually) stay active, get your heart rate up as much as you're comfortable doing, sweat it out, drink hot liquids often, and stay hydrated. Again, I'm no doctor and you shouldn't rely on my advice. I guess it's just more my opinion.

Here are some pictures of things I did while I was sick.

Classic Colorado weather. One day it's 70 degrees, and the next we're sitting in 18" of snow.

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