Transplant Athlete
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I've been tapering for a little over a week already for the TT. I've been making lots and lots of lists. I have a little list that I'll tape to my bars with my planned rest stop mileages and times. I've got lists for what I need to do for the next couple of days. I'd like to thank Mark at Bonzai Sports for loaning me a ZIPP 404 front wheel.

(insert commercial here) If you are in the Mid-Atlantic region, visit Bonzai Sports March 6th for the 8th Annual Quintana Roo Roadshow(end commercial)

Now I have two ZIPP 404 front wheels and I have a 404 rear and Zipp Disk rear. I will also have my Campy Neutrons as spare wheels and Mavic Open Pros on my Litespeed Vortex which is coming along as a backup. Murphy's law states that whatever can go wrong will go wrong unless you're carrying a spare.

I've been rehearsing the event in my mind twice a day for several days now. I do it right before bed and when I wake up in the morning. I see myself pedalling along at my target pace and my HRM is pegged at the top of my aerobic zone. Sometimes I imagine the wind has kicked up(just in case) and my HRM is above aerobic, but below lactate threshold and then I turn downwind and my HR drops back into the aerobic zone. Sometimes I see myself on the Raceway (Where the 24 hour racers will complete the race) and I'm pedalling at the target pace in my aerobic zone and following the course around and around.

Well, I have to go for a short ride and then glue a tubular on my disk, so my next report will be after the TT.


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Thursday, February 12, 2004

I had my 3 year check-up(5 months late) at the Inova Fairfax Transplant Clinic today. The results? I'm in great health. For those keeping score at home:
My Serum Creatinine was 1.4; A healthy range is 1.2 - 1.5
Creatinine is a product of muscle metabolism. It enters your blood stream at a constant rate and is excreted by the kidneys at a constant rate. If something is wrong with the kidneys, this test will show it. I did my first century the month before my kidney transplant and my Serum Creatinine was 10.3 the day after the ride. They tested me again right before the transplant and my Serum Creatinine was 10.3. That meant my kidney's GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) was way below the chart of kidney function they gave me. Based on the graph, I'd say it was around 6% or 7%.

My Hematocrit was 38%; A healthy Range is 38 - 50(Professional Cyclists)
The kidney releases a hormone called EPO(the correct spelling for ErythroPOietin) which tells the bones to make more Red Blood Cells. There are many possible ways to lose Red Blood Cells(for instance, they can be excreted by the kidneys). I live in Virginia pretty darn close to sea level, so my hematocrit has been between 38 and 42. Interesting note, Professional cyclists who use EPO to get their Hematocrit over 50% are turning their blood into sludge. This is a percentage, so the higher the number, the less plasma they have to "grease" the red blood cells through their arteries and their hearts have to work harder, hence the occasional heart attack among seemingly healthy pro cyclists.

My FK506 was 7.1; This is a measurement of the Tacrolimus(Prograf - an immunosupressing medication) in my blood. This number should be between 5 and 20.

Prograf is Nephrotoxic and neurotoxic. Yeah Me! In larger doses, this medication can damage the kidneys and the nervous system. The damage to the nervous system manifests itself for me as trembling in the hands. After the transplant, I couldn't write very well, I had trouble reading the newspaper if I was holding it in front of me. Luckily they've reduced my medications since then. The Cellcept is just Nephrotoxic in large doses.

For more information about Kidney Health go to:
National Kidney Foundation (NKF)

For more Information about Organ Donation go to:

Also Check out:
Transplant Living

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I went on a 7 hour ride yesterday and it felt great. I got a flat in my rear tire around 25 miles into the ride. A small rock had worked its way through my tire casing. I booted the tire with a powerbar wrapper and inflated the tube with CO2.

The weather was gorgeous and sunny, but I still wore my rain gear, all this melting has left plenty of water on the roads. I stopped for a quick lunch at Subway and the food sat in my stomach for an hour refusing to digest...

I was mostly following the Reston Century route, but I skipped a loop out near Hillsboro, and then had to find my way home. The route jumps onto the W&OD trail around Purcellvile and its a straight shot back to Reston. The trail was still snow covered and impassable with my 700x23c tires. I zig-zagged around the countryside, basically heading east. I got on Sycolin road, which seemed to parallel the Dulles Greenway. The only problem is that Sycolin turns into a dirt road then is paved for a short stretch(over the Greenway) and then its back to dirt until just before you hit Belmont Ridge Rd. When I hit Belmont, the light was fading and I figured I had to get someplace close to my house where my wife could easily find me. I was able to make it to an Ice Skating Rink across the road from where she used to work(it was well after dark by then).

My neck is a little sore from holding up my helmet, I think I'm going to switch back to my older helmet. Its a good bit heavier and should make the newer helmet feel lighter during the 24 Hour TT. My legs feel fine, and other than the Subway SNAFU, my nutrition and hydration plans seemed to work pretty well.

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Monday, February 09, 2004

I'm pretty nervous about the 24 hour TT. Do I have enough training in my legs this early in the season? Will riding unsupported be a serious mistake? Why am I doing this?

I sent an email to Nancy Guth for some answers, she's done this event since it started and I've read articles she's written in Ultracycling Magazine. I also called the Race Director who described the course for me. It starts out on the Sebring International Raceway at 6:30 am. The track is 3.7 miles long and we do 3 laps, then we head out on a 88 mile loop. It sounds like the loop heads North, then SouthEast, then West back to the Raceway. I was initially afraid I would have to carry water for the whole 88 mile loop, but the race director told me that there will be support stops at the 35 mile point and the 60 mile point. Back at the Raceway we do an 11 mile loop until 6:30pm. At that point, the 12 Hour race ends and the 24 Hour riders go around the Raceway until 6:30am. He mentioned that I could leave my supplies on the side of the track to refill so that I don't have to go back to my vehicle. He also said the course is dead flat and that in the past, the weather has been a major factor. Nancy had also mentioned that the weather can be formidable. Still, for me the race is a big unknown. I haven't ridden the course yet, my training in Virginia has either been on a trainer or heavily bundled up on local roads. I feel pretty slow right now, but I know I'll go faster in the warmer weather without all the cold weather gear.
I am the ultimate nerd, I created an excel spreadsheet of my laps that takes into account the speed I need to maintain to hit my goal based on the length of my rest stops. Of course, the spreadsheet will go out the window when I'm facing a 20mph headwind...but it makes me feel better now.

I have lost some of the weight I gained during the off-season, I've got the fastest gear I can afford on my Softride: Zipp 404 wheels, Hed Aerobar, Ouzo Aero Fork. So, it boils down to me on February 28th. What do I have in me? What am I made of? Those are pretty heavy questions to ask. The only thing I know for sure is that I don't question my kidney, I can't blame it if I don't make 425 miles. This is up to my head, my heart, my lungs, and my legs.

This year I'll be doing Ultra-Cycling events to raise awareness for organ donation, the irony is I'm not aware of my own kidney. It works flawlessly. It doesn't give me any problems, it doesn't hold up my training, I don't even realize its there. I may call myself a Transplant Athlete, but I feel more like an age-grouper. I guess that just proves that organ donation works.


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Saturday, February 07, 2004

This is the tale of a bike named Luci and her love affair with her handlebars. I bought Luci(a blue Softride Rocket) for my trip across the country. She has a Cinelli Solido Stem and on Thursday, I went into Bonzai to put a new HED Aerobar on her for the 24 Hour TT. The bolt heads holding the front plate on(and the road bar) stripped. So I tried using an "in-out"(I think that's what they called it). That didn't work. I then used a Dremel to cut a notch in the bolt head and tried using a screwdriver to get the bolt out and that didn't work either, the metal was too soft and the screw driver was just pushing the metal around.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

In January I got serious about entering a 24 Hour Time Trial and since then I've been training in my aerobic zone about 12 hours per week, mostly on an indoor trainer.

I had about a month of weight training in December at Evolution Health and Fitness under the guidance of Video Coaches Adam Coon and Jason Goyanko. I rely on their guidance for my current training plan.

The 24 TT is Bike Sebring and it is a RAAM qualifier. My goal is to get RAAM qualified this year so my goal is 425 miles(the RAAM Qualifying Distance).

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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