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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
  Bike Sebring Part 2

The 11.5 mile loop had a short stretch of headwind, followed by a good tailwind on 98 to the junction at 17. I was suffering, but it was a good kind of suffering. I was able to knock down 8 laps before we switched over to the track. My goal had been 10 laps, but something was going on that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was using Perpetuem, so I was getting enough water, electrolytes, and fuel. I would scarf down a banana between laps to get a little extra potassium in, and I was eating a half of a powerbar now and then to give my stomach something substantial to play with. I wasn't bonking and I didn't feel dehydrated, but my performance was below what I thought it should be.

After switching over to the track, the problems persisted. Its possible that the Prednisone I had just tapered off of messed with my system, its possible I just hadn’t acclimated to the heat and I was just mildly dehydrated. But whatever the reason, I was having a very difficult time just getting my heart rate into my aerobic zone and I couldn’t get above my aerobic zone at all. I switched over to plain water for an hour and that seemed to help. My lap times were about 15 minutes per lap and I was able to complete several laps at a time, but the effect was short-lived.

My lap times slowed to 25 minutes per lap. I was pedaling around in my granny gear and could barely get into the aero position. The temperatures dropped into the mid-40’s. SO, I eventually ended up completely bundled up against the cold. I had asked my parents to crew for me, because of their experience getting me out of bed in the morning for school. I knew they would be able to keep me on the bike. My dad did an excellent job. He timed my breaks and helped me back on the bike.

I was amazed at how tired I was between midnight and 3am. Anytime I sat down, my eyes would close; on the bike, I was afraid I would fall asleep while riding. I thought that exercise would keep me alert and awake, but it wasn’t happening. My dad let me take a 20 minute sleep break and as I sat down in the truck I remember thinking, “Maybe I should ask for a powerbar…” and I was asleep before I’d finished the word powerbar. And instantly, he was banging on the door to wake me up. Twenty minutes flew by, I begged for more time as he opened the door and mechanically I got out and got on the bike. He kept saying “10 more laps to 300 miles. You can’t leave here without hitting 300 miles. I didn’t drive all this way for you to quit before 300 miles.” So, in my mind I was thinking 10 laps to go. I would knock out 2 laps at a time (about 40 to 50 minutes) and then take a short break. After Lap ten, he told me to go around for another lap as “insurance.” After that, he just kept saying “you’ve got hours left, go around one more time.”

I ended up with 314.1 miles and got second place in my age group for the RAAM Qualifier which was non-drafting. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the RAAM 425 mile qualifying mark. There were, however, 5 riders who did qualify for RAAM at this event including Ann Wooldridge, the first woman to qualify for RAAM at BikeSebring and the leader in my age group Christopher McDonald who logged an amazing 511 miles in 24 hours. That translates to an average speed of 21.3 mph for 24 hours.

 

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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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