Transplant Athlete
Monday, May 30, 2005
  We Are Bingo Fuel Maverick

My RAAM Team mates sans Martin Phillips (He's in Africa) were joined by our crew chief Mike Wheeler as we participated in the Mountains of Misery. We used this as a warm up of sorts for Team RAAM by riding, relay style, down to Blacksburg. I made up the route avoiding Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, attempting to stick to the flatter parts of Viginia, all while avoiding heavily trafficked roads.

We left at 10PM Friday night. I assumed the guys needed some night road riding experience. They've got plenty of 24 hour mountain bike experience. I knew we were in trouble when 10 miles into the ride, I made a left hand turn off of Rte 50 onto a dirt road. I spent a couple seconds thinking "maybe they'll want to pack it up and take the truck down," but I pushed on and they followed in the truck. On skinny tires, I was sliding all over the place, and my puny light, which is usually fine for paved roads, was a nightmare on gravel. I had to slow up on the downhills and turns to stay in the trucks headlights. As soon as we hit pavement again, I pulled over to let Bill ride for an hour.

The transition seemed to take for ever, in actuality, it was probably 10 minutes. If we don't fix that it could add an extra day to our RAAM Race. Luckily, as the night wore on, we got a bit better with the transitions. RAAM rules state that a rider cannot proceed without a follow vehicle at night. A second follow vehicle will definitely help make the transitions go quicker. During the day, transitions aren't much of an issue, because the vehicle can go ahead and drop off a rider.

As the sun rose, we got to see how beautiful the area was where we were riding. Unfortunately, it was the wrong area. We ended up getting lost a couple of times; another thing we'll have to fix for RAAM. Due to fatigue, guys in the truck sometimes gave wrong directions; sometimes, the road that seemed to exist on a map were no where to be found in reality; and the guys in the truck rarely measured the distance from turn to turn, so we went 8 miles in the wrong direction. Eight miles in the wrong direction is just about a full "pull". Cyclists call a turn at the front as a "pull", in our case, each rider is out on the road for a "pull" of about an hour. We were pretty far behind schedule when we got down to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was 190 miles into the ride, which meant we had another 75 miles to go, when the driver realized we were nearly out of gas. We picked up Bruce from his pull and dropped off Mike. Then we went in search of Gas. The light came on indicating that we had enough gas for about 20 miles of driving. We crossed our fingers and baby'ed the accelerator up the hills. After our twenty miles was up, I figured we'd be searching for a park ranger to help us out, but we saw signs for a major highway. we pressed on for another 5 miles or so and we turned north on Rte 43. Luckily it was all downhill from there and once we hit Rte 11, therre was a gas station/Burger King right there at the intersection. We grabbed burgers and filled up the tank. The tank holds 15 gallons of fuel and we put in 14.85 gallons. That means we had enough gas for another 2 miles. Running out of fuel, yet another thing we don't want going wrong during RAAM.


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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
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  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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