Transplant Athlete
Monday, June 20, 2005
  T minus 22 Hours 30 minutes

A big thanks to the Redfields - Will, Michelle, Jared, Andrew and Annie for putting us up in San Diego. They have graciously opened up their beautiful home in the hills of La Mesa to nearly a dozen strangers.

We've registered and we had our video interviews today. They asked me to take my glasses off so they wouldn't reflect the lights, which scared me...I like to look people in the eye when I'm talking with them and without my glasses I tend to squint, which doesn't look very good on TV. I think I got the message down on tape, whether or not they use it is another story.

There is less than 23 hours to the race start and after the video interviews I was a bit amped up and that started getting me worried. Spending the rest of the day on the edge is a bit rough on the system and would leave me cooked by tomorrow. That's when GG showed up. He was on a mission travelling the country to tell 200 people a day that they were welcome in Jesus Christ's Kingdom. Something about him calmed me down. He handed me a sheet that had this written on it:

Today and Tomorrow:
I will be positive in all my thoughts. I will be a blessing to all those I encounter. I will walk in integrity and honor. I will be creative and dynamic in my work. I will concentrate on solutions not problems. I will be thankful for all that I do have. I will act on decisions that I have made. I will smile more than I did yesterday. I will think about my daily vitamin. In Jesus Christ's name

Regardless of your religious preferences, that strikes a cord. I remember feeling so blessed after my transplant and I remember during a bicycle trip across the country in 2001 with PACTour frequently just looking out over the landscape and feeling blessed to be able to see such magnificence. GG's note reminded me how lucky I was to be here.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005
  San Diego

I arrived in San Diego nearly a week early for RAAM. I was severely disappointed with my hotel. Orbitz said the hotel would have a courtesy shuttle, AM/FM Clock Radio(what time is it here?), Courtesy car (haha), Business Center (no internet access for me), free local calls (they hit me up for a buck fifty when I checked out), and a coffee maker in the room. NOT! And Oh Yeah, Its in the hood, right alongside Rte 5. What a BAIT AND SWITCH. I could have been at a Days Inn with a pool. Thank God they had the complimentary breakfast (not that it was that great). I would have been really pissed. Once you factor in the shuttle cost (They raped me, I would have been better off taking a cab or renting a car), my hotel price jumped nearly $10 per night. Its an America’s Best Inn at 1801 Logan Ave, San Diego, but it seems to be also branded as an Econolodge. Do Not Stay Here.
I went for a 6 hour ride today. I was just noodling around, nothing serious. I went up to La Mesa, where Bill’s cousin will be putting us up for the weekend. That’s a great ride up into the hills. I then rode down University into the Downtown area and scoped out the restaurants. I found a great sub shop (Grab N Go). After Lunch, I went up towards Mission Beach and got pretty lost, so I decided to head back to the hotel. On my way past the Airport, I was cruising in the aero bars at 25 mph when a BLUE Van coming in the opposite direction decided he/she/it could make a left hand turn in front of me. For those who don’t know, it takes a couple of seconds to get out of the aero bars and grab the brakes. I slammed on the brakes and locked up the rear wheel. I saw that BLUE sheet metal getting closer and closer and I braced for impact. I shed enough momentum that I could steer around the back of the van. Time to change the shorts. I spent the next 15 minutes shaking and wondering how I missed the van. I read this month’s issue of Outside Magazine on the plane and it has a look at the "up and coming" US racers. Craig Lewis is supposed to be the next Lance and during the TT stage of the Tour de Georgia, he was in the aerobars and cruising at 40 mph when a 65 year old retiree pulled his SUV into Craig’s path. When he woke up at the hospital, his first question, scribbled onto a pad was “When ride?” Lance himself has been hit by cars 6 times. So, with all of these close calls, I’m starting to get the feeling that my number is coming up soon.
BTW The RAAM start line is set up.
PS. Papa Johns won’t deliver to this hotel, yet another reason why this hotel sucks.

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Friday, June 10, 2005

I had a nightmare last night that I was in the middle of RAAM and my cleats fell apart. There were pieces all over the roadway, I was scrounging for the small screws before the rain started coming down. I was missing screws, so I was thinking it would be difficult to continue with them, when I noticed pieces of my pedals lying around on the ground. Then the rains started.

I had my pedals fall apart during a 300k brevet last year and my cleats fell apart when I arrived at the US Transplant Games in 2004. So, there must be a bit of anxiety there.

This is the longest taper I've ever done for an event, it will be nearly 3 weeks long as of race time. I'm feeling strong, so I think its working.


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Monday, June 06, 2005
  World Transplant Games Federation

I have completed most of the paperwork required for the World Transplant Games in London Ontario this July.
  • They want proof that my health insurance covers me outside the US. So, I'm sending the handbook I received with my card. The last time I went through this exercise, my insurance company was a bit dumbfounded - "Of course you're covered in emergency situations"
  • There is the Team USA registration form, which is nothing more than a liability waiver. You can't sue us if you want to participate.
  • There is the travel insurance waiver. Which I'm guessing was an attempt to scare us into buying travel insurance through their affiliate. I can't even begin to tell you how much this form pissed me off.
  • The Athlete Questionnaire - which doesn't really cover anything important and doesn't really have enough space to provide anything important.
  • There is the 2005 World Transplant Games Participant Waiver and Release of Liability. AGAIN. We were required to waive our rights when we registered, but apparently we have to sign our rights away again. How many times do we have to waive our rights? And if we are waiving our rights, why is there so much paperwork? I swear I had less paperwork to fill out when I had my kidney transplant.
  • Then there is the required travel information form, which includes emergency contact information and requests proof of insurance. Maybe its just me, but shouldn't that info be on the medical forms. PS I'M DRIVING...
  • Which brings us to the medical forms. Which comes in three flavors. There is the "Statement by Participant" which asks how often I exercise per week and how many minutes. It asks what sports I do for leisure, and what sports competitively: Scrabble, Twister, Frisbee, Rambling. Competitive level: Bite Me. I figure if that's not competitive I don't know what is. The next two forms are for the doctors to fill out. They strongly suggest a stress test be performed, but I'm not buying that.

Dear World Transplant Games Federation,
Bite Me!
Lou Lamoureux


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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Feeling refreshed from the magical peanut butter and banana sandwich, I passed rest stop #9 and caught a quick glimpse of James Rosar. James was featured prominently in the RAAM broadcast on NBC. I quickly doubled back to say hi to him. We exchanged a few words and it seemed like he was still harboring some issues about dropping out, it’s a shame that he can’t see it for the victory that it was.

I got back on course and flew down the road. After we crossed rte 460, it was a gentle descent for several miles. That’s about the time my magical sandwich wore off, and I figured out that standing on the leg was probably what was easing the pain. There was a gentle climb back to Rte 460. The real test was coming up though.

The final climb to the finish line at Mountain Lakes Resort was a biatch. Its purported to be a 3 mile, Category 1 climb with pitches that hit nearly 12%. I’ve been on some steep climbs, but never anything like this. People were walking their bikes up the climb, they were so tired they didn’t care where they were, they were just taking the shortest line through the turns. Other riders were riding back and forth across the roadway trying to ease the climb. My left knee was killing me as I ground my way up the climb, steering around walkers, trying to avoid getting hit by the people diving across the roadway. I was suffering big time and desperately trying to get to the rest stop on the climb. It was supposed to be 2 miles from the top, but it turned out to be about a mile and a half from the top. At that point, there was very little blood going to my brain, so the questions began. Was I really 1.5 miles from the top or was it 2.3 miles to the top?

The noise from the crowd helped level out the road a bit and I finished strong. It took me 10 hours and 40 minutes. Mike was there to grab my bike and helped get it into the shuttle. I was overcome with emotion and was nearly in tears. Bruce had crashed somewhere on the course and was icing down his leg, even with a crash he still put in a strong finish well under 9 hours. Mike had gotten lost and ended up doing about 6 bonus miles. Bill found himself riding near Dog Boy. Dog Boy crash dieted his way to an 80 something pound weight loss, quit smoking and drinking and apparently thinks that makes him an expert cyclist. Bill had brought his brand new, bright and shiny time trial bike to the event and Dog Boy said, “I guess next year you’ll bring a road bike” or something to that effect. I wonder if he harassed all the people on mountain bikes, or the people riding doubles instead of triples, or even the couple on a tandem?

We caught shuttles to the start line where my truck was parked, talk about a scary ride, the shuttle drivers kept dropping a wheel off the pavement on the twisties. I would have felt a bit better if there was a guard rail. I commented that I was glad I was wearing a seat belt and the rider next to me said they only make it easier to find the bodies. James Rosar was in the area where we picked up our bikes, but I was too tired to talk to him.

It was definitely a good team bonding event. I’ll definitely ride this again next year. I think I can shave at least an hour off of my time.


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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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