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Transplant Athlete
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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