Transplant Athlete
Saturday, January 28, 2006

I just noticed at the beginning of this week that I was a bit overtrained. Luckily, its a recovery week, but I will also take it easy next week as well just to be on the safe side. What symptoms did I notice? A really, really short temper. Interestingly, that's not one of my normal symptoms of overtraining. Usually, when I'm overtrained, I lose all motivation to train and my legs just feel like crap. My motivation is really high right now and I am feeling stronger than ever. How am I taking it easy? No century today and I'll probably do a 50 or 75 mile ride tomorrow. During the week it was easy spins on the trainer or short, easy trips pulling my kids around town. Next week will be more of the same, but next weekend will be back up to long rides.

There are roughly 20 days left before the BikeSebring 24 Hour Time Trial. Yes, I'll be there on my Softride, look for my red 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier(w/ Virginia Tags) as my support vehicle. See ya'll there. I'll be mainly self supporting on this trip; however, there are tons of local riders going down for the event, so I'm sure somebody will help out if I need it during the last 12 hours. Chuck and Crista will be coming down with their Tandem for the 12 hour joined by Lizz Settle, Jeff Magnuson and Matt Settle will be tackling the 24 hour event. Chris Mento might come down. It should be a blast.

Only 133 days until RAAM. After Sebring, I have a recovery week and then I start my climbing Build phase and the beginning of quad century weekends.


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Monday, January 23, 2006
  Sweet Sugarloaf & Pork Barrel Centuries

Saturday was a beautiful day in the Nations Capital. I started riding a little before 6am, forgot my helmet and had to turn around, so I was a little bit late at the ride start in Rock Creek Park nearly 28 miles later. It really felt like a spring day, especially since Squadra Coppi and DC Velo were out in force. There was a little bit of rain just past the 70 mile rest stop, but that passed quickly. I stopped briefly at lunch and then pushed on with Bob Sheldon, Jeff Radan, and one other rider, but I was dropped within a mile. I eventually caught up with Bob Sheldon and we rode about 25 miles together. The route was pretty weird, we actually had to walk through a field to get from one road to another and then in DC we went through a gazillion turns to get back to Rock Creek Park. Traffic was messy in Georgetown, so I was the fastest thing on wheels. The batteries in my headlight went out near Falls Church, so I stopped at a 7-11 to get new batteries.

I am amazed at how well the Cateye EL500 works. First of all, those batteries went through RAAM and may have been used in Brevets. Second, it throws an amazing amount of light down the road. I would say its brighter than my cateye halogen and lasts about 10 times longer.

Back to the ride. I was feeling strong, but getting low on energy and eventually bonked in Vienna. I made it to Reston (4 miles from home) and stopped at a McDonalds to grab some cheeseburgers. While that probably wasn't the best choice, Powerbars weren't getting the job done and I was out of Perpetuem. I eventually got home at 7:30 after 157 miles.

Sunday was cold, but clear and the ride was relatively flat in the beginning. I showed up late and time trialed to the first rest stop and was able to catch up to the group. I actually stopped for lunch at the Pig & Steak (great sweet potato fries - bad Beef BBQ Sandwich) with the group, I was feeling really low on energy. I was able to keep up with the tandems after lunch as they set a blistering pace. The ride was 102 miles.


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Sunday, January 15, 2006
  Union Bridge Century

Yesterday was "Driving Miss Libby" leaving from Emmitsburg, MD, it covered 102.7 miles through Pennsylvania. Rudy, Chuck/Crista and myself rode together for the ride. This ride was relatively flat and unexpectedly dry.

Today, I woke up an hour earlier than I needed to and the house was cold and shaking from the brutal wind outside. I really had to convince myself to get out of bed. I was the only one to show up at Chuck's house for the "Union Bridge Century" and if I hadn't shown up, he and Crista were considering not riding (I think they were joking). We decided to cut out 5 miles that would be into the wind and uphill.

This ride was brutal. There was a nasty headwind and we had to be constantly on guard because of the wind gusts. One second, you're leaning into a gust and then seconds later the gust is gone. Riding too close to the road edge could be dangerous with the unpredictable winds. There were a couple of times I thought the tandem was going into the grass. At the first rest stop, I desperately wanted to turn around, but the lunch stop was only 18 miles away. According to Chuck, the wind would be at our backs for the return trip. I just kept thinking 18 miles to Lunch. 18 Miles. We averaged 12.2 mph getting to lunch. To put that in perspective, Saturdays average for 102.7 miles was 15.4 mph. After lunch, we raised our average to 13.6 mph and finished 95 miles in 7 hours. We did have our tailwind, but there were still sections that were uphill and into the wind.

I have to thank Crista and Chuck because there is no way I could train for RAAM without them. Crista supplies cue sheets and maps and organizes these weekend rides. Without these rides, its doubtful I could get out and ride one century a weekend let alone two. And today, their presence kept me going when the ride got tough.



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Friday, January 13, 2006
  Solo Traditional RAAM

I've just been informed by the Race Across America Director that I am accepted into the Solo Traditional(non-stop) Division for this year's race. Game On!

There is a cold wet century on tap for tomorrow, but Sunday's century is looking good.


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Thursday, January 12, 2006
  Le Tour Direct

With the new RAAM Rules, I've been wondering what to do if I'm told I have to compete in the mandatory rest category. I thought I would back out in protest and maybe consider Le Tour Direct instead. Le Tour Direct is the Tour De France in one stage, just like RAAM used to be, its non-stop. Now, I loved cycling in France, but I would be seriously afraid of doing a RAAM style event in a foreign country. The langauage barrier alone would be formidable; then there's the food situation, you can't find a 7-11 on every street corner like you can here. The scenery would be worth it though.

However, I just got a freaky email from one of the organizers of LeTour. He (Hans Mauritz) is accusing co-director Guss Moonen of skipping the 4 toughest peaks in the race (Col du Glandon, Col de Lauteret, Col de Madeleine and Alpe D’Huez) and going further by accusing Guss of cheating in his past RAAM's. Hans claims that Guss' wife Anny is one of the witnesses against him. It just gets even more bizarre, Hans apparently disqualified Jure Robic because Wolfgang Fasching accused Jure of cheating. Then he disqualified Wolfgang because Jure's team accused him of cheating. Jure's defense is that he showed in RAAM 2003 that he can maintain 28 mph when he's 2800 miles into a race. A bit unbelieveable if you ask me.

Not the end of the story. Apparently, Guss received all of the race sponsorship money and paid some prize money to both Jure and Wolfgang. Hans sued Gus claiming that he(Hans) owned the rights to the Le Tour Direct to force Gus to cancel a competing event he had scheduled for 2006. Aparently, Jure is racing Le Tour Direct in 2006 despite being disqualified in 2005? I'm still a bit confused, but that's a lot of drama for a race only a year or so old. Maybe that makes good TV in Europe.


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Monday, January 09, 2006
  New RAAM Rules

I am so depressed right now. First of all, my cable modem is down, so I can’t even get this out to you. Second, on Friday, The Race Across America (RAAM) changed its rules making rest breaks mandatory for solo riders. I’m upset that as a registered rider for the 2006 event, I still haven’t been notified by the organizers about this huge change. The change has not been publicized on the website. I found out about this change when I went to the Ultracycling Listserv. Chris Kostman posted this article link concerning the changes. Another person said the new rules were on the RAAM website, but you have to look really hard to find them.

Essentially, they are making almost half of the time stations into control points where riders can stop and sleep. Five of these 20 control points are "Required Stops" of 2 hours or more. Riders don't get credit for stopping anywhere but the control points, so I predict big business for restaurants and hotels near the control points and a reduction in business elsewhere along the route. Theoretically, one could ride across the country stopping only for the mandatory breaks and then be required to stop for 30 hours in McKee City only 14 miles from Atlantic City.

The solo RAAM that I fell in love with is now called the "Solo Nonstop Record Challenge". They've stripped it of prize money, which is ok by me, I'll be lucky to finish. But the main thing is entrance is at the discretion of the race director/owner Jim Pitre. What if he doesn't let me enter? I won't compete in the sleeping category.

I can't help but think this is equivalent to the New Coke blunder. I just hope it doesn't kill the race. I have to agree with Bryce Walsh who said (on the listserv) "I can't help but feel a bit sad, like an escalator has been installed on Everest."

I am so depressed.


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Monday, January 02, 2006
  Lou's Excellent Adventure

I joined a bunch of DC Randonneurs for a New Year's day century starting from Hains Point and winding its way south along the Potomac on the Mt Vernon Trail. The weather was great and there was good visibility. We then worked our way down to Occoquan and the lunch stop. I arrived with the group at the lunch stop, but I wanted to keep moving. About a mile past lunch, I snapped a spoke. This was the first spoke I've snapped in 5 years of Ultras. So, I worked my way back to the lunch stop and borrowed a spoke wrench.

I was in a hurry and wasn't methodical about adjusting the spokes, so after about 20 minutes of futzing around. I got serious, sat down on a bench and started methodically adjusting the spokes. By the time the group finished their lunch, I was just finishing up. I rode off with the group and about 5 miles later, I shifted into my largest cog to climb a hill and my derailleur imploded. I'm guessing that my wheel wasn't dished properly with the missing spoke and that when I shifted into the largest cog the wheel ate my derailleur. That was an expensive lesson, Campy derailleurs cost $280.

Chuck Wood turned the bike into a single speed while I called for a SAG and then I removed the remnants of my derailleur. I set up a rendesvous with my SAG about 12 miles away. First of all, I thought it was closer, like 6 or 8 miles away. Second, I thought the single speed would work, but I got about a half mile away and the chain jumped to the next largest cog and locked up. It took me about 5 minutes to get the wheel off enough to move the chain back down to a smaller cog. I got a little ways further down the road when it happened again, only I inadvertently back pedaled and the chain went back down. I was able to use a see-saw pedaling motion to go a little further down the road, but it started jumping easier and easier. I ended up going about 5 miles on my Chuck Wood single speed before the chain hopped up to a larger cog and then snapped. I then went another 3 miles standing on the pedal and kicking off with my other foot. A friendly rider went ahead, found my wife, and asked her to drive down Rte 123 to meet me. When she got to me I was about 4 miles from where we were supposed to meet. It took me nearly two hours to go those last 8 miles.

I hope that isn't an omen for what 2006 is going to bring me cycling-wise.


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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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