Transplant Athlete
Sunday, April 30, 2006
  No Title

A little over a week ago(a tuesday) I was sprinting across an intersection with the kids behind me in a trailer and my back spasmed. When the pain didn't ease up, I went to see a doctor at my PCP's office(on thursday). I was prescribed a Muscle Relaxant and told to Ice my back after exercise and to heat and stretch my back before exercise. The muscle relaxant gave me most of my range of motion back, but I was in a lot of pain. On Saturday, I rode in the Katie Ride, a 63 mile charity ride in Florida. The group I was in averaged 21 mph.

Then on Sunday, I rode an easy century with the DC Randonneurs. It was easy until the last 30 or 40 miles when the THREE TANDEMS got a little frisky. I think it started when Steve and Lin went up to relieve Chuck and Crista who had been on the front for awhile. A little ways down the road, Ed and Mary came screaming by and we all followed. We rode 6 or 7 miles to the last rest stop between 25 and 30 mph.

Anyway...I couldn't really get out of the saddle to climb, because my back was in pain. While I could keep up, I was really trying to keep my back as stationary as possible and tried not to push too hard on the pedals. By Wednesday, I was in extreme pain anytime I moved. Getting up from the table, Ouch. Picking the kids up. Ouch. Stretching. Ouch. I made an appointment to see a chiropractor later in the day. He did a bit of Electrical stimulation, adjusted my back, did some deep tissue massage, and stretched out my Pirformis and my hamstrings. By then end of the treatment, I was able to stretch without pain and I could tell that I would be able to train again. I did the Thursday ride with the RBC which went very well. I went back for another treatment Friday.

I rode to the start of "General Reno's Revenge" on Saturday. The ride description says 10,000 feet of climbing and this would be a key test for my back. Which I'm happy to say it passed with flying colors. I saw Keith Krombel when I first pulled into the Parking lot at Point of Rocks Maryland. I spent about 20 minutes trying to get my cycling computer to work, but in the end, I just pulled the pickup away from the spokes. It was a beautiful day and I eventually caught up to Chris Mento, Carol, Jeff, and Rudy Hewitt at the lunch stop. We got about a mile from the lunch stop when I slid in behind Chris and immediately noticed that his wheel was all wonky. He had broken a spoke. God Bless Rudy, he had a spare spoke, cassette lockring tool, and a wrench for the lockring tool. It took them awhile, but they got the wheel trued back up and we were on our way. I wonder what else Rudy has in that pack of his...

I had one Lance Armstrong moment. I was a bit slow on the ascents, so I would book down the descents to catch back up to the group. On one steep descent, I saw Carol slow way down for a 90 degree left hand turn. I jammed on the brakes hard, but I was going in to fast and would have slammed right into her. So, I kept on the brakes and went straight. Luckily there was a stretch of 10 or 20 feet of grassy area just past the turn. I was able to turn around and get back on the road without having to get off the bike.

Total mileage for the day: 132. Total time on the road: 13.5 hours. Approximately 3 hours off the bike.


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Sunday, April 23, 2006
  Back Problem

I went to see the Dr. about my back and he said it was probably just a back spasm. I may have pinched a nerve, but he says its healing fine and not to worry. He sent me out the door with a prescription for a muscle relaxant and told me to use a heating pad on my back and do some stretches and then ice after any serious exercise. The muscle relaxant didn't seem to do much the first day or two, but I'm almost back to my full range of motion. I hope the pain goes away soon.

On a related side note, I drove down to Florida friday night and arrived a couple hours before the start of the Katie Ride For Life. Why is this related to my back problem? I love my 1995 Chevy Cavalier, but the seats suck for long distance driving and my back was leading a revolt (As they said in GI JANE, "The best thing about Pain is it lets you know you're still alive"or in my case, still awake). The ride has gotten even bigger and the new route is incredibly scenic. It was really tough to take in the scenery as the group I was in averaged around 21 mph. Incredibly, I jumped back into the car and made the return trip home the same day. I had to stop for a fuel stop (for me and the car) in North Carolina and a one hour nap just south of Fredericksburg,VA. I'm going to try to get around 5 hours sleep and join the DC Randonneurs for a century ride out of Warrenton, VA.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
  Mental Notes

Mental Note: Do Not Sprint when pulling the kids in a trailer.

I was running errands with the kids today and I sprinted to make a green light. I got across the intersection and then felt extreme pain in my lower back. I soft pedaled home and fed the kids their lunch, then put them down for their naps right away. I took some Acetaminophen (the only OTC pain killer allowed to us transplant patients) and then put a heating pad under my back for an hour. The Acetaminophen didn't really do anything. I don't think the pain is muscular, but it hurts like hell. I may go see the doctor tomorrow.


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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Last week, I did the Tuesday Reston Bike club ride(averaged about 20mph), but missed the thursday ride. Instead, I did climbing intervals while Scooter (the moviemaker/filmmaker/videographer) shot me. Friday we went into DC and shot some stuff around the tidal basin and the Washington monument. The cherry blossoms had lost about half of their blooms, but it still looked pretty good.

I also missed the saturday ride to shoot stuff with Scooter before he flew home. I slept through the alarm and missed Sundays ride. I took it easy early this week, turning it into a recovery week, but I did go out for the Thursday RBC ride(averaged around 18 mph). The "B" group seems a bit slow for me, I like it when I'm suffering so bad I can't hang on. That's when I feel I get the most benefit. So this coming week, I'll try the A/B ride.

Today was Climbing intervals on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. The Front Royal entrance is at 600' and the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center is at roughly 2000' about 4.5 miles south. I covered 56 miles and around 8400' in 5 hours. I did 2 low cadence efforts up the hill, just grinding away at 20 rpm. That's very much like what the last climb feels like at the Mountains of Misery. The other laps were high cadence 60 - 90 rpm and my legs felt great, my lungs were even ok, but something would trip my circuit breaker every couple of minutes. I'm thinking that it is because most of my climbing intervals have been around that length of time. Of course it could be mental, my mind telling my legs to back off. I think more work at Skyline should increase the amount of time I can keep those high cadence efforts going. I'm definitely climbing faster than I've ever climbed before...I'm optimistic for RAAM.

The link above is to the NCVC newsletter which had a tip about taking a Epsom Salt bath after a massage. So, after cleaning up a bit, I Compex'ed my quads and glutes (endurance and active recovery) and then sat in a Epsom Salt Bath for about a half hour. I'll let you know if it works.


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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
  Richmond Roundabout

Friday, I attempted to ride down to Ashland, VA for the Richmond Roundabout. I left at 7 pm and fell in a construction zone somewhere around 8:30 pm which gouged a hole in my finger, bruised my shoulder, and my left knee. Then around 9:30 the road I was on suddenly turned into a washboard (dirt and gravel). By 10:00pm I was mising a road...I was there, the road wasn't, Thanks Microsoft Streets and Trips...Around 10:30, I stopped for directions and found an alternate route to Dumfries. I don't know what I was thinking when I planned the route, but when I got on Rte 1, I realized it would be suicide to try to ride it for 65 miles. I called Adrienne for a SAG, while her brother came over and watched the kids. Next year, I'll take the longer route to the west of 95.

We got home at 1:30 and I slept from 2am to 3am then drove down to Ashland for the Richmond Roundabout. Twenty riders showed up for this one. The weather turned out to be beautiful, sunny and near 70 degrees, although there was a fair bit of wind. There were There was approximately 5800 feet of climbing in 176 miles, which is relatively flat. We had two lunch stops, both at Subways. We left somewhere near 5:30am and I rolled back into the parking lot at 7pm.

Sunday was supposed to be a mellow ride, but about 30 miles into the ride I was feeling pretty good, so the pace was quite high. We had left that morning around 9am and were back at 5pm. It was another beautiful day with a tad bit of wind. I had some seat contact issues in the last half of this ride, that I'll need to solve before RAAM. We all went out to dinner afterwards (me, Chuck/Crista, steve/lynn, leslie, chris). Total was 106 miles with roughly 3000 feet of climbing.


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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
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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