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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
  RAAM 2006 Part II

In Salton City, Jason started putting in to words, what I wanted to say, "I needed food and water. Constantly.".Jason switched out my pedals on the Softride to "Look" brand and that allowed me to switch shoes. The shoes with the Orb cleats were tight all around, the shoes with the look cleats were seriously loose and my foot would slide forward, but by alternating shoes, I was alternating where the pain was. I forgot to mention that when I switched to the Softride in Lake Henshaw. The different position of the Softride meant that different muscle groups were being used and I was feeling like I had just started the race.

We (Dave and Jason were now in the follow vehicle) had a flat ride with a slight tailwind for the first 25 miles after Salton City. I got my first flat early after leaving the Time Station. Mentally, I had my game face on and was enjoying the scenery. The lake was on my right shoulder. That all changed when we got to Box Canyon Road. The road wasn't steep. It gained less than 1600 feet over 20 miles. Skyline drive in Front Royal, VA has around the same climbing in 4 or 5 miles. It was the road itself, intimidating me, taunting me. We were entering what I'm assuming was a box canyon (hence the name), which for me meant that the road looked like it headed straight for a dead end with rock on both shoulders. Eventually, it would bend right and again it would look like I was headed for a dead end, then bend left, ad nauseum. When we could finally see Rte 10 in the distance, we had maybe a dozen miles or so to go, but it seemed to take forever. I stopped a couple of times here, including a long stop where I attempted to refuel, rehydrate, and catch 15 minutes off the bike prone on the ground. Jason and Dave decided that I needed a longer break in Chiriaco Summit, so I took a shower, got about 90 minutes of sleep (I think) and then continued on to Blythe. I was under the mistaken impression that it was downhill to Blythe, so I'm glad they made me stop. When we got to Blythe, Mike and Pat had dumped the RV holding tanks, but they didn't put the chemicals in the empty tanks. Mike also told me that they left the valve open on the grey water tank so that they wouldn't have to waste time dumping that. I told him we could get fined for that. I think my crew called in my time for the Blythe station when I was leaving, so my average speed to this station was abnormally low.

Mike and Pat were in the follow vehicle for this section with Scooter the Cameraman. About 5 or 10 miles outside of the time station in Hope, Arizona, Mike asked if they could go ahead to the time station and I said "No." I was having a slow leak in my rear wheel and I didn't want a repeat of the Anza Borrego desert of not having enough water. It was then that Mike told me that the heat was getting to Pat, he was feeling dehydrated and dizzy. Pat has a pre-existing condition that makes this much more serious than it may sound. When we got close enough, I sent them ahead. I got there before they could return for me. Guy Wells' support vehicles were all at the time station, he was racing Enduro, but I figured we'd be bumping into each other across the country. I sat around a bit trying to refuel and rehydrate and decide what to do about Pat. I wasn't thinking clearly and I think I suggested that he get shuttled up to a hotel in Prescott where he'd have a chance to recuperate a bit. He had talked with his nurse back home and he/she had said he should go directly home, do not pass Go...It was around this time that I noticed the handlebars on my Litespeed were askew. This lead to a close up inspection and the realization that the roof rack was barely hanging on the vehicle. Mike had pulled under a tree for shade and had ripped the roof rack off. Hey, it happens. Luckily, the hardware to the roof rack was still under the tree, so I reattached the rack a bit further back. The factory rails are toast and I won't be able to trust them until I get them replaced. The Yakima "feet" might be ok. I'll have to inspect them to determine if I can trust them. They snapped apart at the interface to the part that attaches to the factory rails. Jason was on his way to Congress, AZ in the RV, so I put the roof rack back together. I think I lost about an hour here, maybe an hour and a half. In the end, I loaded up with CO2 for my slow leak, my phone, three water bottles, and a sandwich and headed off alone to Congress. I didn't know how long I would be unsupported. Jason and Dave returned in the RV and intercepted me about 6 miles out. They checked to see if I needed anything and may have given me a wheel. Dave took the lead with Pat and decided the best thing to do would be to get him to Pheonix where he could catch a flight home. Jason, Mike, and Scooter caught up with me a couple miles down the road. Then the RV caught up with us and Pat transfered his things to the RV and the guys transfered stuff out of the RV, we weren't quite sure how long Dave would be gone.

The rest of the way to Congress was maddening, maybe I was dehydrated, maybe there was a wrong road sign, but I thought that Congress was just past Rte 93, not 6 miles from 93. Congress is a small town, the only hotel had 4 rooms and they were all sold out. The guys were really beat and needed sleep. Dave was still a few hours out, so we decided to get a hotel room in Yarnell. I must have been getting rehydrated here, because I remembered that there was a list of hotels in the back of the route book. Jason called ahead and made a reservation. I wanted to get the climb done before going down for a sleep break instead of getting shuttled ahead and then getting shuttled back down the mountain. If I was really rehydrated, I would have sent them ahead to get one of them and Scooter in the room to sleep, while I did the climb. Daylight was fading fast and the rules say that the follow vehicle must be behind me at all times. I was feeling like a champ on the climb and at the beginning, I could see the lights for 3 support vehicles in the distance. I felt great that I was within sight of at least three competitors. Jason had rotated the handlebars back into place and did a quick check ride. I was feeling more at home on the Litespeed now and danced up the climb. Well, it felt like dancing to me. Jason and I were even joking around about it. I was trying my best to sound like Phil Ligget.

When we got to the hotel, it was apparent that the guys needed sleep for all our safety. Dave had gotten Pat safely on his way home and was now bearing Quarter Pounders and Cheeseburgers making him my new best friend. Fat, Protein, Carbs, and Salt what more do you need 350 miles into a transcontinental ride? He had been driving for 7 or 8 hours straight at this point and definitely deserved a break.

 

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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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