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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
  RAAM Part III

I can only guess how long we were at the hotel. I think we slept for 4 hours, but maybe spent another hour catching showers, eating, and then restarting. My average speed for this section from Congress to Prescott was 4.27 mph. The climb to Prescott was spectacular and I felt right at home on the climb. I loved the descents. Incidentally, Prescott is the city where I got left behind at the McDonalds in last year's team RAAM. For old times sake, I had Mike run in and buy me some egg and cheese biscuits.

Again, my time got called in at Prescott as I was leaving, making it a bit slower, while calling in my time, the officials asked to speak with Jason and I guess they told him to light a fire under me. I was back on the softride for this section and made pretty good time in the beginning and then switched to the Litespeed about 20 or 30 miles in. The SLR saddle that cut into my sciatic nerve every time I used it on my softride was now the most comfortable saddle in the world on my Litespeed. I can't explain it, the shape just seemed to fit right. Although, the saddle sores were starting to make me a bit uncomfortable. I spent a bunch of miles moving around the saddle, until I found a patch of skin that didn't have sores on it. About 20 miles before the TS in Williams, before we got on to I-40, Dave showed up with more McDonalds. That was a long twenty miles uphill to Williams and I pushed myself a little into dehydration and underfueling territory to make it there faster. Dumb Move. I spent about an hour in Williams recovering and then pushed off to Flagstaff.

In Flagstaff, I found Guy Wells was sleeping and getting an IV, in fact his crew had put a port in his arm to facilitate future IVs. His crew offered to hook me up, but I was a bit scared. I probably should have. I spent a bit more time than I would have liked here in Flagstaff and when we finally got going, my cousin Mike was behind the wheel of the follow vehicle with Scooter the Cameraman.

We had a difficult time negotiating how they would communicate turns to me. At first, Mike said "let's use the walkie-talkies." I agreed. For some reason I can't remember, there was more discussion and I found myself showing him the proper way to signal turns. (Arm out window and up for right turn, Arm straight out window for left). By mile 3.5 I knew we were in trouble. There was a RAAM Arrow on the pavement, but Mike signaled me to stop. We went over the cue sheet together. At mile 4.1, I had a great tailwind and blew through an intersection and Mike started frantically beeping at me. I think he was signalling me to turn, but his arms were inside the car and I couldn't see which way he was pointing until I came back. The same thing happened at Mile 4.5. So I pulled over and told him to hand over the cue sheet to Scooter the Cameraman. Its hard enough to drive in an area like that without having to decipher a cue sheet at the same time. There was some attitude in my voice and Mike called me on it. I heard him say, "I haven't screwed up once. Do you want me to leave? Because I will."

Anyone who saw the 2004 RAAM Broadcast may remember Russ Goodwin. The majority of his crew were family members and late one night, they accidentally hit him with the follow vehicle. He allegedly threw a tantrum and they left him on the side of the road. The announcer ominously warned that since he was "OK", it might have been better to forgive and forget. So, there were three thoughts running through my head at this point. 1) If he takes off, he's taking my wife's car and I may never see it again. 2) I can't ask Jason and Dave (my last two drivers) to go the rest of the way by themselves. That's just too much to ask. 3) Russ Goodwin and the announcer's warning of Forgiving and forgetting.

I spent the next 10 miles thinking about the amount of money I'd asked my wife to commit to this endeavour. The thousands of miles and training time I've put in to get to the start line. The deadline in Durango which I was not going to make. I was crying. It was all over.

Then I got a killer view from the top of the Coconino National Forest. Below me the road was arrow straight for maybe 30 miles and there would be about 2000 feet of elevation lost during that time. A steady tailwind was also at my back. They clocked me at 50 mph on the steep part and they said I was holding pretty steady between 30 and 40 mph after the road leveled out. I was in my aerobars and just cruising along, I thought I saw Guy's support vehicle lights in the distance so I poured on the gas. I had to eventually stop to get my clear lenses for the sunglasses and put my lights on, that's when Mike and I apologized to each other. Ten minutes later with the sun just below the horizon and with visibility just starting to get difficult, I had my crash.

 

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Comments:
Lou,
Great report. Sorry it worked out the way it did, but glad you weren't more seriously hurt in the crash. We were following your progress and pulling for you. Sounds like the support crew did as well as it could. Like last year, finding someone with Ultra experience to head up the crew would have been great - supporting is tough work!
Hope you keeping finding challenges out there. The Texas Time Trials in October (I and possibly Mike W. are planning on heading to that)...maybe put your fitness to work on that?
Martin
 
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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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