Transplant Athlete
Thursday, June 29, 2006
  RAAM Part IV

So you thought the saga was over...As I hit the gravel, I thought I was in trouble, but I was still confident that the shoulder would return. I held the bike upright for 30 or 40 feet and was starting to get less confident that I would be able to get back on to the shoulder. When I finally came to rest, tangled up in the bike, wind knocked out of me. I took a second or two to myself to get back to reality. Mike parked the truck right there on the highway and jumped out. He was completely wigged out. He was scrambling for a cell phone, which I had taken out to call my wife in Flagstaff and hadn't put back(my mistake). He then tried to flag down some passing motorists to borrow a cell phone. Meanwhile, Scooter came over and gently untangled me from the bike. I think my first words to him were, "please tell me you got that on tape, because I am not doing that again." Alas, he hadn't, but I think he got some good footage of the aftermath.

Mike wanted to call 911, but I told him to call the RV instead, I wasn't seriously injured and Jason and Dave would figure out what to do next. He got intermittent contact with the RV and gave them what they felt were random directions and it took them about an hour to get back to us. Eventually, I was back on my feet, pulling thorns out of my body and trying to get the dirt off of me. My softride might be seriously damaged and the presecription insert for my Rudy Project Sunglasses had gone AWOL, but I briefly entertained the thought of heroically jumping on my litespeed and pushing on to the next time station, but the RV was on its way back.

Dave got Mike to pull the truck off the road as they formulated a plan for what to do next. They decided to take me back to Flagstaff for X-Rays and if I was toast, getting a hotel there for the night. We figured our chances of decent hospitals and lodging would be better in Flagstaff. We spent hours in the ER, but Dave sprung me, and we got a hotel for the night. In the morning, I spent over an hour changing crew flights to get them home earlier. We decided to follow the RAAM route east through CO (the scenic part) and then going straight to St. Louis for their flights. We had a hell of a time getting there, there were high crosswinds that threw the RV around like it was a toy. Luckily, that was AHEAD of the severe weather front, I can't imagine what it would have been like if we actually got caught in the severe weather. We had to drive nearly around the clock to get to St. Louis on time for the flights and I was seriously concerned for their safety in the RV. Dave was in serious need of sleep, but we got to the hotel safely and he and Jason got some sleep and caught their flights on time. Mike, Scooter and I then had about 12 hours of driving to get to Frederick, MD. We stopped for a sleep break in Ohio and then showed up early at my In-Laws and flooded their house with my equipment and supplies. Scooter and Mike got some more sleep, and I had time with the kids, the wife, and the In-Laws. My mother-in-law has been super nice to me since I started training for RAAM and she generously took care of us.

Early the next morning, we left for Philly so Mike and Scooter could catch their flights home. As we were circling the airport looking for Mike's airline, he disappeared. He had used the Head in the RV. Would you use a skanky toilet in a small closet or wait until you got to the nice clean spacious stalls at the airport? At any rate, I expected that which is why I waited to dump the tanks. I spent the next week at my parent's house enjoying my percocet and sleeping as often as I could.

I drove in to AC for the final banquet and Tony O'Keefe was on his way in, so I showed up at the finish line to cheer him on. That was real depressing for me. I then walked to the banquet which I thought was supposed to be 2 blocks from the finish, but according to Rebecca Haldeman was nearly 2 miles...Again, it was depressing me to be there, so I talked to Jim Pitre (I'd like to help out with next year's race) and then left.


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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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