Transplant Athlete
Monday, July 31, 2006
  How I spent my Sunday

I rolled out of the house around 10:30 am on Sunday and took an old Reston Century route out to Purcelville. I was doing fine for the first hour and was probably averaging around 19 mph. By the time I hit Leesburg, I was down to 18 mph. The heat was starting to get to me. I was fueling with Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and I had a Camelback filled with Ice and plain water on my back. From Leesburg, I basically crawled into Purcelville, so I stopped at a Subway Restaurant and grabbed some food. There was a huge line and I nearly passed out waiting. I actually got out of line and sat down for awhile, before jumping back on line, and then sitting down at the counter while they prepared sandwiches for the people in front of me.

I took my time eating and then took it easy as I left the restaurant. I got more water in Philomont. I had been taking about 1 Endurolyte per hour and I was popping a few Anti-Fatigue caps here and there. I was really depressed at this point, I had started out so strong, and now I was suffering like a dog. I wanted to get off the bike and throw it into brush along the road. I wanted to give up riding altogether. To add insult to injury, I had forgotten the Chamois Butt'r and I was starting to develop saddle sores. I was miserable. My average speed was closing in on 14 mph.

In Philomont, I decided to take the shortcut on rte 690 to take me back towards Purcelville, and the W&OD trail home. My original intent was to detour up to Frederick to visit with my wife at her parent's house (and POOL); her brother and her cousin had brought their families up. The Powerbars I had brought were now soup. The Perpetuem was hot, but tolerable. At that point on the W&OD, I had about 23 miles to go and I was out of Gel and I started doubling up on the Endurolytes, but it was no use. My legs were cramping. Luckily, there's a lot of downhill from Purcelville to Leesburg. That brought my average up to 14.5 and there it stayed for the last 10 miles or so.

At home, I downed a banana and half a bottle of the new Gatorade Endurance Formula. (I'm told its the same as regular gatorade with more salt). I took a shower to cool my core temp, then had another banana and 3 endurolytes, plus some other food and the rest of the Gatorade and I was STILL CRAMPING and still Light-headed. I developed a headache, which I think is my body's way of telling me it needs more electrolytes. In 5 hours of riding, I had over 150 ounces of water. That's nearly 30 ounces per hour, almost twice as much as I've been drinking lately and 25% more than my normal intake. I was getting a bit bloated from the water, and didn't need to urinate which are bad signs. I'm guessing my core temp just got to hot to be cooled by ingesting water. After Philomont, I was pouring water over my body to keep the core temp down, but it was probably too little too late.


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Friday, July 28, 2006
  Thursday Ride

I've been trying to get 2 to 4 hours during the week on the bike pulling the kids in their trailer. We go to "The Little Gym" in Ashburn, we go shopping, we visit Mommy at work. Trips in to Ashburn have a pretty good set of hills that I work pretty hard on; so yesterday, when I tried the Reston Bike Club's thursday ride, I felt like a rocket without the trailer behind me. I was able to keep up with the "B+" group, which I had trouble with before RAAM. I was briefly entertaining the idea of jumping up to the "A" group, when I lost focus, touched wheels with the rider in front of me and went skidding across the pavement on my non-broken rib side.

Two faster riders who had been dropped from the "A" group, came back along the road and joined the back of the pack (where I was). We came to a right hand turn and I looked over my left shoulder to see where they were, only saw one and then turned to look over my left shoulder. I hadn't paid attention to the pack which was slowing faster than I was and while I was looking over my right shoulder, I touched wheels and went down. If I had been looking forward, it just would have been a nasty scrapping sound, I could have reacted and everything would have been fine, but there's not much you can do when you're looking backwards. Lesson learned.

The group stopped, I immediately got back on the bike, but after that, it felt like I was pedaling with a brake rubbing (it wasn't I checked). I got dropped about 5 or 10 minutes later and spent the rest of the ride with a guy on what looked like a "comfort bike" (flat handlebars, fat road tires, rear disk brake).

I've got some road rash on my right knee and right elbow, but I'm pretty sure my rib is ok. My first thought as I was falling was "Please God, do not let the rib break again." Its been 6 weeks since it first broke and the doctor told me it would take 6 or 7 weeks to heal.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

I rode my bike with the trailer to Rentals Unlimited to pick up a chain saw. The clerk asked me if there was room on "that thing" to carry the chainsaw. A couple of guys came out of the shop to laugh at me about it. I heard the word "Bicicleta" thrown around a lot. But with gas prices where they are and where they are going, its becoming the responsible thing to do. I got home and cut down three trees and carved them up in to small pieces. Then mowed the lawn and returned the chainsaw. About 20 minutes after my shower the skies opened up. About 2 hours after the rain cleared, we rode to the Performance store in Reston to pick up a new helmet for Adrienne to replace the one she broke in her horrendous crash.

Then we went to her brother's house for pizza. His girlfriend Miss Patty was there. My total mileage for the day was 27 and 2 hours 17 minutes on the bike.


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  Dance Class

I took Q to her new Dance class in the trailer. I was having a rough day, my rear tire was flat when I brought the kids out to the garage, RJ had a poopy diaper, and though I didn't know how long it would take to get to The Little Gym in Cascades, I was pretty sure we were running late. I fixed the flat and we rode out, there's one big hill on Cascades Parkway and we climbed it well and cruised down the other side. We made it to the gym with minutes to spare, so I got Q inside and then changed RJ's diaper. A woman dropping off her kids, said that she passed me on the climb, but I beat her to the gym, was I fast or did I know a shortcut?

On our way home, A man in a U-Haul pulled along side and told me that it was too hot for the kids. I told him that the front had a screen and the kids had a nice breeze. He said it was still too hot. What do you say to that? Get lost? Why does he think he knows more than me? 1) The kids had full water cups. 2) If we were home, they would be playing in this heat, not sitting in a trailer with a breeze blowing over them. 3) We were on a short trip. 4) the air conditioner in my car is busted and it is hotter in the car than the trailer. Not five minutes later, I got another flat in my rear tire.

Later in the day, Adrienne called to let me know she was going to be late and I should feed the kids. The day was getting worse and worse. So I put the kids in the car and got McD's for dinner and when I got home, lo and behold the cat that had been roaming the neighborhood was sitting at my new neighbor's house and my neighbor was unloading her car. I stormed down to her house to read her the riot act about the cat. When I got there, I was physically disgusted by her. She is obese. Wow she's big. She said that she had seen cats roaming the neighborhood and she thought that meant it was ok for her to let her cat out. I'm guessing that letting her cat roam is just laziness. In Fairfax county its against the law for Dogs and CATS to be off leash. I hate cats and I hate pet waste on my lawn. She said she would keep the cat indoors, but I've seen it out since then. From now on she's the "fat lady down the street".


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  ACS Bike-A-Thon

Last weekend was the American Cancer Society's Bike-A-Thon in Philly. I got a chance to ride with an old friend, Rich Bobbe. I think we've been friends since 3rd or 4th grade, but we've known each other even longer. The ride was a good chance to catch up, we spent over 4 hours covering the 62.5 miles. I also got to meet many of his co-workers at McKissock & Hoffman. I believe he said there were around 45 attorneys in the firm and I'm guessing there were at least a dozen people from the firm there. That's a huge percentage and really shows their commitment to the cause.

The ACS was expecting over 4500 cyclists at the event and when I arrived at the start line, it was a sea of cyclists up the ramp to the Ben Franklin Bridge. The ACS had sent out a booklet before the race and there were several warnings throughout that riders should proceed single file. I've never been on a ride with 4500 other cyclists, but mathematically speaking its almost impossible to ride single file with that many people when they start out at the same time. The start line didn't clear out for almost 10 minutes and when we did get started, it was tough keeping track of Rich in the crowd. There were some Lance Armstrong wannabes who were blasting down the bridge yelling "Watch Your Line" to all the newbies. There's just no call for that on a charity ride.

We stopped briefly at the bottom of the bridge so that Peter Hoffman could check on an accident that had involved the son of one of the Mckissock & Hoffman partners. He's a strong rider and Rich said he'd be off the front in no time. I was worried about Rich, he didn't have any water with him, so we stopped at the first rest stop, which didn't agree with his legs. I don't think I can convey how many people were on this ride in a blog. I should have some pictures up in a few days.

Rich hadn't spent much time on a bike this year, so he struggled a bit, but he finished the ride in good form and I'm proud of him. Next year, I'd like to go up to Philly the Saturday before and spend some time with his family.


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Friday, July 07, 2006
  RAAM 2006 Part V

Brass Tacks - Could I Have Finished RAAM 2006?
If I hadn't slept so much in Yarnell, if I hadn't crashed, I'm positive I would have made the Durango time cut-off. There's 2200 miles after that so anything could have happened, I think I could have finished. The important thing in this type of race is going in with absolute conviction that you will finish. Any doubt will get magnified in the rain, on climbs, in the heat, eventually the introspection starts and you start thinking "Why am I doing this?" and a DNF is not far behind.

Rob Lucas racing in the Enduro category was knocked out by severe crosswinds, its environmental factors like that that can throw a monkey wrench into the works. On the positive side, I was getting stronger every day and Jason and Dave were solving problems as they came up. On the negative side, saddle sores that were an inconvenience at 500 miles might have gotten progressively worse as I traversed the country.

What About Next Year?
I will definitely be back for the 26th Edition of the Race Across America. My training will start as soon as my rib heals with some local USCF racing and I'm going to put some more 24 hour races on my schedule for this year, most likely the New England 24 hour and maybe the Texas 24 Hour. I will definitely add some weight training later this year, and continue with the DC Rand's weekend centuries. My weight has been steadily coming down since the transplant and my endurance has been steadily increasing, so I know next year will be even better.

By starting now, I hope to build a larger crew and raise corporate sponsorship to alleviate the financial burden of the 2007 race. I'll post the actual amounts spent as soon as I have them calculated and I'll also describe the state of my equipment after I've had a chance to evaluate everything.


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Monday, July 03, 2006
  Ghosts of Saddle Sores Past

I went for my first ride since the crash on Saturday. It was a short ride on the W&OD trail out to Leesburg and back. Observations: Track stands hurt like hell. That's when you bring the bike to a stop at a stop sign and balance so you don't have to take your feet off the pedals. Sprinting and climbing out of the saddle also hurt, but a lot less than trackstands. About 25 miles in around 2 hours.

I went for my second ride on Sunday with Mike Wheeler. On the way to meet Mike, I passed my brother-in-law walking on the trail in Reston. What are the odds of that? Mike and I rode east to Reagan National and then headed back. We split up near the Big Wheels Bike Shop, Mike lives a couple blocks from there. I started up a short hill and BAM! The heavens opened up and the wind pushed the rain sideways. Thunder and Lightning split the sky. The temperatures had been really high before that and now, I was soaked and freezing. The rain washed the sweat into my eyes and I had to pull over within a half mile because I couldn't see. I stayed under a bridge for about 20 minutes until the lightning subsided a bit, then I headed west with due haste...I got hit by another storm cell near Falls Church, but it was really satisfying riding out the other side, which was just past the bridge over 495. I bonked pretty bad on east side of Reston and had to take a break. About 48 miles in 4.5 hours.

My shorts were soaked way back in Arlington and by the time I got home, my RAAM saddle sores had resurfaced. Time to start using Chamois Butt'r.


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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
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  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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