Transplant Athlete
Thursday, May 31, 2007


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  Testing for RAAM

Clare Zecher



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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
  Chaos Theory

I arrived home from Wisconsin and thought I would get started right away building up the Zipp wheel. I started lacing up the spokes and something wasn't adding up right, so I tried again. Then again. Then I counted the number of holes in the rim. 24. Count again...24. That's not right. The hub is for a 20 spoke rim. The packing slip says it was a 20 spoke rim...They're sending a new one out.

So then, I grabbed the box for the roof rack parts and I noticed that each box was open on opposite ends. The box that was open right side up still had the roof rack part in it, but the other box was empty.


Luckily, the company will overnight a new part out to me.



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  Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob rode a recumbent during Brevet Week, Clare and I rode with him a bit during the middle third of the 600k and she rode with him for the last 100k. I wrote in my 600k report that he and Dick had overcooked a turn and did a bit of unplanned off-roading.

I just found out that the maids at the Econolodge found him on Monday, passed away. His goal was to ride PBP and by completing the 600k he was qualified to ride it. It's a bit of a shock.


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Monday, May 28, 2007
  600 Km Brevet

Let's get this out of the way right now. I DNF'ed the 600k.

Clare and I made it through the first 100k without issues except for a hurried roadside pee stop. On the way back from the turnaround point, it started to rain, so we stopped under the eve of a barn so Clare could put on her raincoat. I thought I was covered, but my jacket turned out to be water resistant, not proof. I started shivering uncontrollably and Clare kept asking me if I wanted to ride ahead to get warmed up, but I declined. For some reason the scene in Top Gun kept running through my head, "I'm not leaving my wingman."

In Chemung, Clare asked the clerk for a trash bag for me to use as a rainjacket and she loaned me arm warmers. A quick cup of coffee later and I was ready to go, but every cyclist that saw me wanted to loan me something to wear. That's a good thing, but I was a bit overwhelmed. The sun came out soon after we left, and I warmed up pretty well. My knee was starting to hurt, but I rode through it.

We got back to the hotel and I went in the opposite direction and put on heavy winter gear. So, I left the hotel hot, but I figured it would either rain or the temps would come down. About 250k into the ride, my right knee started getting worse and Clare gave me some ICY/HOT to put on my knee. By 300k, I was in unbearable pain and started taking Tylenol to get through the miles. A dose of Tylenol got me about an hour down the road. I took a second dose to get us another hour down the road, but I could feel my knee getting hot and I worried that if I couldn't feel the pain, I would do some major damage.

From then on I did a lot of one legged pedaling. At the 350k control, I was advised to ice my knee to reduce the swelling. That got me most of the way back to the hotel. While we were there, we found out that Bob had gone off-roading on a tight 90 degree right hander at the bottom of a steep downhill. Dick, seeing Bob go off road, assumed Bob had turned the wrong way, so he went left and face planted into a freshly plowed field.

We ate, showered, and slept for awhile. I used a foam roller and ice on my IT band. Sheila took care of Clare and then came over to wake me up 30 minutes before Clare was ready to leave, but my knee was still messed up, so I went back to sleep. Clare said the wind pushed her out to 500k and from then on, she started catching riders and organized them into a paceline to make it back faster. They were together for 40 something miles when they came upon a rider who had fallen off his bike and she asked the group to slow down to help him, but they took off when she circled back to help. Not cool.

Dick had started out on the last 200k, but had trouble on the first steep hill, so he turned around and headed back to the hotel. I saw him at breakfast and he said he was giving up randonneuring.

Clare came back later that day after finishing her last 200k and I was so proud of her for finishing the 600k.


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Friday, May 25, 2007
  400 KM Brevet

I started the 400km pretty slowly and ended up chatting with Clare Zecher and Sheila. We cruised to the first control point together. As we left the control point, I found myself at the front of a line of about 6 or 7 women. At that point I had mentally committed to riding with Clare to the end. She's funny and extremely talkative, so the miles seemed to go by faster. At times I felt a bit like a pack mule, Clare would yell "slippin' off the back" or "Take it down a degree" but I was there for the company and didn't mind. Women came and went, but I stayed with Clare and Sheila. The first 200k was windy, but I felt pretty good, if slow when we got back to the hotel. The wind died down a bit for the second 200k. We eventually caught Bill Schwarz, Bernd (from DC RAND), and another gentleman. We made it to the second control on the way out before we had to don our reflective gear and lights.

I had been pulling much of the day, but once the sun went down, we were more of an amorphous blob than a paceline. I generally stayed in the back to watch over Sheila who was not having much fun.

A little bit about Sheila: She lives in Bermuda which is 21 square miles and the longest ride she can get in on the island is 62 miles. Her longest ride ever was the 200 KM ride on Sunday, then the 300K on Monday was her longest ride ever, this 400k was now her longest ride ever.

We limped into the control in Troy, Wisconsin at a McDonalds. This was the turn around point and we were on the final 60 something miles to the finish. We took a long break to give Sheila some time to recover and then headed out joined by Debra Banks (riding a loner wheel from Lon after she broke the flange on her Mavic Kysriums). Sheila was struggling and Clare asked me if I had seen Sheila eating or drinking. I hadn't so I reminded her and then every 15 minutes, I would say, "Hey Sheila, it's been about 15 minutes, time to eat and drink." I said it in my best softest daddy voice. I wasn't sure what was going through Sheila's head, but somebody reminding you to eat and drink every 15 minutes could be super annoying and I didn't want to be obnoxious. It worked though, she was riding stronger. I found out later, she wasn't comfortable putting the bottles back in the cages in the dark, so that was one of the reasons she wasn't drinking. On the way into the final control, Clare asked what would be the best course of action for Sheila A) Letting her sleep at the Control point for 3 hours while we continue on without her. I was a bit concerned about leaving a sleeping woman unsupervised at a gas station in the middle of nowhere B) Pumping her full of coffee and continuing on.

We opted for option B, but Clare had to ask the clerk at the gas station to help Sheila pour the coffee, I think she was pretty far gone at that point.

I found myself battling my own demons at this point. I was having to pee frequently and falling behind. Debra is a strong, consistent rider and she pulled Dick Seebode and Sheila along while Clare and I followed along behind. The last 20 miles seemed to take forever and while I was focusing on Sheila, I kind of forgot about myself until I got to the point where I couldn't choke anymore food down. When we were about 5 miles out, I was bonking and tired of stopping to pee and then having to push hard to catch up, so I fell back a bit from the group, whipped it out and peed off of the bike, just like a pro. First time ever and I was wearing bib shorts at the time. It was remarkably easy, so I'll probably do it more during RAAM. Yes, I am proud of myself.

We were on the bikes for 18 hours and our overall time was 22 hours. Our on bike average was 13.5 mph for 243 miles.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  Steve Born's advice

So, Steve Born gave a talk on nutrition for PBP and since he's done RAAM several times and he works for Hammer Nutrition I pestered him with a few questions.

The first was the all liquid diet during RAAM, which should probably be on "Mythbusters". Veterans will sometimes talk about using an "all liquid" diet during the race. I use Perpetuem, but during really long events, I feel really hungry and almost empty inside, like I need some solid food. So, I feel real inadequate that I can't stomach the "all liquid" diet. I was under the impression that maybe I needed to start using the all liquid diet before the race (meaning instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner drinking my calories). Steve says that very few people actually use an "all liquid" diet and that as long as I use Perpetuem in training I should be fine during the race. He said he prefers to use solid food as a reward, like "get to the next time station and we'll give you a turkey sandwich" kind of reward. I've been pretty successful rotating powerbars, hammer bars, clif shot bloks, and perpetuem, so I'm always getting some food in different forms.

I've also been worried about my body fat percentage, using the altitude tent, I dropped a few pounds, which I wasn't aware was a side effect. Last year there was a coach making his athlete eat Lard and other heavy calorie foods to bulk up 6 kilos (13 pounds) before RAAM so that he would have enough fat stores to complete the race. I don't really want to be carrying an extra 13 pounds over the Rockies. He assured me that I would be ok at 10 - 12 percent bodyfat. He's started RAAM at that percentage and was able to finish.

He also told me to take the 600 km brevet really easy and then once I get home to not even touch the bike. If I do touch the bike to just spin easy in the small chainring. Works for me. I've got a ton of bike and house maintenance to do.

He's also sending me a Hammer Kit (jersey, shorts, etc) and some Hammer Bars for the race.


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  300K Wisconsin Brevet


I was in a group that got caught by Lon Haldeman early on. We spent some time behind him. I got in and out of the controls very quickly. I ended up with a very social group most of the way to the turnaround point and spent a lot of time talking with Sandra Leflin. At the last control before the turnaround point, I noticed my seatpost had slid down into the frame. I raised it, but soon realized it was too high when my (gastrocnemius I think) heel started hurting. I limped towards the turnaround point and got caught by the group with Sandra. I slipped into their rotation and we pushed through the headwinds.

We all were pretty wiped at the turnaround point and we spent a lot of time recovering. Lon (captain) and Doug Slack (stoker) left at the same time as us. I've had a lot of practice chasing tandems in the mid-atlantic, so I thought I would be able to easily keep up, but with the tandem, a bitchin' tailwind, and my compact crankset, I found myself spinning along at 100 - 110 rpm trying to keep up. I was able to keep up for about 45 minutes before they lifted the speed beyond what I could sustain. After losing the group with the tandem, I dropped down to 20 and figured I would just take it easy and try to maintain a 17 mph average overall. Before the turnaround point, my seatpost had slid down, I raised it (tooo much), so I had to stop and lower it back down, but my gastrocnemius (heel) got messed up and I spent the rest of the ride babying it. I had plenty of time to make it to the finish, so I could go as slow or as fast as I felt like.

The weather was great. I rode with Steve Born and Cassie Lowe for awhile. Steve gave me some good advice for RAAM. Everybody is really friendly out here. Debra Banks snapped part of her hub flange leading to some end of ride excitement.


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Sunday, May 20, 2007
  200K Dairy Brevet

The weather looked promising this morning, but there were scattered showers early on. I soon found myself in the second group on the road. Lon Haldeman pulled up on a tandem and the group I was in jumped on his wheel. We had a pretty bad headwind heading out so it was definitely good to be in a group. We passed an Ostrich farm and I would have liked to get a picture, but I didn't want to lose the group. Amazingly, I reached the turnaround point before anybody had started back. That's never happened before.

On the way back, we had a great tailwind, so I stopped a bunch of times to get pictures. I pulled over to check the directions at one point and a recumbent flew by and went the wrong way. I followed briefly, but I had a bad feeling about it and turned around. I looked over the directions with another rider and even started to call the Sag driver to ask directions when a bunch of people came by and we followed them. It started to rain pretty hard, but I thought we were near the control point, so I didn't stop to put my jacket on. Big Mistake. I got soaked to the bone.

At the control point, my fingers weren't working very well and I started shaking pretty bad, but after I got moving again with my jacket on, I heated up pretty good. I was eventually joined by "E" and a guy E kept calling Johnny Botox. They had done Team RAAM last year and they are doing the Elite PACTour this year. E is a big guy from Chicago and you can hear it in his accent. The rain stopped about 20 miles outside of Beloit. We had a fast ride in, even though I was starting to bonk.


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Saturday, May 19, 2007
  PACTour Brevet Week Travel

Gas in Virginia was just over $3 per gallon. Illinois is $3.45 on the highway. Ouch. On the plus side, my Cavalier was getting around 36 mpg. I bet it would be better if I kept it closer to the speed limit.

Once again, I like driving at night, it's cooler, there's less traffic, and the world takes on a surreal glow. My favorite observation was the sound my tires made as they galloped over the cracks in the pavement.

I'm rooming with Cary Way, an old friend from my first Transcontinental ride back in 2001. I went for a short 32 mile ride when I got here with Tim Dodge, the wind was brutal, and we traded pulls on the way back. Our destination was an Ice cream shoppe in Sharon, WI, where we met up with Clair Zecher from MD and Sheila Ruse who I think is from the UK, but the rider roster says Bermuda.

This is going to be GREAT! (Imagine Flounder from Animal House saying that, although he might have said it in the Twisted Sister video, I can't remember.)


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Thursday, May 17, 2007
  I Snapped My First Chain Today

I was at the light at the end of my street doing a trackstand and when I stomped on the pedals to move, the chain snapped and I came down on the bike hard. Ouch. I rolled back home. The chain had some miles on it and was just over a year old, but it was still in decent shape.

I spent Wednesday replacing the rotors and brake pads on the Escape so the brakes would be in tip-top shape or "virginal" in ABL's words.

ABL thinks this is a repeat of last year, when a crew member had to cancel because his house caught fire and my mom got breast cancer shortly before the race. I think it's a sign of my power and her driving habits ;)



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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
  She's scared to death!

I was standing on line at the store when the following headline caught my eye:

Paris' Prison Hell

  • Lesbian Gangs
  • Group Showers
  • Strip Searches
  • Filthy Bedding

And I'm thinking that sounds like my freshman year of college. Ok, So I only wish there were lesbian gangs roaming the hallowed halls of Stevens Tech.


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Sunday, May 13, 2007
  No Panic, But...

I've got a lot to do and I'm running out of time.

Ford Escape
Front Brakes (parts arrive mid-week)
Install New Roof Rack (parts arrive mid-week)

Paperwork (tons)
training (just a little bit more)
Final prep (flights, rental car, etc)

new parts to be ordered and installed - Cables, cassettes, chains...


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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
  RAAM Playlist For My MP3 Player

Essential songs for RAAM:
Man with a Mission - Don Henley
Superman Song - Crash Test Dummies
Gone Daddy Gone - Violent Femmes
Ray of Light - Madonna
Gone Ridin' - Chris Isaak
Lust for life - Iggy Pop
My Sharona - The Knack
Radar Love - Golden Earring
Goin' to California - Led Zeppelin
Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd
Lowrider - War
No Shelter - Rage Against The Machine
Hot - Smash Mouth
Heroes - Bowie cover by The Wallflowers
Black Sunshine - White Zombie
Ministry's Greatest Fits Album (Jesus built my hotrod, just one fix, NWO, Stigmata...)
Mountain Song - Jane's Addiction
Ironman - Sabbath and The Cardigans

Songs to leave home:
Choke - The Cardigans
Wrong Way - Sublime
Call the Ambulance - Busta Rhymes
Drivin' with your eyes closed - Don Henley
Dad I'm in Jail - Was (not was)
Never Recover - The Cardigans
99 problems - Jay-Z

Did I miss anything?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Recently, Joe Jamison unsubscribed from the TOPICA listserv, claiming that the actions of a few disgruntled members had spoiled the experience for him at the same time, he resigned from the UMCA BoD and withdrew from the election. John Hughes then posted chastising Jane Doe, calling her posts malicious and then rather nastily saying "They demonstrate why one year in RAAM your crew dumped all your gear out of the van, drove off and left you. You haven't done squat for the UMCA - and your vicious remarks have driven a fine man out of the UMCA." Which is quite harsh if you ask me. Personally, I don't think there are many people who would like their behavior during RAAM thrown in their faces. We're sleep deprived, dehydrated, and hungry. I think most of us try to be honorable, appreciative gentlemen, but RAAM has a way of breaking down all that is civilized.

This was followed by a rash of people unsubscribing from the message board and stating they were moving over to the Google list. The google list was formed by John Hughes and it is strictly reserved for talk about riding. Any political talk will be censored. I thought something was up and here it is: (please note, John Doe is running for a Board seat and the elections are still in progress)

Begin forwarded message:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Favor
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 11:55:19 EDT
From: UMCAHQ@aol.com


I hope all is well!

You're on the ultra chat list at Topica and you've probably seen the many malicious messages from Jane Doe, John Doe (editors note: names changed to protect the innocent) and othes. As a result of all of this Joe Jamison, a very good man, has decided to resign (editors note: Joe Jamison was appointed to the Board after resigning because it suited JHs wishes). Their attacks drove him out of the UMCA.

Would you please post a note to Topica - in your own words - making two points:

1) the posts of a few people have have destroyed the value of this forum. If you want you can be specific - the posts of Jane Doe and John Doe have so poisoned the forum that . . . or, if you prefer, don't name names.
2) as a result you are unsubscribing and from now on will rely on the Google group for you information about the sport. You are already a member and that is where we will post any UMCA and RAAM information.

Many thanks!

John Hughes
Managing Director
UltraMarathon Cycling Association
PO Box 18028
Boulder, CO 80308-1028


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When ABL told me she had to go to Colorado on business, I panicked. Several days alone with the kids? I wasn't sure I could do it by myself. I take care of them during the day, but nighttime is ABL's turn. She knows what they eat, and they are picky (my fault).

After calming down, I realized I could take them to McD's on Sunday, which would make them miss their mommy less. Then ABL told me about a playdate at the Loudoun Gymnastics organized by one of the mothers in Q's class. Sure I thought, that would keep them busy on Monday and then Q has school on Tuesday, and then mommy is home on Wednesday...

First of all, if I was a kid, Loudoun Gymnastics would be the bomb. As a parent though, I'm thinking...Lots of high places to fall off of - they need railings!!!! (what's wrong with me?). I'm not sure why, but RJ wasn't really happy to be there. It could have been all the other parents, or it could have been all the other kids, but I had to coax him into the bouncy castle. I then took him up to the rope swing, but he didn't want to do that either. I put him on the trampoline and he started laughing and having fun, so we went onto the really long trampoline and I chased after him. I landed near him, near the end of the trampoline and he pitched forward onto the tramp and then started crying. He was grumpy for the next 45 minutes and wouldn't put any weight on his foot. After nap time his condition hadn't improved and a bruise had developed on his leg. I took him to the ER and the doc ordered x-rays for his lower leg. After about an hour, he said it was probably just a sprain. I showed him how RJ wouldn't put any weight on his leg, so he rotated RJ's ankle, knee, and then checked out his hip. He noticed RJ was wincing, so he ordered x-rays for the upper leg and hip area. After about another hour he said it was probably just a sprain, but he ordered a splint for the leg.

My kids are apparently establishing a pattern of needing ER visits when one parent is out of town. ABL freaked when she found out, but he's fine, getting carried everywhere and getting to veg out on the couch to cartoons. That's the life.


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  Weekend of Volunteering

I spent the weekend volunteering at events and was amazed at the differences between cyclists and runners. I volunteered at the DC Rand 300 KM brevet on Saturday. With Ultracyclists, you hand them a map and a cue sheet and they're happy. With the runners, there were aid stations about every 2 KM with water and gatorade and we were asked "how much further" a lot. Runners also are very messy. We were giving them fluids in paper cups and they would toss them ALL OVER THE PLACE, including over the side of a bridge into a stream below. We'd find cups a couple hundred feet down the trail in each direction. (Now, I know you're saying you've seen cyclists tossing powerbar and gel wrappers all over the place, but I think those are primarily shorter distance cyclists).

And finally, half the runners were women. I think there were 2 women at the Brevet, that's about five percent. I was at the Potomac River Run to support Sister Peach, a liver recipient and Transplant Games participant.


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Thursday, May 03, 2007
  UMCA Elections

I am really amazed at the shenanigans going on within the UMCA. A friend asked me not to post to the Topica list because he was afraid my messages would get lumped in with others and that could negatively affect my chances of winning a Board Seat (basically, there's a lot of shit flying around and he didn't want me to get caught in the crossfire). So, here's the latest.

Recently, John Hughes contract was published online and as part of his compensation, he gets a license to use the UMCA logo for clothing and other items, he gets several pages of advertising per month, and any back issues of ULTRACYCLING that are sold line his pockets. He has not disclosed this before and made a partial disclosure in the most recent issue. Also in the most recent issue, Joe Jamison proposed a resolution saying JH has done a great job in 8 years. WTF? Why?

The RAAM Marketing guy, Jeff Stephens requested and was given a list of the UMCA members, he then created a mailer that was supposedly written by Lee Mitchell, and mailed out the letter to all the UMCA members. JH and Jeff claim that the list was limited to the partial list of people who've allowed their contact info to be published. However, several people have reported that letters have gone out to people on the full list, which is not supposed to be available. I haven't seen this letter personally, my name must have been left off of the list. It's important to note that John Hughes does have an ownership stake in RAAM, which might explain Jeff's involvement.

The elections have been delayed for months. The most recent issue of ULTRACYCLING has the candidates statements and John Hughes felt a need to add an editorial comment on Seana Hogan's statement, but only Seana's statement. Why?

Doug Sloan, who I am voting for, put out a call for JH's resignation or expulsion and I agree with many of the issues. You can see his post here. It's an entertaining read.

Joe Jamison responded by implying that all of JH's critics are liars who should be afraid that JH will file charges of libel against us. Joe also brought up the fact that the Board passed a resolution saying JH has done a good job...AH, now that resolution he proposed makes sense. He claims "admirable" growth in the UMCA membership. Again, I would characterize the use of the word "admirable" as optimism run amuck.

Based on past elections, I would say that JH and his admirers will likely remain in power and retain the status quo. If we do however manage to change the balance of power, I predict a new renaissance for the UMCA.


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
  The Race Across America Diet

I decided today that if I were to write an autobiography it would be called, "The Race Across America Diet." It wouldn't really be a diet book, however, in the spirit of Chris Carmicheal, I would add 200 pages of recipes. Here's recipe #142: Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal. Not because it's particularly good for you, mainly because I have a limited repertoire of actual dishes I know how to cook.

I would fill it with 100 pages of anecdotes, personal history, etc. I would probably also take the easy route and just regurgitate a bunch of my blog entries.

PHOTOS...I just realized if I got some really good photos, that could burn twenty pages right there...Pictures of me in a Bunny costume for Halloween when I was 4...Me and my Prom Date...Me on my first Transcon at 190+ lbs...


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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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