Transplant Athlete
Sunday, June 24, 2007
  Incredibly Uplifting Moments

There were a lot of incredibly uplifting moments in this year's Race Across America. First of all, as long as I was moving forward and was not experiencing one of the lows in the last post, I was generally in a good mood and enjoying the ride. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Box Canyon Road: Last year, Box Canyon Road really messed with my head, but it's not a particularly bad climb, it's very gradual and long. I put my game face on at the bottom and said I'm going to rock this climb. I felt great during the entire climb and was wide awake at the top. I pushed on to Chiriaco Summit, stopped briefly and then pushed on to Blythe. That put me way ahead of last year.
  • Climbing the Yarnell Grade felt almost as good as last year. While I hit it earlier than last year, there were less people around me than last year.
  • There was a detour to Prescott and I was rocking it until my dad shouted out the window..."There's 8 more miles of this easy stuff before the HARD CLIMBING begins..."I still felt good and I still powered up the climbs, but some of the wind had been blown out of my sails.
  • When the temperature started to moderate between Williams and Flagstaff and I was rollin' along on Route 66, feelin' like I could ride forever.
  • Mexican Hat, Utah: Getting word that Terry Zmhral, the race director, had said I could keep going to the next time cut-off in El Dorado, Kansas. I literally felt like I was on top of the world. I had solved my GI and vomiting issues, I was on great terrain, and I was ready to ride. This high lasted most of the way to Cortez, Colorado.
  • Seeing stars (actual celestial bodies, not the oxygen deprivation kind) on the climb to Durango. I was cold, but felt good.
  • Wolf Creek Pass: My crew told me I took 2 hours from bottom to top (and then 15 minutes back to bottom)...While I was sitting in a heap at the top, Lee Mitchell came over and in that "I know what you've been through" kind of way, shook my hand.
  • The climb to La Veta Pass was a big ring kind of climb, nice and gradual. Then flying down the other side on my Softride.
  • Team Pheonix lending me Anthony, their Massage Therapist for 5 minutes. He worked on my IT Band and it's felt fine ever since. That man is a god.
  • Cuchara pass felt good until I got dehydrated near the top.
  • After getting an IV in Springfield Colorado, I felt like I could hit El Dorado within the time cut-off.
  • Even when I got to Ulysses and was told I was out, my legs felt great. I felt like I had the legs to get across the country. The saddle sores were bad (lanacane bad), but I could still ride. The numbness in my hands couldn't keep me off the bike.

So even though, I knew at the Kansas border that I was going to be pulled from the race, I still felt like a winner.

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So where do you go from here? I know you are probably still unpacking from this adventure, but I think you do have one more year of eligibility based on your team RAAM finish. Are you considering giving this another go, or is it time to get back to the "real life"?
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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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