Transplant Athlete
Sunday, July 29, 2007
  No Oversight Whatsoever

The UMCA Board of Directors election is over and I lost. While I accept that fact, there was some hanky-panky that went on which may have influenced the election and that needs to be addressed. I sent a letter to John Hughes asking him to do the honorable thing and resign. He called me to discuss it and during the course of the conversation he admitted to participating in a letter writing campaign to get his panel of candidates elected. We also discussed the sentence he added to Seana Hogan's candidate statement which may have had a negative effect on her chances. His brother had advised him to write a scathing editorial instead and he felt that was well within his rights to do. John Hughes also instituted a new policy regarding voting that potentially restricted the number of people voting (everyone had to have a signature on file). The real controversy in my mind is that John Hughes is monitored, supervised, managed, directed, etc. by the Board and the Board sets his compensation as well as renews his contract. By manipulating the election, he has stacked the Board with supporters.

I told him that I felt that manipulating the election and therefor deciding who your bosses were was equivalent to cheating. He informed me that there were no rules against it, but I could contact the Board and ask them to institute some new rules for the next election. He then asked for my help with a couple of things related to the UMCA at which time he was jamming me between a rock and a hard place. By saying No, he could say that despite what I say I was unwilling to back those words with action. By saying Yes, he could point to me as supporting him. I hate being manipulated like that, so I took his advice and wrote an email to the Board asking them to look into his conduct and to add a few rules to restrict his actions. Part of the problem with setting more rules is that people will look at them and ask where are the loopholes? What can I get away with?

He immediately replied to my Board with a..."I thought you wanted to work with me to build the UMCA but I guess you've changed your mind" letter.

The Executive Committee has decided that the weight of the issue requires a full Board Meeting to resolve. John Marino, one of the founder's of our sport, has asked to address the Board in the meeting, but he has been denied. I recently suggested that the Board record the call for podcasting later, you know, to show that everything was fair and balanced, but I'm guessing that they are going to come up with a dozen excuses why they need to meet in secret. (In my post, I hoped to avoid two of those issues by highlighting a free and easy solution). So, In my role as the Pyschic Cyclist (TM), I'm going to predict what's going to happen.

We'll receive a notice by email that after much deliberation the Board voted to uphold the results of the election unanimously. Chris Kostman will request the minutes of the meeting, which will arrive in two months and will look like this:

UMCA Board Meeting Held July --, 2007
by Teleconference

Everyone who agrees with John Hughes

The one Board member who disagrees (she was given the wrong phone number, or date, or she might not have even been told when the meeting was)

Tom Buckley called the meeting to order.
A quorum was present.
Tom Buckley called for New Business
John Hughes addressed the Board regarding the recent election and some concerns brought by a vocal minority.
A Vote was called on the status of the recent election
The Board voted Unanimously to uphold the results of the recent election.
Tom Buckley made a motion to close.
Meeting Adjourned.

I don't trust the current Board members to adequately represent me. I don't feel they will give these issues the weight they deserve, and they won't listen to both sides of the story, which was why I requested that they record the meeting. The Board is meeting in the next couple of days, so we'll see.


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Saturday, July 28, 2007
  Two Weeks Ago

I arrived at Liznmatt's house for the start of what would be a very looong weekend of riding. On the schedule was 191 miles for Saturday and 141 miles for Sunday. Although most people were getting hotels for the night in Covington, I and a couple others were planning on riding it straight through. It's a bit shorter than a 600 Km, so the others were using it as a warm-up for Paris-Brest-Paris.

I was flying along for around 30 to 40 minutes, then I started feeling nauseous. I slowed down and stopped a couple of times, but I wasn't improving. After 20 to 30 minutes of feeling crappy, I decided to turn around. Clare passed me about this time with Bernd hot on her heels.

The ride back, although mostly down hill, was slow. I haven't seen the Nephrologist since I've gotten back from the Race Across America, so my fear was that I damaged my kidney and the nausea was a first symptom. The nausea was similar to what I felt in the months before my kidney failed. I didn't have any of the other symptoms, so I probably should have just sucked it up and completed the ride, but the fear was enough to mess with my head. As I think I've said before, you really need to have your head in the game for a 200 mile or 300 mile ride.

I've been back on the bike for about an hour at a time, pulling the kids, without any issues, so maybe I just had some sort of bug.


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Thursday, July 19, 2007
  Cousin Joe

My cousin's battalion helped build a bridge between Kirkuk and Baghdad. Here's the link
I'm sorry, but the kid in me has been holding this in for a really long time...GI JOE A Real American Hero!


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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
  Racer to Randonneur

I spent Sunday taking the rock hard carbon fiber saddle off of the Litespeed and removing the Compact Cranks. I had dreaded removing the cranks, the shifter cable was too short and would need to be replaced. I applied ample amounts of lube to the cable as I fed it into the housing to insure smooth shifting.

I spent todays ride lowering the saddle a couple of millimeters at a time to find the correct height for this saddle. The 53/39 feels much better than the compact cranks, I also feel much faster. I probably should have changed them out at the beginning of the season or at least after my disastrous VO2 Max test. Live and Learn.


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  But I love my Skechers

I dropped Q off at VBS and pulled RJ up to the gym. The temperatures were pretty moderate today, certainly better than Monday or Tuesday. At the gym, I realized I left my sneakers at home, so we went in search of a shoe store and the best we could do was a Burlington Coat Factory, I picked up a pair of Skechers for $30. They'll be my everyday shoes from now on and I'll leave my sneakers in the kids trailer.

RJ walked into Baby-sitting and paused momentarily, for some reason, he's afraid of the guy babysitters at the gym. Lucky for him, Miss Robin would be in later and he loves Miss Robin.

I took it really easy, it's been almost two months since I've been in the gym. Even with light weights and frequent breaks, my blood pressure dropped and I thought I was going to pass out several times. That'll go away eventually. I think I need to bring an extra pair of cycling clothes with me when I go to the gym, it was icky putting the wet cycling clothes back on.

When I picked up Q at school, a mother walked by and told me that she passed me on the road and that I was nuts for riding in this weather (but she said it in a nice way). After the ride, it was lunch, protein smoothie, and a nap.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007
  For Lack Of A Babysitter, Yoga Was Lost

I attempted to attend the Yoga class at the Fairfax location for WSC because my local WSC doesn't offer Yoga anymore. But, despite what it says on their website, they don't have babysitting. So, RJ and I ran a quick errand and headed back to our WSC home location in Sterling. I talked with the new manager, who reminded me of THE HULK (I'm sure he's a nice guy, but guys that big really intimidate me). I'm hopeful, because he listened to my concerns, said it made sense to bring the Yoga classes back, and then sent an email off to his manager. If he manages to bring the classes back, then I'll offer to create a poster to "sell" the class, they don't do a very good job of advertising or "selling" their classes to members.

If it's that easy to get yoga back, then I may ask him to find a massage therapist. I was told when I joined that they were looking for one for that location, but they hadn't had any success in several months of looking.

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Monday, July 09, 2007
  ESPN8. I just can't get enough of it

Like a scene from Dodgeball, I flipped to ESPN and BAM! there it is the RPSNC is being broadcast. For those who missed the Rock Paper Scissors National Championship, let me tell you "Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to witness the greatest happening in sport...a sporting event greater than the World Cup, World Series and World War II combined. " The broadcasters were desperately trying to add some color to the broadcast, but it's impossible, "Oh he threw rock, he should have thrown scissors..."

GIVE ME A BREAK. SPELLING BEES, ROCK PAPER SCISSORS on ESPN, but not RAAM or any other Cycling Event? It was even being broadcast on the high definition ESPN channel. They need to take Sports Network out of the name, and just go by EN.


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  The Three Stooges

My daughter Q is attending Vacation Bible School this week. Today was a lesson on Noah and the Ark, with the message God keeps his promises. Tomorrow is Jonah and the Whale and I'm trying to get her to say the famous Roy Scheider line (right after he sees JAWS), "you're gonna need a bigger boat." My wife says that Methodists have a sense of humor, we're Roman Catholic, and they don't.

Wednesday is Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. Yeah, we were like "Who?" also. We decided to play "Battle of the Catholic School Girls" to see which grandmother learned more in between beatings from the Nuns. If you've ever seen the scene in Blues Brothers where the Penguin is beating Jake and Elwood with a ruler, that's the impression I get when my mother describes what her education was like. Anyhoo. We called up my mom in Jersey and asked her, her guess was the three wise men. And she asked me not to refer to them as the Three Stooges so that Q wouldn't repeat that in class. We then called ABL's mom and asked her (both went to catholic school in North East New Jersey). ABL's mom thought they were women in the bible. Amazingly, both grandparents thought that Jonah and the Whale were a bit scary to be teaching kids, but it's not like they'll be playing JAWS during the class. So, none of the grandparent's knew who the Three Stooges were, so we moved to the bonus round by calling ABL's sister-in-law, who immediately went to Google, completely missing the point of the game. Now, I know the Beastie Boys have a song titled "Shadrach", if you click the link above it will take you to their site, then choose the audio link under the picture that says, "An exciting evening at home with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego" (It's in the second row, second column from the left).

So for those of you playing at home,Wikipedia says Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were friends of Daniel, kidnapped and taken to Babylon. The king of babylon decreed that all should worship a golden idol, the three stooges refused and were thrown into a fire. The Three Stooges walked around inside the fire unharmed and the king ordered them to come out. He then decreed that, "anyone who spoke against the God of the Three Stooges would be cut to pieces and their houses turned to rubble."

I'm guessing that might be a bit scary for kids. I just hope Q doesn't set a fire thinking God will save her.

Speaking of religion, I have a friend who sends me religious chain letters, the kind that sound a bit like Penthouse Forum letters, "I never thought it would happen to me, but I walked into the wrong hotel room and there they were three naked hotties...Thank you God" Usually, there's a story about the impossible happening and then a call for prayer and then a call to forward it on to everyone you love. He used to send me the ones that said if I didn't pray and send it on tragedy would befall me. That's when I put my foot down, I can't stand receiving threatening emails.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007
  Captain Joe Kaminski

My cousin Joe just earned the rank of Captain in the US Army. Congrats Joe. More good news, he's coming home soon.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007
  "To Punish and Enslave" Bee-Otch

The first line was painted on Barricade's quarter panel and the second line was on a air freshener inside Bumble Bee in the movie Transformers, but it quite adequately describes the experience of watching a movie at the Bengies Drive-In. I had high hopes, and was driven by nostalgia when I packed up the family and drove over an hour to get to the Bengies. I wanted to take the kids last year, but things never worked out, so I've been over the website several times. It was a very inconsistent experience.
  1. There are signs in the snack bar that say that Lemonade and Bottled water are $1.25, but the Lemonade is actually $3.25 and I don't know what the Bottled water ended up costing me. They add a charge if you use a credit card at the snack bar which is against Visa and Mastercard's agreement.
  2. Instead of regrading the theater, they shove larger vehicles (trucks, minivans, SUVs) to one side of the theater, Meaning we had to watch from a very extreme angle.
  3. The biggest problem I had though was with the security personnel and the inconsistent nature of the rules. They make a huge deal out of following their house rules, which I can respect. I've read them several times online and I read them again when we got to the theater. It clearly states that liftgates and doors cannot be raised above the level of the roof. I and many other patrons were complying with the rules, however security decided that all of the liftgates had to be closed. They claimed that the proprietor had made an announcement about it earlier, but apparently no one heard. Security was quite rude about the whole affair.
  4. Woops, I forgot to mention what should have been the worst part, the security cameras in the men's room, Yuck. What's that about? Are they afraid people are going to steal the soap? Maybe the Nazi security guards want to catch people who miss the bowl or maybe the proprietor is just a perv.

ABL and I long ago made it a point to avoid indoor movie theaters except for extreme cases (Star Wars, X-Men, Superman, etc.) because a night at the movies could easily be mondo expensive. For the same price, we could BUY a couple of DVDs and watch them from the comfort of our home. My home sound system is as good as some of the theaters we've been in in the past and we've got a TV large enough to make the experience worthwhile.

I was hoping that Bengies would be a good alternative to an indoor theater or my home theater, but sitting outside the SUV loses sound quality and sitting inside with the back down and looking out the rear window or even the front windshield frames the picture and makes me feel like I'm watching my TV instead of the largest screen in the US. Bottom line: Skip the Bengies, it's not worth the drive or the hassle.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2007
  The Final Miles

As I entered Walsh, Colorado, I felt like a switch had been thrown and my body refused to push any farther. My legs were able, but I'd run out of gas. I had plenty to eat, so I wasn't bonking, I had plenty to drink, so I wasn't dehydrated, but my specific gravity strips started coming up as if I was dehydrated. I took a break under a mulberry tree.

When I started up again, I was using every mental trick I knew to get me to the Kansas border. So, we stopped several times, and we had a longer break when we got to the Kansas border, I had Scooter and my dad take some pictures, as I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be crossing any more state borders as an official racer in the 2007 Race Across America.

The real test meant getting to a time station in Kansas. If I didn't hit a time station in Kansas, then I officially only made it to Colorado. Here is a picture at the border

And one with my mom, her kidney made it all possible.

My neck muscles were pretty shot at this point, so you can see my head tilted down a bit in both pictures.


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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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