Transplant Athlete
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
  Jure Robic Sore Loser

RAAM 2009 is in the books, and the controversy is just heating up. After leading the pack for most of the race, Jure Robic quit in Mt. Airy Maryland. Why? Although he arrived first well ahead of Dani Wyss, Jure had an hour of penalties tacked on, putting him firmly in second place.

RAAM has a lot of rules, most of the rules are for the safety of the rider (like stopping at Stop signs and stopping at red lights) but they are also there to assure a fair race. Yes, there are a lot of common sense rules, but in a 3000 mile race, sometimes common sense goes out the window. There are penalties associated with breaking these rules, the problem is on a 3000 mile race is that sometimes there aren't officials around to see it. They have some "undercover" officials. If you look at Robic's penalties, they were stupid and he should have known better.

  1. Peeing into a planter at the ride start surrounded by officials, cops, and spectators, not smart, especially given that there was a set of bathrooms to the side of the stage area and another set a short walk away.
  2. Passing on the interstate. It can be difficult out in the desert to find an exit ramp, but if you just got done talking to an official, you shouldn't do something illegal, because the official is right there, at least wait long enough for the official to get down the road a little ways.
  3. Going off course. If you go off course, you are supposed to return to the point you went off course and start from there. Yes, it sucks when you've ridden 20 miles in the wrong direction, but that's why you need your crew to pay attention to the directions.
There was one corner that tripped up a bunch of competitors both years I raced resulting in a 15 minute penalty for each, I believe it was the first stop sign on the course, they had 3 or 4 officials there, it was obvious that they were there to make sure everyone stopped completely. I put a foot down there because I knew they were watching (The rules say you can do a trackstand).

Robic has a video on his site that allegedly shows Dani Wyss running a red light by making a right turn at the light then immediately making a U-turn, then making a right turn back on course. It's clear from the video that he is essentially running a red light; but, is that what happened? Perhaps Robic's crew painted an arrow at the intersection and Dani thought he was supposed to go right and his crew corrected him before he got to far? I think Wyss should get a penalty for this, because he is essentially running a red light. If Wyss made a habit of running red lights and stop signs, then its a pox on the race organizers for not catching him. They definitely need more officials out on the course. They should also be drug testing these leaders, it's too easy these days to dope. I doubt Robic is racing clean.


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Sunday, June 28, 2009
  Awesome Weekend

I continued my streak of good scratch made pizzas on Friday (Hawaiian/Green Pepper, pepperoni, plain), but the Pizza stone I got from my mom bit the dust after only 16 pizzas). A cyclical thermal stress caused a brittle failure. Afterwards, Q and I rode our bikes into Herndon to see 'Love Seed Mama Jump' in the square by the library. My buddy Jason G. was there and as I chatted with him, I noticed that there were 4 families from my street there within feet of where I was sitting. Jason was expecting his family, so Q and I sat with the neighbors. At some point though, Q discovered one of her classmates was about 60 feet behind us and she went to play with her. I was able to occasionally coax her into dancing with me. LSMJ has some good music of their own, but I think they were mostly doing covers that night.

Around 9:15, Q and I went for Ice Cream at DQ, then we rode our bikes home in the dark. I had my dinotte 1 watt LED, which I should have mounted to Q's bike, but she rode like a trooper. It had threatened to rain and thunder all night long, but it held off; although the lightning was close enough to make Q wish for her mommy.

Sunday was spent taking down tree limbs in the backyard. Our yard looks huge now.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  World Naked Bike Ride

I am depressed. I missed the World Naked Bike Ride in DC on the 13th. I'm going next year :)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
  Fountainhead Regional Park

Have you ever been? This place rocks. It was way past my skill level, but I managed to make it around the whole outer loop. I embarrassed myself on the seesaws, falling off about a dozen times. I hooked a tree coming out of a downhill turn, so I was going good and fast when I did it. I went over the handlebars a couple of times.

I can't wait to go back.


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  Can Robic Win Again?

Robic probably could win again. To be honest, I haven't checked the race roster yet, so I don't know who's racing this year. The man is a machine. I've never really been a fan of Robic, because I don't know if he's racing clean. To my knowledge, he's never been tested before, during, or after any competition. There's not enough money in the sport of Ultracycling to get him tested and the governing body, the UMCA, well, let's not go there. I think they might be thinking that it's only $10,000 in prize money and it usually costs someone like Robic at least $14,000 to participate, so no sane person would dope to win because there's just no money in it.

Also, I think it was 2004 when Robic's crew accused Trevino of cheating. They were neck and neck across the country, until his crew accused Trevino of cheating. Trevino took it hard personally and very nearly quit the race, but once Trevino got his head back in the game, he matched Robic's pace across the final miles. Unfortunately, for that brief period where Trevino was absolutely disgusted with Robic and RAAM, he lost too much ground to Robic to challenge him. Yes, I'm going to hold this against Robic for eternity, it wasn't sportsmanlike. They instituted new rules on how to report cheating after that incident. There's now a penalty if you report cheating where none exists.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009
  Smackdown In Silicon Valley

Like most people, I followed the development of the Tesla Roadster with anticipation. I will never own one (way out of my price range), but the Roadster shows what can be done with electric propulsion. It will finally shut up those car guys who think that electric cars are nothing more than golf carts. It's got real world range (250 miles). I've been driving for 20 years, I've probably logged 400,000 miles behind the wheel, and I can count on my fingers the number of times I've gone farther than 250 miles in a straight shot. 2 cross country trips, and maybe 6 trips to Florida, a trip to Maine, There might have been a trip or two to Massachusetts thrown in here and there (ok, so maybe I need to use my toes too). 95.5% of my driving is within that 250 mile range. I'm getting off on a tangent here

Anyway...The company was founded by Martin Eberhard, but within a year, he had brought Elon Musk on as an investor. Originally, Tesla was to use a stock body from Lotus for the Roadster. Lotus makes cool cars and using off-the-shelf parts would make it affordable. By the time Elon Musk was done, nearly every part required some modification by Lotus, which forced Lotus to retool (ka-ch$ng Ka-ch$ng), which lead to the delay in the Roadster's introduction. There was a story floating around that Elon's wife had trouble getting in to the Lotus because the seat is so much lower than the doorsill, so Tesla paid $1.5 Million (and who knows how much time) to get the door sill lowered. Eventually, Elon Musk forced Eberhard out and co-opted the "Founder" title for himself. It was only a matter of time before the lawsuits started flying. The lawsuit alleges a lot of things, among them that Elon Musk falsified his educational credentials. Also it alleges that Eberhard was promised the second car off the production line and that Musk sold it to one of his friends instead. The funniest allegation is that before they delivered a car to Eberhard, they rammed it into the back of a truck during an "endurance" test. Essentially dropping a totalled POS on his doorstep and a "Take that MF."

You know, the OJ trial never really interested me, but this one, I'd pay to see. I know, I know, this is never going to trial, Tesla will settle out of court, but imagine all the sordid silicon valley tales that will emerge! It'll be a Po Bronson tale brought to life. I think Elon Musk is headed for a day of reckoning.


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Outrageous! Boonen fails a second drug test for COCAINE, but he's still allowed to race Le Tour??!?!?!?!?

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Saturday, June 06, 2009
  Clean Heart - SADE

Where is our soul? Where are our memories stored?

There are some in the transplant community who believe that people store their memories throughout the body, so-called cellular memory. I have a friend who swears he has a connection to his heart donor, he says one day that he started crying when he heard Sade on the radio and normally he would have turned it off, because he hates Sade, but that day he listened and cried. Sometime later, he met his donor family and found out that his donor liked Sade.

A bunch of hooey if you ask me, but you might think it's harmless enough. It isn't. According to this article, 1 in 3 transplant recipients believe they have taken on characteristics of their donor. In this study, 20 students were told to imagine they needed a life-saving (what part of life-saving did they not understand) transplant and they were shown pictures of possible donors and asked to rate how happy they would be to receive an organ from them. They went back through the exercise, only this time they were told the pictures represented "good" and "bad" people. The people who were "bad" had higher negative scores, with the highest negative scores going to a 'murderer's' heart. To some on the organ transplant list, they don't get to pick and choose. Liver patients in particular have to take an organ or they will die, there is no treatment that will keep them alive to wait for another. Heart patients can be kept alive for awhile without a heart, but not indefinitely. I can stay alive on dialysis, but trust me it sucks.

There are a lot of myths out there that are held by ignorant people regarding organ donation. A good friend of mine believes that if she signs an organ donor card and gets in to an accident that doctors won't work to save her life, they'll carve her up for her organs. This is a perfectly rational woman with a college degree. Other people believe that you can't have an open casket funeral if you donate or that their families will be charged if they become organ donors. In this day and age, when over 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant, it's important that we debunk these myths.

There is no such thing as cellular memory. I think most of these incidents can be chalked up to the use of corticosteroids in the recipient. My buddy listening to Sade and crying? prednisone causes mood swings and will make you cry. Guy craving snickers bars? Prednisone increases the appetite and makes you crave sweets. Woman who is angry after the transplant? Prednisone causes mood swings and can make you very angry.


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Monday, June 01, 2009
  1 Rider Up, 1 Rider Down

Q and I went for a ride with Maggie and Paul yesterday. We rode out the W&OD to Reston and then took the dirt trail up to Lake Fairfax. The kids did ok on the dirt trail. We kicked around Lake Fairfax for a short while then headed home. Q got tired on a hill and I think she was expecting me to push her up, according to Paul she rode off the pavement and when she tried to get back on she tipped over and fell. Paul was right next to her and he stopped, but couldn't get clipped out in time and he fell on her. She started crying and I knew that was probably the end of her ride. I held her for a couple minutes while she was crying, "I want mommy to come pick me up!"

I convinced her that she had to ride for 15 minutes and got her back on the bike. I pushed her up the hill and then she rode out to the Baron Cameron. She stopped soon after we got on Baron Cameron and wouldn't go any further. I called ABL and she came to pick her up, then I rode with Maggie and Paul back home. Q ended up riding 10 miles, Maggie did 15.

We were on a trail through a neighborhood when Maggie hit the brakes and her rear wheel locked up as she was going around a turn. She slid for a couple of feet then released the brake and continued on. I was amazed that she kept the bike upright.

Later that day, John came over to learn to ride a bike. We put him on RJ's bike. Within a few hours, John had learned to ride a bike and he was doing laps of the cul de sac by himself.

On a more somber note, Keith Krombel was injured during the DC Randonneurs 400K brevet. Around 11:30 pm some people who lived near the road heard a loud crash, they went out and found Keith on the ground. Keith doesn't remember what happened and unfortunately, he prefers to ride alone, so we may never know what happened there. Keith is an experienced rider (he's done RAAM) riding a sanctioned Brevet after dark. That tells me he had adequate head lights, tail lights, he was wearing a reflective vest or sash and he probably also had reflective ankle straps, these are all required by the Brevet rules, so he wouldn't be riding without them. He may have been moving slowly at that point on the ride (it was on a climb), but with all that light and reflective material, he was visible which means he was probably hit by a drunk driver. Keith will be off the bike for about 6 weeks.


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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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