Transplant Athlete
Monday, August 31, 2009
  Bury My Heart On The Blue Ridge

As most readers of this blog know, I hadn't ridden long distances in quite a long time due to the kidney failure. In center dialysis kept me alive (barely) and I never really had the energy to ride. Most of my riding has been around town with the kids. I started dialyzing with the Nxstage System One Home Hemo machine almost two months ago and I've been able to get back on the bike for those long rides I love so much.

Yesterday, I surprised everyone (even myself) by showing up for the "Bury My Heart On The Blue Ridge" century. I've done this ride a couple times in the past. It's got a ton of climbing on it, so it's very challenging. I didn't recognize many faces at the start, just Nick, Gordon, and of course Chuck and Crista. I was able to keep up with the Tandem for about an hour. I debated skipping Chester Gap Rd. Its a little over a mile and a half long and it's very steep. I would lose at least a half hour on the climb, but in the end my legs were feeling pretty good, so I decided to go for it. I got about halfway up when Chuck and Crista came bombing down on the Tandem. It reminded me of a freight train rumbling by. It's been awhile for me, so I was much more conservative on my descent. I rode the brakes most of the way down, I pulled over halfway down to check the rims and they were quite hot.

Rte 522 into Front Royal was mostly downhill, so I was able to make it there pretty quick. From there we headed south on Skyline Drive. After Chester Gap, I felt pretty good on the climb to Dickey Ridge, but I was losing ground to the rest of the group. Maile (sounds like Miley) would pass me, pull over and take some pictures, then pass me again. It was disheartening.

Eventually I caught up to Ed and Mary on their fully loaded tandem. They were on their honeymoon traveling south. It felt good to see them.

Lunch was at the Elk Wallow Wayside on Skyline Drive. I was really suffering trying to get there, my legs were wiped out. After some food and rest, I was ready to go again. I kept up with the tandem and the rest of the group until we hit 211 East. Maile was conservative on the descent, and I got held up for an instant. Maile caught up to me again a few miles down the road after it flattened out. I took a 6 mile shortcut because my legs were screaming "no mas" and took it easy into the final rest stop. My brother-in-law lives on the route about 10 miles from the finish. I pushed hard to make it to his house and then asked him for a ride to the finish.

I got about 87 miles in on a very hard course, so I was happy with that.


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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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