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Transplant Athlete
Thursday, July 14, 2011
  Butte To Ennis

Short Day Hallelujah! We were supposed to leave at 7:30, so I brought my bike out to the trailer, but it immediately started raining. I hid under the van's awning and then it started hailing. It was pea sized, but it quickly added up on the ground. Needless to say, our start time got pushed back to 8:15.

My legs were stiff and sore, so I just tried to take it easy at the start. Eight miles out, we had a big climb, another one I remembered from the Northern. Partway up the climb I started to overheat, the rain had subsided, so I pulled off my rain jacket. On the descent, I remembered that Phil had put my front wheel on after I sagged and he mentioned that I should check it before I started riding. I didn't want to have to worry about that on the descent, so I pulled over and checked it.

I got passed by three guys. The first guy was bombing down the descent, the second guy was much more cautious and Arnold was right on his wheel. I had to ride the brakes most of the way down, it's not the best form to pass someone on a high speed descent especially when the road twists and turns. They were averaging between 35 and 40 mph as we got near the bottom. We saw a woman, parked in a baby blue Subaru at the end of her driveway. She was there awhile. We assumed she saw us. When we got closer, she pulled straight across the road to her mailbox. Arnold and the guy in front of him had to slam on their brakes to avoid slamming into the side of her car. They screamed at her and she stopped her car in the middle of our lane. I was about two bike lengths behind Arnold and I was watching her, so I had much more time to react. Yikes.

The first rest stop (at 33 miles) came by really quickly. I had arrived in the middle of the pack.
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The second rest stop also arrived pretty quickly, but I got seriously slow on the way to lunch. I took some pictures of Nevada City
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Lunch was just before Virginia City. Everybody knows hotel check in is 3pm, so we had 15 miles to go and nearly 2 hours to get there. I pigged out thinking I would walk around Virginia City a bit and my food would have time to digest, but thunderstorms rolled in and I decided to take a few pictures and move on. Well there was a big climb leaving town and I struggled up it. I was barely managing 3 mph. The rain was coming down hard and thunder was reminding me that I shouldn't dawdle. Susan had pulled over to encourage me at the top of the climb and she was ringing a cowbell. She then pulled over again right before the descent. It was a real hairy descent. The rain was making the roads slick and I had to ride my brakes to keep the rims warm dry and ready to stop.

The wind gusts were throwing me all over the road. I figured Susan had pulled in behind me and was protecting me from traffic, but it was just to dangerous to turn my head to check (My rain jacket limited my side vision, so I would really need to turn my head to see if she was really behind me). The wind yanked my helmet up about an inch and that was disconcerting. I tried riding close to the white line, but it was just too dangerous (the white line is slippery when wet and one wrong gust of wind would have put me into the guardrail), so I took the lane. The bike felt a little squirrely under me, so I risked looking at my speedometer and it was reading 46 mph, that's with me riding the brakes...In the rain...And gusty winds...Probably not the brightest thing I've ever done, but I was under control at all times. Before Dialysis, when I was doing Chuck and Crista's weekend rides, I usually made up for my slower climbing by bombing down the descents, but I'm out of practice.

My roommate for the tour has been Walt Chapman, but tonight, we are in a cabin that sleeps 3 so we got a new roommate, Drew Carlson. We went out to dinner at Banditos in Ennis. Really good food. Walked around the town and stopped in at the Banking on Art exhibit. An art gallery in an old bank. Skyped the wife and kids (amazing technology).

 

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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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