US Transplant Games
I will be leaving for the US Transplant Games in a couple of days. The Games are important in that they raise awareness for the urgent need for organ donations. When I went to Florida in 2002, I didn't know anyone. I didn't really know my teammates on Team Nation's Capital. The cycling events were held in a parking lot right next to the Epcot Center entrance. My family was there and the Team Manager was there. I didn't really know what to expect. I had raced at the collegiate level a couple of times before the Games, but nothing as short as a 1 km time trial. The events weren't really that big a deal, except that it took them forever to score the TT and I handily won the RR.
I have mixed feelings about these games, I haven't been training for them. I haven't even been training for the 24 Hour TT's, Dave Holmes, the Race Director for the UMCA 24 Hour TT Championships was recently struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in a construction zone. The event was obviously canceled and I slacked off on my training. If the competition is the same as it was in Florida in 2002, I should be able to defend my Gold Medals.
I'll be away from my baby for a whole week, and when I get back from the games, I'll be taking a business trip down south for a couple of weeks for my new job. She's not going to be happy about that.
I've done the past two 24 hour races without a support crew. Aside from the friendly spectator here and there, I rarely even have someone cheering for me. Now, I realize my performances haven't exactly been worth a marching band, but it would still be nice to have someone there.
While at the National 24 hour challenge, I heard a woman just lashing into her mother with comments like, "Mom, I wrote everything I need along with the time I'll need them, its that simple." Now on the surface, that might not seem so bad, but you should have heard the way she said it. The sister walked up a couple of minutes later and the rider again explained what she needed and when in a condescending tone.
The sad part is that it was barely 12 hours into the race and the woman was probably not in the running for any awards. From someone who would have loved to have my family there, it seemed unappreciative and mean.
I thought a lot more about this as I read that someone in the Race Across AMerica (RAAM) had to DNF when his crew left him by the side of the road. What could that rider have possibly said to get a crew, who had planned to put there own lives on hold for nearly two weeks to help him acheive his goal, to quit so dramatically 500 miles into the race.
Makes you wonder.
National 24 Hour Challenge
On Father's day weekend, I rode in the National 24 Hour Challenge in Michigan. It was quite an ordeal to get up there. I left work a little early to drive there from Herndon, VA. Mapquest said 10 hours. I was hoping to do it in 9 hours. I was on track to make it up there at 1am Saturday (start time 8am), when I blew a tire on my Ford Escape in Ohio just southeast of Cleveland. That was about the halfway point. I put on the Donut and since it has a 50 mph limit on the sidewall, I did the next hour at 52 mph. I stopped and checked the tire and it seemed cool to the touch, so I did the next hour at 60. I checked the tire again and it seemed a bit warm, but nothing out of the ordinary, so I picked up the pace to 65 and after an hour, I stopped at a rest stop and napped for 3 hours. Then I drove the rest of the way there at 65. I was expecting to get 6 hours sleep and ended up getting 3.
The couple of days before this trip, I was in Lexington, KY on business. So I had to pack in a rush Friday. I had loaned my wheels out to a friend for a race the weekend before, so I had to pick those up, I needed some supplies from Bonzai, so I stopped in there, since I was out...I forgot, however, to pack cold weather gear. I wasn't really expecting it to get that cold up in Michigan, but it did...So, I started off in the morning and everything was cool. It was amazing to see over 400 riders competing in the event. The corn was about a foot high, so you could see a long string of riders up the road.
I was on the bike for about 11 hours and put in 181.6 miles. It was a draft legal race, but much much hillier than Sebring. Nancy Guth mentioned that the UMCA Championships in Iowa have even more climbing in them. Around the 60 mile mark, my legs were burning, but that went away after about 20 miles. I struggled back to the start finish line after the 126 mile loop and took some Anti-Fatigue Caps from Hammer Nutrition and some Tylenol. Soon everything was feeling better and I went out and hammered on the short day loop. I was hoping to get three laps in, but I spent to much time at my car and on the second lap, I slowed down. They use a punch card system, RFID, and they manually write down your number and time of arrival at all the checkpoints. I forced myself to quickly ride another lap of the 7.5 mile night loop and then I took some time off the bike. I jumped back on the bike and tried to turn on my tail light, but the batteries were dead. I packed everything up, drove down to the corner store, and picked up some new batteries. By the time I got them installed it was getting dark, but the temperature had dropped precipitously. After much internal debate
"Its Cold outside, you should crawl in the back and go to sleep,"
I crawled in the back and went to sleep.
The event was very well run. I couldn't believe there were so many people there. The lawn in front of the school was covered in tents. There were over 400 participants, the top male did 470 miles, and the top female did 444 miles.