Thursday, September 24, 2009

The ride of a lifetime!

Day 1 camp site on the lake

Day 2 camp site on a baseball field.

Day 1 injury to my right leg.

Day 2 injury to my right leg
Posted by Picasa
It was billed as the ride of a lifetime. It certainly lived up to that for me! I flew into Grand Rapids via Chicago. The flight was on time and the weather was perfect. The first camp site was by Wabasis Lake Park in Greenville. It was beautiful. We had dinner in a large circus style tent which was followed by the opening ceremony. Then it was off to bed for me as it would be my first long ride in the morning. The temperature got down to 40 that night and I was glad to have a mat for the sleeping bag.

Coffee was at 6 o’clock and breakfast at 6:30 (as it would be for the remainder of the trip). The ride today was from Greenville to Fremont. The first break was at the 15.7 mile mark, more miles than I had ever done in one day. Just about killed me but I survived. I fell off the bike at the stop sign crossing the street to the rest area and skinned up my right knee really well. Lunch was at the 27.3 mile mark at Long Lake Park. I had pasta and a salad and headed out after about an hour. There was a rest stop again at 48.3 and 61.4 miles. We ended the ride at Branstrom Park for a first day total of 67 miles. What a day. I could hardly walk to my tent to get my shower stuff. I was holding the hand rail with both hands to make it up the stairs. It was shower, dinner and bed for me tonight. I was so tired but I had a feeling of accomplishment

Day 2 was from Fremont to Stony Lake. It was a short 2.6 mile ride to a dialysis center in the rain where we had a program ceremony until 10:00. The first real break was to be at the 12.2 mile but I never made it to that stop. At about the 11 mile mark I needed a drink so I slowed down so I could stop for a drink. My foot got caught up in the stirrup and the bike fell over in what seemed like slow motion. The sprocket put a large gash behind my right calf. A few seconds later the blob started dripping out, slow at first and then faster. I had to use my bandana as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The backraods van came by and took me to the dialysis center to have it cleaned up. I removed the tourniquet and the blood started back up again. It was off to the ER where it took 11 stitches to close the leg up and get me on my way. The backroads van was waiting for me when I got out and I had him drop me off at as close to my fall as possible. I continued the day and finished up at about 5:30. That was 66.7 miles. What a long and painful day. Once again it was shower, dinner, and bed.

Day 3 was my chance to do a 100 mile ride. I had until mile 61 to decide if I was going to go that route or if I was going to do a metric century, 100 kilometers (65 miles). Well lunch was not agreeing with me and my legs felt like they were made of jelly, and my stitches felt like they were pulling. The 100 mile ride would have to wait. I pulled into camp about 3 o’clock. I was ready to drop. I took my shower and headed over to the massage tables to have my back worked on. Afterward it was dinner and bed. I was ready to drop. I had blisters in places that you are not supposed to get blisters.

That was almost 200 miles in a three day time span. There were many times when I wanted to quit, calling for the van and taking the easy way out. But I didn’t. I did most of my riding alone. I was way to slow for the good riders and a little faster than the other novices. I am so glad that I was asked to ride and I hope that I can do it again next year. We raised almost $700,000 for the Kidney Trust. It is a non profit that tests for kidney disease so that dialysis can be delayed or even prevented.

1 comment:

David said...

You are the MAN!!!!!

I wish I could have been there to ride with you. I know it must have been painful, but I really got a good laugh out of it. You are really going to have to come up with a better story about how you got that scar on your leg. You could tell people that you were distracted by a beautiful woman flashing her breasts at you and you ran off the road. LOL

You should be so proud of yourself. I guess the MS 150 will be a walk in the park for you now.