I have survived the tour yet again, only this time unscathed. Last year on day two I ended up in the Emergency Room and had 13 sutures placed in my right calf that was sliced opened from the sprocket. For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, the tour is Tour DaVita. It is a three day bike ride that benefits the Kidney Trust
The Kidney Trust is a non profit organization that provides free testing of kidney function and provides financial assistance to dialysis patients. On the first service, 90 percent of adults with kidney disease do not even know they have it. Once found, lifestyle modifications can be made to prevent the disease from progressing to end stage renal disease (ESRD). That is when you need to be placed on dialysis three times a week until you can get a kidney transplant. The second service takes the burden off of a patient having to decide between paying for a medication and paying the rent.
The tour this year was in Washington State. You can check out the route and pictures and video at tourdavita.org. We started off in Tacoma. The first day was approximately 66 miles. The rain was a slight drizzle most of the day with the temperature in the upper 50’s. There were two large hills that day. I made it half way up the first hill and then had to walk my bike up the rest of the way. I looked at it as on opportunity to stretch my legs and enjoy the sights. The second hill was even more brutal. As I start to make my way up I get cramps in my legs. I had to get off my bike to stretch my legs out. I look down at my legs and it looks like snakes crawling under my bike shorts. The muscles were just jumping. I couldn’t even walk. Then the cramps moved to my lower back. Ouch! The guest speaker for the night was riding his bike up the hill and saw that I needed help. He took my bike and pushed it up the hill while I tried to stop the cramping. After about 15 minutes and a bottle of water, I was back to good and continued on my way. I finished all the miles that day and made it in by 3:30. I hit the showers and then the massage table.
Day two was the visit to the dialysis clinic for a presentation. The morning was crisp and just a very slight mist coming down. We rode to the clinic and just about half way through the program the rain started to come down in buckets. I decided to stay and tour the dialysis clinic to kill some time and see if the rain would let up. After about 30 minutes it did not so I took off. It was raining so hard I had to remove my glasses to see. There were several steep hills on the ride and I stretched my legs on all three. On one of the hills a car full of girls drove by and one yelled out the window “Nice ass!” Boy, it had been a long time since I heard that! Only my bottom was starting to hurt and I was ready to give up. I had two friends, Kevin and Marjorie that pushed me to continue. I carried on with their encouragement and we all crossed the finish line together. That was 79 miles in the pouring rain and temperatures in the 50’s. It was a miserable weather for the ride but the sense of accomplishment and the company kept was worth it. It was after 6:30 when we arrived. I took a nice hot shower but unfortunately the massage tables were closed.
I started day three with the intention of doing the full century mile ride. As the day went on the soreness on my groin was getting worse and worse. The hills were plentiful this day as well. The day started off with rain and about 30 miles out the rain slowed down and then the sun actually broke through the clouds. By the time I made it to the lunch stop I was in so much pain it hurt to walk. Not the legs, the groin. This was the 45 mile mark and I made up my mind I was done. This was a difficult decision but the right decision. I did not want to risk further injury. I ate lunch and turned in my bike. I fell asleep on the one hour bus ride to the camp. After a nice long shower I went to the finish line to cheer the arrival of other riders. I had so many different emotions as I rang the bell and waved to the riders. I was filled with joy that they had finished the ride and disappointed with myself for not completing it. I just have to remind myself that I did my best and there is always next year.