Monday, October 17, 2011
So nothing motivational here. Just a few facts about my race.
Here are some numbers that may be of interest and may or may not have been covered in previous posts. A big number is the expense. Our RAAM related expenses (which started about 8 months out) amounted to $65,000. We had raised $20,000 from cash and in-kind sponsors, $25,000 from donations and fund raisers and the balance came from personal funds. Expenses for just the race were about $35,000, but our team was well outfitted. I can imagine doing RAAM for about $15,000, but it would be tough on the crew and eventually the racer as well.
My sleep breaks ranged from 10 minute power naps to 2 hour luxury snoozes. Some breaks were longer, but the actual sleep time was rarely over 1.5 hours. I think I could go off less with better training. As some of you know my training suffered during the time I was supposed to be peaking. This was 6 weeks of sleep deprivation focus, based on Pete Penseyres plan of riding 400 miles after work on Fridays. I only rode one 300 miler after work on Friday, so I really fell short on this focus, which showed during the race.
I never had any hallucinations, partly because I never pushed my mental state that hard and in looking back I'm not sure I have the ability to do such a thing without the high risk of falling asleep on the bike and crashing. I had plenty of rude awakenings, which are unpleasant. A lot of bad thoughts go through your mind when you catch yourself sleeping on the bike.
My crew played music over the PA system, but there are many times that I preferred the quiet. There's something cool about just listening to the sound of your drive chain and the tires on the road. Maybe that's why I was always so sleepy...
I didn't use a great deal of chamois creams. I stayed with powder the majority of the way and would treat sores with Brave Soldier Antiseptic ointment and Lanacane.
I didn't have a great deal of aches and pains either. The normal neck issues, swollen feet and hands, saddle sores and sore knee joints. My crew took excellent care of me. I was so fortunate to have compiled such a great, diverse crew. And I can see why many folks say that the crew can make it or break it for the racer. My crew definitely made it for me. What a spectacular group of folks.
My favorite aspect of doing RAAM was meeting so many incredible people from around the world that are so passionate about their sport. My least favorite aspect of doing RAAM is that it does, eventually end.
And it does so quickly. You're out on the open roads having the time of your life with many of your closest friends and then you cross the finish line and it's over. Everyone packs up and leaves. RAAM racers get pampered like nobody's business. It's a tough life when it comes to an end. You REALLY do miss the attention. But it's all over now.
RAAM was an incredible experience, but for some strange reason it fell short for me. And it was my fault. I thought I would be satisfied with an official finish, but I wasn't. I am not. I needed to suffer more than I had and I needed to push harder to get there. I'm sure you've heard in many sports about an athlete leaving it all out there and having absolutely nothing left in the tank. Well that wasn't me. Maybe too much time has passed and I'm not thinking clearly. Perhaps this was my intention all along. I really don't know. All I do know is that there will be another attempt some day. And like RAAM 2011, the timing will have to be right in my life and the rest of you will know.
Thank you for all of your support and for being there for me! If you have any desire at all to do RAAM, you can make it happen.
Much love, happiness and success to all of you. Hope to see you on the road or trails.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
The Washingtonian: http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/health/wellbeing/20070.html
The Fairfax Times: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20110701/NEWS/707019836/-1/fairfax-man-cycles-across-us-in-11-days&template=fairfaxTimes
Elena Pence: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbNXDVs4btbW
Maile Neel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcn7/sets/72157626931356107/
Mike Wali: http://www.flickr.com//photos/randomikew/sets/72157626930280279/
Chuck Wood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/c-ctours/sets/72157627053992460/
Mary Gersema: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gersema/sets/72157627056420790/
Ed Felker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8193389@N06/sets/72157627056437912/
Monday, July 4, 2011
At any rate, I'm working on my story, but it will have to wait for some crew feedback. As you may or may not know the rider is totally oblivious to what transpires during the race. My only mission was to stay on the bike and pedal. Compared to what the crew had to deal with, I think I had the easier of the tasks at hand.
I've had time to read through the blog and digest all of the comments. I am overwhelmed with the number of you that took the time to send your comments and positive energy. It truly helped me get through my toughest moments for which I can not thank you all enough.
Life is back to normal starting tomorrow, but life does not end. I will continue to dream and continue to live life to its fullest. Keep in touch and I hope to share my stories with you soon.
A BIG THANKS to everyone for all of your support and positive thoughts in helping me get across the country.
Here is one of our finishing photos from Earl Janssen:
Saturday, July 2, 2011
During our photo session we learned that Ms Gingrow recently lost her husband, Bill, of 63 years and simply enjoyed observing life from her porch. At the moment she was waiting for her nephew to pick her up for a lunch date. But she told us that we were welcome to stay as long as we wished.
I would later learn from her nephew, Terry Gingrow, that we were the talk of the afternoon. Ms Rhea Gingrow was very interested in my quest to race across America and be an official finisher. 11 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes is what it took and I still had time to enjoy a pleasant conversation with a very special woman from Littlestown, PA.
We love you Ms Rhea! Stay sweet and kind and take care of your back. And keep cheering on the cyclists passing through Littlestown. Hope to see you again!
|Me and Ms Rhea Gingrow. Photo by Mary Delaney.|
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
According to Susie their names are: "Trevor, Adam, Algernon, Bobby Smith, Alex, Stephane, G-rod, TT All Day"
Rich adds "The autograph hounds were in Greenville, IL. All were amazed at what Randy is attempting to do. They wanted to follow him down the street, but we told them it would be too dangerous."
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The occurrence of Shermer’s Neck is one of the ultra-endurance cyclist’s most feared problems. The onset can be very quick. The only commonly reported prodromal symptoms (warning symptoms) are tightness and discomfort in the upper trapezius, and erector muscles of the cervical spine. This leads, after a variable period of time, to rapidly progressive loss of the ability to extend the neck, and to neck and upper back pain.
There were a number of periods with higher winds, and also some very long descents where Randy spent many hours in the aero position prior to this. Our experience indicates that riding in the aero position may hasten the onset of Schermer’s Neck. Randy began to have prodromal symptoms by about 600-650 miles into RAAM. He complained only once or twice of upper back and neck pain before abruptly realizing that he could not extend his neck to see, nor could he properly position his head when he attempted to climb in the standing position shortly before coming into Durango, CO. We deployed an adjustable Laerdal Cervical Collar as immediate first aid. For the reader who experiences Schermer’s and attempts to use a cervical collar, you should know that this solution is very confining and uncomfortable. Also, the collar completely prevents neck rotation as they are designed to protect a broken cervical spine. Thus, with the collar on, Randy could no longer rotate his head at all to see to the side or behind him. He was, however, able to ride on while we addressed the issue.
When Rehab to Racing signed on to provide sports medical and physical therapy support for Team Mouri, Mary and I began to study the range of reported medical and physical problems. First, there is almost no scientific literature on this group of athletes. There are a few antidotal reports; mostly case reports and letters to the editor. The ultra-cycling blogosphere is replete with what from a scientific point of view are wildly variant statements of the origin, treatment, and prevention of Schermer’s Neck. These are often stated with certainty and conviction. We could find no single instance of a statistically valid survey or scientific study of the causation or treatment of Schermer’s Neck.
There are a number of theories of the causation of Schermer’s. These range from “Spinal mis-alignment”, to sternocleidomastoid muscle spasm, to weakness of neck muscles in general, to sequelae of prior neck injuries. Treatment recommendations are even vaguer. There are only two reports in the literature of physical examinations by medical experts of Shermer’s victims immediately after onset. One common thread seems to be the once Schermer’s occurs on an ultra ride, then the rider is stuck with the problem until they can rest (off the bike) for at least 24-48 hours. Randy has a past history of Schermer’s, which occurred after about 600 miles during the Paris Brest Paris Brevet ride.
We examined Randy with acute onset Schermer’s. First, there was no evident active sternocleidomastoid muscle spasm at all. Both were tender to deep palpation. Maximal discomfort on examination occurred in the upper trapezius, and the cervical erector spinae muscles. There were several trigger points in this area. Motor exam revealed that Randy had near complete inability to extend his neck against gravity. Attempting to do so caused posterior muscle pain in the previously mentioned muscle groups. Thus the current R2R theory of Schermers causation is that these muscle groups have simply been exercised to failure. Failure onset is accelerated by fatigue induced muscle spasm. This theory is strongly supported at present by Randy’s response to subsequent treatment.
At present we are 1800 miles into RAAM 2011. Randy is not using a collar at all. Randy can extend, and rotate his neck with only minimal discomfort. He has had no analgesics at all except 2 ibuprofen 200 mg tabs when the problem first started what seems like days ago. He rides about 20-30% of the time in the modified aero position with our McGivered chin support. We changed out his stem, raising the handle bars approx. 5 cm.
Additional therapy based on preventing/treating muscle spasm, while using the chin rest to give intermittent rest to the neck extensor muscles, has resulted in progressive resolution of Randy’s Schermer’s symptoms while at the same time he has had three back to back 300+ mile days through all of
Chemically, we have markedly increased Randy’s [Mg] and [K] intake. Also, we immediately started the muscle relaxant methocarbamol 750 mg TID. Potassium intake has also been increased by feeding potassium rich foods. Immediately at onset, our expert Massage Therapist, Connie Griffith massaged his beck extensor muscles and upper trapezius. She has helped all follow vehicle staff learn to massage the neck extensors at every single stop. Randy’s neck continued to improve at this point.
UPDATE from Crew: ""Randy is now resting. A pattern has emerged the past 3 days. Randy rides 150 miles, gets so tired he is falling asleep on the bike so he goes down for a nap. After the nap he is on the bike for up to 200 more miles. We have 20 more miles to the shuttle across the Mississippi (route detours have required this change), then 10 miles to the Time Station. The average speed will jump because of the 20 minute car ride."
UPDATE 2 from Crew: "What a mess! Heavy urban traffic. Incomplete and complicated detours. Road construction. No miscues but lots of delays and the Itallian spies were funny Randy did ride his bike over the Mississippi River after all. He made the time cut off. Regrouping to see what is next. Now ridden 2030 miles!"
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
And this is what Randy and the Follow Van look like moving down the road. I'm not sure where this shot was taken, so I'm guessing Colorado.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
From the Crew:
"Well we made the cutoff with time to spare. Randy has been a little tired of late. Coming into
Cutoff is the 81 hr time limit to reach
Al is the Team MD
Day 2 1250 RAAM Time (Day 3 will start at 1537 today) Mile 535.8 Time Station 8
Shift #1 (Rich, Al and Mary) are leaving Flagstaff with Randy, headed for Tuba City, AZ
53 miles away. Beautiful puffy clouds, sunny and 77 degrees, with a tail wind. This is a perfect change from yesterday at this time when the thermometer reading 112 degrees and not a cloud in sight! We were crossing the desert from Parker, AZ to Prescott, AZ and that was not the max temp. That was to be 114 degrees!
LONG POST - Update on Randy condition from a medical perspective from the Team MD.
We survived the desert of day 2 with temps up to 114⁰. Randy required continuous cooling w/ice to make it across. We used “insulated” Water bottles, 1 with iced water to wet himself with. The second bottle was for Randy’s drink. The relevant temperature management strategy was to change bottles every 15 mins with one ice cold, just half full. Another component was a plastic bag lined ice sock around his neck, tucked under his jersey, and changed every 30.
Going into that day from a medical perspective, Randy still did not have sufficient internal sodium and magnesium stores to allow good endurance in that oven going to Congress, CA. We even dissolved 1 Lava Salt tab in each of multiple doses of ice cold chicken broth which he drank like it was cold beer during the ride the day before, and with all of the different methods of administration, he received 9000 mg of various sodium salts, and 6.5 gms of magnesium sulfate in less than 24 hours. The use of white sun shield arm covers, kept continuously wet along with his head sweat and upper jersey in the <15% relative humidity allowed sufficient evaporative heat loss due to rapid evaporation to allow him to ride throughout the day. Whew, I don’t know whether he or the vehicle air conditioners were working harder. A few doses of SPF 70 sun screen got the whole Team through with no serious sunburn.
As we rode thru the night of day 1, and thru day two, Randy’s fluid status improved, and the impressive net weight losses (up to ½ lb per hour riding) we observed during the first 24 hrs begin to abate. His ability to tolerate street food improved. All readers should note that when a rider is going hard in 110⁰F+ temps, they do not tolerate ANYTHING solid, chocolate, or really sweet tasting, and are generally limited to about 200-250 kcal per hour intake. Without this nutrition and enough high salt fluids, they will eventually just fall off their bike. This finding is consistent with experience in much shorter events such as a hot IM race or International Long Distance Triathlon Championship event.
My opinion about the physiology is that under such extreme stress such as the Desert, the stomach requires VERY simple things to allow continued function. Isosmolar fluid intake only, simple sugars, nil fat, no protein, just amino acids.
The issue of the next several days: THE ARSE. Almost all distance riders experience at least some perineal discomfort on longer, and especially multiday rides. RAAM lore is replete with tales of unimaginable misery due to perineal breakdown, and resultant almost unbearable discomfort. Randy had previously experienced prolonged perineal folliculitis in the anterior perineal region on more than one occasion. This responded very nicely to the appropriate antibiotic ointment in March. Prior to this he had tried several therapies, had recurrence with each return to increased saddle time, and was at least very frustrated. His posterior region pre-race was pristine, but by about 14 hrs or so in the saddle, the areas over his sit (ischial) bones on both sides were red and getting sore. We increased lube and began increasing the frequency of changes to fresh cycling shorts, and applying hi Vit E cream to the area in addition to his chamois cream. By 40 hrs in the saddle, we clearly were not winning the battle, but skin breakdown was not imminent. As his weight with each stop was stabilizing, indicating at least temporary continued resolution of our previous fluid and electrolyte battle, a worsening situation in the basement could soon become Randy’s major limiting medical problem. Not that the usual severe sleep deprivation for all concerned is not really a problem, just the normal environment in the game of ultra-endurance multiday cycling.
After my 16 hr shift, I tried to get my sleep break started while remaining completely confused as to why the location and nature of Randy’s perineal misery was so completely different than his previous problem……At about 0200 RAAM Race Time, I bolted straight up awake with an “Ah Hah” Moment, only to crack my head on the overhead of our RV. The reason was that Randy lowered the saddle nose weeks ago due to the painful pressure on his anterior perineum due to the chronic infection there…AND it was still down!!!! Damn, I must be getting old! The increased pressure posteriorly simply must be the underlying cause of why the location of the trouble had moved so far in less than 6 weeks. One part of the solution must be to level the saddle…Done at TS 13, saddle back to level, and that should reduce pressure on the sore areas. The saddle sore saga continues, more to follow.
Randy has now covered 875 miles passing through the Time Stations at Motezuma Creek, UT, Cortez, CO, and Durango, CO. Randy changed bikes (to climbing bike?) after Cortez on his way to Durango. According to the Crew, Durango was "accomplished with a lot of pain and effort."
Friday, June 17, 2011
TS # TS NAME Miles In TS Day/Time
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Yesterday Earl and Randy pre-rode the 24 mile parade section of the race. That's the section that gets the racers out of town before the race proper starts. "An easy spin on a pretty day. Earl was practically giddy. Randy was confident."
Randy will enter the desert early in the ride. At Borrego Springs the high was 105 yesterday, and expected to go higher today.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011