A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Friday, February 29, 2008

On a (Broken) Wing and a Prayer

The deadline for entering the lottery for Ride the Rockies 2008 came and went this past Friday. After much waffling, flip-flopping and good old procrastination, I found myself driving home from Manhattan, Kansas, Friday afternoon, having done nothing to get my entry form filled out and sent in. So I resigned myself to bagging it for this year. Probably no way I could recover from my collarbone surgery on March 18 and still get ready by June 15.

Things had seemed to be falling in to place...one of the guys I met on Ride the Rockies last year had offered to lend my his old bike to train on until Allied/Nationwide insurance company ponies up for a new one (thanks, Mark!) . But then Mark got sent overseas on a new job assignment and needed to take his old bike with him to train on. And Allied/Nationwide is still refusing my claim.

So there I was on I-70 in the middle of nowhere having failed to get registered...and then Kris called! Kris is the leader of Team DFL, the team I have ridden with for the past two years after meeting Kris on my first Ride the Rockies in 2005. Kris and Patty (Team DFL's faithful domestique), were on the way to turn in the team envelope and wanted to know if I still wanted in (up to 10 riders can register in a single envelope). So, on a (broken) wing and a prayer, I said YES!

[Above (from left): Patty, me and Kris pose in front of Mt. Massive on the last day of the 2005 Ride the Rockies)

After registering I decided I'd better start working on getting a new bike. And while looking at the new '08 Cannondale models online I decided that I was just going to have to go ahead and bite the bullet and buy a bike, not knowing how the insurance claim is going to turn out. Let's face it, I'm not going to let this debacle keep me from getting back on a bike. It's been over five months already. Enough is enough!

I chose a new Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 (triple) with Shimano Ultegra components and Mavic Aksium Race wheels. Check it out (at left)!. Isn't she a beauty? I placed an order through Treads in Parker, CO (my local bike shop). My new ride is supposed to arrive in late March (new bike models are different than cars, which start hitting dealers lots several months before the actual model year). No hurry. I'm not going to be able to get on it before then anyway.

My plan is to get a CycleOps indoor trainer and start spinning my wheels three to four weeks after my surgery (mid-April). I figure I can put in 500 miles on the trainer from April 15 to May 15. By then, hopefully, I'll be able to take it to the streets and put in another 500 miles before June 15.

I really happy I went ahead and bought a new bike. It was like a huge weight off my shoulders. No more waiting. I now know when I'll be "on the road again"!


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Regular readers of DDublog may remember my post on October 9, "An Exercise in Empathy," about my friend Eldon Roush. Eldon was in a serious bike accident in Kansas City last April that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At the time, doctors gave him a 2% chance of ever walking again.

Well, I am happy to report that Eldon is walking again (with the aid of a walker)! Eldon's story is part miracle and many parts hard work and determination. He is an inspiration to everyone who knows him and has followed his story. Here is part of the story, as told by his daughter, Emma...

My Dad had to stay in the hospital for a very long time. I didn’t get to see him very often - Maybe once a week. My Dad was very sad because he thought he would never get out of the hospital. When I came in the hospital door I was his sunshine. I brightened up his day. The only reason my Dad kept on believing was because I was his encouragement. He was determined he would travel to all my gymnastics meets. My Dad never ever gave up. He was also my encouragement in gymnastics. I was trying my hardest at gym. I wanted to impress my mom and Dad. I still am trying my hardest.
He finally got out of the hospital. A few months later, one day he was getting into the car, and he called my mom and me over. My Dad had figured out that he could move a muscle. We were so excited. At therapy he started working on moving his legs. After about two months of working he finally took his first few steps. That was the best day of my life. Now my Dad is walking around the house with a walker and he is driving. Now my Dad’s goal came true. My Dad will be able to travel to Texas, Chicago, and Arizona with me and my family. This is a life lesson to everybody. If you keep on believing, you can do anything. My Dad never gave up and neither did my family. My Dad’s latest progress is that he walked forty feet with a cane. We are so proud of him.

Makes my silly collarbone break seem, well, silly.

With Eldon's inspiration, and the support of my friends and family, I have decided to sign up for Ride the Rockies 2008! My collarbone surgery has been scheduled for the morning of March 20. That gives me one month to train prior to surgery, three weeks of recovery, one month on a stationary bike and then, hopefully, one month on the road.

Of course, that means I have to find a bike to ride by May 15 (my 44th birthday!). There has been good progress on my claim against Allied/Nationwide Insurance. My own insurance company, Progressive, has gone to bat for me and is working with my lawyer to resolve the case without going to court. We're thinking that with the eyewitness account we can get Allied to accept liability and settle, which is the best hope I have for getting a new bike before May.

In the meantime I am running to keep in shape. I'm planning to do a run to the top of Denver's tallest building (at right) on February 24 called "Run the Republic" to benefit the American Lung Association (sorry, Les, I forgot to mention this to you!). Sounds like a leg...and lung burner. Wish me luck!
It's been a bit cold and snowy to run in Denver this week, but I hope to get in some good runs in Phoenix and Austin in the days ahead (temps in the 60s!).


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008!

Well, today's the big day. No, not the Super Bowl (although it was a great game). Today the route for Ride the Rockies 2008 came out in today's Denver Post. It's the day many cyclists all across the country look forward to each year. It's the day I have been anticipating with some trepidation for the past four months. I am excited, but the fact is that I may not be able to ride in my fourth consecutive RTR.

[At left: at the finish line of my first Ride the Rockies in 2005)

It looks like a great route, 435 miles from Durango to Breckenridge passing through Cortez, Telluride, Montrose, Crested Butte, and Buena Vista. Seven serious climbs, including up and over Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12,126 ft.). Four out of six days are over 75 miles. Wow. It'll be a challenge for even the strongest, best conditioned riders.

Which brings me back to my situation. I met with my orthopedic surgeon last week and the news wasn't good. There is still no bone forming in between the three bones that used to be my collarbone. His recommendation: surgery to put everything back in place using a steel plate and pins. So I am scheduled to go under the knife on Thursday, March 20.

The reason for the delay is I have travel scheduled every week between now and mid-March with trips to Reno, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Austin, Manhattan (Kansas), Lincoln, Dallas, San Antonio and Kansas City. So, surgery on March 20 followed by three weeks in a sling and six weeks of "no heavy lifting." That means the earliest I could be back on a bike is mid-May -- about a month before RTR (June 15-21).

[Above right: In Leadville with Patty and Kris, my "camp girlfriends" (as my wife calls them), on the '05 ride (that's Mt. Massive in the background)]

I have three weeks to decide whether to register (deadline is Feb. 22). Should I do it? Can I do it? I think I can. But it will take some work. Here's the plan: I begin training now on a stationery bike, take a break from March 20 to April 10, get back on the stationery bike until May 15 (my 44th birthday), then put in at least 500 miles on the road before June 15. I think I can do that...if I ride to/from work when I'm not on the road.

[Above: At the continental divide on the 2006 ride]

Should I do it? Can I do it? I'd love to hear from my family and friends. Vote on the poll (in the column on the right) and submit your comments by clicking on "comments" below. Stay tuned to DDublog for updates.

Ride on!