Friday, May 24, 2013

The first 80 of the 230 mile Saturdays

The past 4 weekends have yielded 3 bike rides that have all been amazing in their own way. Not only in the athletic accomplishment of the event, being two 80 mile rides and a 70 mile ride, all that left me exhausted, but also in the people I met along the way, and the wonderful family and friends I did the rides with.

Ride Number One:
Chico Wildflower
This was the first Chico Wildflower I had done. 4,000 amazing riders do this ride. It was my first long distance ride of the season and a HOT one it was. 95 was the temp to our tender still stuck in spring bodies and boy oh boy did we feel it. The Wildflower is known for its masses of people, great support, and flat last 20-30 miles. It's also known for its hellish 5 mile hill at mile 50 that happened to be in the heat of the day! It started with me doing a super carbo load with a scoop of delish mocha almond fudge ice cream in Redding and getting an awesome 5 hours of sleep that night, oh yes, preparation at its finest! It made the kiddie pool at the top used to soak our bodies in all the better! Despite the sickish feeling the heat gave my gut the ride was great in the friends I rode with. It started with me doing a super carbo load with a scoop of delish mocha almond fudge ice cream in Redding and getting an awesome 5 hours of sleep that night, oh yes, preparation at its finest! I started the ride with Jess Irwin, super hepatology PA extraordinaire at CPMC and fellow PA school classmate and her great husband Joe.

It was great chit chatting about life in the early morning hours riding out in the Chico early morning light. Riding your bike lends itself to good conversation as long as your not looking to go all out physically, which I like. In the early part of the ride we made our way up to Paradise while it was cool. My favorite part, really, of the entire ride was going up the climb to Paradise and passing a guy pulling a big stereo just blasting the song Clocks. It seemed to fit the mood well!
I lost Jess and Joe, as they were on a different course, doing the metric century. I was on the pseudo 100 mile route, (as you already know, only 80 happened,) so I separated from them and soon after the separation I met up with the infamous Dr. Palmer. Michael Palmer is my cohort in my PA profession. Without him I would not be where I am today. We had initially met over years ago while I was still in PA school, and then a year later on another bike ride, The Tour of the Unknown Coast, where he offered me an interview for the job I have now. Again, riding your bike gets you places people! He is my mentor. I often work side by side with him for up to 16 hours at a time in the OR, (on our longer days!) and my life would not nearly be as enriched with vascular and general surgical knowledge, nor filled with dirty old man humor and noxious fart gasses without his presence, (if you only really knew...)
Now, back to the ride. I passed him at mile 40. He is my alter human. 6 feet 5 inches tall to my 5 foot 2 inch frame 61 years old to my 32, and here we are. We have not often rode bikes together, because , well, often he is working and doing nothing but, and I am often working or child rearing I guess. The last half of the ride was tough and hot. We rode together, and I passed and rode ahead as he was waiting for his riding buddy Scott Sageman who happens to be one of our hospital's Intensivists, (needless to say if a medical emergency happened to me I was in great hands!) These two guys are great, sarcastic sense of humors, and, well, being passed by a 30 something female PA got to them, but not really enough to catch me, just enough to throw plenty of jokes around.
The only picture I have, but here is Palmer dousing Dr. Sageman with water, as well as myself. All I could really think about is keeping my recent food down as this was at the top of the 50 mile hill in really bad heat. But we made it!

So, to end it all, we all finished 80, with me leading the 3 man paceline at the end with my 6'5" mentor riding my wheel to make it home, (he really does work more than any person I know, thus was a little out of shape... ;-)
Chico Wildflower 80 DONE!
This was all great because????Well because we were all out of the hospital sharing experiences that did NOT have to do with someone's life on the line, or hospital politics, or the mental fatigue of working 20 hours straight. I work no where near the amount of time these other physicians do as I have set limits due to my kids. But I did at one time and I know what it feels like.  I was happy for them. And I was happy and humbled to help at the end. No I'm not using it as an ego trip, more of a positive experience to hopefully continue in the future. 

1 comment:

Sheelagh said...

That is a great story! Very inspiring! I now want to pick a ride to do with you. It will take a while for my legs to catch up to the health and ability of those beauties in the final pic, but I will try hard!
You are so motivating!I am glad you got to ride and really happy you had this specific experience to fly you high! :-)