Sunday, December 02, 2007

Turkey day in Moab

Right after I posted the cross pics I got an email from Paul with a link to his Moab pics. You can find them here.

Where did this come from?

So I went down to Salt Lake Friday evening with the anticipation on racing a cyclocross race at Wheeler farm on Saturday. The weather looked average for an early December weekend and the storm that was forcasted to hit must have made a wrong I thought. I woke up on Saturday morning to 6 inches of the classic Utah fluffy stuff. It was beautiful and was going to make for a VERY interesting race. To get to the point, I wish I could have enjoyed the very slippery and very snowy course. I was feeling so crappy during the race I didn't have a chance to have that much fun. I hope its just the fact that I'm still getting over some viral URI that I caught. Looking back on the race it was pretty fun, I must have had at least 2 or 3 full on triple-rag-doll crashes as my bike decided to slip one direction on some off-camber turn and sent me flying the other direction. It was snowing so hard that my dad's auto-focus on his camera had a hard time focusing on the right object. So I'm pretty sure I came in dead last in the single speeders. Some of those guys are freaking fast. Not that I could keep up anyway but it sure didn't help that I wanted to vomit the whole race, but I guess this is what cyclocross is all about. More pictures here.

PS. I will be posting some pics from our awesome Turkey day Moab mountain biking trip soon. Paul Fagan and Titus joined us in the desert from some sweet mountain biking. Unfortunately our camera malfunctioned and most of our picture were lost, so I'm waiting on Paul and Titus to send me some of theirs. Eugena posted a few pictures and a bit about the trip here.
My cousin and Salt Sea Pirate extrordinaire raced as well. He had a good race breaking in his new Felt cross bike.
Racer from Racers Cycle service absolutely tearing it up in the single speed class.
The run up

Saturday, November 10, 2007

White Pine-Bunch Grass

So I finally got to ride white pine-bunch grass today. I haven't ridden it since Ian went down during my first ride with the Mooseknucklers. So I was stoked to finish it today, and it didn't disapoint. After climbing around 1000 feet we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the Gog and Magog peaks, White Pine lake, and an 8 mile singletrack descent back down to the highway. It was incredible and no one bashed their face into a rock to that's always a plus.

You can do pretty much anything on a bike

I found this on How to Avoid the Bummer Life, and its pretty much the coolest biking team sport that involves a court, a ball and a net.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fall mtn riding and a really old tree

Some fall mtn biking pictures: We rode the Jardine Juniper trail this afternoon. 6ish miles to the tree (3200 year old Juniper perched on the canyon wall), lots of climbing then one incredible ride back down.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The long season of Appys and ghost tumors

So the last 48 hours have been pretty much the longest of my life. I got a good taste of what is in store for me post-graduation (I hear the internship screaming my name). It went a little something like this....

Wednesday was going to be a great day, we had some really interesting surgeries planned for the day. Wednesday is the big surgery day for the surgeon I've been working with for the past month. Since this was going to be my last surgery day on this rotation we scheduled 4 surgeries for the morning; one retrograde cystoscopy/pelvic mass removal, one neck and thyroid exploration, one hernia repair and ONE lap appy (laparoscopic appendectomy). The first surgery was scheduled to begin at 0730, so I was there at a little after 0700. The patient came in the surgery proceeded and of course went over the time we had planned. No problem, we only had THREE more surgeries and it was only 1015. It was only downhill from there.....

The neck exploration was supposed to be so we could find some recurrent thyroid cancer......4 1/2 hours later and no mass to be found we finally gave up and finished the rest of the surgery. Ok NOW we were running a bit late, it was 1530 and we had only finished our second case. Mostly we were upset because it meant that the following two patients who were supposed to be done by early afternoon had not had anything to eat since last night and they were still going to have to wait. We were so behind we got right into the next case, a simple hernia repair. Luckily it was just that, simple. We got this person done and got moving on our "last" patient of the day an inflamed nasty case of appendicitis. It was at this point that our day took a turn for the long....

You see, we were operating at one of the two hospitals in Logan, and simultaneously we were on call at the other hospital. Seeing that it was now after 5pm the emergency room called the operating room and informed us that there was possible two more cases of appendicitis waiting for us. We had them admitted and they were told to hang tight until we got over there. Oh yeah, the ER also had a pneumothorax (dropped lung) for us to consult on and admit when we got there. We finished lap appy #1 around 6pm and headed over to the ER at the other hospital. We took care of the pneumo guy and go him admitted to the surgery floor. We evaluated the two people waiting for the appendix treatment and decided they both needed surgery. Off to the OR we went. We got going on appys #2 and #3 as soon as we could. Both cases were relatively straight forward and went off with out a hitch, so they went pretty fast. Around 20 minutes from incision to closure. Closing did take a little longer since we decided to suture them (for my practice) instead of skin staples. But we got done with the surgeries and the heaps of paperwork around 2230. Ok, I was exhausted. I had been on my feet for 15 hours holding retractors, driving the scope, sewing and trying to learn. I rode home, crawled into bed with Eugena and crashed. Less than 2 hours later Eugena wakes me up telling me someone called me. Although my phone was right next to my head it didn't even stir me. I checked who it was and sure enough it was the Doc.....we were on call all night and one more of the appendixes in the world decided to call it quits. So around 1am I'm back in the ER evaluating this patient and sure enough she needs surgery. 2am...back to the OR. We get the patient in the OR, quick induction of anesthesia (the anesthesiologist let me intubate!), and we're back in the belly for appy #4 since 5pm. We get it out, close em up, finish the paperwork and stop by the ER to make sure nothing else is there before we get back in warm beds. There must be some weird alignment of the moon or stars cause this little organ was going bad left and right here.....yeah appy #5 had just walked into the ER. Most of the OR staff (Anesthesiologist, scrub nurse, circulating nurse, recovery nurse) had gone home. Once we rounded everyone back up again we were back in the OR taking out #5 in the space of 11 hours. Needless to say my eyes were screaming out for sleep by the time we finished around 430 AM. I drove home very carefully, luckily we don't live far from the hospital.

I had to be back at the hospital at 0730 Thursday morning to round on the the heap of patients we admitted post-op.

Final count:
20 hours either in the OR, in the ER or on the floor.
4 hours of "sleep"
9 surgeries included the pneumothorax (we placed a chest tube which is a minor surgery)
15 trocar port sites closed by me (3 per appy patient)
1 intubation
and I'm pretty sure I ate some food somewhere in there.

I think the worst part about this is that I had not mentally prepared for this long of a day. I've done 20+ work shifts before and I've gotten through them. But this was unexpected. I know I can expect days like this during internship, so in that sense it was a good look into what is to come.

Today (Thursday) after getting home at 0430 sleeping for 3 hours I went to the hospital to round. This morning a patient asked the doc about the role of the appendix, he replied "It's there so it can go bad and they can wake us up in the middle of the night."After rounds, we had a full day of follow-ups and consults in the office. I did get to remove a couple lipomas from a patients arm on my own, which was cool. Oh, then we had an emergent bilateral hernia repair this evening after the clinic at 5pm. Yeah, long days, but I've had a good time on this surgery rotation, it's fun to be in the OR, working with your hands, cutting, sewing, stapling, taking stuff out....not quite sure I want to spend this much time in the operating room though.

I'm going to bed....stupid appendix...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The cold, then the rain, then the mud

My first cross race was a blast. My dad drove up from Sandy to Ogden to race and his category went an hour before the single speed category. For an extra 8 dollars the race organizers let you race a 2nd category so I signed up to race with my dad. I could just take it easy and get to know the course and be all warmed up for the single speed race. The weather was a little chilly and some very light drizzling kept things a little damp, but nothing crazy. We started off with about 30 or so other C-flite riders. The course was great, we had a little 20 foot run up where you get off your bike and run up this small but steep sandy hill, then by the start/finish area they had three 1 foot tall barriers that you get off your bike and jump over. The race lasted about 40 minutes, and we both rode well with out a problem. I had gotten a little wet, so I went back to the car to change before the single speed category started. I got to the car, changed and it started to rain....quite heavily.

There were about 12 or 13 single speeders, all likely really strong so I just wanted to finish the race and not die in the process. I had ridden the course for 40 minutes just before this so I was comfortable with the terrain but the rain had brought a whole new aspect. The group started fast and I settled into my own rhythm. Our race was 45 minutes long but after about 5 minutes I had lost all feeling in both my hands. One of the good things about riding a single speed bike is that you don't have to worry about shifting. So basically all I needed to be able to do was grasp the brake levers with my frozen stumps to check my problem. After about 25 minutes my hands regained feeling so that was nice, but it continued to rain and the course was getting very muddy. The run up was a big wet mess and it took a good minute or so riding afterwards to get my pedals and shoes cleared of muck and engaged. In reality the mud made the course completely different and quite fun actually. I was fish tailing all over the place, and actually got a good face full of mud when I crashed in a sketchy corner. I was having a blast, I could feel my hands, I was a little cold but otherwise pretty comfortable, covered in mud and just having fun. So basically I'm hooked. This was a classic Cyclocross weekend...cold, rain, and mud. I loved it.

Same corner as above, just after the rain...

Check out more pictures here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Time for a new challenge

Its not that I'm particularly awesome at the things that I already do but I somehow managed talking Eugena into letting me sell one of my older bikes and using that money to build another bike. So what form of biking is left that I haven't dabbled in? I have a road bike that I spent a lot of time on this year (on a side note, today my upgrade was accepted so starting now I will be racing as a cat 4 on the road), and I love riding my single speed 29er mountain bike so what's next? I decided to start racing cyclocross. The sport is pretty much designed to be a suffer fest. The races are held in the late fall, early winter, so that means cold rain, snow, and mud. The course is usually a short 1.5-2 mile course with short steep hills and barriers that force you to get off and run. It pretty much combines cross country running and mountain biking but all on a road bike (with knobby tires). Sounds exciting huh?

This Saturday is my first cross race. Utah has a 10 race cyclocross series and I'm going to try to race 2 or 3 of them. I decided to build the cross bike up as a single speed. I've been riding the single speed mtn bike for almost a year and I love the simplicity of it. You get a great workout and it allows you to focus more on the ride, not the bike. Fortunately the utah series has a single speed class, unfortunately the guys who ride single are crazy fast. So pretty much all I'm shooting for this weekend is a finish time....any finish time. Cyclocross is a good way to stay in shape in the winter months, plus who doesn't like riding in cold, rain, mud and snow?

World Cyclocross champ Sven Nys

Monday, September 24, 2007

There is so much potential

If we could just get people off the sofas, out of their cars and on to a bike I think communities and businesses would realize the healing power of 2 wheels.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I've been putting off writing this post. I frankly am kind of over it already but I know some of you out there (maybe one of the 4 or 5 who read this blog) are aching to know. LOTOJA was last Saturday. Everything was in place for a good ride, I had a great nights sleep, I had eaten well the week or so before, I felt good. The only thing that was worrying me was my hamstring had been acting up. On Thursday Eugie, Jansen and I went for a short 30 miler road ride. About half way into the ride my hamstring started to hurt (my biceps femoris muscle for the anatomists). It has been a minor injury I've been nursing for a month or so. This ride though it was killing me. It hurt so bad that I pretty much hobbled home. Scared that this was going to destroy my race in a day I iced it, and rolled it out really well that evening. The next day it felt great, no worries there right?

Race morning was pretty good. I woke up early and started getting ready. We had all my family and some friends staying at our place so things were a little busy around the house but not too bad. The weather report looked great for the day and we were getting excited. After some last m minute things Jansen, Eugie, Kellen and I took off for a small warm up on our way to the start. We timed it perfectly and rolled to the start about 3 minutes before our scheduled start time. All the pirates gathered and waited. We had myself, Cap'n, Jansen, Kellen, Eugie, and Scott all riding in the same group so it was great. And Jay the dentist was only starting 6 minutes behind. They started us and off we went rolling through Logan towards Preston, ID. Jansen, Kellen and I had planned on racing with the pack so we planned on skipping the first feed zone in Preston to avoid the huge crowds and ball of nervousness in Preston. We took enough food and water to get us to the Montpelier feed zone. From Preston the road begins to climb towards strawberry summit. Once the climbing really began some of the guys in the group turned up the pace and I just follow their wheels. Once guy really cranked up the pace and blew what was left of the group apart. Kellen and Jansen could hold on and rode at their own pace the rest of the day. As we neared the top of strawberry summit we looked around and there were only 6 or 7 of us left from our group. I was right where I wanted to be, the only problem was that my left was starting to bother me a little bit.

We dropped down to Montpelier for the feed. I got my stuff with out a problem (except my Ibuprofen that I forgot to take...) and started to climb with the other 6 guys up the towards the next challenges of the day, Geneva summit and Salt River pass. Going up those climbs the pace was fast but not killer. The King/Queen of the mountain was on salt river pass and I decided that I wanted to "win" the KOM for our group even though I wouldn't get anything for it (they only give a prize to the top king/queen for the whole race!). It was more a matter of trying to save face since by then my hamstring was on fire. I took off from my comrades around 1.5-2 kilometers from the top and scorched my way to the top. We regrouped on the descent and rode well together into the next feed zone of Afton.

I got my feed in Afton from Kellen's wife Rachel (she switched to support me since I was ahead of Kellen and Jansen). I had a small croissant sandwich that I ate and finally took some Ibuprofen. The road turned up Star valley and we had a 10-13 mph head/cross wind to make things nice. After we left Afton I started to feel sick. My stomach went into anarchy mode and was cramping severely. Plus my leg was starting to turn into a stabbing pain instead of the aching that it had been the previous 130 miles. My stomach got worse, my leg got worse and I fell off the back of the other 5 or 6 guys. So long......I was gone. I knew I had at least a 20 mile ride into the next feed zone at Alpine Junction. The wind was relentless, the stomach cramps never let up and I was practically pedaling one legged because it hurt too much to put power into my right leg. It was a long and painful 20 miles. I fought and fought to get into Alpine. I made up my mind that I was going to call it a day once I got there. I did not think I was capable of riding the last 46 miles or so to the finish.

I rolled into Alpine defeated. I saw Rachel and told her I was done. She coerced me into riding up a little ways where she could try to massage my legs out a bit (I was lucky that she happens to be a massage therapist). I sat on the ground in Alpine for 25 minutes, trying not to throw up, and having Rachel rub out my right leg. I used the restroom and told her I would try to ride a little farther. She said she would meet me in Hoback junction (some 25 miles from the finish). Luckily the wind had turned up the canyon so we had a nice tail wind to push us along. I felt better but was still struggling. I made it to Hoback, and Rachel gave me another 20 minute leg rub massage. I knew at that point that I could finish. The last 20 miles or so are a blur. I had enough energy and pain management to grab onto the tail end of a 4 person group into Jackson. One of the worst parts about this race is that you hit Jackson Hole around mile 200, but the finish is actually in Teton Village, another 6 miles away! I pushed as hard as I could that last 1/2 hour. It was painful and was not pretty but I rolled across the line with a finish time of 11 hours and 1 minute. My bike computer gives me a ride time of 10 hours and 14 minutes, so I spent around 45 minutes on the side of the road trying not to die. After the race I felt even worse. My stomach in an attempt to destroy me was cramping so badly that I hardly made it back to the finish line to see Eugena and my dad finish (her story of extreme suffering and incredible fortitude is a story for her to tell).

So almost one week later, I feel pretty good. The seasons are changing and its been great to get out on the mountain bike (the sugar and I went for a 24 mile mountain ride deep in the Wasatch today that was incredible). I'm a little disappointed in how my race turned out, but since bike racing isn't my life's purpose I'm ok with it. I know I could have done well (the guys I was riding with until mile 130 took 1,2,3,4 for our group), and I always have plenty of biking seasons ahead of me. I would like to get a sub 10 hour race some day, maybe next year, maybe the year after (I'm trying to talk Eugie into riding it next year on a tandem with me). So for now, I have a lot of cool mountain biking to do.

PS. I finished my 2nd week of clinical rotations and have already learned more about real, practical medicine than a whole quarter of school. I love being out helping patients.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Hillclimb

So after a week or so of hanging out in California (not really riding much after our awesome rides), and driving back to Utah, my brother Kellen and I signed up to do the snowbird hillclimb road race. Basically its a 9.6 mile suffer fest up Little Cottonwood canyon. You climb 3300 feet from the valley up to Snowbird ski resort. This climb is worthy of any Grand Tour. I hoped to race well but my legs felt empty and I had some stomach problems. I just checked the results and I ended up taking 14th in the cat 4/5 group. Ohh well, luckily I felt better as the climb went on and I was able to finish strong. Captain, Eugie and Scott left early and met us up at the finish so it was cool to see them up there. Eugena took this picture right at the finish so I was deep in the hurt box. Below is a little video I found of the Google Earth version of Little Cottonwood canyon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

SSP in cali day 4-The Lost Coast

Today was the Queen day of the trip. We were about to get all we could ever ask for in a bike ride; Amazing scenery, epic views, great weather, awesome climbs, thrilling descents, good company, and excellent support. We started the ride in the Avenue of the Giants - it is a road that is surrounded by gigantic redwood trees hence the name Avenue of the Giants. We rode in the redwoods for about 25 miles but since part of out destination was the lost coast we needed to get over the hills and mountains that separated us from the beach. That took us to Panther Gap, a nice 8 mile climb up and over the coastal mountains. The climb was beautiful, no cars, amazing scenery, and switchbacks!
From the top of the climb we had an incredible view of Mendocino county. From there we had some rolling hills and a few 1 miler climbs to get us to the lost coast. We were on an amazing descent then suddenly the ocean opens up to your view. The road along the coast was a little more challenging then we anticipated. I'm not sure if it was the 25-30 mph winds, or the occasional sand blasting that we got along the 6 mile stretch, not to mention the only way to get off the coastal road is up "The Wall".
The Wall is a 16-18% 1 mile climb that juts up from the coast to get you over the coastal mountains. The look of it is exactly what it feels like, pure and unadulterated suffering. Its steep, it was windy, and it was amazing. I haven't ever rode up something so steep for so long. It was a pure brute of a climb, it really isn't that long, but when you are going 4-5 mph it seems to take forever. Once over the top of this hill we had a nice fast descent before beginning the next climb, the "Endless Hill", aptly named for it's length (8 miles) plus the loads of false summits that give you the rush that you're almost done only to disappoint again and again. I left the Capn' and eugie on this climb, mostly because I just wanted to get it done with and under my belt, knowing we had a 7 mile descent to Ferndale, were we would finish. I felt great on the climb and quickly settled into a rhythm. When the Capn and Eugie finally rolled over the top of the climb we were excited to be done and loving the ride we had just been on. This maybe the coolest ride I've ever done. The scenery was amazing, and the views were unbeatable.
Stats: 77 miles, 8200 feet of climbing, Lots of huge Redwoods, 25-30 mph winds, 1 insanely and excruciatingly steep climb (the other climbs weren't quite as steep as the Wall), miles of twisty fast descents and one great ride.

SSP in cali day 3-Bit off more then we could chew

We decided to use day 3 sort of as a rest day. We had a century on the schedule but we decided to cut the ride short and only do like 70 miles or so. We headed out of Healdsburg (a little north of Santa Rosa, Ca) by car to get a lot of climbing out of the way. At least we thought we were getting a lot of the climbing out of the way. Right after we started we had a quick 1/4 mile jaunt up a 16% grade. The road was mostly up and down, but quiet and once we got into a rhythm, a beautiful ride. We ended up riding only for a couple hours and we didn't make it that far. But we had a nice time out in the hills above the vineyards.
Stats: 22 miles, 2200 feet of climbing, One amazing Buddhist Temple complex, and a great little warm up for the next day.