Coast to Coast (and back?) with an Italian Supermodel

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AntiHero, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Nice--knew I'd run across another M-Dot guy eventually who also rode motorcycles! Would be cool if we'd ever done the same events (Boise 70.3 or Vineman?)

    I brought some running shoes with me on the trip and have done a couple short runs since leaving, but had a curve ball thrown my way during / after IM Cozumel in 2010. Started with vertigo about 10 min. into the swim (vertigo as in holy shit I’m going to drown because I have no clue where up is). Got my bearings, changed my head position (used fingers to sight) and powered through. During the ride I thought I had Hyponatremia because my brain felt swollen. Just had this massive, massive pressure building up. And it kept getting worse from there. I really thought I was going to die, but that’s kind of how you’re supposed to feel, no? Couldn't use my fingers, couldn't talk, couldn't understand what people were saying, had major gait issues. I had had all the symptoms before, but never this bad and never this early. (Usually only on the last 1/2 of the run). Too bad, too, because I was set to PR based on my swim and bike times.
    Anyhow, I ran literally with a bag of ice on my head to reduce swelling and just kept telling myself, “FUCK this--THIS is the last 140.6 ever.” Finished, got home, but the symptoms weren’t going away.
    A couple months of tests (while I got worse and worse) and probably 6 different specialists and the end result: “you need to stress less and get some rest.” I went back to my sports physician, who ordered an MRI and…



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    Posterior Fossa Hemangioblastoma. A tumor right near the brain stem and cerebellum.


    The whole "die without regrets" way I'd lived my life was coming about 40 years before I anticipated. I'd done a lot of what I wanted, and trust me--it bothered me a great deal that I hadn't ridden a motorbike across a vast distance. And I'd always thought to myself, 'if the Dr. ever calls and says, ok asshole, you have 2 weeks to live', I'd go out and steal a Ferrari, rob a bank, fly to Paris, and live the last of my days out memorably. I mean, aren't we free when we have nothing to lose?

    Well, that wasn't quite my reaction. Not as bad ass as I thought I was. Plus I could barely turn or move my head without the world spinning around me, so stealing a Ferrari was out of the question. I cried a lot the first couple days, not afraid to admit it. It's horrible, horrible torture having to face the possibility of dying.
    #81
  2. NewYorkLuke

    NewYorkLuke Been here awhile

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    Best part about Kum and Go's is they know the name is funny why else would they sell t shirts haha

    #82
  3. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Great story man. Reading it I realize everything I've done in my life so far is on a small scale when compared to your adventures. I did two mini-triathlons, raced mountain bikes, my Ducati is a Streetfighter (but it still is a babe magnet). Had my scares with health issues. Nothing as big or as serious as what you just described. But it helps me relate to your story. Not that I really need that sort of experience to capture your moment, as you tell it very well.

    Have you seen the movie, "One Week"? The guy gets a cancer diagnosis, immediately buys a motorcycle, says good-bye to his girlfriend and travels from east to west (it is in Canada) all the way to the pacific. The bike was a Norton Commando.

    Riding a motorcycle itself is a way to be in the moment, like meditation. Especially when we are busy with curves, speed, dirt roads, or traffic, anything that assists the motorcycle in monopolizing all of our senses. On that film, the character gets to Banf, checks in on a nice hotel and goes out on a hike, by himself. There he kind of gets lost and eventually meets a girl that is camping by herself in the middle of nowhere in the forest. They have a great time and he spends the night with her and at some point, before they say good bye, she tells him that to her all that matters is to live the moment. It was an important moment for him, for the story.

    Although I have a feeling you took care of your health problem, your story is not too dissimilar to the story portrayed in the "One Week" film. And it is so much better to do it without that deadline looming closely, right? In my life I welcomed the opportunities, usually something negative that has pushed me to break away from my comfort zone, start something else, help me see how nice the other side of the mountain is. So please carry on. I'm on a vicarious mode, enjoying your writing and photos.

    Lion
    #83
  4. OneBall

    OneBall Been here awhile

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    Nice to see another couple of nutters.

    Don't think there's ever a good balance between training and riding you always want to do more but there's never enough time.

    I hardly did any trips on the bike last year, spent most of my time training for Ironman UK. First race after spending a few years being pissed while getting over cancer, lots of big hills on the bike so I thought I stood a chance of beating my mate but he still finished before me, the bastard. Anyway I'm going to give him some support on Norseman in a few weeks so I'll be able to take the mick out of him for a whole day.

    This year I've done lots of riding and hardly any training, I've got a 70.3 at the begining of september, so looks like another year of being second best to a fat bloke.
    #84
  5. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

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    subscribed to this one. sounds like the right thing to do at the right time for you!
    #85
  6. sk8rdi16

    sk8rdi16 Adventurer

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    This is quickly becoming and Mdot RideReport! TN3Sport, when did you do IMFL? I was there last year, 2011. Finished in 11:30

    Great Ride Report, makes me want to go out and get a Ducati!

    If you find yourself in the South near New Orleans or the Coast of MS. Let's go for a run/ride!
    #86
  7. e rock

    e rock Been here awhile

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    #87
  8. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

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    jeez......okay so i'm gonna go smoke another cig and down a monster, while i'm gone you healthies wanna go run some laps, eat some granola or something?

    :norton






    jk. i'm glad someone has motivation, i've done my miles....usually with a ruck.
    #88
  9. TN3Sport

    TN3Sport East TN DS Rider

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    Antihero,
    Your screen name might be the antithesis of what you really represent to many of the readers of this forum.
    Multiple international Ironman finisher and cross country motorcycle tourer. Both are super-endurance events. Both take diligence, determination, and a will to keep going...when your body is trying to tell you to stop. Probably not unlike your battle with your tumor. All that makes you more of a hero, than antihero.

    Keep up the fight. Keep the riding. Keep up the reports, photos, stories.
    #89
  10. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    You can't leave us hanging on that note - I've read enough to be concerned. Hope you're doing a lot better and looking forward to the next update.
    #90
  11. Motoman_AZ

    Motoman_AZ Long time lurker....

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    Subscribed.......:clap Got off my 675 and went with a Ducati also

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    #91
  12. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Lion - Thanks for recommending One Week. Sounds like an awesome film.

    OneBall - Good luck with your training. I'm envious.

    TN3Sport - Thanks for the perspective. Much appreciated.

    Motorcycling and training for me were always my time for solitude, my way of living as deeply as I can, my method of proving what I can accomplish on my own independently. I've only done 4 or 5 motorcycle rides with anyone else and in 4 years of training for Ironmans that's about the same number of rides I did with anyone else. And when race day came I wasn't there for a man vs. man battle, nor was I filled with delusions of a top finish: I was there to compete in my own private, self-absorbed, me-against-me event. I judged my success based on how little I had left in reserve at the end of an event, which meant more often than not I ended up in very bad shape.

    Unfortunately the boundaries I ran up against each race were always the same, regardless of how my training season went or how I felt in the morning when the gun went off. My muscles, heart and lungs over the years gave me more power and speed with less effort and energy, but it never seemed to translate into better times. Certain limitations just seemed completely immune to conditioning: broken fingers that I never regained much function over always made for a painful swim, a fractured vertebrae in my spine caused no small amount of agony at race-pace in the aero bars; nausea, vomiting and headaches (which also happened a lot during training) surfaced around the 6 hour hour mark; and a combination of speech, coordination, and consciousness issues followed. It sounds awful, but it was the only experience I had ever known. And far from being averse to it, the pain and discomfort proved to myself that I was racing at-the-limit, giving everything I had. There was a truth and honesty in agony that I could not acquire in comfort. Ironman, in all its torture and pain, was my rapture.

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    Lost a good 10-12 lbs during the race:

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    But I'd always recover and then do it all again. Cozumel (Thanksgiving 2010) was different. The dizzying gravitational disturbances and ‘motion’ hallucinations I first experienced during the swim—and the agonizing pressure I had felt during the run--became incessant. By Christmas I could barely move or drive and ridiing my Triumph was an impossibility. New Year's Resolution was either to find a doctor who could make me better or find a nice quiet place to kill myself.

    And here's a good lesson for anyone: NEVER listen to a doctor who tells you nothing is wrong, which is exactly what the doctors were telling me. It was my sports doctor (Dr. Blue!) who saved my ass.
    #92
  13. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    And so after the diagnosis I realized the conditions of my average race had caused intercranial swelling and disrupted the flow of spinal fluid, which can result in herniation and death. The one event that had provided my life with so much meaning was ironically the one thing that had nearly killed me. But it also aggravated my condition to the point where it was diagnosed. Ironman was proof that nothing worthwhile was ever easy and I applied what I learned in triathlon (start at the beginning, take each section in stages, keep moving and do not stop until you cross the finish line) to what was going to be the biggest challenge of my life.

    I won't go into the details of all the stress and tears and really, really terrible emotions that result when you're told you might be a vegetable and/or should start saying your goodbyes. Writing your will when you're 40 is not an easy thing to swallow and when I think about those days I still feel the emotions as if it was happening now. But two things kept me going through it all. My will to fight through it with courage:

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    And the woman who loved me through it all. Her confidence, concern and incredibly positive outlook were invaluable and made a massive, massive difference.

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    Two weeks later, success:

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    I was fortunate enough to go under the knife of rockstar neurosurgeon Dr. McDermott at UCSF and came out of the surgery in a lot of pain, but his mad skills meant I didn't need to re-learn how to tie my shoes, I could walk in a straight line again and, most importantly wasn't a vegetable and wasn't dead!

    I was on my 675 again and even did my first run exactly 30 days after surgery. Unfortunately once I came off Dexamethazone the party ended and since then it's been a major struggle. Still not sure what's causing some of the issues I still have, but each month is better than the last and if you can ride a motorcycle life can't be all bad now, can it?
    #93
  14. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

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    [​IMG]


    Great scott! amazing story, never trust a doctor, always get a 2nd 3rd 4th opinion.

    That's a great sewing job, ya think he'll fix my leather jacket for me? :wink:
    #94
  15. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

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    Enjoying your report and pics.

    All the best for the future.

    Cheers,

    JM.
    #95
  16. Grinderman

    Grinderman Been here awhile

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    Did the surgeon successfully remove the brass knuckles and skewer while he was in there??
    #96
  17. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Brass knuckles are still there, just in case. The heart is there, too, but that's out of my control.
    #97
  18. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    So late afternoon was great yesterday so I decided to do some exploring on the outskirts of Boulder.

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    Beautiful scenery, perfect roads and light traffic. It was almost too peaceful to drive like I should have.


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    But, these were new roads to me, so I wasn't out trying to set any TT Course records. But nor was I exactly driving like a grandma. Came up and around a corner and had "oh shit!" moment. The road just ends like it did at Bonneville. No warning, no sign. Just dirt and gravel. I was looking well through the turn so saw it as soon as possible and both my sphinkter and ABS did the rest.

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    If I hadn't had ABS perhaps this picture would have been a viral "first Panigale crashed" pic. Sorry to disappoint.

    Coming back I came across a cyclist who'd just gone down:

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    Road bike dude (Caleb) lowsided (it happens on bicycles, too, only you're never wearing armor). The DOT worker who saw it estimated he'd been doing about 30mph downhill. Could have been a lot worse. Other than a really nice road rash on his left hip most of the damage was on the backside of his arms and legs. He was too bad off to be amused by a "can I take a picture of your bloody arms and legs" question, but I still snapped a couple shots.

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    He wasn't just in pain. He was definitely out of it, though. Didn't see any major damage on his helmet, but he was struggling to talk. Wasn't sure if he was choked up or had a head injury. There was no cell service, so I got his wife's number and drove 5 miles out to get a signal. I was thinking--damn--if this was a motorcycle accident the guy would bleed to death before a call could even be made. Gave her directions to the spot, then went back to confirm with them that I'd made contact and she was on her way.
    #98
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  19. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Today went out for a ride and saw a nice fire road...

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    ...which made a perfect backdrop for an approaching storm:

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    Enjoyed the open space, went 'home', garaged the bike, walked to a restaurant, ordered grilled salmon, two Hendricks and tonics and am currently sitting here listening to Carissa's Wierd's Songs About Leaving, while sipping a glass of Infinite Monkey Theorem, contemplating about how everything in my life led to this exact point.

    Also thinking of how many commas I've used in a sentence without being obnoxious. ;)
    #99
  20. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Forgot about this pic I took in Utah after seeing "dangers of sleeping" signs. I guess I was too tired and the connection between memory and attention had been severed.

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    Fred Oliff likes this.