Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I came to recognize a couple few years ago that I am an athlete. I never thought of myself as one growing up . I always had a sport I was into but I never thought of myself as an athlete until I started road biking back in 2000. As a road biker I have learned to embrace suffering. Frankly, I started liking pushing myself to the edge of the is mentally and physical limit back in '89 when I was a firefighter with the USFS and was at the fires of '88 in Yellowstone. We worked as much as 29 hours in a shift and hiked, god knows how many miles in a day ,while eating hardly anything and digging "cutting" fireline. It was hard work. I got in shape for it by riding my bike all winter. I liked the work and the challenge but I could not stand the tweakers I was working with.
After that I got into whitewater kayaking and raft guiding. That is what lead me to the Coloma Valley. If you are a serious river runner you will eventually end up here. Maybe for a day or two maybe you will get stuck here. Coloma is to North American whitewater what Roubiax is to European cycling. To me and most of my best friends it is home. Temperate climates, it hardly ever snows and is warm during the summer. It is perfect in the summer for whitewater sports. It is a bit hot in the summer for road riding. But we are at the foot of the Sierras and all you have to do is start climbing and it'll cool off.
Whitewater is great. I'll always be a river runner. There is no where I'd rather be than nankoweap. But whitewater is not the best sport for me as the father of two girls. No matter how you slice it. You are going to be gone most of the day to go paddling and that does not work when you want to have a relationship with your kids.
So when we started having kids, I found my way back to the bike. An hour out the front door and I can get in a great work out. Two hours and I am on a good small adventure. Any more than that is gravy.
As I rode I wanted more and more from myself. Pretty quickly finishing the Death Ride became a goal. Then cutting my time down. And cutting my time down again. I never have been a good climber. I am almost always the last to the top of the climb. Nevertheless I choose a 130 mile 16,000 ft climb fest for my annual challenge. It is the suffering and the challenge that I crave. That and being out there with my friends in such a beautiful place doing something so significant yet silly.
The doctor called with the results of the Bone Scan. My bones are changing. He was really concerned with getting me in for an MRI right away. He told me, "Let me be frank with you Mr. Sorelegs, we are trying to rule out cancer." I hope you, dear reader, never have this conversation with your doctor. My MRI is scheduled for next Thursday the 31st. My plan is to call daily for cancellations. It has worked in the past. The next step after that is a bone biopsy under a CT scan so they can hit the right spot.
I am ready. Bring it on. I know how to suffer. I know how to dig deeper and I will fight. With everything I have. Others have come before me. If they can do it I can do it.
This blog was meant to be about bike riding in the place that I consider to be the most perfect place in the world. Maybe that is still what it is going to be about. For now it is about the harsh realities of an otherwise charmed and perfect life. Sit in, I'll pull.
  • My Life So Far
  • The next steps
  • My girls
  • The chickenhawk
  • My family
  • My community
  • Doctor KT

1 comment:

Judi said...

Hang in there - I'll be thinking some healing thoughts for you.