Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lotoja, the Gut, and the Gimp

Yesterday morning at about 4:30 am i got up to let the dogs out for a minute, then crawled back under the covers of my warm bed and fell back asleep. Not so for about 1,000 suckers up in Logan. When their alarms went off at 4:30, they had to get up, put on some tight-fitting lycra, and head out into the dark cold to ride the 206 miles from Logan, UT to Jackson, WY.

Notice the fashionista is still smiling in this picture before the race started.

As much as I enjoyed the warmth and comfort of my bed, i have to admit, i had mixed feelings. I've done Lotoja for the past four years with my brother the artist and a number of other cousins, teammates, and friends. In fact, had i been with them, it would have been my 6th Lotoja. But, as you know if you've been following my blog, yesterday marked one month since my amputation. And as much as i seriously considered DC's offer to ride his tandem with me, after an hour on my trainer pedaling with one leg and taking DC's summer training into consideration (which mostly consisted of crashing on his MTB and breaking more things), i decided to sit this one out. As i got updates, pics, and texts from the support crews throughout the day i was bummed i wasn't there, even though i kind of have a love/hate relationship with lotoja (as do most i suspect). Mostly i missed not being with my brothers and other friends, especially the fashionista, since this was his first year.

To his credit, even though he said it was the "hardest day of his life" and he cried 40 times, he finished. Cousin Thomas also put in a great first year ride, finishing in under ten hours.

The artist at the finish in a typical (for him anyway) post-race posture.

But even though i have one leg less than i did a month ago, i'm not done with Lotoja. In fact, i've already started training for next year, and even more significant, so has my dad.

Please allow me to introduce: "The Gut and the Gimp!!"

"The Gut"

"The Gimp"

Next year my dad and I are going to do Lotoja together in under 12 hours. This will take a bit of work because my Dad has about 35-40 pounds to lose (but he has lost about 30 pounds already from where he was about a year ago) and a bit of endurance to build, and i am missing a leg. But i have no doubt we can do it.

I met with Doc Jones about a week ago and he took out the staples on the stump, did an x-ray, and said everything is looking good. I'll go back and see him again in about two and a half weeks, and if he gives me the green light, i'll get fit for my first prosthesis. After meeting with a few different prosthetists, i decided to go with Joe Mahone at Peak Prosthetics. He's doing some real cool and innovative stuff with socket design and has lots of experience working with athletes, so i'm excited about the possibilities. With any luck, i'll get a few CX races in before the end of the season. Although i've still been riding 3-4 times a week on my trainer, it's hard to get any good intensity workouts in with only one leg, so i'll probably come into CX season without much "uummph!", but i'll be happy to just be back on the bike. Regardless of how i race, however, i'm also excited to join Bruce B. as an announcer for this year's cross series. I've been harassing people at the races for years, now they're going to give me a mic and let me do it out loud.

My other immediate goal is to do the Run for Bun 5K on Oct. 9th in memory of my sister-in-law Bunny who was killed earlier this summer when she was hit by a truck while cycling with a group of women. I've never been much of a runner, but i do intend to walk the 5k with my new prosthetic leg. You can register for both the 5k run on Oct. 9th or the silent auction and dinner on Oct. 8th by clicking on the link below. Hope to see you there.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

matt, your attitude is unreal. dunno if seth told you, but i was on the fence about lotoja this year until seth talked me into it the day before your amputation. i was super stoked to hear your name called as one of the lotoja 1000 recipients during awards on sunday. look forward to seeing you there next year. oh, and i'm giving cross a try this fall, which should give you and bruce plenty to make fun of, er, talk about. show no mercy.

matt b. said...

I was on the fence about lotoja too after two foot surgeries, but the amputation made the decision for me!

You're gonna love cross!! Shoot, I'm excited about cross season and I've inky got one leg.

Reuben/Bob said...

I had an epiphany when I was reading your blog and saw the guy in the good-looking Colnago kit. I had followed this guy along Wasatch Boulevard last Saturday morning from Parleys to 72nd South. I didn't even know it was my own brother until I read the blog. Thanks for the moment of clarity.

Reuben/Bob said...

You rock, Matt! You are an inspiration to all of us!
Aunt Lonnie