Friday, June 15, 2012

It is done

Journalism 101 says never bury the lead, so I won't: Rob had to withdraw from the race after riding 484 miles in about 31 hours.

The reason is nerve damage in his hand. This has been a recurring problem for Rob since his first RAAM in 1996. Over the years, after each of his five RAAM starts and three finishes, as well as some of the 500+ mile races, it would get a little worse and take longer to heal. After his seventh place finish in RAAM 2010, he had such serious nerve damage in his hand that he had to have surgery. It took almost a year to recover.

Heading into this race, it was on his mind and, sure enough, he started feeling the telltale symptoms this morning. It is caused by a combination of things: road vibration, constant gear shifting and the weight he puts on his hands, forearms and elbows, depending on riding position. Today, it got progressively worse through the day and right after night crew came on shift, we went through the Cottonwood time station and Rob pulled over. He told us what was happening and we talked over the pros and cons of continuing for almost two hours. Rob also consulted by phone with Kate as well as day crew and we all agreed that his longterm health and ability to continue serving as a police officer (who needs two functioning hands to carry out his duties) far outweighed the need to continue to Durango.

While this is an immensely difficult decision, it is an entirely unselfish one and it does not diminish how great Rob did over the past two days. I can count all the people I know who can ride a bike like Rob on one finger. We had a great time out there and every one of us would crew for Rob again in a second. All he has to do is ask.

I don't think he will, though. This will not be the end of his riding a bike, but it is likely the end of his ultra-distance racing. After 18 years and - literally - tens of thousands of miles, it may finally be out of his system.

He appreciates all the comments and support. If you happen to be out for a bike ride and Rob rides up next to you, feel free to ask him all about all his races and his wins. Just make sure you pick up your pace or it will be a very short conversation. He's that fast.


Heather Jean said...

I am in awe of Rob and so is my son, over the course of the last week we have read up on Robs accomplishments riding. It is mind blowing.It was hard for him to stop I am sure, but without a doubt takes way more smarts and courage than continuing potentially loosing use of his hand.Our best to Rob and his crew. This is a real story. True story and Rob is freaking amazing on all accounts.
Heather and ELijah

Jim & Steve said...

Even though it's probably harder to make that decision than it is to finish the race it certainly doesn't diminish what he has accomplished over the years and in this race. Kudo's to Superman - now time for the next adventure.

Anonymous said...

Tough decision I can only imagine...enjoyed following forget it takes more than just the legs to pull this stuff off! A 484 hard training ride...still not too shabby...for whatever he decides to do next.

Kathy McGroddy-Goetz said...

I can only begin to imagine what a hard decision this must have been as I'm sure he is well aware he is walking away from this big part of his life forever - but what an amazing 18 year ride to look back upon! Can't wait to hear what he decides to do for his next life challenge...and in the meantime hoping he heals up quickly, he absolutely made the right call, not worth it to risk such severe potential long term damage...