Friday, March 23, 2007

Monday - Stage 5

I woke up in the middle of the night cramped in pain and now throwing up in addition to the usual distress. This was crazy. I wasn't even sure I should leave the hotel, let alone race. But somehow though the thought of staying in El Salvador and not racing was even worse than the thought of racing. And in spite of how badly I had been feeling when not racing, I had been ok on the bike, if limited in my ability to eat. I gave myself the guideline that if I thought I would get extreme heat exhaustion I would drop out. I forced down some crackers Hiroko gave me. Consideration of hydrogenated oil consumption was not top of the list. I also took some stomach medicine from the race doctor that I decided was safe. Megan left early to fly home. Today was the "downhill day" we'd been joking about, the race that finally didn't involve huge climbing and featured a net elevation loss. At the line I couldn't stand up straight and Jorge did not want me to start. I was going to try. As the race started my back and stomach felt ok, but as soon as the first attacks started less than 10 miles in, I was off the back and chasing back on: I was totally empty. In a matter of time I was getting dropped even with the bunch going at a snail's pace, making ample use of the caravan to claw my way back on repeatedly. I made it 50k of 100 before I was done, done, done and barely able to turn a pedal, going 15mph on a gradual downhill with no wind. The race was gone. Now I just had to make it 30 more miles, sad and weak, my whole back cramped and the temperature 100. And there I was, just me and my motorcycle cop, riding through the countryside of El Salvador. Peered into domestic life taking place in earthen homes on the side of the road; waved at kids; exchanged "what are you doing here" glance with a gringo; encountered cattle in the road; rode past a burning garbage dump and through a roadside fire, the air shining and crackling with the heat. The policeman blocked a large boar from crossing my path. With about 10 miles to go, my friend Marielle came along, followed by the sag wagon (driven by Kiki). We were last. We worked together and rode in. The team had animated the race and scored 8th place in the final sprint. Andrea was feeling better. For once, no banquet. I drank a Gatorade and that was it. In bed. Drank Pedialyte. That night I got an IV and I felt all the fear of an American hyped with fear of foreign medical care getting medical care in a 3rd world country. I think it was the right call - a sealed disposable needle is what it is - and that's it's just paranoia in me that questions it. Ate an applesauce.

1 comment:

sch_art said...

And your mother asked, when you phoned from El Salvador, "Are you having a great week?"

susan h