Sunday, June 24, 2007

The saga continues...

The ride medics were concerned about Lisa's oxygen saturation after giving her a nebulizer treatment. So they sent us off to the ER.

One of the medics drove us around to the ER entrance at St. Vincent Hospital. The admitting nurses didn't seem quite as impressed by Lisa's condition. They checked her saturation and thought it was acceptable. "You have a cold and you're at 10,000 feet, come back if you feel worse." The PA gave us his phone number and said he would drive down and pick us up if she needed to come back.

So we walked back to the school, showered and then hiked down to Sherpaville. The sun had come back out and all the weather had blown over. It was warm again.

The Sherpa staff were discussing the baggage situation. For the final day, we had to use the RTR baggage trucks because Sherpa's equipment was headed to the start of Tour of Colorado. The baggage trucks were up at the high school, making it difficult and potentially dangerous for the campers on the football field to get their bags to the trucks. One of the helpers went to find RTR staff to request a truck be moved down to the level we were on.

We rested, downloaded photos, arranged the tent and our clothes for the next day, then headed back to the school to find an early dinner.

Hub Grub was set up with BBQ beef burritos. Any other food would require a bus ride into town, and who knows how long a wait.

We were bundled up and zipped into our fleece linings & sleeping bags by 8 p.m. and asleep by 8:02. We knew it would be a cold night - everyone had talked about it all week. The nurse at the ER told us she doesn't camp up there anymore because she almost froze to death in July. Nice.

It was as cold as advertised. I burrowed completely under the covers, if any part of my body or head was exposed, I was cold. Lisa couldn't burrow because she couldn't breathe, she had her nose sticking out of her sleeping bag like a seal.

At 2 am the coughing fits began. She tried everything - cough drops, inhaler, water - but when she started wheezing and couldn't catch her breath she finally conceded to go to the ER... but insisted on walking up the hill.

It was FREEZING out! The inside of our tent was covered with frost. We put on as many layers as we could find. Flashlight in hand, we set out for the hospital. The 10 minute walk took 20 because Lisa had to stop every 50 feet to catch her breath.

When we arrived at the hospital the PA said "welcome back," apologized for his wrinkled shirt (he'd been sleeping), ushered us into an exam room and immediately put Lisa on a nebulizer. After 2 treatments, she was feeling much better, but still had a lot of congestion. We stalled in there as long as we could because it was warm and there was clean bathroom!

She was discharged with some meds at 5:40. We walked back to the high school for coffee and found a long line already! Imagine that. We had already decided we weren't going to ride. Lisa couldn't breathe and I didn't feel like bundling up and dealing with the cold. Besides, there were rumors of a 25 mph headwind coming into Frisco. No thanks, I've had enough for one week.

We found a staff person and inquired about the transportation to Frisco. We were told to put our bikes on the shuttle bus and our bags on the baggage truck. Ah, the truck. The staffer cheerfully informed us that they moved one truck closer to the ball field. Now we're getting somewhere.

Or not. RTR's idea of being helpful was to move one truck 50 feet down from the school parking lot to the top of the stadium steps! So as we headed back to the tent, we encountered campers lugging 70 lb. bags up the stadium steps... in cleats.

There was no way we could take the bags up the steps, so we rolled them the long way around and up the hill - probably a 1/4 mile walk - with only a little grumbling and cursing.

Back at the school, we met up with Kristin and Robbin. They were dressed and ready to ride, but Kristin decided she had had enough as well. We all decided to hang out on the bus together.

The bus took a longer route to avoid the cyclists and we had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful pass and canyon on US 24 as we headed to I-70 near Vail. There were quite a few cyclists (unrelated to our ride) enjoying an epic climb up that pass. Once in Frisco, I picked up our rental car and we all had an excellent breakfast in town.

The baggage truck situation was another silly mess. They brought the baggage trucks to the Marina where the ride ended, but everyone's cars were parked at the high school. So people took shuttles to get their cars and then - oh yeah, there was NO parking at the Marina - they had to pull up on the side of the highway to load bags into their cars... two thousand people, their families and friends.

Seeing all the cyclists come through the finish, Lisa and I didn't even feel a twinge of disappointment at not riding. We accomplished what we came to do: We rode 370 miles in the mountains and climbed to the top of the world with no fatigue, no sore legs and no problems with the altitude. We got up every morning and rode a steady endurance-paced ride. The only thing that got in our way were the colds.

We were so ready to get out of there, we shoved everything in the car like a couple of gypsies and bolted out of town... to the Hampton - a bath, 2 showers, a comfortable bed and a celebratory bottle of wine!