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Enter at your own risk an eclectic journey through a cluttered mind, streaming consciousness, not to be understood by all, but freed by me to you...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

MINNESOTA Markarita Mark Bicyclist (Twin Cities Bike Club and Arizona Bullshifters, Phoenix bike club)

Left: Minnesota TCBC for Solvang, California week.
Next: Phoenix, Arizona Bullshifter's Bicycle Club.
Mark shredded $250 spandex bibs, scuffed his $500 new shoes, damaged his week old BRAND new $200 helmet, has to repair his California Triple Crown jersey. He tore up the whole left side and had to get 5 stitches in his LEFT index finger. Thank God he made it though again. He hit a pothole again, just like he did 4 weeks ago.He was on a 63 mile ride on a waterworks parkway near our house, the Lake Vadnais area near Sucker Lake. He is a cat with nine lives and I don't know which life he's on. His page is Mark Gregory on Facebook. Mark earned a California Triple Crown jersey in 2009 by completing three 200 mile races. He completed the Camino Real in Irvine, CA, the Solvang Double in Solvang, CA, and the Mulholland Double in Calabasas, CA. All 200 miles must meet check points and be completed in 17 consecutive hours. The last, MUHLHOLLAND DOUBLE (MEANING 200 MILES) was a 19 hour completion time to get credit. It had 16,000 vertical feet of climbing! He did it by himself and started at 5:00 AM and ended at 10:54 PM. He had to meet the 163 mile checkpoint by 14 hours into the ride to finish officially and get credit for the ride. HE DID IT! He does all this in the 4 months we spend in Arizona for the winter. The Bullshifters nicknamed him Markarita because they share a pitcher of margaritas after some of their rides. So far, Mark went down near Rice Street by our house and fractured 3 vertebrae in his neck and thoracic #9 was compressed. He doesn't remember anything. He was in the hospital for 6 days and in a body cast for 5 weeks until his smart friend brought over a recumbent bike on a trainer that he could ride in the house. That smart friend, Dave Cummings, started walking with him, got rid of the body cast, and literally saved Mark from weeks of rehabilitation, all without the doctor's permission. Dave knew that Mark's muscles would atrophy if he stayed in the body & neck cast. Mark previously had an articial aortic heart valve (St. Jude Medical's 19cm) implanted so he has to take a blood thinner (coumadin) and 81mg of aspirin daily for the rest of his life. If he even nicks himself with paper, it bleeds, because his blood is so thin. A Thai doctor, Dr. Kit Arom, who just died last week, said Mark's open heart surgery's chest scar was so small because his hand was so small and it is true, you can barely see the scar. You can hear it ticking if you listen carefully. Any bump or fall can cause internal bleeding, so when he broke his helmet on the Watermelon Ride fall (he was marking the trail by spraying red arrows with a template and the template went through his wheel). The doctors were concerned with the internal bleeding, espescially on the brain. It was a conflict between his heart doctor to keep him on the blood thinner and the other who was concerned about internal bleeding. Mark has also had a stroke at 8:00 AM in the morning at work and finished his mail carrier route and went to the hospital at 5:00 PM. He was there 5 days and recovered fully, only 1 out of 3 do, 1 dies and 1 usually has severe rehabilitation issues. Then there was the time he hit his head on the garbage container's lid that is not supposed to be move when the lid is open. He did and was hit by the lid through the baseball cap on his head and required 9 stitches in his head. He was bleeding like a pig and called me to take him to the emergency room. He had been cutting the grass. I was only 3 miles from home but the traffic on Highway 96 coming off Interstate 35E made it a 15 minute ride to get there. I thank God every day that we are able to grow old together and hope to live a long life like our parents, his mother, Sadie Gregory, died at 96 in 2006 being perfectly sane and my mom, Jennie Ranelli, is 90 years old.

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