Pedaling for a Cure

Less than a week to El Tour!
Nov 10, 2012 by Gates Matthew Stoner

Today I had a nice team ride of 35 miles. I have had some issues lately with my rides, so it was nice to finish and not be in discomfort. It appears my second bike fitting fix that issue.

But sadly, there is no getting around the setback of my accident in September. As a result, I am just not as conditioned as I need to be and my wrist is still bothersome.

Thus after much consideration, I will be riding next Saturday in the 60 mile race, rather than the 85 or 111. But I'm going to send off my teammates at the 111 starting line and then ride my bike 10 miles to the start line of the 60 mile race. As a result, I'll do 70 miles for the day and I'll claim that I rode a metric century ride even though it won't be official.

There is still time to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society if you are inclined.

Much appreciated,

66 miles and a half marathon
Oct 22, 2012 by Gates Matthew Stoner

This weekend I had my second ride with Team since the accident. The planned route was 75 miles.

I was excited but a bit nervous because my wrist is still not feeling okay. It's not bad, but it's not great. It was a nice fall morning though and the brisk morning air was really nice. The Team headed east along River road to Sabino Canyon and then turned West on Sunrise. Because of a repaving project, the course was slightly altered and we headed to the NW side on La Canada and did not do the Rancho Vistoso loop. I really enjoyed the La Canada as it was smooth.

But then we turned onto Moore road and things changed. Moore is part of the course for El Tour so I was interested to check it out. But it was extremely bumpy and not well paved. My wrist was in a alot of pain because my old school bike vibrates alot in such conditions. I've been looking to replace it, but I had to slow down just to get thru this section.

Thankfully there was a planned rest stop after this part and I was able to ice my wrist. After discussing the situtation with my coaches, it was decieded that I would take a slightly altered route that ended up cutting about 9 miles of rough road from the second half of the ride. My wrist was very thankful. At this point I had ridden 31 miles and after the rest stop we rode up to Dove Mountain and then back. This was the point where I diverted from the Team and took Twin Peaks to Silverbell. It was quite familiar territory to me because my home is located in this area.

To make a long story short, I completed the ride in 5 hours for 66 miles. It was the fathest I've riden to date.

Then to top things off, on Sunday I ran a half marathon. It wasn't my best time but it was nevertheless a good race. I finished in 2:42. I have another half marathon in two weeks as well. Cross training never ends.

In closing, I'd like to thank all those who are supporting my efforts to raise funds for LLS as well as offering moral support for my training.


Phoenix Rises
Oct 16, 2012 by Gates Matthew Stoner

October 14 & 15

It was my first weekend back on the road bike. I was in San Jose the previous weekend to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon just 15 days after my accident. I have a recap posted on my other blog. But it went well and I finished just 4 minutes off my personal best.

Upon returning to Tucson it was time to get back into conditioning for El Tour. The only lingering issue I have is my right wrist. My doctor had me start wearing a brace and I'm optimstic that it is helpping. I gave my legs a few days to recover from the half marathon and then did an interval workout Wednesday evening. On Thursday it was time to head to spin class and it went well.

Saturday was my first practice back since the accident.

It was nice to see my teammates and ride again. I tried to ride without the wrist brace but after 13 miles I put it on when the team stopped at Sabino Canyon. The ride was overall going well and I wasn't feeling winded, though I had lost conditioning by not riding the previous 3 weeks.

From Sabino the team headed West to Oracle Rd and the segment I had difficulty breathing 4 weeks ago. This time the ride went much better, but I was taking it easy because of my wrist and the race I had the next day. For my first time back on the bike I thought 46.5 miles was pretty decent ride.

After the ride, I traveled up to Phoenix to stay with my parents before Tour de Scottsdale the next morning. I had been looking forward to the 70mile race as a good practice for El Tour de Tucson. The morning of the race, I wasn't feeling 100% but I was prepared to give it my all. It was a beautiful brisk morning in north Scottsdale. As the ride got started, I could tell it wasn't going to be my day. I keep plowing forward thru some discomfort and up a long gradual hill towards carefree. Even though I was on pace to finish the 70m course before the cut off time, my wrist was really hurting even though it was in the brace. I was worried about further injury so at mile 18 I had the option to divert to the 30 mile course and I did. I want to be fully healed for my event with Team in Training, so it wasn't worth pushing on.

So I finished in 2:04 and I'm ready to complete the final 4 weeks of training before El Tour.

50 miles and a trip to the ER
Sep 27, 2012 by Gates Matthew Stoner

Sept 22

After last week's team in training practice ride, I was determined to not have a repeat. I'm training to help beat blood cancers and dedicated to completing my training and raising as much as I can for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I was feeling good, not full of energy, but not bad. I finished the antibiotics on Wednesday for the bronchitis. I left my house at 5:30 and got to downtown Tucson at 6. We were starting the ride from a new spot and doing the southern/eastern portion of the actual El Tour route. The route was suppose to be 54 miles. I was excited.

The team headed out at 6:45 and I quick realized I never put on my cycling gloves after applying suntan lotion. Oh well. No turning back I thought to myself. The morning air was nice, but it's still not fall. Before too long the fast group spilt off and rode into the distance. I was content to be with the regular group as I was still recovering from being sick.

A goal for the ride was to practice pace lines, which is a technique to conserve energy with drafting. You ride in a line and then the lead rider drops back and someone else takes over. The route was mostly flat and we had lots of opportunities to practice and it was breezy so it was beneficial to do pace lines as well.

As I said though, it's not fall yet in Tucson by any measure and it started to warm up quickly. I was feeling good and hadn't really had to ride any hills. That changed as we headed east to Saguaro National park. A teammate and I lost the group because we followed someone who went off on their own. But we quickly turned back around to Escalante and got to ride some rolling hills. It was definitely warm at this point and we were feeling it. I would also later learn that I was starting to have a a flat. It was a tiny tiny piece of glass and a very slow leak.

After we completed the hill climb to Old Spanish trail, we turned left and there was the Nike Women's Marathon team just wrapping up their practice. it was nice to see my marathon teammates. I was feeling drained, but seeing their faces really lifted my spirits. I said my good byes and then found out that I had a flat and had to walk my bike up to the rest area at the national park.

At this time it was really getting hot, it was no longer warm. I seriously contemplated giving up after putting in 37 miles. Given that I had just had bronchitis, I felt it was a good accomplishment. But I pushed on. I knew a huge downhill was ahead of me and then just a flat ride down Broadway back to downtown where we started.

The downhill was fun, but it did have one last hill that I wasn't expecting. The hill wasn't bad and over quickly. I was in the home stretch and my quads were starting to feel it. I also sensed I was dehydrating so when we got to Kolb road, I peeled off to the gas station to buy some water and stretch. Thus I would be doing the last leg of the ride alone.

The water and stretching made my quads feel much much better and I was so refreshed as I headed back out. It was getting close to 11 and it was hot. I was almost to the finish. Just before Reid Park, I was so close to home of two of my very good friends. I seriously contemplated asking for a ride to the finish. I was at 50 miles and knew they had a bike rack on their Jeep. But I was feeling so refreshed from my stop on Kolb that I mustered on.

With less than a mile to go, I was entering downtown and a crossing of trolly tracks by Hotel Congress (a famous landmark). I was exhausted and just wanting to get to the finish. My wheel got caught in the track and I went down hard. In a flash. I really don't remember anything.

I'm grateful for whoever called 911, the EMS and Police. My first memory after the crash was with one of my coaches besides me on the sidewalk. The EMS was repeating that I had declined transportation. That was news to me, but in the fog I didn't say anything. Another coach pulled up and loaded up my bike. Thus I was transported the last half mile back to the starting point.

I was badly scrapped up and my helmet had saved my head. It cracked in a couple places, but it served its purpose. Once back I got out of my cycling shoes and it was time to get medical treatment. I knew the urgent care by my house would probably not be too busy and I could get seen quickly. So in a caravan, two of my coaches drove up to the NW side.

I was correct about the urgent care not being busy, but unfortunately they didn't have a CT scanner. So they cleaned me up and sent me off to emergency at NW hospital. It had been a long day and I checked in with my neighbor if they could take me. They said yes so I had my coaches drop me off at home and then went off to the ER.

The ER was expecting me as the urgent care was run by the hospital. It was a busy day so it took a while for me to be triaged and my symptoms had changed since being at urgent care. My headache was getting worst and my left hip was sore. I fell on my left side.

I was seen and then sent back out to the waiting room until a room became available. I didn't seem like it took too long, but time was not something I was really aware of at this point. Once situated the doctor saw me and ordered up the ct scan and x-rays that urgent care couldn't do. Before long I was rolled over to xray and had the CT scan. They also did x-rays on my right knee cap and left hip.

All this time I hadn't eaten or drank in hours, but weirdly I didn't feel the need for either. The headache seemed to turn more to numbness and occasionally I felt a hot flash. For what I had been thru, I was content to just rest. Finally the doctor came and said the x-rays were clear, no apparent bleeding on the brain, but I definitely had a concussion. It was 6pm now and I was looking forward to being discharged.

Sadly that took almost another hour. One of my cycling teammates that lives around the corner picked me up and took me home. It was nice to see and talk to someone I knew after being alone for 4 some hours. I got my discharge papers and we were on our way. My long 14 hour day was almost over.

I got home and the doggies were quite worried since I had been away for so long. Thankfully my neighbors feed them dinner. All they wanted to do was jump up on me and my scrapped knees and I had to push them down. I washed up and then crawled into bed.

As I said at the beginning, I train with a mission for LLS. Saturday was the first time I rode more than 50 miles and I did so in 4:10 minutes of riding time. I was nearly at my goal before I had my accident. But no broken bones and so far the concussion doesn't seem too bad compared to the one I had in '99. These pains are nothing what someone going thru chemo experience, so I will continue on in their honor and for a cure.

Again, I'm extremely thankful to everyone who helped me, those who prayed, and those who sent their virtual hugs via FB and txt. I'm quite fortunate to have such great friends in my life.

Hills and Breathing
Sep 27, 2012 by Gates Matthew Stoner

Sept 15, 2012

Leading up to the team ride on the 15th, my training was going well. I had two spin classes during the week that went well. I had done a 2000m swim workout. I also worked out with my trainer in a intense session of agility/core interval drills. I was feeling good. Friday morning, I did an upper body strength training set at home before heading to work. I was really looking forward to the team ride.

When I got home on Friday, I was feeling pain on my left side and I thought I pulled my lat muscle that morning. So I applied some ice-hot to the area and iced my lower back. I was feeling a bit of a chill, but I figured that was the ice. Then I decided maybe some time in the hot tub at the gym would be helpful to loosen things up. I did that but it really didn't help much. I figured it would make the ride a bit of a challenge, but I thought I would muster threw it.

So I packed up my gear and bike into the car and I was ready for Saturday morning. I love team practices and seeing all my teammates/friends. It's the highlight of my week. I got a good night's sleep and felt ready for the ride.

Once at meeting spot, I greased up my chain, made sure my tires were inflated, and I was ready to roll. The first 4 miles were fine. I felt some tenderness of my left side, but everything was going like usual. Then we turned onto first avenue and the first elevation changes of the day.

I like to attack hills and just get them over. But I quickly learned something wasn't right. My legs were fine, but my breathing was amidst. I looked at my heart rate on the iphone and it was in Zone 2, but I was breathing as if I was in Zone 5 (the max). I was breathing twice as hard as I should be and my entire torso hurt. I wasn't too far into the ride and I could turn back, but I was delusional and/or determined to continue on.

How could I give up so easily I thought to myself? My ride last week was cut short due to the monsoon and I had looked forward all week to going the distance. Today's route distance was going along a significant portion of the actual El Tour course. I really wanted to complete it.

Whenever I struggle, I always think back to my mission and that is to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I think about those kids bravely battling cancer and going thru treatment. If they can do that, I can do this. This approach has gotten me thru when I've wanted to give up before. So I trucked on.

Before too long, I arrived at the first rest stop and again doubt surfaced as if I should continue. I could have stopped and been driven on, but I was breathing and the pain subsided during the rest. So I thought maybe I can at least do the next segment and just stop when the group passes my house. We were in Oro Valley now and there were some hills before a long downhill segment.

Riding out of Catalina State Park, the hill up Rancho Visto Blvd proved something was seriously wrong. It wasn't a bad hill, but my breathing was beyond strained. I sounded like a dog and it took a while before I could speak again. A great teammate offered to ride back with me, but I was still delusional to continue.

So I rode with one of my coaches just a bit farther. I knew the geography of the area, because it was actually part of the Arizona Distance Classic half marathon that I had run back in March. As I rode up the hill, it became clear that I would not be going on. I just couldn't breath. I called my neighbors and they were able to come pick me up. In the end I only did 17 miles in 1hr and 24 minutes.

I was disappointed in myself for not being able to complete the training ride and feeling like I let down all those who support my efforts for LLS. It would take a while for my rescue ride to reach me, so I sat on the curb and reflected. So many cyclists asked if I was okay and offered assistance. I was touched how nearly all of them asked if I was ok. At this point, I really didn't know why I couldn't breath well or what was wrong. If I thought I was sick, I would never have embarked on the ride. A lot of my coworkers had been sick lately and I had up to this point not been effected. I was breathing fine as long as I wasn't riding up hills, so I still wasn't really aware of the extent of my condition.

Walking around I felt ok, but I figured I should get checked out. Once home I showered up, took my temperature (opps a little high) and called the nurse help line that my insurance company offers. They pretty much said I needed to go to urgent care, which I was expecting. I was hoping I could go to a Walgreen's take care clinic, but they assumed correctly that I would need x-rays.

There was just one slight problem with going to urgent care, I still didn't have my car. In my car was my wallet (ID, insurance card, and credit cards). So again my wonderful neighbors came to the rescue and drove me into town to retrieve my car and follow me back.

I had stopped my ride at about 8:30am and it was now 1pm. It had been a while and more than enough time for my vitals to recover. After being admitted, I learned my temperature was 102 and my BP was 146/89. Not good. I was seen and the doctor ordered an x-ray. But I was third in line, so it would be a while. I got some Tylenol to help with the fever. I didn't realize until the nurse told me that 102 was high for adults and only kids spike higher.

The actual process of taking the x-rays was quick and then it took a long time to hear the results. The longer it took the more concerned I became. Did they find something really bad? Is it valley fever and my training season is over? They sent in a nurse to retake my vitals. My temperature was now down to 100.9 and my BP was better as well. Well it turns out the delay was becauset they were getting a second and third opinion. I guess there was some doubt about bronchitis versus pneumonia.

I didn't have the typical symptoms of bronchitis. It only manifested itself during intense exercise, but it was obvious that my body was fighting an infection. Finally they decided it was bronchitis and gave me a prescription for a z-pack. Then I was on my way.

I decided to get a meal in as I hadn't eaten all day and then take the first dose. It was quickly after the taking the meds that I figured out how much I need them. In retrospective, if I hadn't been training I probably would have succumb to the illness sooner or it would have become evident Sunday or Monday. The bike ride just accelerated things.

So now I'm resting and in recovery mode. Training is on hold for a while and I'm doing everything I can to be ready for my next race and continue my El Tour training.

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Supporter Comments

    "Go, Matt, Go!"


    Wed Sep 12 10:06:41 EDT 2012

    "Go Matt Go!!!!"


    Fri Oct 05 08:26:19 EDT 2012

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Raised: $950.00 | Goal: $950.00
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My Thanks To

Gates M Stoner $500.00
Len $100.00
Leila Ali-Akbarian $50.00
Barbara Sager $50.00
Sonia Oyola $50.00
Carole Cook $50.00
Sandra Kalnins $50.00
andrew hyman $50.00
Carmelo Sgarlata $50.00
Alex Zaphiris $50.00
Amanda West $40.00
Leah Polcar $25.00
Trish $25.00
Galina Kramer