Thursday, October 31, 2013

Catch Up: Part 1 - SERC Alcatraz Invitational

It's been a busy few weeks, but I had some fun too.

After getting home from Portland I headed up to San Francisco for a long weekend.
I was honored to be selected as the guest of the South End Rowing Club for their Alcatraz Invitational.
I wasn't sure what this meant, but was not about to miss out on back-to-back Alcatraz swims.

Saturday was the Test Swim (they use swimmers as rubber duckies to determine where/when you should start off the masses and where they should aim to reach the finish) and I was with my wing men Gabor and Randy.  We were told to take it easy and we did.  Water was right around 60 (warm by HMB standards) with no wind and we even had some sunshine.

After the swim we had a great breakfast across the street at the Blue Mermaid.

I spent the rest of the day walking along the shoreline with my mom and was able to see the remnants of the Americas Cup festivities - I can't believe how big those boats are.

The evening brought us back to the Club for beers and BBQ.

Sunday morning I realized how big this event is.
The swim draws +500 swimmers every year many from outside of CA.
I wished everyone a great swim then the crowd humored me and sang Happy Birthday to my mom.
Picture credits to my mom

On this day I decided I'd swim with someone who was extra nervous or someone who had the right spirit.
Annabelle was definitely the later.

We met at the BBQ and she was so excited to share stories about her daily swims that week with SERC members that it took hours to find out that she is a doctor from Amsterdam.
Definitely has her priorities in order.

I can't remember having a bad swim* and this one was no different.
Every few minutes Annabelle would stop and point out the landmarks TO ME.
"There's the Golden Gate.  The Bay Bridge.  The Balclutha.  The Jeremiah O'Brian..."   
I loved it.

I am so grateful to all of the SERC members, but especially Ann, Gary, Suzanne, Stevie Ray, Wayne B (the bad one), and Kathy.

* I still separate the Maui Channel swim and my arm being taken.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Catch Up: Part 3 - CAF

On Fri (Oct 18th) I attended Surf City Cyclery's benefit for the Challenged Athletes Foundation at their Costa Mesa shop.  I had not heard about the event, but Shawn (the bike guru that created my new bike) works at the Surf City HB shop and invited me to join him and Bernadette. 

Let's see:
Friends - Check
Bikes- Check
Beer- Check
Great cause - Check

It was nice to meet Jason Wallen and see his new racing chair, Dawn (triathlete and big time CAF supporter) and many others.
I also had enough beer from Cismontane Brewery that I was willing to share some of my story with the group (Bernadette promised that I didn't embarrass myself).

Finished the night by closing down the corner Mexican food restaurant.

The most important thing...
I found out that I had the date for the CAF Triathlon wrong - It was in two days and not on the 27th!

So I woke up early on Sunday, picked up Mike and made the trek to La Jolla.
I know I say it all the time, but I LOVE going to this event.

Becoming an amputee SUCKS!!! 
But having this community as peers is awesome and I hope I can earn my place in their ranks.

I have thought about signing up for the event, but the reality is that I don't see myself as a competitor.
I entered (and still enter) "events" vs "races".
I like like challenge much more than the competition and most of all...

If I entered the tri I'd miss the Kids Sprint and Run and that's not going to happen.
Words, pictures and video can not do this event justice.
Witnessing it let's you see humanity at it's best (paralympians and little kids with some miles on their blades helping those that are a bit wobbly on new prosthetics.   Young kids running and smiling like all kids should.

Here are some clips of Breezy - CAFs 2013 Young Athlete

Breezy s story

Breezy at CAF's Heroes, Heart & Hope gala

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Catch Up: Part 2 - Hawaii

After my long weekend in SF it was time to pack up and drive down to Orange County.
The 6 hrs on I-5 is rarely fun, but driving it when you're coming down with a cold sucks.
Flying to Oahu was even worse.
(I apologize to all my fellow passengers that I may or may not have infected).

The trip to Oahu was a mixed bag:
The weather was great.
The mediation was successful.
I was able to have breakfast with Grant (the guy who saved my life on his jetski) and one of his sons.
But I was sick the entire time and rarely left the hotel room.

A big thank you to my mom and dad for coming out to Hawaii for this.

Right now I don't have a lot to say about resolving my legal case.
I am relieved that there are no more lawyers in my life, but money does not:
- give me back my hand
- give me back my arm
- stop the pain in my arm and remaining hand
- erase the images of what happened to me or what I've been through.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I have a working bike arm

I'm back from Portland where I had the folks at Advanced Arm Dynamics build me the socket for Will Craigs bike arm.  The arm works great.  I got in two rides while I was up there - one with Kerstin (the OT) around part of Lake Oswego and one solo ride along the river.  They wanted to finish the arm (make the socket out of carbon fiber and paint it to match my bike), but I wanted more time in the saddle (and socket) before we made the jump from working model to final product.

Last week I went out on two rides and everything worked great.
My left hand did get sore so I might get stuck with sub-1hr rides, but at least I'm out again.

Here's a short video (1 take with no editing so dont expect much) of me putting on the arm.

To see the inventor using the arm check the 3/3/13 post - "Trailblazer"