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Doin’ Hard Time

My Life Behind Bars

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Ridden and Written By:

Chris Seistrup

Chris Seistrup

This week and next will see the start of several of the longest and most prestigious Ultra-Endurance races America has to offer. Three different races across the United States, the RAAM, the Trans America Bike Race, and the American Trail race will all host riders from one coast to the other. Then there’s the north to south race, the Tour Divide. For now, it’s the one that got away. For another year, I’ll be a dot watcher, but this year it will be different. I’ll be watching riders every move, wondering where I would be on that list. I’ll refresh the browser late in the night, to see if my compadres are toughing it out through the darkness. I’ll stalk their every move and pause for rest. Scheming and taking notes, watching videos and searching for ride reports. For weeks, I’ll be watching the superhumans moving in all directions, just wishing I was out there amongst them one more time.

After training so hard all spring, and having so many support and help my journey along the way, being stuck on the sideline is only that much harder. I know everyone supports me and doesn’t want me to do permanent damage, I know everyone cares about my well being. I know my hip needs to heal and I will survive, but nevertheless, there is this incredible burning desire to get every ounce of my soul crushed. Years of preparation physically and mentally, all the honing of gear lists, fine-tuning every detail of the bike and systems, all put on hold for another year all because of a stupid mistake. Or was it?

I was born with Hemophilia, I’m missing a good portion of the platelets that form blood clots, whether external like when I get a cut, or internally when a bruise or a sprain occurs. Having a mild case of the disease is both a blessing and a curse. I am extremely fortunate to have only needed to infuse with factor a few times, on the other hand, a few of those times it was already too late by the time I realized there was even a problem. People with severe Hemophilia have treatment on hand most of the time, as a mild case, I’d have to sit in an emergency room, run through a plethora of tests, for doctors to say, “yep, you have a bruise.”

It’s like getting an AIDS test because I have a cold. The point here is not to discuss medical treatment options, costs of treatment, or the health care system we don’t have. I could have gone straight to the hospital and greatly reduced the effects of this bleed, albeit at a significant financial burden.  But really, there’s more I could have done to help prevent this.

For years, I’ve enjoyed a growing love affair with my favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. It celebrated triumphs, it soothed pains, and it eased anxieties. We could have been friends, but my love is too much at the wrong time. The blood of a hemophiliac and the thinning effect alcohol has on the blood is too much to take. My muscles and joints can be strong, and I can have catlike reflexes, but adding alcohol to my equation has horrible results. I’ve had to really think about the things that matter most in my life, and beer is nowhere on that list. Staying as healthy as I can, and preventing injury is pretty high up. I’m going to have to say farewell old friend, and leave the drinks in the cooler for the rest of you to enjoy while I sip on lemonade.

Now what? This always seems to be the question. Finish or not, there’s always the mystery of what’s next? More time with my family, better effort in my work life, and even more focused training. The family will be moving to the other side of Prescott, where we’ll be even closer to the trails and my favorite training hill. I’ll be taking it easier on myself until I gain full mobility in my hip, then I’ll be right back at it. After seeing the results of a few months of training, I can’t wait to see what is possible next year.

This fall will see a 500+ mile loop around Northern Illinois with my best friend Scott, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, and back again. In October I will aim for sub 48-hour trip around the Coconino 250 loop, shaving over 9 hours from last year’s time. If all goes well, I will also attempt to climb 30,000′ in a single ride, completing an Everest on one of our local climbs. The FTS500 v2 will be held again next spring, leading up to the main event, Tour Divide 2019!

Thanks again for all the support, so many people reached out to help get this ride done, I can only hope to earn your support again for the year to come. I’ll keep the stories coming and hopefully have more to offer soon.

 

Huge shout out to all of my sponsors! Ron Kinner, Bill Franzen, Wendy Tweedy, Bonnie Manko, Phil Koprowski, and

 

A Story Ridden and Written By:

Chris Seistrup

Chris Seistrup

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