Greetings from California

With Irma we've already been in San Diego for a few days, where we are being hosted by our American friends. Many thanks to Amy, Pat, Bob & Teri for their hospitality! We were also honored at Saturday's dinner and today's cycling trip at "Pacific Coast Highway", which was attended by a nice bunch of my American fans. The ride was rather short due to my medical condition, more about it below.


Our early arrival was intended to avoid nervousness of last days before the RAAM, as well as to prepare for the heat of the first days of RAAM in the deserts of California and Arizona. Unfortunately, we did not leave early enough to avoid the bad weather and it hit me which I feared most - a disease just at the wrong time, before the start of THE race. Coughing began on Friday before a 300km brevet and Irma was smart enough to convince me not to take my chances in the rain, so I wouldn’t catch pneumonia. I was smart enough to listen to here and skipped the event thankfully. On Sunday, my condition got worse, and I was forced to see my doctor on Monday. At the visit it was determined I had a lung infection and I received a portion of antibiotics to treat it. After arriving to the United States, it seemed as the treatment didn’t do me any good as the wheezing in my lungs was getting worse and worse. My friends got worried about me and arranged for me to meet two doctors in a day. Both of them agreed it was a case of bronchitis worsened because by my asthma and got me as new bout of treatment while forbidding me to train until the lungs are clear.

Here you have it – it is RAAM, sometimes even before the race starts it shows its teeth. I can take comfort in the fact that this did not happen just a few days before the race in which case my participation would really be compromised. So I have a good week or so to get better, and the only thing I can worry about is that my fitness level as a result of weeks of not training would drop significantly. On the other hand, I know from experience that RAAM is such a hard race that is always better to get  into it too rested than overtrained. So in a way, this disease might be blessing in disguise. The only thing left for me to do is to believe in it, and go into the race without fear. It will probably hold me back a little in the early days of racing, which is not bad, because so far I was known for a (too?) fast start in the race and my performance always dropped later. This time, I'll start more conservatively and hope that during the race my fitness level is going to raise a bit, or at least not decline as much as in previous RAAM's. If we can do that and stay in a controllable contact with the leaders, than I can go full gas in the second half of the race and try to catch and overtake them.

So hopefully with minimal problems during the race, I still believe in myself and my abilities (RAAM is not about the last two weeks, but twelve years of preparation). So does my crew, and with the help of your good vibrations I am sure the speed will be there. Keep your fingers crossed and my next report will come from Palm Springs.

P.S. The last report from doctor’s:  lungs are definitely better, no X-ray was necessary, I just have to finish the prescribed treatment and I'll be as good as new before the start of RAAM next week. Thanks to Joseph, Arnie, Bob, Amy and all other friends who did everything in their power to make this happen. It is so true that HEALTH is our biggest treasure. Close second are our FRIENDS.
Thank you all for the support!

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