Team Laughing Dog – Cycling for Cystinosis

10 Days And Counting by Al Lemire

The countdown timer on the website now says “10 days” until we start RAAM. Again, the butterflies…..

Last night, we had our final fundraiser/thank you/send off party at Laughing Dog Brewing. If you didn’t make it, you missed out. Justin (from Trinity at City Beach) provided a smackdown BBQ of epic proportions. Ribs, pork, sausage, and brisket (yes, that was me hanging around the buffet table and grabbing brisket with my bare fingers!) were all served, along with tasty salad, bread, and beans. Fred (Laughing Dog owner) had plenty of people helping out behind the bar, making sure that no pint glass went unfilled. (I even heard rumor of him breaking out a few bottles of DogFather for a couple of lucky individuals.)

The evening’s festival atmosphere was somewhat tempered by the absence of Mel, TLDB rider and the originator of the whole RAAM idea two years ago. He had an unfortunate accident on his bike during the CHaFE 150 ride on the previous Saturday. This excerpt from his email to the rest of the team gives the nuts and bolts of the situation:

The MRI revealed I had broken off a section of the C-7 vertebra and fractured the C-6 vertebra.  Also had some old issues with C-5 and C-6.  Long story short, I broke my neck, now have a steel rod holding the three injured vertebra together with screws and I can’t ride.  I did lobby for 20 minutes with the doctor to just “fish” out the section that broke off and was lodged against the nerve endings which causing the numbness and tingling.  Didn’t get too far with the doctor on that.

It should also be noted that the accident happened around mile 30 of the ride, and with the extent of the damage unknown, Mel insisted on finishing off the rest of the 150 mile ride.

We are currently taking suggestions for his new nickname. I am suggesting “Ironman”. Not like the Ironman race, but more like the Black Sabbath version….

Thursday night we are packing the vans, and Saturday morning the first 6 of  our 17 team members start the trip down to the start at Oceanside, CA. The next few days will find the other chase vehicle heading in the same direction, along with more crew members flying out of various airports and into San Diego.

Once we are in Oceanside, there is a laundry list of things to be done: The RV needs to be picked up and filled with  groceries. Light bars will rented and installed on the vans and chase vehicle. All vehicles and bicycles will go through race inspection. Vehicle signage kits (with our RAAM race numbers) need to be affixed to all vehicles. It will definitely be a busy week leading up to the race start (2:00pm, Saturday, June 18th).

If you would like to be able to follow us along the race course, there is a “click to track team progress” button on the front page of the website, right under “Get Updates” and “Follow Us”.


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  1. Mary and Ron Perron /

    Dear Al – Thanks for the great “up to date” information. We are so bummed about Mel’s misadventure. We know all the TLD guys are dedicated to a common goal, just as we know Mel is still a huge part of the team if he is temporarily side-lined. Best of luck to all you guys (riders and crew alike). We still intend to be at the Oceanside Pier to cheer and carry on with loud shouts of encouragement!

    Safe training,

    Mary and Ron

  2. perry /

    Good luck to you Al. I’ll be follow your trip from the midwest.

    Have a safe adventure,

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