RTR is everything Heart Transplant Guy hoped it would be, and more!

kleybaPeak Pedaler, Steve Ast

Oh my, where to start! In many ways it seems like I’ve been on my bike for a week already. Included in that are the views we’ve seen, the biking skills I’ve learned, and the people I’ve met.

This really is a small world we live in. Yesterday, at the first aid station of the first day, I met a fellow rider who works for Donor Alliance. For those new to Colorado or to the transplant world, Donor Alliance is the organization in Colorado that is responsible for all organ allocation. I don’t know for sure but our fellow rider very well could have been involved in taking my new heart from the donor and delivering it to my doctors to transplant into me! Oh, as an aside, she and her husband are super fast riders!

I also met a rider in the bar last night whose brother-in-law had a heart transplant years ago. And met a guy riding today whose brother had a liver and pancreatic transplant a few years ago. And met a pediatric surgeon from Dallas who formerly performed liver transplants. And also met a cardiac surgeon and professor from Univ of Mississippi. It’s amazing how many people on RTR have been touched by transplant.

Thanks to all my fellow riders who’ve given me encouragement. I appreciate it and it’s helping me up the big hills! And Brother Rob and Cousin Ben love the conversations they are having with you all on a variety of topics. If you see us on the road wearing our matching (either white or black) Team Heart Transplant Guy jerseys feel free to say hi. The chats make the miles go faster!

I’m not sure how you and your group deal with the long hours on the road. Brother Rob and Cousin Ben and I, not surprisingly to those that know us, quote movie lines. One of our favorites is The Princess Bride, including: “Go faster they are gaining on us. Inconceivable.” And “Think it’ll work? It’ll take a miracle.”

As for the biking it’s been better than I could have hoped for. Like many of you, my butt is sore. The worst part is leaving a rest stop and having to sit back into my saddle. But my legs feel pretty good and my back/shoulders feel fine. That said, I’m still looking forward to my massage on Tuesday afternoon. Thanks Becky for my birthday present!

Like you I’ve ridden about 170 miles in two days. I’ve led our train for less than 20 miles. Yet I feel no shame in getting pulled by Brother Rob and Cousin Ben and anyone else that let’s me hop on their wheel. One day maybe I can return the favor. For now I’m just happy to be here.

I’m excited about the short ride on Tuesday, and a bit nervous for the monster ride the following day. I still haven’t used the sag wagon. Don’t know if or when I will, but glad to have it as an option if needed. I’ve never previously done a bike tour, but can’t imagine one better organized than RTR. To Kim and the entire RTR team, thank you!

Ride on, ride on, ride on!!! And in between your rides I’m hoping you can find a minute to donate to one of the causes in raising money for. First is Johns Hopkins University who leads the research for the condition I had — https://secure.jhu.edu/form/heart — and choose ARVD from the drop down list and then “in honor of Steve Ast” near the bottom of the page. Second is the Chris Klug Foundation who raises awareness for organ and tissue transplant — https://www.crowdrise.com/steve-asts-ride-the-rockies-challenge/fundraiser/chrisklugfoundation