Where do I start? What a week! First of all I must tell you all that I started last week walking two laps around the block with my walker and by Friday I was walking them with a cane. Then I found out, after Courtney measured with his truck, each lap was half a mile. In just two short weeks out of the hospital I was up to walking one mile with a cane! When I see Dr. Nakakura he is going to flip.
After I walked the mile on Friday, we hoped in the car and headed down to Sea Otter. I haven't been there in six years because I was always over seas racing in Saipan. I wanted to go and meet all of my teammates on the Mona Vie/Cannondale team. We arrived in Monterey about 7pm and met up with our team manager Matt Ohran. He is such an awesome guy. When the rest of the team showed up we headed to a Greek restaurant for dinner, where we met up with Bill Rudell. He is my sponsorship contact at Connondale. I can not say enough nice things about him. We had a blast hanging out. Everyone was so nice. After dinner we headed to our hotel and went straight to bed!
Saturday we woke up bright and early to help Matt get food for breakfast and set up at our booth. The team invited a slue of media folks to sample Mona Vie. Courtney ended up making smoothies all morning long with Mona Vie Acai shots. First of all I must explain what is Acai! Acai is a berry from the Brazilian rain forest. It has 'unparallel antioxidant levels and superior nutrient content.' It is described as the worlds top superfood. Not to mention how great it tastes. Mona Vie delivers the benefits of this berry with freeze dried acai powder. It is the most effective and concentrated form of acai. They even have an 'active' form which combines the plant derived glucosamine. Mona Vie also provides gel packs for on the go people like myself. Two shots a day and you are good to go for a healthier and more energetic day! This product combined with all the organic product that Clif Bar provides it is no wonder I am ahead of the game. I seriously have been living on all of this stuff for the past few months during all of my hospitalizations and pain. Boy, if I hadn't been on all of this plus Jamba Juice I may have lost more then 16 pounds!
So back to my wonderful weekend . . . When we got to the booth, Bill was telling me lots of folks stopped by on Friday asking about me. I was pretty excited to see everyone! After all I have been in and out of hospitals for several months. Only a handful of friends were able to visit me in San Francisco. While the guys were setting up I took a seat in one of the chairs. The weather was horrible. It was freezing cold and super windy. Matt had to dig out a blanket so I could wrap my legs. Courtney had to give me his jacket and it didn't help that my hair was still wet. Thank goodness for my Cannondale beenie made out of Alpaca wool!
Around 9 o'clock folks started popping in to say hi. Everyone couldn't believe I was there and walking. I can't begin to describe how much it meant to see everyone. Between all of my friends, fellow racers and sponsors (old and new) I was busy all day! People were coming in packs, filling up the tent as I talked about what had been going on. You could say I was warm and fuzzy inside and I was able to thank a lot of people for their cards, good wishes and gifts that they had sent! I hope I get the chance to Thank everyone in person! (Eventually I will get to my Thank you cards!) I forgot to mention how great the Acai smoothies were that Courtney was making! I had about four . . . And I must say I am an expert on Acai smoothies. By the end of the day I was pretty wiped out so we headed back to the hotel. We went to dinner with friends. Both of which have supported me throughout this ordeal. After dinner they both presented a check to help with things. One is Extreme Steering (they donated $5 of every grip sale) and the other is Mt Lincoln (a construction company in Truckee, CA.) I know I have said this before but it is important to me to point out the companies that have stood by me and continued to support me (the two above and Mona Vie, Cannondale, Clif Bar, Michelin, and Zeal (which is donating a percentage of a specific glasses sale.) Please support these companies when you are looking for their type of product!
Sunday's weather was much better. I was able to move about and check out the pit area. As I was walking along I ran into Melanie McQuaid. It was great to see her and Thank her for all the support and the video tribute during this tuff time! She really stepped up and made me laugh when I wanted to cry. She had to get going so she didn't miss her call up for the cross country race. I stopped by to talk with Jim Felt. It was great to see him and chat about what I have been going through. He was amazed how good I looked for only being out of the hospital for two weeks! I made my way back to the Mona Vie Cannondale tent and sat down to rest. Then along came Ned Overend. When he spotted me he came right over and we chatted for awhile. It was great to see him. He is my role model. He is the greatest mountain biker I have ever met and the most humble guy you will ever meet . . . Well that would be a tie with Tinker Juarez. He is another great mountain biker, role model and now my teammate! How cool is that? I got to hang out with Tinker and his family all weekend. He had a great race (for as short as the race was for him) and he had nothing but great things to say to me. I could not have had a better weekend if I dreamt it all!
As the day passed and I finished walking all over the place and talking with people, I took a seat and looked around. I couldn't get over the support Cannondale and Mona Vie were giving me. I'm not talking money or product, I am talking people. And it isn't just one or two, it is all of them. I had the pleasure last year to meet a huge number of Cannondale employee's. Everyone of them genuinely love their job. Over the weekend they all spoke with me and wished for a speedy recovery. I am so thankful that I am riding for such a great company. Once I get back on the bike I will ride with great pride. I am seeing every thing in a whole new light. Anyone who goes through what I went through can't possibly help seeing things differently.
As I learn to walk again without assistance I realize I won't ever take things for granted. I remember hearing people complain about running. It kills me to think about because I may never be able to do that again. Then I realize who I am. I'm Jamie Whitmore and I don't just accept things. I may have a foot that doesn't work right now, but I will find a way to run again. I realize that I shouldn't be praying for the use of my foot but rather to be able to run again. God has a plan for everyone. I still don't know what his plan is for me but I will continue to pray. So I am asking you to please pray that I am able to run again one day soon!
I wanted to give the folks in Saipan a huge THANKS for sending a care package. We really enjoyed reading everyone's 'good wishes' and watching the DVD. I was bummed I missed racing in Saipan and Guam this year but this made me feel like I was there!
Ride hard and Run like you might never have the chance again!
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