“That's not frostbite. Your toes got frost chomped!”
On Dec 11, 2019 I set out to do a day bike and ski mini-adventure. The location was the Banadad Cross Country ski trail which enters the Boundary Water Canoe Area along the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais, MN. The trail consists of a point-to-point 27k /16.7mi trail, so when you enter you either have to turn around or continue on. The executed plan was stashing the skis and poles at one end, park at the other and ride the studded tire bike to my skis to begin the trail.
Maybe I will write down the tale in the near future, but for the sake of brevity the ski portion did not go so well. Hypothermia and frostbite are a scary and sneaky beast to encounter. Nearing the midway point of the trail I started to notice my toes getting cold and less flexible. The best option was to continue skiing to the end. The extent of the damage was not realized until I tried to remove my boot. I was forced to remove my sock and boot together because the sock had frozen to the boot.
I received phone service after about 45 minutes of driving and text Annette saying "Don’t call cops". We had a plan that if she had not heard from me by 10pm that she was to call the authorities. I got service at 10:01! Always let people know what you are up to and where you are going. After a 3hr drive back cautiously rewarming my feet it was time to get to the ER.
Day 2 I decided to do this Patch Adams style. I am going to remain positive and use all the ways I know to stay spirited. It is my responsibility to physically heal through my mental and emotional energy. This has been an amazing 3 weeks so far...
More than anything, I have seen just how wonderful people can be. From family to complete strangers, I am blown away. Free deserts from our server with the supportive words "Don't worry. My dad is missing two of his toes and he is doing just fine!". Amazed!!!!
Currently we are doing everything in our power. Diligent monitoring, cleaning, lancing, debriding, sterilizing, removal of toe nails, doctor visits, etc; this just covers western medicine. Nutrition, hydration, rest, introspective practice through yoga and mediation. More than flesh and bone, I must focus my mind to be a tool for my healing. All this together makes for a very full schedule.
Looking forward... well, the future is uncertain. 2020 had some exciting plans.
This winter was set to be a fun one with days of skiing and fat biking mixed into the daily routine. The excitement was high because it was a time for free play with the benefits of working out but no regimented schedule The 2020 season was already scheduled with several long rides with the focus being on the Heck series; 3 races through the summer including the Epic, a 3 day bike touring race visiting the area where the toes got chomped.
Having been a cyclist who has toured across the US, was a contender in long distance cycling races, and created and rode unsupported for 1000 miles around Ohio in 3 days, this summer was to be a fun and exciting return to ultra cycling. 2020 will be a great year nontheless. However, patience and positivity are necessary knowing that i don't know what the future has.
The tootsies have become a full time adventure. Follow us as we continue this journey. Maybe not one that I would have chosen, but one that I am finding is teaching me more than any adventure before.