Princess: Dad’s bellyful of pride |

Princess: Dad’s bellyful of pride

Alison Berkley Margo

So, last night I got this horrible stomach flu, the kind that makes you gag even just talking about it, so I won’t get into the gory details. What I will tell you is I caught this bug from my dad, who then gave it to my mom, who passed it on to me.

We were all in Beaver Creek over the weekend for the Triple Bypass, a 120-mile ride from Evergreen to Avon that is so popular that the event promoters decided to add a second day for cyclists to ride the course in the opposite direction, from Avon to Evergreen. They also provided the option to do the Double Triple for anyone who felt like going in both directions.

Thank God my dad hasn’t gotten that crazy — one day was enough. I know I just wrote a column about him and his miraculous recovery back on the bike, and this might seem a little redundant, but stick with me, and I promise I’ll make it interesting.

So, Mom and I decided to sag and keep an eye on him, make sure the old man didn’t pull another one of his “Let’s see if I really do have nine lives” stunts. Of course, that meant stopping in Frisco for a little shopping and a leisurely brunch, but he was calling us from every aid station and said he was feeling great. When we finally caught up with him in Idaho Springs, he had begun to suffer from a horrible upset stomach.

“No. I do not like this,” my mom seethed. “He’s sick. He’s getting in the car.”

“Good luck with that,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Did you remember to pack some handcuffs?”

Naturally he kept telling us he was “fine,” even though he hadn’t eaten anything all day other than his usual Gu Energy Gel things and a boatload of Cytomax, which happened to be one of the event sponsors.

I read him the riot act. “You cannot ride 123 miles with no food in your stomach. And you cannot subsist on those junk electrolyte drinks!”

“My dentist did say it would make my teeth fall out,” he said with a shrug. “I’m fine.”

We stalked him like a couple of gangsters staging a drive-by, creeping up behind him and rolling down the window as we passed by. We pulled into every single turnout to make sure he hadn’t keeled over and died in the 500 yards since the last time we saw him. But he just kept pedaling, a smile on his face and his sense of humor intact, which always helps to cut through my worry.

“You look like a talking skeleton,” I told him. “With bike shoes on.”

He finished the ride, all 123 miles and more than 10,000 vertical feet of climbing, even though he left half of his colon strewn between the mountains and the Front Range.

“Never again,” Mom hissed. “You are not doing this ride again next year.”

“I’ll just do it in the other direction,” Dad said, already thinking of an out.

“OK, you are never doing this ride in this direction ever again,” Mom said.

I spent the next several hours berating him about proper nutrition and electrolyte-overdose symptoms. “You know when you get mad at me for not getting regular oil changes in my car? That’s what you’re doing to your body. You’re running it dry, man.”

“OK, OK, OK,” he said, his hands up. “I’ll change my ways.”

Then I got a call the next day from my mom.

“It turns out Dad really was sick with a stomach flu, and now I have it. I’ve been sick all day,” she said, her voice hoarse. “I hope you don’t get it, too.”

That’s when the mind games commenced. I took the dogs for a long walk, refusing to let this information ruin my day. But the whole time I was going, “Am I queasy? I think I feel a little queasy.”

I managed to go for a 33-mile bike ride and felt pretty strong the whole way.

“That bug isn’t going to attack my body the way it did my mom’s,” I thought.

I came home and ate dinner, and by 10 p.m., there was no doubt I was feeling queasy.

“It’s probably all in your head,” Ryan said, staring at the TV.

By 11 p.m., I was officially, indisputably sick.

So my dad has gone from total moron to superhero now that we realize he wasn’t being poisoned by his Cytomax (though I do think he drinks way too much of the stuff and should have at least one fresh water bottle on his bike at all times); he had a nasty stomach flu. And the old dinosaur still managed to finish what is a really tough ride even under the best of circumstances.

And I’m lying here on my couch with all the blinds down on a sunny day, totally laid up. I can hardly manage to make it to the bathroom, never mind even think about getting on my bike, never mind even think about biking that far or for that long or over that many passes.

Anyway, I do think nutrition on the bike is super-important, and I do want Dad to take better care of himself, and I don’t think he’s invincible, and I do worry that he’s pushing the limits a little too hard.

But damn, I’m impressed. And I’m one sick dog, tail between my legs, so I’m signing off for now.

The Princess is happy that at least she lost a few pounds. Email your love to

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