MS-150 rider puts heart to the test!
By Ryan Rockett | April 21, 2013 | Updated: April 21, 2013 8:59pm
The hilly stretch from Bastrop to Austin is a difficult endurance test for all BP MS150 riders, but 57-year-old Peter Dodd faced it Sunday with an extra challenge: he received a heart transplant just 17 months earlier.
"The hills were a nightmare," the Katy resident said. "I wondered, 'Did I bite off more than I can chew?' "
A former maintenance mechanic who loved to exercise, Dodd was diagnosed with genetic heart disease 16 years ago. His health continued to deteriorate until he eventually suffered congestive heart failure. In 2009, Dodd was told that he'd needed a heart transplant to survive.
"There was nothing else (doctors) could do," Dodd said. "I was about to die."
In November 2011, Dodd received a new heart. Seven months removed from his operation, Dodd decided to test his newfound limits while riding with his longtime friend, Keith Grodhaus.
"He got the crazy idea to enter the MS150," Grodhaus said. "He was pretty determined."
Grodhaus, himself an 11-year participant in the 180-mile bike ride, trained with Dodd to build his endurance. The two rode several times a week, incrementally increasing their mileage each time.
"We made a commitment to each other," Grodhaus said.
Grodhaus was also alongside Dodd as he pushed through the weekend fundraising ride. The lack of nerves in Dodd's new heart makes it difficult for his heartbeat to accelerate, making the final eight exhaustive miles even more grueling.
"At the end I was breathing hard, it was very tough," Dodd said shortly after the race. "Now I feel fantastic."
Dodd was greeted at the finish line by Sally, his wife of 34 years, who was reflective of the couple's trials and tribulations in the past few years.
"I'm very proud of him," she said. "Our wedding vows said 'through sickness and in health'... we've definitely been through both."
Dodd, who plans to enter the event again next year, said he hopes to inspire others.
"I want to let people know that after you have this (condition) you can still have a life," Dodd said. "You've just got to live it."