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Sports On “Doctor Time”

We all know about “doctor time.” No matter how hard I try, the clock seems to out sprint me. Morning rounds in the hospital go longer than expected, a colleague stops you with a question, a son forgot his lunch, or something else. The list is long.

In fact, as a very well-educated patient, it seems that the doctors I choose for myself and family are even later than I. It seems that most good doctors have long waits. A coincidence?

However accepted “doctor time” is in the office or hospital, it doesn’t work the same in the bike racing world. In the land of genetically endowed androids, the clock waits for no one in particular. It turns out that our pizza-sponsored team has a few doctors who run on “doctor time” in real life.

Last weekend, two of my board-certified teammates were late to a Friday evening time trial. For some mysterious reason they were provided a mulligan by the officials. To the chagrin of the other competitors, they end up going 1-2. It is a stage race, so on Sunday said board-certified doctor just needs to finish with the group in a favorable for him — a 50-mile race to solidify his hundred dollar payout.

Trouble is, he is traveling to Sunday’s race with another doctor. Yes, it is true, that 48 hours after missing their time-trial times, they showed up ten minutes after the road race commenced. That’s spotting the field about 3 miles, and there is only one mulligan per weekend. So they chased, and as they are both time trial specialists, they catch the group at 25 miles. Good, one thinks, but there is this climb called “Sky Bridge,” and any name of a hill with “sky” in it is not so good — even worse if you have been chasing for over an hour while your competitors were drafting along leisurely.


It is a horrible climb, rising into the Kentucky forest with no end in site. Worse yet, the top is not the top, rather it is a mirage camouflaged by onlookers who ring bells and shout encouragement. Once at the mirage, a left turn greets you with even more hill, up through yet even more trees. I have heard androgenic men scream out loud at this awful left turn. The race is within a baseball throw, but it isn’t waiting, so the gap grows larger, the prey stops wiggling. Gone.

Moral of the story? I really enjoy my job as a doctor. It still brings a modicum of respect, and our chronic tardiness is tolerated by most. But the beauty of bike racing is that once clicked in and pinned up, the playing field is level. Doctors have no advantage — no professional courtesy is given and none is wanted. Just man, machine, and oodles of focus. As sport should be.


*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

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