STORY: David Stringer

On the Road Again
If you see a big Harley in town or on the road, complete with a sidecar and a rack for carrying a bicycle, it probably belongs to Clint Sherbondy.
He rode his Harley to Minneapolis all the way from Missoula, Montana. He'll be competing for Team Rocky Mountains in 1K and 20K cycling. The sunburn on his head shows that it was a long ride.

Sherbondy, 38, is an Air Force veteran who was medically discharged in 1996. He went to work for Montana Harley, but his lung condition worsened, and in August of 2001 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin to await a transplant. Every day he struggled to walk up a hill for his respiratory therapy sessions. On bad days he would have to stop and vomit along the way.

In December of 2001, the lack of oxygen getting to the brain made Sherbondy lose his memory. He awoke from an induced coma in April of 2002 with a double lung transplant he had received in February. He has no memory of what he did in the weeks before the hospital took over.

The struggle continued when he awoke. The drugs used to tranquilize him meant that he could not move. His weight had dropped to under 130 pounds, and his muscles had severely atrophied from the inactivity. He also had tubes in his chest for drainage, the last of which was removed only days before he finally went home in November.

Sherbondy's appearance at the Transplant Games shows the extent of his recovery. He has put his weight back on and now weighs 165 - his weight when in the Air Force. He has also restored his muscle mass, thanks to regular workouts at Gold's Gym, where he has been assisted by two bodybuilders who took him under their wings. The owner of Montana Harley helped him design and build his bike rack, and so he's here and ready to compete.

He can't ride his Harley year round in Montana, but he's on the road a lot during warm weather visiting fellow transplant survivors around the country. Be sure to wave to him if you see him on the road.

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Last updated on: Friday, 05-Feb-2010 10:05:42 EST