Dr. Athleo Cambre has been practicing medicine as a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills for over 20 years. What many people don’t know is that Dr. Cambre is also an avid outdoorsman. With a recent achievement of conquering the Death Ride Tour for the fourth time, Aesthetic Insider News wanted to know what makes this doctor tick.
Death Ride Tour – Tour of the California Alps
8,730+ feet altitude
Tell us about yourself and the Death Ride Tour
I am sixty-one-and-a-half-years-old, 6 feet tall and weight 175 lbs. I maintain my general cardiovascular and strength fitness by going to the gym 3-4 days per week and riding one or two days a week. I begin more intensive long distance cycling about six weeks before this event. My plastic surgery practice is in Beverly Hills. I am married and have two children.
The Death Ride Tour is also called the Tour of the California Alps and is one of the key cycling events in the West. It takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is 129 miles in length, up to an altitude of 8,730+ ft. This was my fourth time doing this particular event. I have done many other “century” rides at Mammoth and Death Valley. I also do a mountain (hiking) climb of at least one peak of either 14,000 ft. of special scenic value each summer.
I began group riding during medical school in Cleveland with classmates in a club called “Friends of Nuclear Waste Cycling Club”. Now I ride with other doctors and friends whenever mutual scheduling permits, for the challenge as well as the camaraderie; however for this event, I did all the training and the event itself, solo.
What type of gear do you need for such a ride, and where did you sleep?
The gear I used for this event was my Spanish-made BH G5 carbon-frame racing bicycle. Other riders used tandem cycles or mountain bikes. A helmet is important, since downhill speeds approached 50 mph. My cycling shoes clip into the pedals for added efficiency. I stayed at a small motel in South Lake Tahoe, about 30 miles from the start/finish of the event.
Do other athletics interest you and what do you do to maintain endurance?
I have always been active in the outdoors. I began with technical rock climbing in Yosemite while in college; cross-country and downhill skiing, mountaineering, and cycling throughout my five years of general surgery training in Colorado, and I have continued these activities although interrupted somewhat by coaching my children’s soccer, softball and baseball some years. I have played one night a week in a basketball league for the past 20 years, and my lazy-man sport is golf, which I play once a week.
Primarily, I needed to put in the time “in the saddle” in order to prepare for a ride of this length. It would have been helpful to have done some training at altitude prior to the event, but my schedule did not allow this. Nutrition and hydration are especially important, since the caloric expenditure and loss of fluids through sweat and respiration can be extreme. It is important to eat before you feel hungry, and drink before you are thirsty. I have only once experienced “bonking”, where the body runs out of fuel and you essentially “shut down”, while climbing Teewinot in 2009 (adjacent to the Grand Teton, which I climbed in 1983). This was a horrible feeling I hope never to repeat, by paying attention to nutrition and hydration (and acclimatization).
Self-discipline comes in the form of carving out the time for training. The mental toughness comes in the form of pushing oneself through the pain and minor injuries as the training intensifies and fatigue sets in.
Does this type of activity translate into your career as a doctor?
Activities like these are important to me both as a person and as a doctor. They allow me to refresh and recharge my mental batteries, spice up my daily routines, give me external goals to achieve, provide fodder for conversations in the OR and with my patients, and they serve as a test of my overall physical fitness. I’ll know that I’m over the hill when my mind makes a promise that my body can’t fill. I try not to let the fear of injury outweigh the joy and freedom I feel in the outdoors.
As far as this applies to, or parallels between, participation in these types of events and my overall practice success, there are many similarities. Mental and physical preparation is important to safety and success in both arenas. A variety of activities (or surgical procedures) keep things more interesting and challenging. I am in the business of defying the process of aging; maintenance of physical activity at a high level is part of that process, along with nutrition, hydration, etc. Just as in achieving a long-lasting, satisfying, and successful outcome in surgery, there are no shortcuts!
Preparation and participation in these types of long cycling events are similar to the perseverance and endurance required to get through medical school and surgical training. It is a long, sometimes painful and often exhausting process that seems hard to consider fun while it’s happening, but is extremely rewarding once completed.
To learn more about Dr. Cambre visit: www.plasticsurgery90210.com
For the Death Ride Tour click here: www.deathride.com