New York, NY—July 17, 2011
HSS cyclists cheered each other up the Passo dello Stelvio, the highest summit in Italy and one of the most grueling mountain climbs in the Italian Alps, with more than 48 hairpin switchbacks and an average 7.4% grade that is difficult to do in a car, not to mention a bike.
The riders were rewarded with spectacular views and a fast descent down the other side to the ski resort town of Bormio reaching speeds of 50 mph. Great technical skill and a good deal of caution were needed to successfully negotiate the turns as narrow roadways were shared with motorcycles, cars, and the occasional bus. Riding through pitch black tunnels required nerves of steel.
The cyclists were not entirely unscathed as some experienced a few bumps and bruises and unfortunately one required stitches after a fall and subsequent trip to a local hospital ER, but all will return with a feeling of great accomplishment. Averaging six hours of riding each day for seven days, the cyclists rode more than 250 miles and climbed over 43,000 vertical feet in the Dolomites and the Italian Alps.
This tremendous tour was the culmination of hundreds of hours of training. HSS doctors can be regularly seen doing early morning loops in New York City's Central Park where they are emblazoned with the HSS identity. For one, this trip was the motivation to get back to peak riding form after a serious bike-car accident and several broken bones requiring multiple surgeries less than nine months ago.
“The love of the sport brings this group together year after year, and it’s inspiring to see the recoveries made by those who have been set back,” said Dr. Leonardo Paroli, HSS anesthesiologist and the team's intrepid leader, who has organized this trip for the past seven years.
The medical profession was well represented with participants from both the United States and Italy and the group embodied the adage of practicing what you preach - namely exercising to maintain a healthy life. The cyclists range in age from late-teens to mid-70s with varying degrees of separation from HSS.
Forming the biking peloton with Dr. Paroli from the U.S. was Dr. Andy Weiland, HSS hand surgeon; Dr. Robert Rozbruch, HSS limb lengthening surgeon; Dr. Sarah Holland, plastic surgeon and daughter of Dr. Weiland; Matt Holland, son-in-law of Dr. Weiland; Matt Rivera, former HSS physical therapist; J.D. Pelaez, HSS patient; Vincenzo Vicari, Steve Galowitz and Ethan Galowitz, fellow cyclists. The Italian contingent included an orthopedic surgeon, an emergency room physician and an anesthesiologist.
“Cycling is an unbelievable way to stay fit and active and to be able to share the experience with friends and family was great,” said Dr. Weiland, who was also joined by his wife, Nancy.
“The chance to cycle with people with varying backgrounds in such a beautiful country was a wonderful experience,” remarked Dr. Rozbruch.
In addition to the Passo dello Stelvio, notable climbs of the HSS giro included Passo Falzarego, Paseo Gardena, Passa Campolongo, Mortirolo, Paseo Gavia, Passo Foscagno, Passo della Forcola, and Passo Bernia. The last stage ended in lovely Lake Como.
About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.