Back in 2009, Dave Trautman experienced some heart flutters. The cardiologist “highly suggested” that he get some exercise.
Dave did what the doctor ordered, and then some.
He and his wife Jan have two sons who are both quite athletic. They added their encouragement and suggestions to the doctor’s. The younger son, a graduate of the University of Virginia, engages in various strenuous activities such as triathlons – you know, the seemingly never-ending race that involves running, swimming and bicycle riding.
Dave considered: “I don’t like to run very much, and I’m not a good swimmer, but I’ll do the bike.”
So, he bought a road bike, and once he started, you couldn’t stop him. Last year alone, he rode 3,000 miles.
Six years ago, Dave and Jan moved to WCBR. “We really, really like the place,” he says. In fact, “we love the place. The people here are great.” They have a cottage and enjoy gardening in the backyard.
He spends a lot of his time on the bike and on the road. He and fellow resident Dick Fontaine ride three or four times a week, between 18 and 30 miles each time. “Usually, we take our bikes in the car, and go south 10 or 15 miles,” toward Scottsville, before getting on remote country roads with little traffic.
One of the things Dave praises about living where he does is that “WCBR did a very good job keeping us safe” during the pandemic. He’s very safety-conscious in his road biking as well.
For instance, he has a Garmin radar mounted on his bike that lets him know when a car is approaching from behind. He also has a device in his helmet that communicates with his smartphone via Bluetooth. When he starts rolling, it sends his wife an email that says, “I’m starting my ride.” Then, she’s able to track his progress. If it stops transmitting, she can call the police and tell them where he is. But if everything is fine, “When I turn it off, it sends another email: ‘He’s done.’”
And of course, “We don’t ride at night, or if it’s rainy.”
That doesn’t mean the course is always easy. As you know, there are a lot of hills around here. “On a 20-mile ride, we’ll climb about 1,200 or 1,500 feet – up and down.” There’s one course they have that’s right behind the WCBR campus, which is “Very difficult, four miles up and four down.” Not far, but there’s a 16 percent grade, so they climb 1,600 feet.
He’s taken some longer rides than usual, such as a 60-mile trip up in Canada. Dave and his younger son have big plans coming up in May – a 350-mile ride over several days, from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.
That destination is close to where Dave lived before moving to WCBR, in northern Virginia. That’s where he and Jan settled after his career as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. This is also where he eventually retired from working for AT&T.
Since arriving in Charlottesville, he’s been involved on several Residents’ Association committees. Early this year, Dave joined the WCBR Corporate Board. He serves on the Quality Committee, and while he’s only had one meeting so far, he looks forward to making a difference. Their first project is to take a hard look at healthcare here and find ways to make it even better.
Speaking of healthcare – the exercise didn’t make all his health problems go away. About a year and a half ago, he had to have his aortic valve replaced.
But did that stop him? No. Within a month and a half, he was back out on the road, riding his bike.