A perfect day for reverse-Pescadero

It’s time for tacos! Gas-station tacos in Pescadero. Who knew?

I had this feeling today would be a good day for the “reverse” version of the Pescadero loop, and I wasn’t wrong. It’s often the case that, when a bit breezy on the bay side of the hills, you’ll either be battling fierce headwinds if you do a “normal” clockwise ride, or a good tailwind if you go counterclockwise. That’s how it worked out.

Kevin was initially on fire on Old LaHonda; I told him about a third of the way up to keep going, don’t worry about me. He finished almost two minutes ahead, and I was fine with that because I had this feeling he’d be reaching his limits later in the ride. And once again, I wasn’t wrong.

It was pretty nice heading out to the coast, enjoying a slight tailwind. Funny how 230 watts at 25mph feels so much better than the same power at 15mph. I got thinking about the pros, and how, if they’re in a breakaway, they prefer headwinds because it’s somehow easier to stay ahead of the pack. I’m not sure how that works. I definitely prefer tailwinds. Then again, I was never paid big bucks to perform for an audience on a bike either.

Super-busy at Arcangeli today

Pescadero was pretty busy; not surprising since it was such a nice day. The normal stop at Arcangeli’s Bakery was out of the question, with a long line streaming out the door. Which meant- taco time at the gas station! Technically it’s Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos (Market & Taqueria of Friends) but there’s no signage to speak of, just a gas station with what appears to be a mini-mart. Definitely worth the visit but make sure you bring cash; they don’t take credit cards.

The ride home involved Haskins in the “wrong” direction. Never a fun hill to climb, as you can’t get into any sort of rhythm on it. Hate that. Usually it’s not the star attraction though, as we’d be climbing West Alpine afterward. Not today; that would have been too many miles for Kevin and even Haskins was getting to him. By the time we got to West Old LaHonda he was pretty beat, but not so bad he couldn’t enjoy more of the beautiful views. I took a video of the “scenic” part of the climb, which if I do it right, will embed here.

Oh, almost forgot, on the way out, when we descended West Old LaHonda, we stopped at the picture point and had a bit of fun with Kevin mimicking William Shatner saying “Beautiful Day!” in Star Trek Generations. A couple minutes later, I reminded Kevin he can say “I’m a nerd, like my father before me.” Star Wars and Star Trek homages in one ride, a definite win!

As we approached home, it looked like we were going to come in just half a mile short, maybe less, of 100km (62.1 miles). So two quick trips around the block to make sure we got Kevin’s first metric century under his belt.

More time with the Vampires today; more test results from the lab

My journey with essential thrombocythemia, by the numbers! I’m supposed to get quarterly lab work to check on my mild bone marrow cancer (which sounds a lot scarier than it really is), but things got kind of crazy so the test today was about a month late. Not that big a deal, since there’s never any evidence of something bad going on (no symptoms), and who wants to visit a hospital right now anyway?

But this set of labwork was actually a bit better than expected. The main issue with my disease is my bone marrow wanting to produce massive numbers of platelets. Platelets are what help your blood to clot, which is good, if, say, someone’s hacked off your arm like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Not so good in normal situations though, because too many platelets can cause blood clots when and where you don’t need them. Thrombosis events, they call them, such as heart attacks, strokes, that sort of thing. Thankfully, besides having a really rare bone marrow cancer, I have a subset of that bone marrow cancer that creates platelets that don’t clot very well. So I can have twice normal and not have an issue. Still, since I’m over 60 (65 in three weeks so maybe I get a Covid vaccination!), they watch this stuff carefully.

The good news is that my platelets have finally gotten down below 600 again. Had to increase the meds a bit to get there, but no side effects from the meds so… all is good. Most importantly, hematocrit level is stable! Why is that important? Because hematocrit is a measure of your blood’s ability to carry oxygen. If you’re into cycling up big mountains (and who isn’t?), that’s a really big deal.

All sorts of other tests that showed nothing very interesting, everything still floating within normal range, no odd trends. Perhaps most important is that the LDH test, which measures an enzyme created when certain types of cells die off in a way that maybe the shouldn’t be, is still within normal range. Significant changes there would mean another bone marrow biopsy, to take a look inside and see what’s going on. In general, you would want to avoid a bone marrow biopsy. Picture someone using a hammer and punch, and your bone is the target. Yeah, fun times! But after what my wife went through for her colonoscopy the other day, I think I’ll take the bone marrow biopsy. She had to switch to a fluid diet for a couple days and your body doesn’t like that. Let’s just say that bone marrow biopsies don’t cause leaks.