Monthly Archives: June 2013

Saw the ‘doc again, twice now in 20 years, but just a year since last time. Bad pattern, or good?

Not my favorite place to be, but maybe that's how some feel when they have to drop off a bike for repair? I hope not!
Not my favorite place to be, but maybe that’s how some feel when they have to drop off a bike for repair? I hope not!

Some things don’t change; before seeing the Doctor, you get weighed and have your blood pressure taken. I warned the guy that it was likely to spike a bit; maybe I shouldn’t have, because from his reaction it looked like he though I was going to have a panic attack or something serious! Nope. Just don’t feel comfortable around a Doctor’s office; I associate them with needles and blood being drawn and such. Maybe if instead I thought about all the good that comes from Doctor visits, at least in cycling. How many spectacular climbs were made possible by Doctors setting up pro cyclists with PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)?

But this visit was more mundane; at my visit last year, I’d neglected to have a few moles checked out, and since it seems like they’ve slowly grown and possibly darkened a bit over the years, and since I’ve got a lot of customers who have dealt with skin cancers, I figured they ought to be looked at. Funny thing, that. It was one of those “Nothing to see here, move along” encounters. He didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but said I could have them removed for cosmetic reasons if I wished (as if), and asked if I still wanted to have their “roving dermatologist” check them out. Well yeah, if I’d talked myself into a visit in the first place, it made sense to make the best of it. She looked them over closely, saw nothing funny, I was given a bunch of information on what those dark areas are and why to not be concerned about them, and that was that. The upshot is that the oddball skin I’ve got that doesn’t seriously burn is also pretty-much sun-safe. Go figure. Oh, except for the tips of my ears. The point was made that I had to make sure I got some sunscreen on the tops of my ears. Um… ok.

Cherrie's Java Shack almost makes a trip to Kaiser worthwhile.
Cherrie’s Java Shack almost makes a trip to Kaiser worthwhile.

After the dermatologist left he asked me about my breathing issues, how the Albuterol inhaler was working. I told him that some of the wheezing was gone, but still had pretty significant breathing issues when climbing. He listened to my lungs and decided that it’s not just exercise-induced asthma I’ve got, but the regular, more-chronic variety as well. Went over a few options, explained the side-effects of once or twice-a-day pills (like Advair?) in a way that made them sound very unattractive (blindness, among other things, being possible) and wrote out a prescription for Qvar. Sadly, Qvar has none of the extra enhancements of Clenbuterol, the stuff Contador got popped for a couple years back, but if it might help my breathing, it’s worth a shot. I’ll let you know!

I’m known for standing on climbs, but today I was sitting down on the job!

The group overtaking a couple of other cyclists on Skyline
The group overtaking a couple of other cyclists on Skyline

It’s time to start working on a different style of climbing than my norm, given that my trip to France is just a few weeks away and the Bike Fridays my son and I will be using don’t lend themselves to the sort of “violent” climbing style that I’m known for, standing hard on the pedals, turning pretty big gears pretty slowly. The minimalistic frame design and smaller wheels on the Bike Friday would feel like they were getting twisted in half if I treated it like that, and besides, it’s much better for video to not have the bike rocking back & forth so much!

So today I forced myself to remain in the saddle almost the entire ride. I thought that was going to be an impossible mission, but it worked out much better than I thought. It probably helped that most of the group was riding pretty casually up Kings today; only Kevin (my son, not the pilot) was pushing the pace a bit up the hill, but not so hard that I wasn’t able to hang with him.

I’m feeling pretty good about my riding right now, thinking I won’t be repeating last year’s debacles on the Tourmalet, and the next day on the Peyresourde, where, as they say, my wheels came off. Climbs where I actually had to stop and take a rest for a bit. And it doesn’t hurt my confidence that I’m 2-3 pounds lighter than last year too.