Zwift Island can wait; we found a hole in the clouds!

Kevin descending West Old LaHonda on an unexpectedly beautiful day.

Not quite the ride we expected! The forecast had been for nasty weather, although updates were beginning to show a small break in the morning, ending before noon. Whatever, we were well-prepared for whatever might come. Windproof tights, booties, base layer plus softshell jacket along with a lightweight waterproof jacket for when things got nasty. No biggie.

Upper section of West Old LaHonda
Given the forecast we didn’t plan anything too ambitious. We skipped Pescadero, choosing instead to do a straight run out to San Gregorio and then back via Tunitas. Tunitas simply wasn’t an option; we figured that creek would be going strong enough to finally present us with a real photo opportunity on the way up.

The pace was easy; about 29 minutes up Old LaHonda easy. Of course there wasn’t much choice; both Kevin and I have missed a lot of riding this month! It was on West Old LaHonda that we first realized just how beautiful things would be today, catching the sun’s rays through the trees as we wound through the upper forested section.  We stopped briefly for a photo, then proceeded to the mandatory photo stop where you have the view of the ocean, thinking maybe we could get a feeling for when the next wave of the storm would be rolling in. Nope. Just a lot of gray out there; if there was anything dark and ominous in that direction, it was totally obscured. In the meantime, we were riding in an island of sun, as you can see in the photo at the top of this page!

We had a nice run straight out to the coast, with a bit of a side wind but nothing too nasty. Turning up Stage Road, that was nasty. OK, it’s only an 8 minute climb at an easy pace (6 minutes if you’re pushing hard); who can’t survive that?

Heading back home via Tunitas Creek
Kevin trying to check his social app at the Bike Hut, with large Hawk in the background
As we headed up Tunitas we could look back and see things darkening up; clearly there was something chasing us! Still, nothing looking like what the weather forecast had claimed. We made a stop for the restrooms at the Bike Hut, where Kevin tried checking in on his on-line dating app, wanting to make sure his date was on for this evening. No connection, so we’d try again at the top of the hill. Not that it really made a difference knowing then or later, but I get it.

Kevin climbing Tunitas with the creek running strongly.
I stopped again to take a photo of Kevin climbing Tunitas with the creek in the background; it’s still not that definitive Tunitas photo I’m looking for, but it’s getting closer. Someday I’ll get it.

Finally, almost to the “grassy knoll” section of Tunitas (where the steep part of the climb is over), we got a bit of real rain. Not drenching rain, but enough to convince Kevin that it had invigorative properties that made him ride faster. Well, since he didn’t drop me like a rock, maybe it made me ride faster too! Or it was an illusion that made us both feel like we rode faster but not really.

At the top I suggested we stop and try his phone again; sure enough, he had a connection, at least a phone connection, but the connection with his date had come apart. Not sure how much help I am for him, in terms of advice, because dating is a very different thing these days than it was back in the 70s. I should have known better; the effect of disappointment and/or anger on Kevin, when he’s on a bike, is to make him ride harder, which meant descending Kings, a wet road with debris, just a bit faster than I felt comfortable with. Seen this before, but usually it’s on a climb and he just rockets ahead. He survived the descent in one piece though, so all is good.

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Is Coffee worth this much stress? Is my Stress Test a metaphor for what the US is going through?

The very best thing about Kaiser Redwood City is Sheri’s Java Shack. The treadmill in the cardiac stress test room? Not so much. 🙂

Ah, the indignities suffered by the 60 year old male! Actually, most probably don’t get to go through a cardiac stress test unless there’s likely an issue, and unfortunately, some don’t discover they should have until they’ve permanently rented an underground residence. I don’t plan to be that guy.

Far as I knew I didn’t have any heart issues, but this was one more stop along the path of trying to figure out why I’ve got the breathing issues I do. Since there is a very direct linkage between pulmonary (lung) and cardiac (heart) performance, this was the final test needed to show if there was something about my heart that might be the root cause of things. I’d previously had a fairly extensive mapping of my heart done using sonography and know all sorts of scary-sounding but OK things about my body’s most-important muscle.

I was a bit concerned how I’d do on the test, since my riding’s been limited lately and the past 4 days were spent in Phoenix at a bike industry gig, where I ate too much bad food and the only exercise I got was yesterday morning when I finally talked myself into checking out the hotel’s fitness room. There I got to face all sorts of unfamiliar DETs (devices of torture) being used by people who knew what they were doing. That last part- people knowing what they were doing there- was a problem. It might have been nice, the day before my stress test, to find out how a treadmill actually works, but there was no way to “play” with one without revealing the truth- that I didn’t know how a treadmill worked. That’s right, I’ve never been on one before. Oh sure, metaphorically, I’ve been on the endless treadmill of life for a very long time!

So instead of using a treadmill, I opted for a recumbent-style exercise bike complete with video screen and computer-controlled pedal resistance. IT WAS NOT AT ALL LIKE YOUR OWN BIKE ON A WHAOO KICKR!!! In fact, I quickly realized I needed to set an amount of time that I would be tortured and head for that goal. The seating position was not comfortable at all; I had to literally push myself up off of it with my hands from time to time. And worse, there was no display of wattage! Just variable resistance that changed with grade and a hand control. Nice images of climbing the Col de Columbiere in France though. But if I’d had any guts (meaning, willingness to really embarrass myself by asking someone how to use a simple treadmill), I would have been better prepared for this morning’s test.

Stress? How about trying to get home from Phoenix at a reasonable hour when flights are being delayed due to low visibility at SFO? 10pm arrival home changed to about 11:30pm. Could have been worse.

Worse? How about having a stress test at the exact same time as the inauguration?

Even worse? How about having to pass by your favorite coffee place because you’re not allowed to eat or drink two hours before the test? The flip side of that is knowing there’s a reward at the end. Assuming you pass the stress test. Otherwise you might be getting fed your non-drug-of-choice through an IV while someone’s reworking your heart’s plumbing.

As it turned out, everything’s just fine with the heart. Better than fine. Even the blood pressure was good. The doc was probably in that “So why were you scheduled for this?” mode. I’m almost sure of it, because after saying that everything looked great, he mentioned the only way to check further would be with a catheter and some more extremely-invasive stuff. At that point I’m wondering if he’s testing to see if I’m paranoid and looking for things that don’t exist.

So yes mom, I’m fine, better than fine actually. Just still working on fixing the breathing issue, which might simply need a different set of asthma meds.

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