A really long day that needed a bit of humor

The photo above makes fun of Tom Doumolin, leader of the Giro d’Italia bike race in Italy, having to stop riding his bike during the middle of a stage and, er, make use of a field for a toilet. Riding to work this morning, Kevin spotted someone with a toilet in their front yard, terribly convenient (but not terribly private) for a cyclist in need!

This, as mentioned, was a very long day for me, starting late yesterday, when blood test results came back indicating that there were some anomalies that were entirely unrelated to my breathing issues but potentially serious. The sort of thing that, when the “New test results available” email comes from Kaiser, you open with some degree of fear & trepidation. Definitely had some trouble sleeping last night, going over in my mind all the worst possibilities, and those fears weren’t softened when the Hematology department said I needed to come in today. Ummm… ok?

Did I tell you some (most?) aspects of getting older suck? When the nurse first took my blood pressure, I did the usual spiking thing, kicking it up to 160/90. I explained that’s just what I do in a doctor’s office, so she gave me a chance to collect my wits (calm down a bit) and bingo, 135/83. For me, in a medical environment, that’s darned good. The problem is that I have this real fear of needles, and guess what I associate with needles?

After spending quite a bit of time with the Doctor it turns out what I’ve got isn’t really that big a deal (very high platelet count) and can be managed with a pretty benign medication. That’s the good side. The bad side is that I’ll be on an every-two-week blood test regimen for a while as they figure out the best dose for an appropriate response. Did I tell you I hate needles?

If I was younger, there wouldn’t be much reason to bother with bringing the platelet level down, but man, if you’re over 60, you might just as well forget about whatever warranty you thought your body had! Platelets are a good thing in normal numbers; they allow your blod to clot so cuts can heal. But in too-high numbers, platelets can essentially over-react and cause blood clots in aging bodies. Hate that.

I will say that I’m getting better at facing up to the mental challenges of having blood drawn. One of the funnier things the Doctor mentioned was that I must be new to Kaiser, since I had no real lab work on file prior to 2009. Yeah, well, I’ve been with Kaiser since, what, 1972 or something like that? Just stayed in “stealth” mode.

Stealth mode no more. It was a long and successful non-medicated ride for 55 years I think? But time to embrace better life through chemistry I guess. And less fear of blood test results. You just deal with it and keep on moving.

Message to mom- the doctor said there are no limitations whatsoever on what I can do. It’s possible the new meds could make me a bit fatigued at times, but she said no biggie, just rest up a bit. I asked her if there’s an issue if I just “push through it” and she gave me the strangest look, as in why would you do that?, but said no, you’re not going to hurt yourself doing so. Also, had the moles checked. All good. No need to call me. I’m fine. 🙂

Oh right, the ride report. Just myself and Kevin (kid) today, which was a bit odd. Sure, it was wet and cold up on Skyline, wet and cold enough that we skipped with West Old LaHonda section, thinking it would be really fogged in. And thinking in the back of our minds, what if it’s actually really beautiful on that side of the hill? We’ll never know.

Why the barriers SHOULD be in place on West Old LaHonda

Nice ride this morning; myself, JR, George & Marcus. Kevin (the kid) wasn’t with us, as he was working through double-vision this morning, an after-affect of accidentally taking his night-time dose of epilepsy meds twice. The pace was so easy heading up Kings that even I was able to hold a conversation!

A bit cool at the start, but we emerged from the fog about halfway up Kings.

Now, about West Old LaHonda. The road is posted as being closed to all through traffic, including cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Clearly there is not much of a safety issue for cyclists heading across the remaining undamaged section of road (shown in the video), but obviously it’s dangerously narrow for cars and likely to suffer damage if a 4-wheeled 3000 pound vehicle rolls across it. Unfortunately, this morning was the second time I’ve seen one of the barriers turned sideways, allowing a car to drive through, not to mention cyclists.

OK, seriously, is it really that big a deal to have to get off your bike to walk around the edge of a barrier? And that’s the worst-possible scenario; I’ve always been able to carefully ride around it on the “safe” side (not where the roadway has been damaged) since the barrier isn’t quite as wide as the road.

Cyclists need more respect, not less. We’re already traveling on a road that’s officially closed to traffic, with the darned good excuse that it’s a far safer route than the parallel section of Highway 84. Far as I know, there have been no incidences of cyclists being ticketed for this. Let’s not push our luck. If you know of any cyclist who thinks it a cool idea to move the barrier to the side, so we can barrel through at speed, try to explain why that’s not such a good idea. And if you ride through and see the barrier’s been moved out of place, please consider moving it back where it belongs.

The worst of all possible things would be if cyclists had moved the barrier and allowed cars to drive through, doing such heavy damage to the road that it’s closed, in a very real way (as in, no way to get across the chasm on a bike), for a very long time.