Category Archives: Personal stuff

A week of missing entries! Lots of ground to cover

That’s not the view you expect to see, riding up West Old LaHonda!
OK, first the obligatory West Old LaHonda photo from Thursday-morning’s ride. Only this time, no view! Not sure why we’re suddenly seeing one, sometimes two cars heading down WOLH as we’re heading up. What’s up with that?

So yes, I’m way behind in almost-daily diary entries. Shop stuff got in the way, big time. We’ve been inundated with repairs, which puts a lot of pressure on me (repairs tend to have unique scenarios requiring time spent not just in diagnosis but also running down odd-ball parts, and having to explain to some that a bike just isn’t worth fixing up, which they don’t want to hear until you’ve spent 10 minutes totaling everything up), plus parking issues again care of construction around us (even though there are a huge number of dedicated, fenced-in parking spaces available for construction workers, where do they park? Right in front of our store!!!), new bike models coming in but no resources to build them (due to all the repairs) nor anyplace to put them (again due to repairs). Add to the normal summer repairs the additional customers we have coming up from our former Los Altos location, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re in the middle of one of those hospital triage settings on a TV show.

Oh, also a website re-do, so if you go to on your cell phone (which is the way about 50% view our website) it doesn’t look terrible. Kind of in the middle of that one. And one more thing. Plantar fasciitis. I start the day feeling ok, but as the hours roll by, my right heel becomes increasingly sore, causing me to quite visibly hobble around the shop. Interestingly, this is an on-the-feet-only scenario. Riding a bike, no problem, because of the rock-hard soles that don’t allow your foot to flex. Walking in regular shoes is another thing entirely. OK, I think that’s it.

But yes, I have been riding. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. Sunday Kevin and I did the usual Pescadero loop, Tuesday morning we had a special visit from Chris, one of our former regulars and fast enough to give Kevin a challenging time climbing Kings, and this morning (ok, yesterday by the time you read this) it was the return of JR. JR had a knee re-do in February and is just now beginning to come up to speed. Fortunately not full speed yet; it was a pretty relaxing pace this morning.

I am looking forward to things settling down. Hopefully within the next three weeks, prior to Kevin and I leaving for France. Have to admit I’m also looking forward to 10 days doing something different!

“Definitely” Response from my pulmonologist when I requested more tests. A good thing, that.

Above is the video I sent to my pulmonologist, asking for a retest of my lung function almost exactly a year after the last one, the test that eventually led me to yet another test that showed something I didn’t want to find, a mild bone marrow cancer called Essential Thrombocythemia. That discovery put an end to finding a solution for my breathing issues, because it seemed there were more important things to put in order. That scary “C” word, concerned about bigger things than how fast I can ride up a hill.

But as time went on, after many, many more tests, and, finally, a bone marrow biopsy a couple months ago that completely put to rest any fear of an early demise, it become increasingly clear that my breathing issues were once again taking center stage when on my bike. But would my pulmonologist agree? After all, he and my GP were wondering why, if my VO2max measurement was 140% of normal for someone my age, I was having an issue. I get where they were coming from, but my frustration has been building as I’m questioning if I can even get under 30 minutes climbing Kings this year. The simple truth is, the average 62 year old is in really awful shape, so any comparison to “average” just isn’t relevant.

And last year, I don’t think my doctors really understood what it’s like to be riding near me, hearing my continuous labored breathing on a climb. So, I made the short video above. It shows what I sound like at a moderate, not strenuous, pace. I explained that, once the road tilts upward, once my power goes above 220 watts or heart rate above 140, I can’t talk, I can’t even take a drink from my water bottle without falling apart. Most people breathing like that might keep it up for a pretty short time. I can do this for half an hour. More if I have to.

It was enough to convince the doctor for a re-test, and to try something different from the Qvar/Albuterol/Singulair combination I’m presently on. It’s been just over a year since the last test (April 18, 2017). My daughter, Becky, is a bit concerned that new tests might being up something new & scary, like last time, but I told her, at this point, my attitude is “bring it on!” I can’t fight or fix what I don’t know about. I’m looking forward to May 21st, when I go into the “glass booth” again.

Another important date is coming up. May 24th will be the one-year anniversary of what I consider the darkest week of my life. The day I got hit, really hard & fast, by the news that there was an issue with my bone marrow. I put on a pretty good face most of the time, but until I discovered a relevant Facebook group (yes, Facebook is good for something!) dealing with Essential Thrombocythemia, and learned that people live with this rather than die from, I had some serious doubts about the future. So, Thursday, May 24th, I’m going to have a “breakfast at Alice’s” version of the Thursday-morning ride, to celebrate.

OK, what about last Thursday’s ride? Yes, I did ride, along with Kevin (kid) and Karen. I had hoped I’d continue to feel like I had on Tuesday’s ride, attacking the climbs rather than capitulating, but it was not to be. I was a slug heading up Kings. I did recover some on Skyline, but I never had that sense of “pushing myself hard is fun!” that I had Tuesday. Maybe it was just a high-gravity day.