Category Archives: Personal stuff

Rain has no future in my dreams!

Let’s forget about rain for a moment, and think about the awesome days ahead. Days like this one, in France.

OK, it’s not like I can deny the existence of rain. It intruded once again on this morning’s ride, which saw three of us climbing Kings (myself and both Kevins), and I even managed to catch up to a couple others who were heading up the hill. For a wet ride, it wasn’t all that bad, and I certainly felt a lot better than I did on Thursday’s ride.

But tonight I got to looking through older photos and of course, I’ve got a ton of them from France. I was looking at the 2015 trip, the last time I visited the Alps with Kevin (last year’s trip came close, seeing a stage in the nearby Jura mountains for just a day). 2015 was definitely one of the top trips when I look back upon it; we discovered a phenomenal apartment in Grenoble, and we managed to do all but one day of the trip out of that single location (we took the train back into Paris for the finale and spend one night there before flying home, but 8 or 9 nights in one place, Grenoble, was really nice). We discovered a ton of little back roads, found a few kebab places in Grenoble, and even rode up a mountain named “Col de Morte”. Morte = “death” in French.

It’s still up in the air whether I can make it this year or not. If I do, it’s going to be a shorter trip, leaving on Sunday the 16th and returning Monday the 24th. And it would be without Kevin (my son, not the pilot), who’s been with me on all of the trips from 2008-on. If I don’t go, it will be only the second year I’ve missed the ‘tour since I started this ritual in 2000 (Kevin and I missed going in 2009). Who knows, could be there’s a bit of a mortality issue driving my desire to keep going, because who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do the big climbs?

In the meantime, I’ll keep riding Kings, I’ll keep hitting up the Pescadero Bakery, and those are great things to be sure, but in my dreams, it will be France. –Mike–

There comes a time when you gotta do something; Kings can’t be getting this much steeper this fast.

Interesting that Kaiser’s map identified only one other local business, something not always associated with healthy habits. But hey, at least it’s not the infamous “Heart Attack Grill!”

Yesterday I wrote about the potential road closure of Highway 84, where Kevin and I came across a new chunk of freshly-disappeared asphalt. We I didn’t write about was the ordeal of getting to that point in the ride.

It was wet enough that we had to ride the rain bikes, and cold enough to have to dress up a bit. Add Kings Mtn through the park to the mix, and it seemed the perfect combination to destroy me. Kevin, the other Kevin, and Karen just rode away from me through the park, and even though they waited and moderated their pace for a while up Kings, I was dying. There’s an expression that applies when you’re totally dead; you’re said to be “sucking air.” I wish. Air was the one thing I wasn’t managing to suck. Felt like I needed to be carrying an oxygen tank with me, set on tubo mode to force-feed me pure oxygen. Maybe that would help.

About halfway up I had thoughts I almost never have. Maybe just a couple times in my cycling life. Thoughts of just giving up, or maybe walking for a bit. The reality is that my speed wasn’t that bad, but for just over 800 vertical meters/hour, I should have felt relaxed, not stressed. But I kept on, picking up a bit of speed where Kings levels off, and slowing down ridiculously on the steep hairpins. But I made it, and like every other time I’ve really felt awful, I began to feel better. Better enough that, by the time we got to Sky Londa, thoughts of shortening the ride had disappeared, and I was looking forward to the views on West Old LaHonda. We even arrived home not too much later than usual.

But that ride up Kings… how many more rides like that do I have to endure? Legs and heart working fine, but lungs holding me back? Making things really frustrating is that the only time I have these issues is when I’m trying to go, as they say, full gas. If I could be content to ride casually up nasty climbs, I’d be fine. But that’s not me. I want to push. I want to finish a climb on the same day as the fast folk do.

One year of treatment with albuterol, Qvar and Singulair seems to have put me no closer to that goal. Yesterday’s ride finally drove me to take action, talking with my doctor again and getting a new appointment with a pulmonologist as Kaiser next week. I know I don’t have anything really nasty; I’m not going to drop over dead and there are many, many people who are in danger of doing just that and need serious help seriously fast. Part me of feels a bit guilty that I’m wanting to have something “optional” (not life-threatening) taken care of. But the other part of me believes there’s more to life than just being fine, and that not being able to push my limits is killing my soul. Not the immortal part, but rather the part that keeps you happy and moving forward.

Hopefully, on Tuesday, Kaiser will help me to “Thrive” like they say in their advertisements.