Category Archives: Personal stuff

Hate taking a couple days off from riding, but could be worse… Kevin (pilot) was worse.

Finally, the county is repairing West Old LaHonda!
Sunday, had to do a short ride because we had a wedding in Carmel to get to (my brother Steve’s son). Monday I flew to Las Vegas for the bicycle trade show, and lived indoors for two days, missing the Tuesday-morning ride, missing my commute rides between home & work, and worst of all, on Tuesday, being in meetings from 8am-5pm. Nah, worse than that, not meetings, but a single, very long meeting (I serve on the Board of Directors of the National Bicycle Dealer Association).

But Wednesday afternoon it was time for me to jet, literally, back to reality. Just a few short hours at a trade show (after 20+ years there really isn’t that much new to see and besides, most everyting is on-line anyway, at least that’s what my customers think) and then off to the airport where, at 6:39pm, I leave for home! Except that didn’t happen. “Weather” at SFO had reduced things to one runway, so we were a bit over an hour delayed. Could have been worse; the plane ahead of us was two hours delayed, finally got out on the runway and then… got to sit there for 75 minutes. At least we were in the terminal. But it doesn’t end there; arriving at SFO we were stuck between runways forever, waiting, essentially, for a gap in the traffic to cross. But wait, the story (the wait) continues. There was still a plane at the gate we were heading to. Finally, it leaves. We pull up to the gate and… the jetway isn’t working! Another 10 minutes stuck in the metal tube before finally getting out. But eventually I arrived home, and that meant I could ride this morning!

I knew it wasn’t going to be fast, but I didn’t know it was going to be quite as slow as it was. Just myself and the two Kevins, and Pilot Kevin’s breathing and hacking was as bad as mine in the winter… and that’s really, really bad. I had planned a 32 minute ride up the hill; escorting Kevin we got up in just under 40. I haven’t felt so sorry for a fellow cyclist in a very long time, if ever. He didn’t complete the ride with us; he lives off of Skyline and left us to head to the doctor.

In a way, we didn’t complete the ride either. Despite running later than planned, we did continue down 84 to West Old LaHonda and headed up towards the concrete barriers. On the way, we came across several cyclists coming the other way, warning us we would get turned back. Turned back? This sounded exciting! Got to see what’s going on, right? And turns out they’re finally fixing the road! That’s a whole different thing than simply putting up barriers to keep cyclists out. I don’t know how long it will take, but we’ll monitor the situation and post updates. We didn’t get too close, as they were moving some heavy trucks up and down the road, and there’s not much room.

This did mean reversing course and heading back up 84, reminding us why keeping West Old LaHonda available to cyclists is so important. There remain at least three corners on 84 where the hillside continues to slip onto the roadway, eliminating the shoulder in the least-safe places possible. If you’re fairly fast and have ears, you can get through OK, but it wouldn’t be good for someone taking their time.

I haven’t had a woman claw my back like that in a long time!

More doc visits, more tests. Man, if I’d been willing to go to this much trouble when I was racing, with the intent to improve performance, who knows what I could have accomplished! I could have been the next Lance Armstrong! Not.

Wednesday morning was my first-ever visit with a Dermatologist. Not for checking out rogue moles, but to figure out a way to get rid of the itchy skin rashes I’ve had the past year or so. There was some concern they were either a symptom of my ET (Essential Thrombocythemia, a very mild bone marrow cancer) or the medication used to manage. But after taking some samples off my back (the “clawing” I referred to) and examining them under a microscope, it looks more like a simple skin fungus. Who knew.

Because the drug used to clear this up (Lamisil) can tax the liver a bit, I had not only my usual vial of blood drawn, but another two used to figure out how well my liver is actually working. Good news; the average 3-4 drinks I have/year haven’t done any damage. AST, ALT & processing tests all came back in normal range. Not unexpected. The better news is that the increased dosage of Hydroxyurea I’m now on has moved the needle some more, in the right direction, on the Platelet number. That’s what’s shown on the top line in the chart above. Unfortunately, there’s also an expected reduction in WBC & RBC counts, reaffirming that Hydroxyurea is not a performance-enhancing drug. But, trust me on this, EPO is something I hope I never have to make use of, as that would be an indication of some real nasty problems.

Oh, right, since my mom’s reading this- the Dermatologist did check out the various moles & skin discolorations while I was there. Nothing scary. I’m really, really boring. Even that large and gradually-getting-larger one adjacent to my right eye? If I really cared about what it looked like, she could burn it off for me, but hey, how many people’s faces have something that looks like a map showing the gradual spread of the British Empire during colonial times?