Category Archives: Personal stuff

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.

I won’t be fighting the cat for my chair anymore…

It’s really windy and wet outside. Nasty little storm from nowhere. Zig, our cat, seems to enjoy being outside at times like this. Sometime in the next hour or so, I expect to see him come in through the dog door, very wet, pretty cold, and not bothered by it in the slightest. That’s just the type of cat he is. Except that isn’t going to happen anymore.

This morning, heading up Kings, very slowly heading up Kings, I got a text message on my Garmin from Becky (my daughter, Kevin’s sister, Sales Manager of Chain Reaction in Redwood City).

You need to come home NOW!

Followed shortly thereafter by a missed phone call. Kevin and I quickly stopped our ascent, waving Karen and JR on ahead and telling them not to wait for us while we figured out what was going on. Obviously not good news. All sorts of things go through your head at a time like that. One of which is that it might not be all that bad, because Becky will sometimes be just a bit of a drama queen.

You’re left wondering if the doctor had called and said there was a recurrence of my wife’s cancer, or something had happened to my mom’s husband, who was supposed to have some sort of minor operation the day before (but ended up not having it).

It was our cat, Zig. Becky had already been stressed because Zig, who normally comes in late at night and sleeps with Becky, had gotten fussy enough to have Becky let him back outside at 10:30pm. I went to bed not knowing he hadn’t come back in. I’m sure Becky was outside calling him, later that night, as she always does. And eventually, he’d come home and Becky would let him into her room. It’s been a pretty silly routine that’s gone on for over a year. Zig asserting a slowly-increasing sense of independence, while Becky has felt a slowly-increasing sense of fear that something could happen to him.

Someone found Zig at the side of the road, and called the number on his tag, letting Becky know he’d been killed by a car. Kevin and I sped back home, switched to regular shoes and helped finish the hole Becky had prepared in our side yard to bury Zig. The hard part was seeing him laid out on a small blanket in the kitchen, looking like he was asleep, and expecting him to just simply wake up and be fine. You irrationally wonder what’s wrong with him. A dead dog looks, well, dead. You can tell they’re gone. A dead cat looks like he’s resting. Looks like he’s going to start purring when you scratch behind his ear.

The other hard part was covering him with that last bit of dirt. The very last time, the very last thing I’d see of Zig. It was, fittingly now that I think about it, the end of his tail.

I never thought I’d care much for a cat, but Zig was much different than I expected. I’ll miss him when I come home from the shop and he hasn’t stolen my chair from me, the one I’m sitting in now. And I’m going to miss him every night when Becky isn’t outside at 10am calling for him.