Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

“The Last Breakfast”- Kevin’s pre-brain-surgery ride

Kevin leading out the train on West Old LaHonda this morning, his last bike ride for a month.
Kevin leading out the train on West Old LaHonda this morning, his last bike ride for a month.
Kevin, bottom left, enjoying his breakfast at Alice's.
Kevin, bottom left, enjoying his breakfast at Alice’s.

It’s going to be an interesting month coming up, as Kevin goes through what will hopefully be a life-changing brain surgery to reduce or possibly even eliminate his epilepsy. At his request, today’s ride was a “breakfast ride” where we stop at Alices (Sky L’onda) before heading back down the hill.

Good turnout today; Eric, Karl, Karen, JR, Scotty, Kevin (pilot) all there to send Kevin off. Everyone took it pretty easy up Kings; I could even have brief conversations without being winded! Still a bit on the cool side (mid 40s) but today we were smart enough to bring our long-fingered gloves. Much less wind, fewer clouds, dryer roads.

Kevin (Pilot) with his favorite drink, Diet Coke. Might taste OK but apparently not a hair tonic.
Kevin (Pilot) with his favorite drink, Diet Coke. Might taste OK but apparently not a hair tonic.

The plan (remember, there’s always a plan) is an early-morning surgery in which a “grid” is placed over part of Kevin’s brain, which will map where he seizures come from. He’ll have his medication gradually reduced so his seizures become more frequent, and after a number of days, they’ll make the decision to either surgically repair (actually, remove) the part of his brain that’s causing the seizures, or implant this gadget called a “Neuropace” that “listens” for signs of an upcoming seizure and sends an electrical impulse that blocks it. It’s part of a long process that can take up to two years to determine how well it’s working.

But for the next month, don’t look for Kevin on the roads. You may find him on Strava though, as he has a Tacx Elite trainer that he’ll try to stay in shape on, once he’s home.

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Fastest ride up Kings in 10 months; 60 year old working to turn back the clock. But how far?

Unrelated to the main story, more for entertainment, the video shows a driver with a death wish at the base of 84 in Woodside. The truck ahead of the car clearly had its turn signal (for a right-hand turn at the base of the hill), and yet the car... well, you just gotta watch the video.

Strava, unfortunately, knows all. You can’t hide from the truth. You get older, you get slower. Unless… unless you were leaving something on the table before, leaving room for improvement that can take you past where you were before, even though you’re getting older.

Obviously this isn’t the sort of thing a younger person thinks about. It’s tied to that sense that you’re on a downhill slide; that feeling that your best years are behind you. You start to think about things you used to do, that you can’t anymore. But, while the long-term trend is not stoppable, you can, even at 60, have a better year than you did at 59. That is my plan. The past few weeks, I’ve finally seen evidence that it’s possible. My times up Kings are gradually improving, with today’s 28:22 being my best since June 16th last year. My ride Sunday up Old LaHonda was my best since July 5th last year, and West Alpine, best since June 21st last year.

So on the one hand, I could be depressed about my best cycling years behind me, but the real truth is, it still may be possible to turn back the clock a year or two.

Am I denying my own mortality? Sure. Maybe. Is it unhealthy? The opposite I think, as it encourages me to take a bit better care of my body, watch my weight more closely (this winter it had kicked up a few pounds more than I should have let it) and believe in the numbers.

Numbers. It’s all about numbers, isnt’ it? Strava times are obvious. Other numbers came from my breathing test, which showed, even though I didn’t notice it, a significant improvement using an albuterol inhaler. I never got that albuterol “buzz” or any other feeling that it was actually doing something, so I quit using it a while after it was initially prescribed a few years ago. But my test last month showed, at least in the lab, that it should help. After going back on the stuff, establishing a routine and making it part of the plan, I’m seeing my Strava numbers improve as well.

How far can I take this? Not too. I’ve still got an addiction to chocolate that limits my weight loss, and the limited amount of time I can ride doesn’t allow for the type of training that would really do me good (hard rides occasionally, not all the time, because easier rides would be added into the mix).

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