Last-minute change in plans worked for seeing Tour of California out nicely!

The men’s field rounding a corner on the final lap, with Quick Step’s team putting Kittel into a great position to win the sprint (which, of course, he did!).

the original plan was for Kevin and I to drive to Sacramento early this morning, park close to the American River Bike Trail, and then do a ride out towards Folsom and back, returning in time to see the finish of the men’s race.

We got off to a bit of a late start, and then hit some heavy traffic en-route, threatening to really cut into our ride time. As we approached Davis, I had an interesting thought. Why not ride from Davis into Sacramento, watch both the men’s and women’s race, and ride back? Kevin quickly checked the feasibility on GoogleMaps, which said quick, take the next exit, park & ride. So that’s what we did. And what an awesome place to leave from, with both a drive-through coffee place and Redrum Burger (formerly known as “Murder Burger” which apparently didn’t sit well with the city leaders of Davis).

 

The nearly-endless Yolo Causeway

We programmed the destination into our Garmin computers and they faithfully took us straight to the bike race! “Straight” is more than a subjective expression in this case; it’s a perfectly-straight run after the first slight curve on Olive Drive, over the Yolo Causeway and into West Sacramento. For some reason I’d always wanted to ride the Yolo Causeway, so it’s one more thing crossed off the list. Unfortunately, we had a mild headwind heading out, and a nasty headwind coming back! What’s with that? Riding next to the freeway, it’s also on the noisy side, plus, the surface isn’t much different from what you find on the Dumbarton Bridge bike path. Lots of debris! But we got through, twice, without incident.

 

Once in Sacramento we found a great place for coffee (actually, the first of two), Temple Coffee. But Food? I thought there had been a “food court” of sorts within the race course years past, but might have been mistaken? Sure couldn’t find any! Eventually we headed a block or two off the course and found a street stand selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Mmm. Bacon. This day was going very well so far!

We then set up for the women’s race, finding we really didn’t have an interesting place for pictures, about 150 meters from the finish. For the men’s, we found an area where they’d be coming hard through a corner, with reasonably-decent lighting. The result is at the top of the page.

Afterwards we retraced our steps back to Davis, facing, as mentioned, that nasty headwind. Somehow it didn’t seem that much of a bother though, which seems strange. Seriously, what could be worse than a perfectly-straight piece of road, with marginal pavement and a stiff headwind?

In the end it wasn’t a very long ride, just 30 miles, but did get me just over my 120 mile Strava goal. Plus another really good coffee place on the course (which I don’t recall the name of) and finally, upon our return to the car, dinner at Murder Burger! Er, I mean, Redrum Burger. What’s not to like?

Well, what’s not to like was the drive home, which took more than an hour longer than the drive getting there, due to really heavy traffic. Getting places by bike or train is so much nicer than by car.

Nobody lives forever, but I’m good for today and tomorrow.

You get older and, at some point, the fact that you’re not going to be around forever becomes something you think about. Perhaps for me the concept of mortality is brought home by way of all the testing that’s been done on my heart & lungs, trying to get to the bottom of my breathing issues. For example, last week I had an electrocardiogram re-test, to see how my heart looks compared to a year ago. This because I now have a real live pulmonologist looking into things for me, and he had some concerns about the very small amount of “valve leakage” that showed up in my prior test, as well as the “athlete’s heart” thing. You can read all about the phenomenon here, but in a nutshell, it’s a normal adaptation of the heart to a lifetime of exercise.

But hey, I’m 61 years old, and it’s not unheard of for people my age to have some weird undiagnosed heart thingee that drops them like a rock. That’s where I have a huge advantage. I’ve now been echocardiogrammed, stress-tested, scanned and then some. My ticker has been pronounced solid.

But until you get the results, things are in a weird state of limbo, and you’re just a bit unsure of how far you should push yourself. What’s going on in that ticker inside your chest?

Finally, Wednesday morning (two rides after the latest round of tests) came the news. The ticker’s good. No progression at all in valve leakage, nothing else to worry about. But a lot of time in-between the test and the results to be thinking about the future, and even the present. Minutes can pass like hours, and interesting thoughts intrude when you’re engaged in things you don’t enjoy, as in, this is time I’ll never get back!

I’m glad those days are over. I’m glad I no longer have thoughts there could be something that could stop me dead in my tracks, without warning. That doesn’t mean I’m immortal though. Nobody is. You keep looking for answers and eventually even the healthiest person will likely find something not-quite-right. But whatever remains isn’t nearly so scary.