An interestingly-different ride

Walt heading up, with a bit of a sideways component, Redwood Gulch.
I was on my own today, which usually means doing the usual (Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas) but I really didn’t feel like doing the usual. Maybe it was time to do something a bit more challenging. Like Redwood Gulch! What I didn’t know was that Redwood Gulch would be the least-challenging part of the ride.

Heading south I picked up Jeff Z. Or rather, Jeff Z picked up me. He was on the final leg of his early 75 mile ride, heading in the same direction, just a whole lot faster. I did what I could to stay on his wheel, and through Portola Valley, where there’s that long uphill grind to the “guardrail” at the top, let’s just say I stayed focused on that guardrail, trying to figure out if I could stay on his wheel for that long. I did, but he wasn’t going full gas. Looking at Strava times for that segment, it looks like he could have done another 50 watts, and me, I probably didn’t have even 5 watts to spare.

So guess you could say the train left the station in a hurry! It normally takes me a good hour to really get warmed up on a ride, so this was a rude way to start, but I felt OK after Jeff headed home while I continued south. On the way I dropped by the location of our recently-closed Los Altos store; it seemed appropriate that leaves were blowing around in circles in front, kind of that dust in the wind feeling.

I was going to hit Redwood Gulch pretty hard, kind of a celebration of the really good numbers on Friday’s blood tests, but picked up my own passenger along the way, Walt, a recent transplant to the area who didn’t know his way around other than to head west to get to Skyline. Probably not a bad thing I wasn’t going for time on Redwood Gulch anyway, as it was really slippery. I was telling him about Mr. Mustard but alas, no sign of Mr. Mustard’s hot dog & coke cart at Saratoga Gap!

Walt headed back down 9 while I took off north on Skyline, feeling pretty strong, surprisingly strong actually. I stopped briefly to take a picture of my favorite oak tree before continuing to West Old LaHonda, riding the now-finished-and-legal-to-ride section that’s been out of commission for what, 7 or 8 months?

Just over 60 miles, a bit low on average watts due to taking it easy heading up Redwood Gulch and Highway 9. That’s OK. I feel good!

Good news on latest blood tests!

Today was my once/monthly bloodwork, checking to see where I am in my journey with Essential Thrombocythemia, the thankfully-mild bone marrow cancer I was diagnosed with last May. And the numbers are looking very good! The platelets are the thing that goes wild with Essential Thrombocythemia (generally called ET), and my platelets continue on a downward path towards normal. It’s also comforting to see the RDW,RBC coming into a normal range; that’s a measure of cell size uniformity. In general, you don’t want super-size cells floating around in your body.

More info after Monday’s visit with the doc. I was, frankly, a bit concerned about how good I felt riding yesterday, and wondered if something bad was going to show up in the blood work. Like maybe a big spoke in Hematocrit, that would deliver more oxygen to my muscles but also be an indication of something turning for the worse in terms of the cancer itself. Not the case fortunately. All systems go! –Mike–