Old dogs, Younger dogs & Sheep

It’s been over two weeks since I broke the two ribs; where did the time go? It was July 13th, almost 3 weeks ago now! Easy to remember because it was the day before what was supposed to be our “queen” riding day in France, the BIG stage, which was to be on Bastille Day, July 14th. So maybe it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that, by now, there’s no acute pain at all, just a more generalized feeling of, what? Something that’s not quite the way it’s supposed to be, but not in a scary way, at least not anymore.

When I first got back I did everything I could to pretend that things were kind of normal. At that point things did hurt so I did the first couple of Tuesday/Thursday rides on Kevin’s ebike, taking it pretty easy. I would have eased into something a bit longer that Sunday (a week ago) but I was still recovering from whatever 24 hour bug hit me Friday, so no ride at all. Earlier this week I got back to semi-normal though, riding my own bike under my own power, on both Tuesday and Thursday, as well as all the regular commuting. So it really wasn’t that much of a surprise that today, getting back to the Pescadero/Tunitas loop, would go pretty well.

Larry at the top of Tunitas. Pretty much a repeat of a couple of climbs in France a few years ago!
Keeping things relatively sane was made easier by having Larry along; Larry’s from Texas and they don’t build big hills in Texas. For Larry, the phrase “Do you want this to be the hill you die on?” takes a more literal meaning than most. He did pretty well on Old LaHonda, a bit better on Haskins, and surprised both Kevin and I on the second climb on Stage. But Tunitas had him pulling to the side and taking a breather a couple of times, because, in his words, he was “lugging it.” Kind of like trying to get a car up a hill in too high a gear. What happens when it finally fails? Does the engine explode? Maybe that’s why Larry decides it makes more sense to stop rather than try to just ride slower.

Old LaHonda was pretty challenging for me, especially when I made the mistake of catching up and then keeping pace with Francine. Oh my goodness, she can ride up in 24 something and have no issue talking at all! How does that work?

It was nice to get back to the regular routine in Pescadero, with a Coke (ok, Mtn Dew), half a club sandwich and Olallieberry Scone for fuel the rest of the way. Kevin got his big cookie and Larry was into coffee and one of those pastries that looks like a snail? I think it’s actually called a snail? Sounds like something they’d have in France but no, never saw anything quite like that, just the real ones.

It was a clear enough day that I think we saw the Farralon Islands from Stage Road. Looking at Google Maps I can’t be certain; it appears they might be a bit further north than what we were seeing, but I don’t think it was a ship. One thing we DID see were a lot of sheep resting in a perfect circle of shade under a tree. That’s at the top of this post; I stopped to take a photo of it after Kevin pointed it out. Kevin, of course, just kept on riding, leaving me to catch up on the first Stage climb.

Overall things feel pretty normal. Had my riding not been interrupted in France by the broken ribs, I’d likely be doing more Santa Cruz loops, but that’s just not how it worked out this year. Something to look forward to next year.

This morning went so much better than expected

I wasn’t sure how this morning was going to go, first day back on my “real” bike, not an ebike, on the regular Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride. Last week I did do the regular Tuesday/Thursday ride, but on Kevin’s ebike, because with my two broken ribs (which may not be broken after all?) it was way too painful and simply impossible to be riding my regular bike. The ebike allowed me to limit the depth of my breathing, which limited the depths of my pain. I was figuring Sunday would be my first “real” ride, but then Friday I got hit, hard, with a short bout of some variant of the flu (not a good thing when it feels like your ribs are trying to kill you if you cough!). I was alive Sunday, but it felt like riding was just not a wise idea. Strange thoughts coming from me!

But yesterday morning I felt way way WAY better, well enough that I was able to keep an appointment to have blood drawn to see if I’ve developed the appropriate antibodies and spike-protein response to the Covid vaccine. It’s part of a study to see how my peeps (those with various types of blood cancers) have reacted to the vaccine; apparently some types of cancers, or the treatments for them, render the vaccines ineffective. It’s a first for me, actually volunteering to to have blood drawn! I had concern that the weight I’d lost, from dehydration, would make it difficult, but I drank a lot beforehand and had no issues. I’ll post the results when they become available.

But this morning, as soon as I actually got on the bike and started heading up over Jefferson, I felt pretty ok. Almost normal. Not what I expected. I had no problem holding Kevin’s wheel heading up over Jefferson, and while my ribs let me know they were there, they didn’t tell really crimp my style. We had both Kevins today; the ex-pilot had just returned from a month or two in Switzerland and wasn’t scared off by my warning that we’d be riding slow. It would have been nice if he’d texted me how warm it was up on Skyline (where he lives) though; we didn’t have to dress nearly as warmly as we did!

Kevin (younger) decided he wanted to charge up the hill, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. He hadn’t been on his bike for a week, but I guess when you’re younger, you can do that. I rode with him as far as the park entrance before easing back a bit, surprised at how quickly we’d covered that distance. Maybe that 6 pounds I lost from getting sick had a small silver lining? I drifted back to ex-pilot and we rode at a reasonably-decent pace the rest of the way up the hill.

It was a super-pleasant morning to ride; hopefully Thursday will be similar and we can dispense with base layers, leg warmers and long-fingered gloves!