Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I can't even describe this mess...

Well, it's not been two posts in a week, but not nearly as long of a hiatus as last time.

Last time I dusted off the portal to this blog, I was saying that I was hoping that 48 was a better  year than 47.  After having accomplished my 48th journey around the sun, I was kinda feeling like this year was going to keep ramping up into something great.  Mother Nature was finally cooperating and I was getting some rides in, I was getting up and riding with Eric in the mornings, and mostly I wasn't injured.  Things were looking up!

The weekend before the 4th of July was a normal weekend here around NSS HQ.  A little work at the store, a little yard work,  a little MTB ride before an afternoon thunderstorm shut things down for the day.  Little did I know, that MTB ride might be my last of the year and the thunderstorm that ended that ride might have ended my riding for the year as well!

The next morning, my Lovely and I got up early as we usually do, had a little coffee and played a little Yahtzee (I am 48 years old for chrissakes) waiting for the hardware store to open so we could run a couple errands.  On our way to the hardware store, we had a load of branches from the previously mentioned yard work to drop off at the yard waste bins at the baseball fields.

We got there and found an empty dumpster, unloaded the branches, and were pulling out to head to the hardware store when my Lovely and I notice this little, old lady trying to push a bag of yard waste up and over the dumpster.  Since the dumpster was about a foot taller than she was, she was struggling.  As my Lovely started to say, "Do you think she needs some help?" I was already shifting the Pequod into park and jumping out to run over and help her.

I sprinted (at least as fast as I can sprint) over to her and just as I got there, I felt the ground give way.  I was sliding on a blanket of leaves, pine needles, twigs and small branches over a sheen of mud on the asphalt.  Everything was lubricated well from the previous evening's rain.  As I was sliding down, I put my hand out and shoved the lady's bag into the dumpster and then I hit the ground.  As I was going down I felt a big *POP* in my left knee above my kneecap.  I looked down and saw my flesh all sucked down into what appeared to be a hole inside my leg.  I thought I might have broken it.  My Lovely rushed over and helped me up, I hobbled back to the car and we drove home. At least I got her bag in the dumpster and didn't take her out when I went down.

Looking like it was about to give birth.
My Lovely had a meeting in the early afternoon, so I said I'd lie down in bed and see if it felt better in a little bit.  If it didn't by the time she was done at her meeting we'd go to urgent care.

Well, when she before she even got home I knew we needed to go.  My knee was starting to look like a water balloon.  Off to the orthopedic urgent care we went.  Long story short, the nice doctor that saw me said that she thought I had a full thickness quad tendon tear, but we'd have to have an MRI ASAP to verify this.  With the long holiday weekend looming, time wasn't on my side.

My new hardware.
An MRI the next day did verify the full tear of the tendon.  Shit.  When they called me back with the results, they said I could get in for surgery on Monday.  Ummm, nope, that won't work I explained to them.  I am self-employed and we have an open house at the store this next weekend.  If it could wait until the following Monday, that would be ideal I explained.  I could hear the person on the other end of the phone shake their head.  "Time is of the essence with his surgery," she explained.  "With the brace on you'll be able to stand and do work for your open house." Well, kick-ass! In the words of that stupid fucking comedian, "Let's get 'er done!"

This website lied to me...
I looked my surgery up on a medical website.  Ah, that's not too bad I thought.  It said people can be down from it for a few months up to a year.  Shit, I am a PT PRO, so I won't have any problems!

Monday finally came and I got to have my surgery done.  Ummm, what the hell?  I didn't ask for a fucking zipper to be installed on my knee.  I mean, shit, I realize that I have had some accidents recently, but no need to put a quick access on my knee, is there?  Obviously, the surgery was a little bit bigger than my findings alluded to.  Crap.  If I get to ride my bike again before the end of
I'm still looking for the YKK symbol on here.
2019, I'll be stoked.

So, maybe it's not the 48th year that is going to be a better one, maybe it's the 49th.  Yeah.  49.  That is the square of 7.  Thats gotta be good luck, right?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Yes, I know, two posts in a month...don't faint.

Kind of crazy, right?  Two posts in a two weeks...what the hell?

My right arm looked like his, but my abs decidedly don't
When I finished the last post I was about to see the doctor and get news about the blood clot that caused my right arm to get the whole Alley-Oop look on point.  I went to the doctor which was a quick check and a scheduling of an ultrasound.  The doctor seemed happy with how my arm looked, which meant it wasn't swollen like a weird balloon animal and was very similar to my left arm. The next day was the ultrasound, which I think is a weird experience.  That warmed up goop they put on the wand to rub all over your body, which was my shoulder, armpit and inner bicep area, feels pretty gross.  Slimy grossness aside, the scan went off without a hitch and then was the wait for the results.

I finally got the preliminary results the next week from the nurse from the doctor's office.  She told me the clot was completely gone and was going to leave it at that.  "Wait, wait, wait," I said, "can I get off the blood thinner? " That's the whole damn point of this exercise.  I want to be able to ride my mountain bike (and really any bike) again without a lot of concern of injury.  Not that I'm looking to crash, I'm not built like Graham, and since crashing kinda sucks donkey balls and got me into this whole mess to being with, I don't want to ride with that hanging over my head.  Besides, I don't want to have the thought of bleeding out on a ride hanging over the heads of any riding partners either.  Of course the nurse didn't know.  She was just the messenger.  She'd have to find out and call me back.  Which she did and guess what? I off the fucking Eliquis!!! Hell yeah!  I got off the Eliquis just in time for another bomb cyclone to hit us with a spring blizzard.  Maybe it's for the best as it gives me time for that to all work out of my system and for me to get back on the bike a little more not-so-seriously.

Getting off that bullshit Eliquis was great for a whole bunch of reasons.  First, I can obviously ride my mountain bike.  But secondly, and more importantly, it made me feel like shit.  I didn't realize how drained it made me feel until I was off of it for a couple days.  It didn't make me feel sleepy-tired, just physically tired.  No wonder I didn't want to do anything physical while I was taking it.  Maybe it is a good side effect of that drug, so you're less likely to go do something stupid (like crash a snowboard at a high rate of speed).

One last medical follow up; I got a call from the doctor a few days later.  He consulted with the radiologist and a cardiologist and looked at my ultrasounds and CT scans I had earlier and based on the blood flow, which was very good, they don't think any further medical intervention is needed at this time! Fuck yeah! I was fully prepared for some sort of intervention, but this is great!  No worries about recovery or injury!  Now it's time to ride.

The "Canyons" from back when I could ride (it's all relative).
And that I did last week, kinda.  Before the snow and before my results were back I went for a road ride with my homeboy, Eric.  Eric for those of you that don't know, is a fucking HAMMER on the road bike.  The dude can flat out haul ass, especially uphill.  I had been kinda blowing him off for a ride the last few weeks, trying to get my health shit all sorted out.  Now there were no excuses.  He wanted to hit the canyons, a good little training ride that we do.  Coming basically off the couch, I told him we could do anything but Nameless Cave as it was too much of a climb for me now.  Off we went and let me tell you that ride SUCKED.  Road riding isn't my favorite thing anyhow, but when I can tell my right lung is at about 75% capacity and every deep breath hurt like hell is piled on top of a road ride, well, that makes for a crabby me.  But it was exactly what I needed.  I went out the next day solo and did a similar ride.  Then the snow fell.  Two baby steps forward and one giant one back.

I am going to get out for another road ride today (hopefully at least on some gravel) and keep trying to chip away at this sad state of affairs that is my riding ability right now.  And maybe by the time the snow is melted and the trails are dry I can ride without sucking too badly.
Look at that rib cage.  Graham isn't breaking ribs...

I heard you all ask who the hell Graham was earlier in this post.  Graham is what scientists say the human body would look like if we evolved (or were intelligently designed like for you creationists) to survive auto accidents without things like airbags and what not.  Maybe if I'm going to keep doing these stupid things, I should change my body shape and become more like Graham.  If he can withstand a car wreck, a bike wreck should be a piece of cake.  He's definitely not sexy, but neither am I,  so if I keep this up I want to be built like Graham.  Or better yet, just stay on my bike and off the ground.

Monday, April 1, 2019

My 47th Year of Life Can Suck It...

About the only thing that is regular on this site is the irregularity in which I post.  I have been chastised recently by a couple of cycling friends that I don't post on here anymore.  Time and life has interrupted my ability to blog about the trivial shit in my life.  Besides, after the stuff we went through with The Boy, my blog seemed kind of silly.  I mean, there are a LOT more important things out there than me whining about my most recent ride or people in yoga pants walking on the bike path.  But I guess there are people that find my ramblings a way to escape or possibly make themselves feel better about their lot in life.  What ever the case may be, here we are.  I won't promise that I'll be more regular with this, but I'll try.  And no, despite today's date, this is NOT an April Fools joke.

I'll try to be as succint as I can about the crap that has transpired in the last (almost) year with me.  A lot of you know, but maybe not all the details.  Some of you have heard more about it than you want to.   Here we go:

Back at the end of May of 2018, which just happened to be my birthday, we had our BHMBA mixer.
After seeing this snake I should have gone home.
As was tradition, we had a group pre-ride planned for the trails on Skyline, with me leading the ride.  Usually these rides encompass a large variety of skills, so I had planned on a ride geared towards all levels.  When only one person showed up, my cousin A2 (which turned out to be a VERY good thing), it changed everything.  We were able to ride whatever and however we wanted, which ended up being a mistake.

Long story short, as we were coming around a corner I have ridden literally 100 times, the front of my bike washed out and I went down. HARD.  So hard in fact, I didn't know what end was up for a few moments.  I couldn't breathe very well and the right side of my chest was hurting bad. I couldn't even ride my bike out of there.  When I tried to get on to coast downhill, I almost passed out.  I tried to call my Lovely, but she was in an appointment, so I couldn't reach her.  A2 called his father, my uncle, and summoned a ride for us.  I hobbled for about a 1/2 mile uphill while A2 pushed our bikes to meet our ride.  Immediately we went to Urgent Care.

My Lovely and The Boy met us at UC and my uncle and A2 were relieved of their duties.  Some X-rays and a quick review of my condition was what the Dr. at UC needed to let me know I was far more than they could handle.  They called ahead to the ER and told me I needed to go there ASAP.  As we left I called an audible and swung by the house for a quick, albeit painful, shower and clothing change.

At the ER we had more scans, blood draws, etc. to find out that I had broken 7, yes that is SEVEN, ribs
Not the birthday present i was hoping for.
and partially collapsed my lung and that they would be keeping me at least overnight to watch my condition.  If the lung got any worse, they would have to insert a chest tube.  No thanks.  The surgeon that consulted with us told me that if I kept moving around and exercising my lung that it would probably heal itself and I wouldn't need the chest tube.  So that's what I did.  I kept walking around the halls of the hospital until I was released the next day.  Happy birthday to me!

Sleeping was a joke for the first few weeks.  Finding a comfortable way to lay down was almost impossible, but things were slowly getting better.  About 3 weeks after the crash I got back on my road bike for some super easy commuting.  It took almost 2 full months before I was back on my mountain bike in a real way.

A good autumn of riding!
Let's fast forward to November.  I got a decent autumn of riding in and was feeling pretty good.  Any pain in my chest was basically gone and it was time to start working out again.  I started my usual winter weight lifting routine, but with much lighter weights and I was easing back into it.  I only did one set the first week, two sets the second week and the third week I did three sets, which is where everything went all pear shaped.  The day after my first "3 set workout" my right arm was kind of tight.  "I didn't think I worked out that hard yesterday," I thought to myself.  The next day my arm was slightly swollen up.  "Huh.  That's weird." I mused.  By the third day, which was a Saturday, it was even more swollen and I had a tender spot in my armpit.  After the weekend was over my arm was swollen to the point of starting to look a little bit like the old Alley Oop cartoons.  Obviously I called the doctor, and I got in the next day (which ended up being more than a week after I worked out).
Looks like I could club you with this arm, doesn't it?

After a quick rundown by the doc, I was sent for an ultrasound.  Even though I might look like it, no,  I'm not having a baby.  After a kind of rough session of getting my arm mashed with that ultrasound wand, I find out I have a fucking blood clot from my elbow up past my shoulder.  And no, that's not where it moved, that's how freaking long it was! Immediately I was put on the blood thinner Eliquis (which is insanely expensive, like $600 per month without insurance) to eliminate the clot.  A couple weeks later I had a follow-up visit at the doctor's office.  We discussed that I would be on Eliquis until the first of April when we would make sure the clot was gone and then most likely do a flow test to see if a rib from the crash last May was impeding the flow from that vein.  If it is, I will have to have a little surgery to cut some rib out to make room for that vein! Also, I was given the green light to go back to working out, riding my road bike (no MTB) and doing the things I like to do in the winter,  BUT WITH EXTREME CAUTION (you can read about some of the dangers of riding on blood thinners in my letter to Lennard Zinn on VeloNews.com here, here and here).  One of the dangers of being on a blood thinner is a head injury, which is an important point for the remainder of my story.  A hard blow to the head could cause a brain bleed that could end the need for blood thinners or anything else for that matter.

But, do you think I could listen to the doctor?  Nah.  That wouldn't be my style.  Sounds like a good time to go to Terry Peak for some snowboarding! What could go wrong?  A few small crashes here and there were no big deal and after a few times of going, I was feeling good about things.  Do you note the feeling of impending doom yet?  Riding on a Monday with my snowboard buddy and long time brother in crime Cleaver, once again everything was awesome until it wasn't (as Cleaver eloquently put it).  We were flying down a run in excess of 45 mph (so says Strava), when the next thing I knew there were two ski patrollers standing over me.  Another long story short, I went down somewhere in there, again HARD (seeing a pattern here?) and was knocked unconsious long enough for Cleaver to get stopped, run back up to me, call the Terry Peak office and say we need ski patrol to come to me, and ski patrol to get to me, somewhere between 5-10 minutes.  A patrol toboggan ride to the lodge for a quick cognitive test was in order before I was released.

Cleaver then drove me back to NSS HQ, to the doctor's office, and to get more X-rays.  My head ended up being OK, although I clearly don't know what is up there to hurt anyhow.  I severely hurt my ribs, on the same side AGAIN, which is the reason for the X-rays.  Nothing was broken/rebroken, but I have massive trauma that included many torn muscles in the area to the point of having areas of numbness.  Once again laying down and sleeping was a bear and actually this injury hurt far worse than the broken ribs, although the broken ribs probably played a part in this injury, as things in that area were already weakened.

Closing day!
Finally, I am healing up from this.  I got to go up to Terry Peak for closing day yesterday, which was my first time back there in about 7 weeks.  I'm back on my road bike, and although I'm sucking wind hard right now, riding is actually making my injury feel better.  And last, but not least, I go back to the doctor tomorrow for my follow-up.  Hopefully I can get off of the Eliquis and get the rib and blood clot thing taken care of once and for all.

I am less than two months away from completing another lap around the sun, which I am looking forward to.  This 47th one can suck it.  This year has been shit and I am looking forward to the next one being FAR better.  It has to be, I have no where to go but up.

Monday, April 3, 2017

I've been silent for almost a year...

Man alive, this web-log has been all but repossessed by blogger.com, out of commision for nearly a year.  And it's not because I've not wanted to blog anything, but more because I didn't feel like I had much to say.  But, things are starting to rattle around in my puny brain, so let's blow the cobwebs out of the corners, dust off the screen and do this.

My last post, nearly a year ago, was really focused on our battle, as a family, with the Boy's cancer.  There will still be some of that in this post, but it won't be solely focused on it.  The Boy is nearly a year out of his treatments and is still cancer free, so about the only thing I can say about it is thank you to all the people that supported him and us (and continue to do so) during this time.
Pictures of the boy taken exactly one year apart.
It's partially because of this support, along with other factors surrounding his cancer, that I haven't been on here in nearly a year.  Lemme 'splain.  See, I get my stupid ideas for my blog when I'm out on long rides, and I hadn't been out doing that.  Part of it is because of us trying to figure out new priorities with our family and after a year of being apart, not wanting to be away from each other for long periods of time.  But the other part of it is because of how my stupid brain works.  I feel like I had to "make up" for being away from work so much in the last year.  I know my co-workers didn't resent me for what we had to do, but I also didn't feel like I could and/or should take time off after being around only 1/3 of the time in the previous 10 months.  I felt like I had make amends.

This last week that all changed though.  I was able to get out on a solo 50 mile pavement/gravel ride, my longest ride since the day after we found out the Boy had cancer almost 2 years ago, and it sure kicked my brain into overdrive.  It was like there was a year's worth of garbage needing to be purged, it came spewing out all at once.  I had to try and focus on just one part of all of what was gushing out.  And here it is...the most political post ever on this site.

A beautiful shot heading back into the Black Hills.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that my political leanings are fairly well to the left, but I also tend to keep quiet about this most of the time for a couple reasons.  One, I live in a blood-red state where finding another liberal person is like finding a unicorn, so unless you want to get into a fight with someone, it is best to keep most of your political opinions to yourself.   Which leads me to number two, politics, like religion, are and should be a very private thing.  I never deny my feelings on a subject when asked about it, but I don't go out shouting my feelings to any and everyone that will listen.

What the hell does this have to do with bikes you might ask?  A lot it turns out.  On my ride the other day, I rode out to the gravel roads north and east of the NSS HQ into the rolling prairie/farm/ranch land past the foothills of the Black Hills.  I love riding out in places like this.  It feels like taking a time-machine back to a simpler time.  As I rolled along, an occasional farm truck would drive by.  Here's this big, bearded guy in spandex, riding a bright orange bike, and every single one of them slowed down, moved over and waved.  They respected me as a person even as I invaded their "territory".  I also knew that if I needed any help out there, I could have walked up to just about any one of those farmhouses, knocked on the door and been greeted like an old neighbor and helped.  And most of these people would do the same for just about anyone else in the same position.

I could make a fairly safe wager that most (yes, most, not all) of these people voted far right in this last election.  But therein lies the rub with the political climate in this country right now.  We are all so fucking eager to label the "other side" with being gun-toting rednecks Trump supporters or free-loading, good for nothing socialist liberals that we don't take the time to realize that a great majority of people we know are not gun-toting rednecks or free-loading liberals, but just solid people that believe a certain thing and that having someone on the other side yelling at you that you're wrong will never, in a million years, change your mind.

My point of all of this is, get out there on your bike.  Explore places that make you feel "uncomfortable".  Say hi to someone that doesn't look like you.  Stop and have a conversation with a person that doesn't believe the same things you do.  You'll feel a lot better because you're riding your bike and you might just learn that the person on the other side wants almost the exact same things you do.  Make a good, honest living, provide for their family, and have a little fun along the way.  And that is how we'll make America greater.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's been 206 days since we last met.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking.  A NSS post?  These are about as frequent as a positive political post on Facebook these days.  Well, as we near the end of the journey here in Denver for the Boy, I thought instead of posting all the positive stuff on his CaringBridge page, I want to bitch and complain on this page for once.  So, fair warning, the language on this post might get a little colorful so to speak.  Not that it hasn't in the past, but today might get a bit more so.

The meme says it all...
First, fuck cancer.  Yeah, I know that it goes without saying.  But having lived down here for the better part of the last 9 months, I'm seeing day in and day out these kids battling these horrific battles with cancer.  We have friends back in SD that are finding out their daughters/nieces have rare cancers.  What the fuck?  How the hell does a kid, some of these I see are tiny little toddlers, have cancer?  They have done nothing in their lives to invite it.  They haven't done all those things that we're told not to do.  And yet there are people in the world that drink to excess, smoke a bazillion packs of cigarettes, do all the drugs and fuck prostitutes like it's going out of style and yet they still make millions of dollars playing guitar for the Rolling Stones and not get cancer.  Possibly the least fair disease I've ever seen, so yeah, FUCK CANCER.

Look at his smile.  He's a happy boy.
Second, after having lived this whole bullshit lifestyle, I can tell you a secret.  You know how when you find out someone has a traumatic thing happen in their life?  What does everyone do?  You say to that person, "if there is anything I can do, just let me know."  But, I will tell you, that person doesn't know what they need. Has no fucking clue. Their mind is racing a million miles a minute.  They are completely freaked out by the circumstances.  I will also tell you, especially when you're separated from your home like we have been, it can get real lonely, real quick.  When you're alone with your thoughts (in this situation) you dwell on what is happening and what might happen in the future and that can take you down a dark and scary place.  So, what can you do to help?  You don't have to do some big, grand gesture.  All you have to do is shoot that person a text.  Give them a call.  Send a card.  Let them know they are not alone in their battle, what ever that battle is.  I'm telling you, having people break up your days with a quick communication might not seem like you're doing much but it can mean the world to the person on the receiving end.  Thankfully, the Boy had that from some of his friends, school, and family.

One of the few rides I've been able to do this spring.
Third, and let's lighten the mood here a bit, I've gotten completely out of shape and ungodly fat.  I was going back through my last post (I've had 206 days to dwell on it) and I laughed about me whining about finding time to ride.  Shit.  I wish I had that problem now.  It seems like the last month or so I haven't even had the time when I'm here to think about riding, much less actually go.  I've brought a bike with me almost every single trip down and most of the time it rests quietly in the back of my truck.  For a while during the winter I was finding some time to work out, but as we've gotten closer to the end, this whole thing is moving like a carpet unrolling.  It seems like more doctors appointments, scans, cramming school work in, getting my extensive cleaning list done, waiting for the piece of shit infusion drug company (that is getting paid HUGE money) to deliver whenever they fucking feel like it, go in for a blood test and end up being admitted overnight, you name it.  On top of it, as I mentioned in my last post, I can't just go out for a quick ride.  I have to have someone be with the Boy.  And now that we're living at Brent's Place (which has been amazing), we are 30 miles from my mom's house, so it's not quite so easy to find a time just to "pop over" and bang out a quick ride.  When I'm home and I bitch about, it people say "don't worry, you'll get it back quickly". I truly hope they are right, but right now I'm not so confident in that...maybe they are just being nice.  I've heard a couple of those inspirational poster bullshit quotes saying "pain is weakness leaving the body" and "sweat is fat crying".  Well, I've got a lot of fat-crying and weakness-leaving to do.

Fourth, and finally, living apart from my Lovely for the last 9 months has sucked giant donkey balls.  In the 250+ days since this whole thing started, we've spent about approximately 8% of that time together (something like 22 days).  Good thing we've got a strong relationship.  I totally understand how things like this can break up people's marriages.  We're going to have to re-learn how to live together.  Maybe I can ease her into it by not being at home a ton by trying to ride some of my fat off...

So, there you have it.  Not as many cuss words as I had initially anticipated.  I'm looking forward to getting some riding in.  Looking forward to going from ultra-fat to just plain ol' fat.  Looking forward to posting maybe ten times more frequently (so, every 20.6 days vs. 206 days).  But mostly I'm looking forward to all of us being home!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A shout out to single parents that ride.

Ever since this whole cancer thing started, my Lovely and I have basically lived apart, save for the one weekend home and a couple hours here and there. So, it is not unlike being a single parent of a small child. 

Yes, the Boy is 13.  Before we knew he has cancer, leaving him alone to go do something was never a problem. Hell, I'd probably get in trouble for how old he was when we started leaving him home alone. But now that he has cancer, his immune system is constantly compromised because of the chemo, so we have to basically monitor him around the clock. We've been instructed to bring  him to the hospital immediately if he has even the slightest fever. This obviously means he has to be with someone almost all the time. 

Because of this, finding time to catch a ride while I'm alone in Colorado with the Boy is difficult. Sure, I've got family around that is more than willing to hang with him for a couple hours, but it's hard for me to want to put that responsibility on their shoulders should something arise while I'm out fucking around on my bike. 

That all being said, I have gotten out a couple times in the last week and a half. I've had a couple revelations on these rides. First, it feels like I've gotten amazingly out of shape over the course of the last 6-7 weeks (not that I was ever in good shape, but now it's even worse). There's a lot of sitting around in the hospital, as well as in the apartment or my mom's house doing things like homework, art or just talking to doctors, nurses or case workers on the phone. Add a little bit more elevation to the mix and all of the sudden, I'm climbing even slower than I did before! WTF? I thought if I slowed down from my previous pace I'd be going backwards.  Second, I've found that I've become a big pussy on techy descents. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that I haven't been riding much lately (you know the whole use it or lose it thing), but a bigger chunk is because I can't afford to be injured right now. I mean, obviously I can't afford to anytime, but because what we have going on is counting on one of us being there at all times, it is even more so now. I found myself walking techy stuff that I used to ride without even thinking about it. 

But as I said, I did get out. Early in the week, I did a solo ride at Green Mountain. The ride started out with about 4 or 5 switchbacks, which left an iron taste in my mouth. "What the hell? I think my lungs are bleeding!" But overall, it was a good ride. 

Then on Saturday, Cleaver had said he might be in the area and we should go catch a ride. Finally about noon, I hadn't heard from him, so I was gonna write that day off. The Boy and loaded up and headed to my mom's house. Just as we were leaving, the call on the Bat Phone came in. We were gonna ride! And Highlander Andy was gonna join us! Cool!  

Andy took us to a fairly new state park about 25 miles SW of where we're staying called Staunton State Park. One of the things Colorado does really well is their state parks. Even their smallest parks are top notch facilities. 

Anyhow, we did a nice loop there that took us up to 9400', (I was REALLY 
sucking air) took us into snowy terrain and garnered some stellar views of Pikes Peak and awarded us with a rollicking descent. The terrain was smooth enough that speed was the only danger for us on the day (Cleaver's Garmin clocked 33 mph). But, almost immediately when we were done I wanted to get back the Boy. 

I suppose the further into this process we get, the more I'll "figure it out", but I have to say I've earned a new found respect for single parents, especially a single parent of a child with special needs, I always knew they had a tough job, but now I'm living it. So, good job single parents. If you have any tips, let me know, but I'm really looking forward to when I am part of a two parent household again. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lance Armstrong, Cancer and Riding Bikes

Have you seen this trailer yet?

All about Lance Armstrong and his system of cheating in the pro peloton, this movie will probably be a huge hit in Europe, but most likely be, at best, an art-house movie here in the US.

Like most cyclists, I was an Armstrong fan when he was starting to win (although I liked Jan Ullrich better, how he started each season fat and out of shape, looking like he just drank a 6 pack and snorted a line of coke off a hooker's ass).  I had my doubts as he closed in on five TdF wins, but when LeMond was bellyaching about Armstrong's doping, I thought it was just sour grapes.  Then as he neared 7 wins, I was pretty sure he was doping, as many of his major (and not so major) competitors were dropping like flies to doping scandal after doping scandal.  No way this guy could have stayed clean and beat all those other guys, right?  (Kinda funny though how each sport has its own doping figure that the media locks onto, like Barry Bonds in baseball, and crucifies them, even though TONS of others are doping.  Maybe if they weren't such assholes to the media...)

I reveled in the fact that Armstrong doped, even going to a party with a bunch of other cycling friends the night Lance "came clean" with Oprah.  I even wrote a blog or two about what a hypocrite he was and how his apologists were idiots, blah, bablah, bablah.  I even got to the point where I kinda felt sorry for him.  I mean, he's been raked over the coals and he's having everything, and I mean everything, taken away, from wins, to the ability to ride in events, to all of his money.  But, he made his bed, now he gets to lie in it.

And then this last week, everything changed again.  Don't get me wrong, I think he's still a cheat and he was an asshole to a lot of people, and that will never change.  I don't like Lance Armstrong the cyclist.  But as I was lying on that hospital couch/futon/bed/medieval torture device, watching the Boy, who was hooked up to about 10 different tubes and/or monitors, have one crazy-assed drug after another pumped into him to rid his body of cancer, I thought about Lance Armstrong and the fact he overcame the odds that were stacked against him from such a shitty disease, not to just survive, but to live, much less ride his bike at a competitive level (yeah, yeah, I know, he was cheating, but still), my opinion of him changed once again.
Lance between his stints as an asshole.

I realize there are many, many other success stories out there, but because I ride (kinda) I can relate to Lance, and not to the doper Lance, but to the survivor Lance, to the LiveStrong Lance.  Suddenly, I could empathize with the Lance apologists.  I understood why the locked onto him and why they gave him a pass when the rest of the world was crushing him.  My thoughts about him went from a white area in the beginning, to a grey area in the middle, to the deepest, darkest black area by the end of his 7 "wins" and were now back in a grey area once again.  They'll never be a "white" area again, but the fact that it's back to a grey area says something.

Which brings me back to riding.  I took a bike with me to Denver with the thoughts of riding some short rides as time allowed, with my mom stopping by to hang with the Boy for an hour or two.  HA.  That was serious wishful thinking.  Besides the fact we were in the hospital for 2 1/2 days last week, when we were out of the hospital, I had 7 alarms set on my phone to tell me the various times I had to get him medications or flush lines throughout the day.  It seems like every time I turned around, I was giving him something.

Now I'm home and my Lovely is in Denver with the Boy and I'm thinking about catching some rides.  But part of me feels guilt about wanting to do something as superfluous as riding a bike for pleasure, knowing that the infusion the Boy has to take every night makes him feel like shit.  Knowing he can't go out and do many of the things he loves to do.  Everyone keeps telling me to make sure I take care of myself during this ordeal, but that is easier said than done.  If I knew for sure he was going to be OK, then riding a bike would be a fun idea. I'll probably still go for some rides while I'm home, and it will most likely do me some good.  I'll ride in hopes that by this time next year, I'll be doing it with the Boy.
One of my all time favorite pics of the Boy.  Tandem riding
at HLMP (M-Hill).