Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finally, out on the mountain bike.

With a little encouragement from Bob, I finally got out on the Superlight. Went into Elm Creek and rode for 10 miles. The park is wet where it's usually dry, really wet where it is sometimes wet, and I didn't even go to the very wet areas! I had made a couple upgrades this winter. I bought my first Chris King headset, used, from Adam. I also got a new Race Face deus XC crankset, and, last but not least, after 3 white Giro Pneumo helmets, a red/white one to match the bike. I'm happy to report that all the upgrades performed as expected!

I didn't push it too hard. I'm so out of shape I can't stand it. On Wed night, I had a great road ride. It was 78 degrees and perfect out. Today, it was 60 degrees and drizzling! My ride matched the conditions, I guess. Hopefully the park will get a chance to dry up sometime next month.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back on the saddle OR naps are good!

Dr. Weems gave me the green light to ride "normally" on Friday. I couldn't wait to push it again!
I had done 3 rides earlier in the week, all in the 20 mi range and 16 avg speed. While I knew I wouldn't be setting any records on speed, I just wanted to get some miles in. I met Matt at MG cycle on Sat morning along with 2 other riders. Bill joined us at Holy Name church a little bit down the road. The East wind was a bear coming back, ended up with 50 miles. It felt great! I celebrated with a pizza and a hour and a half nap! Went out again this morning. Ran into another cyclist that looked familiar, turns out it was Jay Heumans (sp). We've ridden on group rides together but never got to know each other. We rode from the park where we met, out to Fletcher and headed South. Jay turned on 117, I kept going to 30. I wanted to do 40 mi and have to go through Hanover and St. Michael to accomplish that. It was good chatting with Jay. He rode to Little Falls on Sat morning to his in-laws, a distance of 95 miles. He said that East wind was great and he averaged 20 mph! Well, I was glad to have the West wind back today. The ride back from St Michael was good and I had another good nap afterwards. Looking forward to riding with the evening groups again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Not been the best year so far OR heed warning pain!

All that FWK asks for in life is reasonable weather and an able body to throw over the saddle so he can pedal till his heart is content. We all know that Spring this year has been very shy to show it's warm side. We can have sunny days, which all cyclists appreciate, but, getting over 60 has been a considerable challange for our mother, the earth. Now, I knew I would miss a week of riding due to the surgery mentioned in my previous post. But, I hadn't planned on the latest turn of events: a DVT (deep vein thrombosis), more commonly called a blood clot. These are quite serious, and especially so if ignored. Thankfully, the pain was great enough that I drove myself to the emergency room last Thursday after work to get it diagnosed. Here's the story:

Last Sunday (Mother's Day) I felt a pain in my right calf, nothing serious, but we cyclists are always concious of our legs. The pain got a little worse Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday at work, the company nurse was in. I spoke to her regarding the pain, she said it could be a blood clot and to put a heating pad on it. I got home and decided that I needed a bike ride, as it had been one week since I had pedaled. Just 22 miles in the park and my leg didn't feel any better or worse afterwards. I put the heating pad on for an hour and went to sleep. Woke up at 1:30 to wizz, put my feet on the floor and I could barely walk! Took 4 ibuprofen and strapped the heating pad on again. Got up at 5 to go to work. It's now Thursday, 1:00 PM. My leg is really starting to hurt. I tried calling my clinic, but I couldn't get through. At 3:00, it hurts like hell and I call the clinic again. I spoke with the nurse. There were no openings that day. I asked her if I should go to urgent care or the ER, she said definitely go to the ER. Went there straight from work. They did an ultrasound and confirmed the DVT. Then the nurse told me I would be taking 2 types of blood thinners to dissolve the clot; one oral and one by injection. OK, I thought. Then she said, I'll be bringing you a syringe so you can give yourself the shot and then you'll give the rest of them to yourself at home!
WHAT!! I HAVE TO GIVE MYSELF SHOTS??? She smiled and said "yep!" I've now given myself 6 shots and have 5 to go! You just grab the beer belly fat, stick the needle in, and push down the plunger. Haven't fainted yet, but I do have 6 black and blue spots on my belly.

Anyway, anyone reading this, if you have leg pain below the knee and a swollen calf, get it checked out! I did not have any bruising or lump that I could see or feel. The only way it can be truly diagnosed is with an ultrasound.

Hopefully I'll see you on the road soon.

PS-Our company nurse was wrong. Do NOT put a heating pad on suspected blood clots. This may cause them to break up. That is definitely what you don't want to happen.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Well kids, here I am, the day after. The procedure went well. You are not totally out during the surgery. They put you under for about 5-6 minutes when they numb up your eyes. Other then that, you are concious the rest of the time. The doctor asks you several times to look at his finger and follow its movement is so he can judge the muscle repair of your eyelid. I was never in any real pain, but I admit it is not comfortable during or after. My eyes are now watering quite a bit. I had a hard time closing my eyelids yesterday, which is a strange feeling. I slept in the recliner last night. They want you to keep your head above your heart to help prevent pooling and bruising. My doctor wrote on my EKG report that I had an "athletic heart," and not to be alarmed at the low heart rate while under anesthesia.

The anesthetist noticed this and wanted to know what I did for fun (this was before she put the drugs in me). Of course, I mentioned cycling, turns out she rides too, just not as seriously as we do. She asked if I did the Ironman and I told her yes, she said it was too darn cold for her! It was funny to listen to the 3 women yakking about everything during the surgery. Dr. Schmitt didn't say a whole lot while he was working. At one point, one of the nurses mentioned that she saw a photo of Hillary Clinton from a few years ago. She said she actually looked pretty in the picture. Dr. Schmitt said it had to have been airbrushed!

I asked him when I can ride, he said to wait a week. Not sure if I should do the Cable Classic or not, that will have been 9 days. We'll see.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Danny Federici, Pt. 2

A few blogs ago, I wrote about Danny Federici, Springsteen's long time friend and E Street Band organist. I checked the Springsteen website yesterday to follow up. Bruce spoke at the funeral and delivered the eulogy. It is both funny and heartwarming. I didn't cry, but I could have. I finally found out why Bruce always called him "Phantom Dan" when introducing him. The love that Bruce spoke of Danny and the E Street Band in general moved me. I've always been a guy who cherishes friends and the time spent together. For 15 years I rode alone. I had goofy hours as a baker. The only guy that rode with me was John, a friend I grew up with in Perham and lives here in town. 90% of the time I was a solo rider. Then I met Bob and Matt at a spin class. I found two people who loved to ride as much as I did. We called ourselves the 3 Amigos (nobody ever said we were original)! We entered some MTB races in WI, citizen class. The bonding from riding those races runs deep. It's amazing how 3 guys can talk about clothing and nutrition for 3 hours before a race! From there, I worked at Trailhead and got to know Jay and Neil and the whole Loon gang. We're not rock stars, but we share the common bond of doing something a little out of the ordinary. The big difference is that we do it for ourselves, and, just as important, for each other. At the Ironman ride last Sunday, it was Bob, Eric, and Tom, along with Joe, a guy I had never met. Joe pulled, he got tired, we pulled him, he recovered, he pulled some more. Good guy. There it was, we were helping each other. The bond that the cyclists I know and ride with is secure. I can't write as eloquent as Springsteen, but my heart is there for all of you. I'm posting the link to Springsteens website, where the eulogy is printed in full. It's far too long to copy and paste here. It will take you 5 minutes to read it. Look for "Farewell to Danny" on the left side of the page. The reviews of their first concert after the funeral are good, too.

The 3 Amigos at Afton, MN. I still hate that course!