Birthday Bike

 

 

 

 

The new model 2014, received in 2013

Well, no, it’s not my birthday. But, I have owned my fancy road bike for 5 years as of today, August 14th 2018.  This bike has been a wonderful gift that I bought for myself 5 years ago, with a little bit of money that I inherited when my mom passed. My thinking was, she’d approve, after all, she had been a physical education professor.  

I’m not one to own much stuff, tending towards minimalism. And, I’m certainly not one to think of buying much for myself. But this has been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I bought this bike in

Tahoe ride – almost done, ended with Emerald Bay climb.

preparation for what has still been my longest and highest elevation gain ride.  A `few weeks after I bought this bike, I rode around Lake Tahoe, 73 miles and 4,800 feet of gain on one ride.

 

On this bike, I’ve put in more than 12,000 miles. Most have been great, taking me to places I never thought I’d see from a bike and down many a road that formed new memories.  Some of these miles pushed my mental fortitude. This year alone, I’ve climbed up over 100,000 feet of elevation.

Wind, snow, hail, rain – epic ride up McKenzie Pass, Oregon Never been so cold.

I’ve learned that I don’t mind gravel and dirt roads. I’ve determined fire roads and single track trails are not my thing. In an ideal world, all roads would be smooth with a negative grade. I’m clearly a “roadie” and not a mountain biker like everyone else in my immediate family.  I’ve given it an honest try several times. 

From the saddle, I’ve learned it’s not about the speed I travel but the path I travel.  It’s what’s in-between that fills my soul with renewed energy. It’s the conversations with family and friends on shared rides that build stronger relationships and new friendships. The mountain passes, summits, vista’s, wildlife, sunsets, and rainstorms that fill my heart with hope. 

I’ve met many, many riders over these few years of riding.  Some have really made an impression on me. Those that have overcome injury, diseases, cancer or great losses have inspiring stories to share. Being a very slow rider myself, I’ve ridden many miles with a few men that are quite my senior.  I’ve often inquired if they have any wisdom to share about aging well. Mind you, these are men that I’ve ridden with that are well into their 80’s.  In

Then 83 years young, still riding now 87.

every case, their advice is “keep moving”. They often don’t just bike, but hike, golf, play tennis or swim.  They are movers.  And the interesting and encouraging news is, that they haven’t necessarily been active their entire life.  One gentleman that I have ridden with over several years is now 87 years young and still riding. He tells me he didn’t start riding until he was in his 60’s. One of the first rides I did with him was a two-day tour of the Sacramento River Delta, a ride of more than 120 miles.

 

I’d add that I’ve also learned from these individuals that the secret to aging well also includes eating well, spending time with friends/socializing, volunteering, reading and learning new things.

We’ve volunteered for local team road races, The Mt. Diablo Challenge Road Race to  the professional cycling race Amgen Tour Of California.

Happy birthday, bike.

August 2018 trip to the summit of “my” mountain.

It will be a hard day to ever give you up. But rumor has it, there may be an epic new ride in my future.

Head Injuries

My brothers and I have recently been discussing head injuries. Here’s a modified story that I shared with them.  I thought others might find this story entertaining. I’m fortunate in that I have not experienced significant head trauma, well, at least not that I can remember.

I can only remember hitting my head hard once and that was last summer (2017).  I had my first “real” bike crash.  A bee flew down my jersey.  I screamed and my husband who was in front of me, locked up his new disk brakes.  I clipped the back of the bike trailer and slid out, staying with the bike as they say to do.  As my helmet and head was sliding across the asphalt with my eyes inches from the ground, I actually was thinking, “wow, my helmet is doing its job, I’m not passing out!”

I had lots of road rash, and you could say my bike did too, but my carbon fiber frame was ok.  My helmet was cracked all the way through.  I laid on the asphalt for some time mentally assessing my situation with my legs entangled with my bike and my feet still clipped in.  My husband removed my bike and I continued to lay on the bike trail for a moment and then slowly moved up to assess the damage.
We were 15 miles from home.  We road slowly to a drug store to buy Neosporin, Motrin and bandages.  Then we road home, slowly. Which was probably the best thing I could do for my muscles.
My daughter brought me her race helmet the next day.
I was wearing a fairly high-end Specialized bike helmet.  Now I wear an even higher end race helmet.  I credit my helmet with absorbing the shock and preventing blackout or more.
It is also remarkable that I did not fracture anything, because up to about 2 years ago, any fall or trip and I would fracture.  I credit my celiac diagnosis to my improved bone health which for a woman at my age is truly remarkable.   As I’ve said, I have had more bone fractures then I can remember. Close to one a year.
After the crash, I had some serious contusions, a really swollen knee and a very painful sore area on my ribcage opposite the crash side.  I was told that when a racer impacts at that force a shock wave travels across the chest and can cause pain on the opposite side.  Since it did start to feel better after many days, I did not seek medical attention for a rib fracture which I had by then ruled out.
I healed and got on my bike once again.

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

For me, eating gluten free is NOT a choice. It is a medical necessity to LIVE.

The same for some who are dairy free, nut free, avoid shellfish, fish or in some cases eggs,  or soy . IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

FOR SOME, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

So, when someone chooses to be vegetarian or vegan you really piss me off when you make a huge scene demanding your food choice be met.  I’m sorry that a cycling event ran out of the vegetarian sandwiches. Just shows you’ve possibly chosen a healthy lifestyle like many others.  I know you also started the ride an hour late and you arrived at the lunch stop between 1:30 and 2 PM.  Is it really the organizers fault they didn’t have as many options that late? Besides, vegetarian was not even advertised though many events now offer vegetarian, isn’t that nice?

I don’t know you. And now I don’t really want to get to know you. That is maybe my loss. I suppose if I got to know you, maybe I would understand better what was really upsetting you. Was it really the lack of vegetarian sandwiches or is there a much deeper issue in your life and this is your way of asking for help. I probably should have been more compassionate and learned about your life but I was busy coordinating my group for the event.  I did offer you several of my food options from cheese, gluten free tortilla, peanut butter, cashews and two kinds of energy bars – all of which are vegetarian.

However, I bet you could have picked the meat out of those sandwiches that were being served and eat just the veggies, cheese and roll.  I absolutely CAN NOT just discard the roll and eat the filings.  You see, a piece of wheat bread, even the size as one grain of salt is enough to buckle me over, given me an unwanted colon cleanse and lots more, like chills and cramps followed by joint pain and a migraine that may last several days.  And God knows what damage is done to the villi of my gut that can lead to cancers, further bone issues from what I already have and many, many other serious complications of living with an auto-immune disease.

You don’t see me making a fuss at events because SAFE gluten free food options aren’t made available. I still pay the full registration fee like everyone else, even though I know I can’t eat any of the food offerings. If your diet is that restricting then by damn, take care of yourself and bring your own food.  Yes, it sucks to have to plan ahead and live with the anxiety of knowing where I will get enough safe nutritional calories to live.  But, you see, I don’t have a choice.

You don’t see me making a scene, demanding a refund or exceptions be made for me.

You see, I also have volunteered over the years for lots of fundraising events and I know how difficult it is to feed a crowd of a few dozen to hundreds or even thousands. This particular bicycling event had 600 riders.  It is a volunteer bike race team that plans and runs this event.  These cyclists (men and women racers) put on this event to do good in their community.  Profits don’t go to their team, they go to local charities.

They are putting on a fun event for us, the paying guest who receive numerous benefits.  Routes are planned, well marked, donuts and coffee, water, snacks, lunch and dinner are provided to those who can eat them.  The wineries are lined up and provide free tasting. Where else can you taste and compare world renowned wines at over a dozen winery’s for free.

Winery’s often extend event day discounts to us that are even better then their club rates.  The event sponsor (those men and women of the local cycling team), drive around all day during the event keeping us safe, carting our wine purchases from the winery’s to the finish of the ride and they provide sag for those who over estimated their abilities to ride 75 kilometers.

They provide us with a phone contact in case of emergency.  They have sag support vehicles on the course.  Of which you can be glad if you didn’t need them, but it sure is nice knowing they are out there.  My group of 12 was grateful for the sag support as one passed us while we were fixing a flat.  The sag guy stopped, took over and was way faster then us at fixing the flat and even had a top notch floor pump. And then, another of our riders realized he had a flat too.  Before we knew it, this kind cycling team race member, driving sag, repaired the second flat just as fast.  Cheerfully joking and visiting with us the whole time.

I’m sorry your dietary CHOICE wasn’t met.  I’m sorry you didn’t prepare and pack your own energy bar.  I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could purchase a snack for yourself at one of the winery’s.  Most of the winery’s had vegetarian food options available for purchase. I hope you have learned something from this event.

It’s nice to be taken care of, however, I sincerely wish many in this world would accept responsibility for themselves, their actions and words.

People are watching.  What example are you teaching?

I can’t find any research on the medical necessity for one to eat vegetarian.  If you are eating vegetarian for religious, environmental, you believe it’s healthier (research data is mixed on this), animal welfare, I get it.  But, that is your choice.  Again, if eating vegetarian is truly a medical necessity for you, then do what I do, and be responsible for your own dietary needs. (And maybe send me the scientific research showing the link to a medical condition thats treatment is vegetarianism. I’m open to learning.) EDITED: proof of a meat intolerance, learn something new everyday: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-gal_allergy

I found this quote.  Something to ponder.

“If any animal was hungry enough, it would cast aside any issues and eat you. Hunger must be fed in whatever form is available. If you are in a land hit by drought and the only thing standing in between you and death is a roaming chicken, your survival instinct would say eat the chicken. If you refused and died, that hungry chicken would certainly peck at your corpse.”

BTW if you’ve read this far, you maybe interested to know, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several years, but it was my choice. I CHOSE to be vegetarian in hopes that if would improve my health.  It did not!  I have a neice who is vegan, by choice, and several family members are varing degrees of vegetarians and have been for many, many decdes.. They choose to eat this way do to economics, animal cruelity and environmental reasons.  I respect that and I love to serve them food that meets their WISHES/CHOICES. But to demand and make a scene if I don’t provide them vegan options, that would be just plan rude and disrespectful.

Humans have canine teeth and teeth for cutting and ripping meat.  As a species it appears we are meant to eat meet.  Dairy (besides a mothers milk) and gluten on the other hand, appear to be possibly harmful foods for ALL humans.

Our McKenzie Pass Ride Photo Essay

Ready to ride, looking forward to the day.
Ready to ride, looking forward to the day.
Beginning in a fir forest.
Beginning in a fir forest.
Stops to enjoy nature
Stops to enjoy nature
Native Rhododendron
Native Rhododendron
Botanizing
Botanizing
We must be on the right path.
We must be on the right path.
Our first view of lava, popping out of the forest.
Our first view of lava, popping out of the forest.
Two more miles
Two more miles
We made it to the summit.
We made it to the summit.
Road was closed to cars and open to just cyclists. View of road from Dee Wright Observatory
Road was closed to cars and open to just cyclists. View of road from Dee Wright Observatory
NE View - Black Butte Mnt.
NE View – Black Butte Mnt.
Incoming Hail. Yep, about to get a facial
Incoming Hail. Yep, about to get a facial
Heading down, with rain, wind and hail, yet we still have smiles because we made it.
Heading down, with mixed snow and rain, wind and hail, yet we still have smiles because we made it.

The ride up to McKenzie Pass from the west side proved to be far easier then either of us expected.  We realize we underestimate the grade and difficulty of Mt. Diablo which we use to train on weekly.  I really felt over prepared which is not a bad thing.  Our original plan was to ride from McKenzie Bridge over to Sister’s and then back the next day.  However, turned out this was the week of the Sister’s Rodeo and I was finding suitable lodging in Sister’s hard to find.  So we decided it would be just as fun to ride up to the pass and back down the same way.  We stayed at a delightful new BnB in Vida, OR called the McKenzie River Round House BnB.  The next day we had planned to do some more riding but instead found a great hike through the forest along Rainbow Ridge Trail with a view of Rainbow Falls.  We later drove to see two more water falls.  I will post pictures of our hike and the falls in the next blog.  This ride convinced us that we will be doing more touring.