Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heart Attack

It's Christmas day 2011 and I'm six miles away from home. I'm riding my Catrike 700 packed with a change of clothes to meet Carrie and the kids at a Christmas day party. It's a short 12 mile ride from my home in Agoura Hills to Calabasas. At the six mile chest feels like an elephant just parked it's ass on my chest. I'm having a stinking heart attack and I'm not quite ready to accept it.

The day started off simple enough. It's Christmas Day and we're invited to a party. It was a beautiful day and I didn't want to let it go by without taking a ride on my trike. What better to do then ride to the party and meet up with everyone.

I loaded up the trike and pushed off at 11 am. Right about at six miles I wasn't feeling chest was hurting and feeling heavy. I pulled into an empty parking lot of an industrial building hoping to get some relieve by taking a rest. After 10 minutes I put aside my ego and called Carrie to come and bail me out. The idea of something more sinister then just "not feeling good" crept into my thoughts. At 12:45 Carrie and the kids show up and I painfully tie the trike down to the top of the car.

Once everything was loaded into the car I looked at Carrie and said "take me home I don't feel good". It was when we were driving home that the pain in my chest became overwhelming and my left arm was starting to feel an odd pain. I put aside denial and gave into reality and told Carrie to go straight to the hospital. The hospital was some miles away and I wasn't doing well so Carrie got off at the next freeway off ramp and took  me to our local Fire Station 89.

Once in Station 89 the EMT's took over and I knew that I was in good hands and actually started to relax. They hooked me up to an EKG and told me with no uncertainty that I was having a "heart incident". In the mean time one of the firemen took the kids on a tour of the station to keep there minds at ease. An IV and a few drugs later I was taking a code 3 ambulance ride over to the hospital. On the ride over my EMT no longer minced words and while spraying nitroglycerin under my tongue said "you're having a heart attack and this is what to expect when we get to the hospital..."

I never lost consciousness so when I arrived at the Los Robles Hospital I laid there in the ER and watched the well choreographed circus unfold around me. I eventually ended up in the "cath lab" and watched my doctor insert two stents into my LAD vein that supplies blood to the muscle of my heart. In less then 30 minutes I was on my to recovery and after a three night stay I made it back home.

From the time I entered the fire station to the time I existed the "cath lab" I never felt that my time was up. The folks involved in my care exercised such a high level of competence that I felt at ease the entire time. The firemen and paramedics at Station 89 are proof of why I happily pay my taxes each year.

In the end it was determined that the LAD vein supplying blood to the heart muscle was blocked. It was alone in it's attempt to bring me down. While scoping through the rest of the arteries around my heart my doctor said everything else was open and clean and there was no damage to the heart muscle. In addition to not ignoring the problem and getting help reasonably fast my fitness level was a major contributor in  preserving the integrity of the only heart I own.

Then why...genetics? Why only one vein? I'm 58, 6'1", 190 lbs, low cholesterol, low blood pressure, exercise by cycling regularly and I get regular physicals. I can only file this heart attack under "shit happens". And when it does happen be prepared for it by keeping your body healthy and strong. As an avid trike rider my heart was strong and was able to compensate for a temporary loss of blood to part of my heart muscle.

On the positive side I now know what is going on inside my heart and it looks good for the long run.

If you ask me what is the one thing that stands out from this whole ordeal it is the doctors and nurses telling me that my whole family filled up the ER waiting room. I love them all!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Cassettes

I changed out the cassettes on the Expedition and the 700. My shortest route around my home town is 12 miles with almost 1,000 foot gain. My 50 mile ride has well over 4,000 feet of gain and I don't even ride in the Santa Monica mountains just to the south of my home and I still have to do all this climbing. 

The 34/11 cassette on my Expedition gives me a little more leverage for when I pull Betzi uphill in her trailer. Some of the hilly roads that I ride with her have a lot of cars and even worse big ole SUV's buzzing around. I don't feel comfortable letting her walk on these hills so a 34/11 cassette gives me a little extra climbing power. In addition the Expedition still has the MTB crankset and it's working well. (New Crankset)

The 34/11 on the 700 also helps with the hills when I get to the end of a ride and the legs are spent. Plus the 34/11 cassette I originally bought for the Expedition seemed a little bit light so Dana at Bent Up Cycles sent out a more basic heavy duty cassette for the Expedition and the lighter one went on the 700. The down side is that I now have a pricey Sram X Glide super light 32/11 cassette that is not being used. I'll try out the new cassette for awhile before selling the X Glide.

Gears inches with latest setup

UPDATE 4/7/12
The 700 is back to the original gearing.

I put the Sram X Glide 10 speed 32/11 back on the 700. The chain was doing some serious rubbing on the frame when the chain was on the 34 tooth cog.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DiNotte Lights

In the two years that I've been using DiNotte lights It's common for me to get a comment about how bright they are when I use them during the day as running lights. Typical comment..."I could see you from a mile away". 
They're worth the price.

400L Headlight

400L Taillight

I personally prefer to keep my lights on a high steady mode rather then flash. I believe it's easier for oncoming traffic to judge my speed, distance and position while in a steady mode. 

The price of being safe on the roads...$400 plus. It's worth it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crazy Dog Sign

Ma doggie may look cute but when she's confined and tethered in her trailer she gets a little protective of her space.  If someone other then me goes to pet her while she's in her trailer the chances are that she'll show her pearly whites. Outside of her trailer she'll whine, put out her paw and want attention.

So...I made a sign for those times when I leave her alone to make a pit stop. 

I came up with this sign idea after a couple kids, standing with there parents, would not listen to me and kept trying to put there hands in Betzi's face. The parents were useless and said nothing. Now if those kids want to get their fingers chewed off I have proof that they have been warned as they run off to hire a ambulance chasing attorney.

awe...don't take it personally girl

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grumpy Grandpa Needs to Ride his Tricycle

I know that it's time to take a ride when I start getting "grumpy". I let the wind that we've being experiencing here in So Cal get the better of me and I haven't been on a ride for the last 5 days. Wind or not I was going riding today. I woke up to silence...yea no wind. Being an early riser I woke up to early morning darkness and 32 degree weather. The stars were shining and I knew that it would be a good day regardless of the temperature.  I waited until the sun popped out and the temperature warmed up to a cozy 42 degrees before starting today's ride. As my ride progressed a breeze picked up but nothing that a "real man" can't handle.

The Simi Hills as seen from Thousand Oaks are behind me.

The endorphins kicked in and I'm feeling good and now Carrie will let me back in the house. Being active and getting outdoors is the best drug for what ails ya. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

No Black Friday for Us-Gone Trik'n

Today was just way to beautiful of a day to end my ride. So...on the way back from my ride with Betzi I picked up Leili at the bottom of our hill and together we went to the local school to meet up with Byron. He had gone on ahead in his trike and was already at school working on his parkour/freerunning.


But first...
While everybody is filling the shopping malls the day after Thanksgiving I take off for a trike ride.
All it takes is a little push and I'm headed down our hill.

I love autumn!!

I ended up at the school with Leili and we played with Betzi while Byron went off to find obstacles to overcome. 
Leili and Betzi
Byron doing what Byron does

One last pole before calling it a day

I'll be 58 this December.  Having younger kids challenges me to stay fit. Eating right (kinda), exercise and having the right doctors to make repairs is important. I might not be able to keep up with my kids but at least I won't die trying.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Long Shadows of Fall

Autumn in Southern California is my favorite time to go cycling. There is nothing that can match a cool, crisp and sunny November day.

When I started my ride it was a sunny 37 degrees and by the time Betzi and I made it home it was 55 degrees and the sun did not let us down.

Post ride workout...taking in the sun with a cup of tea, dog and Leili behind the camera.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I Blog

This quote is from an active poster on a recumbent cycling forum in response to a poster who said that he didn't get blogging.

"Seems to me, these have to be desperately lonely people who are seeking solace in convincing themselves that someone out there actually gives a rat's patoot about their pathetic little lives."

My first thought about this comment is how ironic it is coming from a person who is actively posting their thoughts about life on an open forum. I guess this person feels that their life is an exception and is worth a "rat's patoot." 

In a follow up post the person quoted here confessed to having a bad day when these words of wisdom flowed through their keyboard. However it did leave me with asking myself...why do I blog?

When I entered the world of recumbent cycling I needed information. I found various personal journals, blogs and forums provided me with what I needed and wanted to know. By reading through the wealth of information I no longer felt like I was the only crazy person who wanted to ride a recumbent trike. I was not alone in this small but passionate niche known as recumbent cycling. Reading about the joys, trials and pains of other folks in my small new world of laid back cycling helped me to more appreciate my joys and accept my trials and pains.

I've been a private person all of life but I soon felt compelled to share what I knew and felt about recumbent cycling and to share some more personal parts of my life. I share with the hope that others may find some benefit from what I have to say just as I found benefit from what others have to say about their life. 

We are a social creature and each of us interacts with others in a way that is comfortable and meaningful. 

Blogging is just one way many ways to share information...information is the power to make thoughtful and educated decisions. It's up to each individual to decide what information is relevant and honest.

Information sharing at its finest - 30 recumbent trike and bike riders participate in the Cool Breeze Century 2011 Cool Breeze Century

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Future Cyclists - My Grandkids

My nemesis "age" is still playing tricks on me. My hip is a little sore from surgery two months ago so while I take it easy for a few days I'll take the time to showoff my grandkids. 

Here's my post from July, 2009 showing off my children. (My 5 Kids)

My daughter Jamie and her husband Matt just handed me the newest addition to our family.

Me with my new Granddaughter Olivia

Leili and Carrie join me
Byron with Olivia

Jamie and Matt


My son Danny and his wife Jill with Alyssa and Aadin.

Danny with Alyssa

Jill with Aadin


My son David and his new bride Emily join the family with Shanna, my new step Grandchild. 
David and Emily

Emily and Shanna

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trik'n and Free Running

It was a sunny day with morning temps in the high 40's and it was time to break away from our cozy fireplace and get outside. Byron and I took our dog Betzi on a short ride to the local school so Byron could do some free running while I played with Betzi and just enjoyed the day.
On our way to the school

Changing cycling shoes for free running shoes

Warm up wall jump

Bye bye Byron...hopping the face and disappearing onto the school grounds for more walls, posts and anything else that can be navigated.

Betzi and I just play around while Byron does his thing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scott Wayland and the Winky-Eyed Jesus

"..."Looked she cried "When you tilt the pitcher, the eyes open 'n' close!" Back and forth , Alice wiggled the Son of God who winked and winked and winked...
   I felt like I was spinning, losing it, a lost character who'd stumbled into a David Lynch movie. I had to ride it out, stay open, let the narrative unfold."
                                                                       From the "Winky-Eyed Jesus and other Undescribales" by Scott Wayland,  

Scott Wayland aka the "elite, feral recumbent cyclo-tourist" dropped in at Bent Up Cycles today to share  stories from his new book The Winky-Eyed Jesus and Other Undescribales. The book chronicles his 2007 journey across our great country. It's a fun read written from a human perspective. By the time you get to the last few chapters you feel like Scott's an old friend. 

Scott telling his story to a group of enthusiastic recumbent groupies. 

Scott reads "The Winky-Eyed Jesus" excerpt from his book. Funny stuff!!
Trike Squadron leader Glenn Frank joined the recumbent groupies at Bent Up Cycles in No. Hollywood, CA to meet Scott. He is busy pulling out some $'s to buy Dana's latest Bent Up Cycles signature jersey. Bent Up Cycles New Signature Jersey

Before our elite, feral recumbent cyclo-tourist heads off into the sunset he demonstrates his homemade Pepsi can alcohol stove.

Close up this cool little homemade low cost alcohol stove.
Many videos on YouTube demonstrate how to make a this little gem.

Time to finish the last few chapters.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Perfect Ride

Perfect clear, cool autumn day and just a hint of a breeze. It doesn't get better. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not a Perfect Ride but Still Good

Last Sunday I took my Catrike 700 on my usual 40 mile weekend ride. It's a nice ride with a 2,600 foot gain. The last time I left my Catrike Expedition and my dog Betzi at home in favor of a ride on my 700 was three weeks ago. Unlike when I ride my Expedition, on the 700 I push myself and I wanted to get on the rode. Within the first mile I realized that the new rear derailleur cable I installed a few weeks ago had stretched just enough that I didn't have my low gear and on top of that my chain wasn't making it down to the high gear on the rear cassette (nice going dufus always adjust your derailleur shortly after installing a new cable). I pulled over and took a look at the situation and decided to ride on thinking I'd take a break later and make some adjustments (never did).

I was cruising along nicely with the gears I did have and started my first real downhill of the day. I screamed past a spandex clad youngster at 50 miles hour. Dang it I can usually do 55+ mph on this hill, now I miss my high lazy bum you didn't want to take the time to adjust the rear derailleur.

Next I started a steep climb but I was still fresh and didn't miss my low much. The climb was followed my another good downhill run. I make these climbs so I can get an adrenaline rush going down but again not having my high gear kept my speed a little lazy bum you didn't want to take the time to adjust the rear derailleur. As a punishment for being lazy the water bottle I keep behind me popped out of it's water cage towards the end of the downhill and I didn't notice it was missing until about a half mile later (that's what that sound was). It was starting to warm up and I needed that water bottle. I took a short ride uphill to retrieve my precious bottle of H2O only to find that it had sprung a leak but was salvageable.

It's now a good two hours into my ride and it's time for a short break. I check for my power bars and they're not there. Oh...that's right I left them in my Expedition. No problem I'm close to a local bike shop and I'll stop in, say hey, and  buy something to snack on. They're still closed and won't be open for another 15 minutes. I decided to wait because experience has taught me that if I don't eat and drink in a certain manner I tend to cramp up...and that's not fun.

After downing two very dry energy bars I continued on my ride. The weather was warmer then I anticipated and I was not prepared with the proper nutrition to keep my 57 old furnace functioning at maximum level and sure enough in the last couple of miles I felt the ole quads trying to cramp. I eased up my pace and all was well.

The last one third of a mile is a steep, very steep grind up to my home. Without the aid of my lowest gear I didn't want to take a chance grunting my way up the hill only to get cramped lazy bum you didn't want to take the time to adjust the rear derailleur. I called Carrie and she bailed me out with a short ride home.

It wasn't a perfect ride but it is still great to ride. 

When I ride my Expedition (usually with Betzi in tow) I ride relaxed and just watch the world go by and wave to folks. When I put my butt in my 700 I want to ride as hard as my repaired and aging body will let me. The only time I stop pedaling is when I can't keep up with the downhill speed of my trike or I'm taking a break. I get cheap thrills out of passing or at least staying ahead of capable looking riders. I'm 57 years old, take it easy old boy...when I ride the 700 I can't.

PS; Sorry no pictures I forgot my camera. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Foggy Autumn Ride

The trees that gave me shade during the summer now pelt me with over sized drops of liquid fog. The moist foggy air condenses on the leaves and the resulting drops have only one place to go...on me. Betrayed I continue my ride hoping that the sun will soon burn away the moisture laden air and warm my cold aching legs.

In true California style I started my ride today under-dressed for the cool foggy morning that laid ahead. With Betzi in tow my cold legs struggled to make the climbs. The sweat I worked up while climbing became my enemy on the windy down hill runs.

Right as I was finishing my ride a glorious white hot orb in the sky defeated the misty gray monster and all was good and warm again.


Monday, October 10, 2011

iPhone GPS Update #2

I think that I have the iPhone set up the way I want it. In addition I now have speakers (Biologic Speakers) so I can listen to some tunes...classic hard rock for climbing and music that's easy on the ears for cruising. 
I took off the RAM mount (iPhone GPS) and put on a Biologic (Biologic iPhone Mountwater proof and shock mount and case. A bit of an investment but I feel that it should be worth it. After all, this whole tech exercise is to prepare for touring. The Motion X GPS (iPhone GPS) has not let me down and it's nice to have a little music on board. With the external speakers, as compared to headphones or earphones, I can still hear the traffic coming up from behind.

Picture of my iPhone in the Biologic case. On the cross member is  the Biologic speaker with an  6 foot earphone extension. The speaker sits below the red steering rod on my Catrike Expedition.  
Brunton Inspire power pack (iPhone GPS) connected to my iPhone with a six foot power cord extension. When riding it's tucked away in the Catrike side bag.

Another look.

My decision to use the the iPhone and the Motion X app for GPS is based on some poor reviews of the newer model Garmins especially the Garmin 800. Why spend the bucks? If the Motion X app fails me on a tour I'm out $3.99 for the app (assuming an app and not a iPhone fail) but I will still have a phone, music and good ole paper maps which I have not forgotten how to read. In addition it's one less device that I have to carry around.

The details:
-Brunton Inspire power pack
-6 foot power cord connecting the power pack to my iPhone
-Biologic Bike Mount for iPhone 4 to protect my iPhone from water and some vibration
-Biologic Cycle Tunes Speakers (replaced with Logitech Speakers 3/26/12  New Speakers)
-Large O Ring from DiNotte Lighting to secure the  speaker. The elastic band that is supplied with the speaker isn't large enough for where I put the speaker.
-6 foot earphone cord connecting the speakers to my iPhone.

Note: The RAM mount is a good mount but the iPhone is left at the mercy of the elements including spray from the front wheels when going through something as mundane as a puddle of water from over irrigated California lawns.

One More Note: I bought an extra Biologic mount (no case), power cord and earphone cord for my Catrike 700. The Biologic iPhone case, speaker and the Brunton power pack transfer easily between my two tirkes

Update 10/17/12 I've used this setup on three rides now and I'm very happy with it. It took a little while to get used to the nuances of using the iPhone for tracking and playing music at the same time. The speaker is a little weak but adequate. Also it's best not to change settings using the touch screen while bouncing around on a rough road.