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.