Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lunch Time

Having a little picnic in the park with Betzi turns 20 miles into a three hour ride.

Today's picnic at Morrison Park in Agoura Hills.

Towing Betzi and 1,250 feet of climbing slows things down as well.
It's all good!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Typical Ride With Betzi

Pics from my ride today with Betzi. This is typical of the rides I take with ma doggie.

Getting ready to head out. Betzi becomes my shadow as soon as she sees with my cycling duds on.

First stop to take off my outer shirt. 

It be windy this day.

Wind blown debris easily handled by Marathon Plus.

Taking Betzi out of the trailer for a walk in the park and to stiff a few trees.


Betzi is ready for another walk while I ride uphill in a quiet residential area.

Walk over and time for a water break before Betzi hops back into her trailer

Self portrait. 

Byron usually walks down our hill to meet us for the final 1/4 mile ride/walk home.

And that is how I roll with Betzi, two and sometimes three times a week. My rides with Betzi are between 12 to 20 miles with 1,090 feet of gain to 1,980 feet. Today's ride was 14 miles and a little under two and one half hours. The going is slow but fun with Betzi.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Off the Statins

I've spent the last two weeks trying to figure out why my chest muscles are sore. I stopped exercising my upper body at the first sign of soreness  A few days ago the muscles in my shoulder and middle back started to hurt to the point where I had to take hydrocodone to be able to sleep. Then like a hammer over the head I remembered "duh, muscle soreness and pain are a common side effect of taking statins to reduce cholesterol".  I don't do we'll with drugs, my liver enzymes are way up with statins. I started a generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) 10mg about three weeks ago, the combination of muscle pain and my liver getting zapped is enough, I'm done with statins. My cholesterol was already in a good range and I know I can make some simple modifications to my diet to lower it naturally. Bottom line, after 30 days I'm now off the stuff.
If not monitored statin caused muscle pain can become a dangerous although rare condition known as Rahbdomyolysis where the muscles disintegrate sloughing off myoglobin from the muscle cells overloading the kidneys and causing them to shut down. I've collected a wealth of information via the Internet, an article by Stephanie Seneff  at MIT sums it up pretty well.
My next step is to find a general care cardiologist who is not accepting too many free lunches form drug reps and has a more integrative approach to heart health. My current cardiologist does research for drug companies (need I say more?) time to move on.

UPDATE 10/22/12
I've been off Statins now for 6 days. That is more then enough time to recover from exerciser induced muscle soreness but from what I'm finding recovering time for Statin induced muscle damage ranges from 1 month to 7 months with the average recovery time 2.3 months. A paper my a group of MD's "Outcomes in 45 Patients With Statin-Associated Myopathy" covers the topic pretty well. Once the decision is made to go off of a Statin drug it can take up to 3 weeks to clear your system. Recovery time for muscle damage is a matter of patience.

As with any drug the risks versus benefits of taking a Statin must be weighted. There is a wealth of information on the subject of Statins and muscle pain. To start off, here again are the links to two papers that will provide information on Statin induced muscle damage. Although they may get a little technical they're generally easy to follow. Use them to help guide you when asking your doctor questions.
1. Statins and Myoglobin by Stephanie Seneff
2. Outcomes in 45 Patients With Statin-Associated Myopathy

Friday, October 12, 2012

Still No Leg Cramps

Since the last time I posted on leg cramps back in April I am still leg cramp free. In addition the occasional night cramp that I would get in my calf muscle has not reared it's ugly self. At least five days a week I do some resistance training for my calf and hamstring muscles. This is in addition to a simple and basic upper body workout I do at home at least twice a week.. I don't want to have a marshmallow upper body sitting on a set of hardened recumbent legs.
Right now my resistance training for my legs is done at home using elastic bands. It's not so much building muscle as it's forcing my leg muscles to do full and hard contractions. As I mentioned previously it seemed that my leg muscles had developed a memory from many miles of cycling. The the repetitive motion of turning the crank does not involve a full contraction of the various leg muscles used for cycling. It got to the point where I could be standing around the house and if I tried to do a full contraction of my calf or hamstring it would start to cramp. I don't have any science to explain this phenomenon it's just the way it was. I started using the elastic bands and carefully forced my calf and hamstrings into a full contraction. I couldn't contract all the way at first without starting to cramp. It took about a week to get to the point where I could do a full and hard contraction. After about a month I was able to hold a full contraction with a problem.
When I was younger I spent many a day in the gym (at one time I even owned a couple of Gold's Gyms). I haven't exactly been chomping on the bit to go back to the gym again but now that Byron is using the gym for  off season training for track maybe I'll join him. I could really get a good leg workout on the right equipment. I'll be giving it some more thought.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Riding the 700

Catrike 700
Since I decided not to sell the 700 I've been splitting my rides between the 700 and the Expedition. I look back and try to understand why I would even consider selling the 700. I think it comes down to when I had my heart attach ten months ago, I was riding the 700 and riding hard when it hit. The 700 became the enemy, it let me down. Other then one short ride thereafter I never really got "back on the horse".

I'm "back on the horse" and I feel no fear of being thrown. My unjustified fear was the enemy and not the 700. Both the 700 and Expedition are my allies. The fitness level I achieved before the heart attack, riding my trikes, played prominently in my speedy recovery. I was destined to have a heart attack, I unwittingly prepared for it my loosing weight  and making by body strong. 

I now take regular rides on the 700. I'm starting to challenge myself by riding more miles and increasing my average speed relative to the amount of climbing (gain). More on that as I set some goals for myself. In 14 months I'll turn 60 and I want to be the fastest kid on the block with his tricycle.

Catrike Expedition

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Byron a NPS Volunteer

Byron is now a National Park Service volunteer with me at Cheeseboro Canyon in the Santa Monica National Recreation Area. We'll be spending Saturday mornings together as the eyes and ears for the law enforcement rangers. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a vast 150,000 acres that is covered by a handful law enforcement rangers. Our volunteer presence on busy Saturday mornings at Cheeseboro canyon frees up the rangers to watch over other parts of the Recreation Area. We call them in for help when needed.

For the last 12 years most of my time, and now Byron's time, is spent answering park visitor questions and getting people out of trouble. Cheeseboro Canyon  is a very popular mountain biking area and has it's share of  cycling accidents. Usually all I see are bumps, bruises and trail rash but there are also the serious cycling accidents that may require an air rescue helicopter to extricate the unlucky cyclist. May their crushed helmets serve notice to other cyclists that helmets do save lives or at the very least prevent crippling brain injuries. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cool Autumn Day

Last week I rode the 700 three times. When the forecast is for heat followed by more heat I take the fast 700 out so I get some miles in before the sun kicks into high gear.

The shrouded hills of home.

The wide open and foggy road that leads me into the hills.

Betzi gets to walk this one.

Snack time at the amphitheatre in the park in the cool sun.

Taking a long cut on a dirt path .