Thursday, February 23, 2017

In Which, Despite More Health Woes, Biking Continues

Cedar Lake earlier this week. Spring temps sadly are leaving us for a while, but before the Thursday rain and Friday chill, it was a good week to be a biker.

The knee is a bit better this week—still sore, but not really painful.

I’ll still have to start PT and see how things develop, but I’m feeling better and more hopeful about RAGBRAI.

Still, my slow deterioration into the physical problems that bedevil my younger sisters continues. I am becoming Cate. I had a nerve test on my left arm this week at Mercy Medical Center, a test that involved electric shocks and then needles.

It was probably not as unpleasant as that makes it sound, but it wasn’t exactly pleasant, either.

Anyway, where does the left arm pain and numbness come from? The nerve doctor said it’s carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cool, misty Wednesday morning. Sun coming up on C Avenue at Dry Creek (above) and at Collins Road along F Avenue (below).

Oh well. I’m clearly not young anymore. Unless I plan to live to 116, I suppose calling myself middle-aged is a bit of a stretch. I am not exactly old yet—but what is a biker at age 58? If one between childhood and teen years is a tween, am I, between the middle and the end game, a twenior?

Whatever. Didn’t bike today—cold rain in the afternoon. But I have been biking this week.

Related to that—an old B52 song. I misheard the lyrics (surprise, surprise) for many years, and though it could be a biking song because I thought the chorus was “roll if you want to.” Well, I suppose roaming is something bikers do, too. Happy biking and roam if you want to—maybe on two wheels! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

In Which We Meet My New Biking Buddy Arthur

Cedar Lake on a pretty warm February morning--first day since Monday that I rode a bike.

I’ll start by quoting Casablanca: “Fate, it seems, has decided to take a hand.”

I haven’t registered for RAGBRAI yet, and I hope to soon, but first I have to figure out my new relationship with my biking frenemy Arthur. As in, arthritis.

Monday, I rode Clarence to work. The morning was normal, except that shortly after I got to campus, I started to feel very intense pain in my left knee. The knee has been sore for some time—in fact, I had already called my doctor last week to make an appointment this week to get it checked out, but this wasn’t “sore.” This was “pain.”

I had a faculty meeting that day, and resorted to using Clarence as the poor-man’s wheelchair—sitting on the bike and wheeling around was less painful than standing or walking. Walking sucked. Mine was the only bike parked in the midst of Betty Cherry Hall at MMU.

Well, by Tuesday things were slightly better, and improved a bit more Wednesday. Thursday was the doctor’s appointment, and after checking me out, the doctor recommended an x-ray.

And Friday, shortly before class and I did not have time to ask many questions, I got a call from the doctor’s office. I have arthritis in my left knee, I require physical therapy and if that doesn’t ease the problem, an orthopedic medical referral will be necessary. Honestly, I don’t know more than that at this point. I don’t know what kind of arthritis I have nor anything about the prognosis.

After Monday, I was off the bike all week, and it was a terrible week to be off the bike—spring-like sunshine Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with record highs for February.

Well, Saturday I just couldn’t take it anymore. I rode Argent to campus to print papers I have to grade. I took the longer trail route to Cedar Lake, so rode about 12 miles in total Saturday. The knee was tender after that—but no more so than it had been on days when I had not ridden my bike.

But a RAGBRAI distance, 60 miles or more in a day … well, I don’t know, yet. We’ll have to see what develops between me and Arthur.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Which We Consider 50-Mile Bookish Rides

Early February--Feb. 2, I think. Cool mornings with pretty sunrises, at Rockwell-Collins pond (above) and MMU (below).

An acquaintance from the neighborhood just “friended” me on Facebook, partly so he can invited me to his group there. He is planning an interesting bicycle ride—from the Marion Public Library to the Iowa City Public Library, a journey that would travel mostly on bike trails, with some streets near the start and in the final third of the journey.

He says the rout would be about 50 miles, which makes it a doable ride by May, I think. It will have some hills along roads beyond Ely, but since most of the miles of the ride are on bike trails, most of the miles are also fairly flat. Besides, I do need some hill climb practice, too.

Well, I’m happy to have been invited to the Facebook group. The plans aren’t final—no date has been set—but I assume at some point others would be welcome to join this Reader’s Ride, the Biking Bookworms, the Page Peddlers. (I think the B idea is closer to his title).

I’ll let you know when I know more.

Anyway, it’s been almost a fortnight since I last updated the world on my biking life, and I’m almost certain you’ve bene clamoring for an update. Clamor no more, here it is.

Feb. 9--Faux Spring no  more--winter is back, baby! Morning of my winter-coat ride.

 The past two weeks have certainly ben a study in contrasts. In Iowa, the first half of February has featured some warm days that foreshadow spring, and some bone-chilling cold mornings, too. Snow this past week, kept me off my back for a grand total of one day, as it wasn’t much snow, and I was able to wear enough clothes to brave the sub-zero wind chills the next morning.

Speaking of sub-zero wind chills, I made a happy accidental discovery. Last year, my wife got me a new winter coat. I don’t usually wear it to bike—it’s rather heavier than I usually need, and I like the thin hood of a windbreaker that I normally wear. But on one super cold morning this week, I just wanted more warmth, and reached for the winter coat. But I wanted head protection, too, so I put on the winter coat hood and mashed on my helmet—and, well, even the winter coat’s hood came be made to fit under my helmet.

So I was way more comfortable than usual on the coldest morning this week. The week ended with rides that were far from cold—in the same week that I discovered I can wear my heavy winter coat to bicycle, I also rode home (Friday) for the first time sans coat, because it was too warm for anything more than a sweatshirt as my outer layer.

Today, a granddaughter is coming over to celebrate her 4th birthday—she insisted that grandma host the party, and the child’s parents certainly weren’t against that plan. Anyway, with any luck, she may come over a bit early, and if the rain stays north, as it should, I may hitch the Tagalong seat to Clarence and take her for a birthday spin.

That would be fun And springlike.

Turkeys at top of Bowman Woods Hill--did the hill climb on my way home from the gym Feb. 11.