Sure, the vagal nerve stimulator Kevin’s in the hospital for is supposed to help with his seizures. But that’s just the cover story. This is the •real• future of doping. Direct electrical stimulation of the brain. The DS carries a remote control box and controls his riders as if he had a cattle prod, only better!
It was perhaps the final non-legwarmer morning ride of the year, as the weather report wants us to believe it’s not only going to start getting colder soon, but perhaps even rain early next week. Our brief fling with summer weather (which didn’t start until summer ended) appears to be over. If only Kevin’s fling with epilepsy could end so quickly!
A smaller group today; just Eric, John, Chris, Mike (our new employee in Redwood City), Kevin (my son, not the pilot). I suggested to Kevin that maybe he take it a bit easier today, thinking that might prevent his all-too-often-lately seizure on Kings Mtn, but he just looked at me and asked “Why?” in that manner that’s not asking for a response but instead ridiculing the question. There was only one thing on Kevin’s mind this morning. Let’s see if we can drop dad. Continue reading
How do we define ourselves? Is it the things we’ve accumulated over the years? Our education? How much we weigh, whether our hair has turned gray (if it’s there at all), having to wear reading glasses… ok, this is heading more towards defining our age. I think that’s a guy thing, or at least guys spend a lot of time talking about getting older. If women do spend time talking about this stuff, it’s not around guys. Getting back to the subject…
I ride bikes. That, aside from family stuff, is really what defines me. Sure, my brother and I own a pair of bike shops, and I’ve had to become much more savvy as a business person over the years to keep things afloat in a world that has increasingly less room for error. But if I were suddenly transported into another culture, an alien planet, or maybe Arkansas, it would ultimately be my cycling that defined me.
Today’s definition included the usual Tuesday ride up Kings, stopping for a few minutes halfway up while Kevin (my son, not the pilot) had a seizure (which happens more often than not lately), followed by an enjoyable dash across Skyline, descent on 84 towards the coast for a few miles, then the always-pretty ride up west-side Old LaHonda before diving back down into Woodside.
I wasn’t feeling great for the first part of the ride; something about 53 degrees showing on the bike computer that explained why my lungs were working worse than usual, but finished fairly strong, including the final sprint at Albion, contested primarily by Kevin (my son, not the pilot) who surprised me by flying past early. Thankfully too early, because I was able to come up to his rear wheel for a moment or two, giving me just enough draft to slingshot past at the line. It was close. Too close. But a win is a win. I’m not dead yet.
I am a cyclist. It’s what I do & who I am. –Mike–
It didn’t seem like that tough a ride. Head up Page Mill, down the other side to Pescadero, Stage Road to Tunitas Creek and back. Nothing convoluted. But what we didn’t count on was much-warmer temperatures (high-80s, not hot by any means) and forgetting that Page Mill towards the beginning of a ride is just plain rude.
Kevin continues to ride strongly, but our idea of caffeine holding off his seizures didn’t work out as he had two on this ride, one about 2/3rds of the way up Page Mill, and another one much later, about 2/3rds of the way up Tunitas. The first one left him a bit groggy but on Tunitas, he couldn’t wait to get back up on the bike and continue the climb; his total down time was almost exactly a minute, and having recently passed a number of other cyclists on the way up, he wanted to make sure they didn’t have a chance to catch back up.
Oh, guess I should point out that a bit earlier, he had dropped me on the climb and it looked like he was gone for good, but I gradually began to claw my way back up to him, doing the best Levi Leipheimer imitation I could muster.
The high point of the ride? Seeing so many of our customers out there on bikes we’ve sold them, some of them recently, some of them 20 years old.
I went to bed Monday night with no small amount of fear & trepidation, wondering how I’d feel after the tough ride out to Boulder Creek. Surprisingly, while my legs didn’t feel “fresh” they did feel like they wanted to go places! And go they did, heading up Kings with the fast crowd, eventually getting to the front and making it to the park entrance before anyone else. Of course, neither Chris nor Marcus was there, but still, anytime I can get to the park entrance around 7 minutes 30 seconds I’m moving pretty good.
Unfortunately, Kevin wasn’t. I looked around, saw some familiar faces, but no sign of Kevin. I waved the rest of the guys on ahead and about a minute or so later, Kevin appeared, not looking like he was really enjoying life. We rode up about a mile or so, not terribly fast, and down he goes, one of those seizures that hits him without much notice. Worse, he went down on the right (the derailleur) side of the bike! Fortunately no damage, but he rode the rest of the way up the hill a bit groggy and suffered from the double vision that his meds sometimes induce.
By the time we got to the top of Kings the rest of the guys were long gone (we’d be warned ahead of time by fast-guy Jon, who was riding back down the hill) so we decided to follow the usual route to Sky Londa and then trace the west-side Old LaHonda loop backwards to run into the group again. Kevin hadn’t yet come out of the fog, so we once again waved the group on and tried something that seems to help him- a good dose of Caffeine, this time in the form of a bottled Starbucks Frappaccino drink from the market. Amazingly, this seemed to do the trick! Caffeine may be the key to clearing his head, with today’s effect mirroring that of Monday’s stop at the Starbucks in Los Altos. We’ll shortly be stocking the ‘fridge at home with bottled Starbucks Frappaccinos, one to be had before each ride. Hoping it works! –Mike–
It was meant to be a longer ride, but that wasn’t the fault of our Bike Fridays. The plan was initially Woodside, Old LaHonda, Pescadero, loop down to Gazos Creek and back to Pescadero, north on Stage and back via Tunitas. Due to the warm weather we decided to drop the Gazos Creek section, but more pruning was soon to come.
Since we were on our Bike Fridays and not our lighter-weight and more-responsive Trek carbon bikes, I knew we’d be climbing Old LaHonda a bit slower than Kevin’s recent and rapidly-improving times, but the presence of large numbers of rabbits (cyclists ahead of us) and the fear of being passed by dogs (cyclists behind) was propelling Kevin strongly; so strongly in fact that, at the half-way point, he was slightly ahead of his best time ever (23:24). But literally within 20 feet of the top he had one of his more-significant seizures, causing great concern among the many cyclists who traditionally assemble at the top of the climb. I let them know he’d be fine in just a couple of minutes, but it’s got to be an odd thing for someone not familiar with epilepsy to see a cyclist struggle to get off his bike and then stagger around a bit before collapsing to the ground. Me? Old stuff. I know he’ll be fine shortly, and just make sure he gets laid gently on the ground (although today I couldn’t get to him in time).
Within a couple of minutes he was mostly fine, but had lost his desire to keep going. I knew this was temporary so we moved on, but by the time we got to La Honda I decided we’d alter the ride a bit more and drop the Pescadero loop in favor of a slightly-shorter Los Lobitos addition. Given a bit more time (and, ironically, a bit of climbing), Kevin would have been fine with the original plan, and in fact by San Gregorio he was feeling very good.
We fueled up with a Coke and Clif Bar and then set out to tame Stage Road, Los Lobitos and Tunitas Creek. While it had been getting quite toasty on the bay side of the mountain (and in the picture showing riders climbing Stage Road, you can see it’s rather heat-hazy up on Skyline in the distance), it was a very comfortable mid-70s on the coast. Dario, a customer we came across at San Gregorio General Store, rode with us as far as Los Lobitos and then continued on to Half Moon Bay (where he’d be eating lunch before turning back and doing Higgins Purissima and then Tunitas). Los Lobitos is one of those roads that starts out deceptively-easy and fun, and then turns into a pretty nasty, steep climb that winds around and eventually connects with Tunitas a few miles in from the coast.
By this time Kevin was back to his old self again, riding strongly on the steepest sections and taking advantage of his superior lungs. Hearing Dad’s lungs noisily trying to snag spare oxygen seems to make him climb even faster. That’s OK, I still have more power in my legs; I just have to use them wisely, knowing that a sustained effort is going to put me into oxygen debt that I won’t quickly recover from.
Los Lobitos was the one piece of road we saw no other cyclists on. Actually, we did come across one cyclists, riding in the opposite direction, but no rabbits, no dogs.
Tunitas Creek? Same as it ever was. Steep, creek still running (surprisingly strongly), and today, so many cyclists on it you’d think there was an organized ride going on. Kevin kept a strong pace the whole way up the hill, clearly enjoying the fact that his current level of fitness allows him to pass so many others on the climbs these days. We did adopt a mellower pace on the flatter section up on top.
If we’d known how hot it was going to get as we descended back into Woodside, we might have spent more time on the coast! By the time we got home we felt like we’d had a far tougher ride than the 46 miles indicated, but the ride’s main mission, proving that the Bike Fridays were ready to tackle France in less than two weeks, was accomplished. The time I spent Saturday getting it set up identically to my Madone paid off very well. Now if I could just fix Kevin’s epilepsy as easily as I can deal with bike problems. –Mike–
The plan (remember, there’s always a plan) was to head out with Kevin (my son, not the pilot) shortly after 9am and do a ride similar to what I did alone last Sunday (head up Old LaHonda, down to Pescadero, Highway 1 to Gazos Creek, return to Pescadero via Cloverdale, north on Stage and back over the hill on 84). But about that time Kevin had developed some pretty strong double vision (one of those potential side effects of meds that you assume happens to someone else and not you) followed by a nasty headache. A reasonable case could be made that he was in no shape to ride a bike. It was suggested that I head out on my own (like last weekend) but instead I decided to wait this one out, however long it took. And it took a while. It wasn’t until 1pm or so that he was up to getting out on a bike, which kinda killed off a 78-mile ride, but it did give me time to figure out what Google adwords are all about (supposedly the best way to advertise to your customers) and fix a few things on the website.
It was a stunningly-beautiful day when we finally got out on our bikes. Mid-to-upper 60s (dropping as low as 57) and clear skies. The type of day you’re really glad to have your camera with you, the one you discover you forgot at home. Hate that. Probably my first ride without a camera in years. It should have felt a lot better to be out riding on a day like this than it did, at least at first. Something about being “ready” at 9am but not getting out until 1pm, being quite literally all-dressed-up-with-no-place-to-go, made the ride seem a bit mechanical for a while, but eventually we settled in to an enjoyable ride… up Old LaHonda, over Haskins to Pescadero, north on Stage Road and back to Woodside via 84.
No stop for refueling in Pescadero; Kevin figured we’d be fine riding straight through, but I did make sure he ate some ClifShots before the long run back on 84. 61 miles total, probably less than 5000ft of climbing, so not really that challenging a ride, were it not for issues that Kevin continues to face. It’s taken a lot of patience on my part, rearranging my plans and expectations, but those are mere inconveniences compared to the stuff he’s been through. His kidney issues (thankfully behind him now) and now double-vision, both related to his meds for epilepsy, have been challenges no kid should have to face, but once on a bike, life somehow seems to become normal for a while. That’s probably the main reason I’m still doing the July gig in France, following the Tour de France bike race with him. Something “normal” that he can look forward to.