Author Archives: doublecommitment

Journey

pomegranate

Until now I’ve had no motivation to write. I’m stiff with months of being sedentary. Since my final infusion on October 5th my eyes continue to weep making it sometimes difficult to see through their goop. Most evenings of late I break out in a torso rash like clockwork between 5:30 and 6:30.  I have been feeling weak, fat, and out of shape.  I’m sick of using Benadryl and Advil to get through the rough parts of each day or night and glad I am beginning to be able to power through these cycles without. Seeing all the glossy breast cancer brochures with photos of women looking content and peaceful with stylish head wear in limber yoga poses has only made me feel alienated.

I’ve had no kick to get on my old fitness routine…until NOW.  Recovery is an amazing thing. It comes with trust.

I have had lots of surgery and lots of anesthesia over the past ten years. Something I always forget to trust at this stage of recovery is that I never remember what it is like to feel better until I feel better.  Yes, I’ve been through this stage many times yet I forget to remember.  I’ve even written this down in more than one journal, yet each time I think “this time” it will be different. When I finally do feel better I realize not only how bad and out of it I’d been feeling, but I also remember that it was never a lack of motivation at all.

I had been in recovery mode.

The problem is that recovery mode for me has always been complicated with the baggage of life-long self-doubt and second guessing; two things to which I’ve alluded many times in this blog that on the positive side have provided the horsewhip of drive to ride the rides I do, but it also rids my psyche of any nurturing bit of reality at the time it is most needed.

If only my physical, intellectual, and emotional selves were one.  At my lowest times throughout this journey, my impatience would have replaced with peace. My weeks of discomfort would have been soothed by my inner best friend reminding me that recovery has it’s own schedule. Thankfully all of my “outer” family and friends were there to remind me not to rush back too quickly. After too many false starts and setbacks, I finally started to listen, obey their advice, and ignore my own impulse.

Since July 13th of this year (THAT’S TWO DAYS SHORT OF ONLY FOUR MONTHS AGO) I had my annual mammogram, a followup mammogram, a couple of ultrasounds, a biopsy, two MRIs with contrast injections, four chemotherapy infusions, a couple of trips to the local urgent care doc, no less than eight trips to Burbank including an emergency trip to the ER for a neutropenic fever, pain relievers, steroids, antibiotics and the antihistamines to soothe the allergic reactions I had to two. I’ve missed no less than seven weeks of work.

None of this was pretty except for the amazing support I’ve received from friends, work, and family.  I hope it’s clear that in these posts I’ve wanted to share from a positive place, from the bright side of a glass half full.  Sometimes this writing feels self-serving when I know others have had it much worse, so I preface this with an apology for sharing this other half, concerned that it comes across like self-pity: Never have I known such suffering. Glancing back through my journal from these weeks I see the words, “unrelenting” and “miserable.”  After my third infusion which was especially difficult due to a snafu with my insurance that resulted in my not getting my Neulasta OnPro injection I realized I was wrong about my notion that if I could ride a double century I could get through chemo.  It was then that I realized that if I could get through chemo, my next double would be a cakewalk.

There were two significant times when I had reached a depth of suffering I had never known (not even at that dark, 9:00 p.m. Mile-180 of the Hemet Double Century, having no clue what my body was going to do with each subsequent pedal stroke). Intellectually knowing that the unrelenting suffering would pass was close to impossible. During one episode, I was curled up in a heap, my head resting on the backrest of the couch and I heard my own words repeat in a whisper: “Let this change my life…let this change my life.” I found myself telling my critical self that she was no longer needed in any aspect of my being. As that stupor passed through me I became aware that it was this and other moments of my treatment that I did not want to forget.

Ever.

On October 30th I had a lumpectomy with breast reconstruction surgery. Two lymph nodes from my right arm were also removed. It was supposed to be outpatient surgery but because of complications of a ruptured blood vessel I was rushed back into surgery and then admitted for an overnight hospital stay. I think it more apt to say my WBF and I were admitted because he got no sleep that night on the couch in my room that was about a foot shorter than his gorgeous tall frame and he had to take an extra unplanned day off from work. (Last year his perfect attendance and work ethic earned him Driver of the Year and an extra week all-expenses-paid vacation. He is not one to miss work.)  I was sent home with two drainage tubes that I had to empty and measure twice a day for the next eight days. I kept each bottle pinned to my shirt, slept on my back sitting up, and the only water that hit my body that week was from a soaked wash cloth.

The surgery has left me with a new, unfamiliar body.  Because of the size and location of my tumor (“six o’clock”) removal without plastic surgery to reshape my right breast would have left me deformed in a way that would have made future mammograms difficult. And without removing some tissue from my unaffected breast I would have been left lopsided.

At my eight-day post surgery followup last week (November 5, 2018) I asked my surgeon when I could start riding my bike. This is how the conversation went:

“When can I start riding my bike?”

“Let me take a look at you in one month and I will let you know. You can walk.”

“Can I run?

“No.”

“Can I walk ten miles?”

“No.”

“Can I go to the gym?”

“No.”

“Can I hang laundry on the clothesline?”

“Yes, but you are not allowed to carry the laundry basket out to the clothesline.”

Having been so immersed in the ebb and flow, ups and downs; the pain and relief, it had been easy to forget to focus on what is most important: the outcome of this whole journey.  My surgeon has reported that she removed the tumor with clean margins and my lymph nodes are clear. So in the words of my WBF, as of right now I AM CANCER FREE!

With a most welcomed reprieve for six weeks, next on my agenda will be radiation starting sometime in December. I’ll be getting this treatment locally.  After all I’ve been through it’s hard to believe I’ll be able to do this on my lunch hour. Fatigue is common, they say, but nothing like that which I’ve already endured.

As I heal, the pain is subsiding, the swelling is going down, and my chest is taking new shape. It was only yesterday that I started to see the hair on my head beginning to grow and looking in the mirror I realized I have reaped the benefits of a BOOB JOB!

When I recently shared my hesitation to branch off into a new direction of this blog, my WBF reminded me why by reiterating what he said when I started it a few years ago. It is a wonderful feeling to completely trust your partner. Back then I had confidence in the idea that I would be able to figure out answers because the base of my knowledge had already been established from my years of riding.

This new journey is different.  Unlike what it is to figure out what to eat on a hammer fest and suffer with your friends knowing that how much it hurts in the moment no matter how you manage your nutrition, you’re going to be done, feel incredible just moments afterwards, and be able to eat a fantastic meal, I am just beginning to learn what these new miles are all about.  I have a very active imagination when I have no personal experience with a process.

Cancer treatment? Chemotherapy? I am an athlete. Puissant.

Most of us know that one’s state-of-mind plays a huge part in healing so there’s no need to delve into that here. My dear, close friend and mother-out-law, (“MOL” and WBF’s mom) with whom I share just about everything, says appropriately, “The most important part of healing starts between your ears!”  She caught the brunt of the anxiety I was suffering after my first dose and did her best to get me to see it, but my stubborn-self was convinced I knew best and it was only the cocktail that was causing my side effects which included a new and very volatile persona.  The difference between that day three and a half weeks ago and now has opened my eyes once again to the power of our minds.

So yes, I’ve got to write so that I will not only have the opportunity to make sense of this adventure and track the detail for myself, but also to step out of my comfort zone and risk being public about a very vulnerable place. I know… I KNOW, that for me, facing that which I don’t want to share with others gives me strength if I am honest.

Since my annual mammogram on May 31st of this year, as of yesterday, August 24th, …and bear with this run-on sentence for affect, because an itemized list would not do justice to this whirl of events…I have had a followup mammogram and ultrasound locally; and with a total of six trips and 1,230 miles to Burbank and back so far, I have been biopsied by one doctor, told of my diagnosis during our consultation with my surgeon, had an initial consult with my oncologist who ordered the genetic test that determined my chance of recurrence and need for chemo, had a breast MRI, a Facetime appointment to eliminate the need for yet another trip south (ain’t technology cool) with the plastic surgeon who will work with my lead surgeon to reshape my breast to limit scar tissue buildup for clearer future mammograms (we Facetimed from the comfort of the conference room at work where to my surprise, he asked to see the merchandise, so I turned my back to the glass door and lifted my shirt and bra, showed him my breasts, and pointed to the location of my tumor at “six o’clock”), and last but definitely not least, I’ve completed two of four chemo treatments.  When this (and hopefully the only) round of chemo is over on October 5th, I wait a month, have surgery for a lumpectomy, then get a dose of radiation. Somewhere between now and then I’ll begin a hormone blocker regime.

BRING IT ON BABY! I am an athlete and today I am feeling good.

Here’s what a day of chemo looks like for me:

  1. Because of the 205 miles to the treatment center, to avoid a trip down for naught I have a comprehensive blood draw five days prior to my treatment date at our local pathology lab. If my numbers aren’t good, they will postpone treatment until my numbers are back up. Two days before my treatment date I check to see the report is in my doctor’s hands.
  2. On the day of treatment, my WBF and I leave home before 4:00 a.m. for the four hour drive.
  3. Upon arrival; we go out to breakfast. Mine? Oatmeal from Starbucks, Lucky WBF?? A quick stop at the original Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop complete with the coolest production line I’ve seen in my twelve-and-a-half years of working in manufacturing.
  4. After checking in at the front desk, we’re led back to the treatment room, I take off my shoes and get weighed and measured (My WBF has now seen with his own eyes that, indeed I am five foot four AND THREE QUARTERS!) I scope out all the chairs and choose the one with the best view. At my side I have water, snacks, a good book, my phone, laptop, and tablet.
  5. My nurse for the day starts by taking my vitals which have been excellent so far (I AM AN ATHLETE), starts my IV, draws two vials of blood, and whisks them down the hall while I sit in my comfy leather lazy boy and settle in. Twenty minutes later we have the results.
  6. We talk about the other side effects I’ve experienced since the last treatment and my nurse goes down the hall again to share everything with my doctor, then returns after that with a pill cup of Benadryl and Dexamethason (a steroid to alleviate inflammation and allergic reactions). Then we wait another thirty minutes for it to take effect.
  7. After that my two IV bags are brought in and hung.  The first bag is Taxotere.  When that’s empty it’s switched out with a bag of Cytoxin. Each takes one hour to drip into my bloodstream.
  8. Finally, I am given a dose of a white blood cell booster that is administered by an adhesive patch about the size of a laundry soap pod. This is the most amazing part of the whole process. The nurse sticks it onto the side of my belly and within about thirty seconds it beeps and a needle snaps into my skin to set a cannula (a small IV tube). The pod has a blinking green light that blinks every five seconds until it’s ready to dispense. There’s a small window gauge showing the liquid dose. Exactly twenty-five hours after it’s attached it beeps again and it starts administering the liquid.  The first time I was sitting with my MOL the day after treatment and we heard “BEEEEEEP!” It started a clicking sound and we could hear the pump at work. I don’t remember how long it took (20 – 30 minutes) but when it was complete it beeped again, it blinked red, and my WBF could see through the window that the dose was empty. As I sit here it blinks away green.

Yeah, ain’t technology cool.

During that first treatment I asked my oncologist when I’d lose my hair. “Two weeks!” he said from across the room, and on that fourteenth day my hair started to pull out in clumps. And at this very moment as I type, exactly 25 hours after my patch was attached, it has just beeped and I’m getting my booster dose.

At the end of that first treatment my doctor said that I’d start to feel like I was getting the flu in two and a half days, and sure enough it started slowly, but then came on with a vengeance. It was rough. I plan to live through this next round which will probably start tomorrow afternoon, and when it’s over I’ll be back here. Last time it took a good ten days before I felt like I was starting to climb out. This time I’m banking on it being quicker than that. I’ll let you know.

Stress

My body knows. When on my game of fitness I am tuned. My body is balanced. I can take the blows that a hard ride delivers, and know the familiar feel of recovery that follows.  My normal level of fitness diffuses the stress that comes with a regular day.  The thing that amazes me is how, when as aware of my physical-self that I am, stress can sneak up and scream itself out in some physical manifestation when I think (operative word here, THINK: a conscious and intellectual exercise) that I am so meticulously aware of my physical-self that I know my stressed-out self well enough (another conscious exercise) that I have the power to keep those physical manifestations at bay.

But currently I am definitely not at the top of my game.  Since January commuting to work and our weekend group rides have dwindled. For the first three months of 2018, with ten hour days each weekend and four-to-six hour stints after each workday, we blasted through our home from top to bottom in preparation to sell. We closed escrow in March at a satisfying high of a seller’s market. That, along with becoming a grandma, the increasing needs of my aging eight-seven year old mom still living on her own, and settling happily into our temporary home had put our riding life on hold.  We are only now barely getting back to our weekend group rides.

My brother, who ran a 2:35 marathon in his day says not to worry – that my base will see me through this time. Although I wonder how I’d be “seeing” had I still been on top, another extremely important aspect of an athlete’s life is to accept one’s present conditioning without beating one’s self up for what is not. So, I will trust my brother’s wisdom and the flow of my own fitness history (yet another conscious and intellectual exercise) and believe that I will be back there sometime in the near future.

Years ago I remember thinking I was very self-aware when I realized that stress was what I didn’t consciously know was brewing. Little did I know the extreme of what I had surmised with the age-appropriate philosophical mind of most twenty-something young adults. Now, these thirty years later I’m struck with the idea that not even these years since, with all that I’ve been through, have given me the experience to be able to think stress away.  This just validates that even the mental strength to push through that 200th mile of the Hemet Double Century and the 124 degree heat my Garmin read on the Tollhouse Century and the 15,000th foot of climbing and 129th mile of The Death Ride did not prepare me for the stress of this new ride I have just begun.

After a routine mammogram on May 31st, a followup mammogram and ultrasound on June 14th, and a biopsy on June 25th; on June 27th of this year I received confirmation from my new surgeon that I have Stage 1B ER+ HER2- Breast Cancer.

On July 13 I came down with my first-ever cold sore. It has been brutal. I had no idea that the innocuous pimple I felt developing on my upper lip, the random tingles, nerve shots of zinging pain, nor the metallic whiffs I kept getting in my mouth would turn into a full-on attack.  Thankfully I was meeting with my new oncologist the day after I felt the first twinges and had started using a topical medicine. He prescribed the medicine that would kick down the symptoms systemically.  Though it has done its job, the course of this infection has been as bad as a flu. I have felt like crap since. Only now, after ten days of the medicine am I feeling like I may get back to normal in the next few days.

I don’t think I need any more validation that my innocent twenty-something moment of philosophical brilliance was spot-on.  Our athlete minds can get us up and over any mountain. Our athlete bodies tell us when to listen.  Our athlete grace reminds us when it’s time take notice so that we can gather our inner troops to attack and heal.

On July 30th I will meet with one more of my team of doctors to solidify my plan of treatment. This team is at the top of their game and my WBF and I are confident that their level of care is unmatched. And, in this very short whirlwind of time that this has all transpired, I have learned that I have a team of amazing family and friends at my side that have already begun to see me through the emotional ride on which I have just embarked.

 

 

A Bike Ride Away

Having a whole month to train for the next century felt luxurious when we got home from picking up the trailer Monday evening, and I jumped into the old commute routine on Tuesday ready to ride a few days a week, knowing it would whip me back to my regular form.

A few weeks ago I had started to take a different route the last few miles from home which adds about four miles to the ride. Just for mind-game’s sake, I had begun to call it route my “regular” route. Actually I prefer it because it takes me away from the traffic in our small city and adds a few small rollers. After riding along the highway so many miles, the quiet road is welcomed. I was looking forward to this stretch my first afternoon back until the reality of summer set in.

Each day I leave work I text my WBF to let him know I’m leaving for two reasons: one is for safety, and the other is he’ll know what time to leave the house if he can ride the eight miles south to meet me. The first time he did this it was such a sweet surprise. Some boyfriends hold roses behind their backs at the front door. Mine shows up on his bike to escort me home into a headwind. He’s the best boyfriend ever.

Fairly sure he wasn’t going to be able to ride that day I reached into my jersey pocket like reaching for a gel, held down the home button by feel and said, “Text WBF.” Siri said in her robot voice, “What do you want to say to WBF?”

With both hands on my bars I said, “Already 98.6 at the bottom of the grade on the south side.”

At the top I stopped, put my foot down at the elevation sign, and sent, “This is crazy! Taking the shortest way home. Top is 110+.”

Five miles further, off the highway and heading the last few miles home, I started chanting out loud to myself,  “Pick me up, come on WBF, come get me.” I kid you not, within the next minute I looked up and saw him driving towards me, making a u-turn, pulling over, and opening the rear door for my bike. Okay, okay, I know it might have sounded like a wee hint when I texted more than once, but I really was prepared to make it home knowing I’d gotten that much stronger because of it.

I didn’t ride the rest of the week and spiraled into a funk. Some ride indoor trainers because of snow and ice. In our part of the world heat is a more valid reason, but it didn’t even occur to me. Instead I wallowed knowing with every ounce of my being that I was fat, out of shape, and I’d never be ready for another ride in my entire life. Even an evening out with three of my favorite girlfriends Thursday, avid riders themselves, left me feeling out of place and couldn’t pull me out of it.

And then it was Saturday.

With the temperature forecast for one-hundred degrees the ride was starting a half-hour early, and to tack on a few extra miles (fourteen round-trip) instead of driving, we rode up to the park in the cool air of the morning to meet twenty of our riding friends for our group ride. That alone should have done the trick. Week-in and week-out the same core of us show up and spend roughly four hours together, and often socialize at evening get-togethers. I’ve often said there’s something very special about the kind of commitment we share.

I stayed in that funk for the first hour of the ride and I think some could tell. I definitely wasn’t my usual, talkative, outgoing self. Joe rode up and asked how I was doing. “Blech,” I said. He told me I was strong and had good form and I know he meant it; and then rode on up to catch the group as I trudged forward. A few minutes later Danny lagged a bit looking over his shoulder so I could jump on his wheel and he hammered ahead so we could catch the lead group until I couldn’t hang on anymore. A few miles after that Dane rode up behind me and gave me a thankful shove as I trudged up my nemesis grade of four percent. Give me anything below or above, but thanks to my Garmin I know that’s the rise that gets me.

It took a few more miles but something began to change and without even thinking about it I was out of my shell and by the time my WBF and I were riding alone together the last few miles of the official ride, and those last seven miles of our fifty-one on our own, I remembered something I’d read online:

You’re only one bike ride away from a good mood.

Welllll, I loved that quote when I read it but after the last few weeks I think it needs to be qualified. If the statement needed quantification I believe it would only require something like, “You’re only fifty-one miles away from a good mood.” And to push this out a little further, I’m now stuck on the fact that is reads, “…a good mood,” not “…the good mood.”  But “the” good mood would imply that there is only one type of good mood, and ummm also, WHICH ONE of the “one” bike rides are they talking about and who the hey are “they?”

If it were true, this blog post wouldn’t exist because as you now understand, that hot, miserable ride home two weeks after our truck’s own death ride would have done the trick.  So maybe I do, indeed need to quantify it and say this:

You’re only TWO bike rides away from a good mood.

And then qualify it with, “Yeah, and starting in the cool of the morning, not the 3:00 pm heat of the day, away from highway traffic on some of the most beautiful roads a rider could ask for with a few of the most terrific people ever.

Many years ago I heard a comedian (Steve Martin?) say, “There is not going to be any weather today and I’m not going to have a mood.” What, I ask, would we have to write about then?

Update

As this week tumbles by with the truck back home and ourselves back at work, I finally have some time (it’s 3:40 a.m.) to write about it.

On our way to The Death Ride a week and a half ago, at about 9 pm, on a dark mountain Highway 88 (sounds like a song!) while pulling our twenty-four foot camping trailer, our Ford 250 truck’s alternator died. HA that’s it! The truck wanted all the attention and had its own death ride! My mind does funny things so early in the morning with the first few sips of cup of coffee.

We limped without headlights or any other power in the truck for what seemed like a very long time though was probably less than five minutes, to a place to pull over and figured we’d sleep and deal with it in the morning. Here’s what happened:

July 6: At 9 pm and 2 hours from Markleeville on a dark mountain road our alternator went out. Two nice CHP officers came by and the one in the SUV strapped the truck and trailer up and dragged us fifty feet forward to get out of the way of a gate and fence.

July 7: WBF hitchhiked six miles to town for a new alternator, got a ride back with an Auto Zone employee and they installed it on the side of the road. We thought we were on our way but the truck continued to have issues. After many stops and starts, the CHP escorted us to back to Auto Zone to charge the truck batteries. We limped to the recommended auto shop three miles away.

July 7: We learned that the transmission was toast and decided that towing it home was the best option.

July 8: We coordinated the tow and how we were going to store the trailer for the week.

July 9: The tow truck left at 3:00 am from home and drove the 268 miles to pick us up. Great guy, bench seat, no air conditioning, 106 degrees.

July 10-14: The transmission was rebuilt by our local mechanic.

July 15: With the new transmission, we drove back up north, picked up our trailer, and took a mini-vacation wandering old western towns while waiting for the shop to open on Monday morning.

July 17: Hooked up the trailer and drove it home.

Soooooooooooo, on our way home we decided on our “make up” century. There are many from which to choose between now and the end of the season, but as it turns out, on August 20th The Napa Valley Century has an official NF Endurance Team participating! The director of the program has offered to set us up to stay with a family affected by NF the night before the ride. I have the feeling that it will be an amazing experience.

I’m So Not Ready, I’m Ready

Tuesday
I woke up this morning composing this post in my mind and hearing the voice identical to that, for which I’ve expressed such disdain on these pages and wanted to make sure I didn’t belabor that angle. The Death Ride – Tour of the California Alps is FOUR short days away. Rather than waste this post with predictable indications of woe about how poor my diet has been over the last few weeks, my lack of preparation, questioning my fitness level, and doubting my confidence; there are a bazillion other angles from which to gaze. In other words, when going through a difficult situation years ago, what popped into my head and has remained as my mantra when worry takes over is, “The world is bigger than that.”

Indeed it is. This year I am doing The Death Ride as a fundraiser. I mentioned it briefly here a few posts ago without much explanation.  I was born with Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). My story is here.  Please take the time to read it and share the link or this blog with anyone you think will read it too. The suffering I will endure on the ride is nothing compared to what others with my condition endure daily. We who have NF1 all have the same gene. It’s just luck of the draw as to the severity of each case. I am very, very fortunate.

In addition to my link above you can Google NF1 or spell it out: Neurofibromatosis 1. 

Every event we finished last year was based on the ultimate goal of The Death Ride. This year it feels like I am a teenager testing the boundaries of a parent’s discipline; only in this case, I’m the parent wagging the finger telling my teenage-self that I’m about to be grounded because I haven’t done my chores. Blame the rain, the heat, appointments, the sale-hence-papers-and-packing of my WBF’s home of 20-some years; but the bottom line is the training miles did not get ridden this season, not to mention the blog posts that went with them.

Two weeks ago we finished my second Tollhouse Century. Mid-ride my Garmin read 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit. I figure it usually reads about five-degrees high. Early in the ride close to the top of only the first climb I seriously wondered if I was going to be able to make it. My WBF said, “Only seven miles to the next rest stop.” That got me through. “Brutal” is over-used among our tribe of riders, but that ride was everything-brutal and more.

Last year every training ride was calculated. Every event prepared us for the next. And all of it was new for me. This year I found myself approaching Tollhouse without the anxiety I couldn’t shake the first time, even without the preparation I knew I needed.  I know that the 97.5 miles and 7500 feet of elevation gain in temperatures soaring above 100 degrees two weeks ago put me in better position for The Death Ride.

Am I fooling myself? The Death Ride is twice the climbing as The Tollhouse in only thirty-five more miles. Saturday will tell all, but there are two things I inconveniently forget when the worry takes over leading up to these rides:

  1. Every event becomes a training ride if there’s another one scheduled after it, and
  2. Being part of such an intense challenge with hundreds of others is electric.

On Bill Cosby’s seventieth birthday he said, “I’ve never waited so long for anything else in my entire life!.” Well, I say, “I’ve never had this many miles of training on my legs ever before in my entire life.  I’m so not ready, I’m ready.”

Yes, the world is bigger than that.

 

Looking Back

It was just over a year ago that I was stuffing my jersey pockets, not knowing what I’d need or crave on a ride over fifty miles. I’d plan, sort, bake the day before, package, rearrange, ponder, unpack, and then pack way more than I’d ever need while imagining a confidence I could only fantasize. My pockets were so heavy they’d clunk on the back of my saddle, then sag and swing when I stood up on a climb.

Saturday morning we lounged around with coffee and we both ate only half our bowls of oatmeal because it was the consistency of paste. I wrapped four dates each in a strip of wax paper, made a PB2 and honey sandwich on raisin bread, grabbed a tube of Hammer Perpetuem Solids and one Hammer Espresso Love Gel, drank a dose of Hammer Fully Charged*, and we got out the door for the ride like another day at the office.

Riding is an excellent lesson in how to live in the moment. I ate my sandwich at about mile thirty-five with the thought that it might be too early, but I’d been hungry for the last half-hour and the tip I learned when I first started riding in the early 80’s still hangs with me: “Eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.” The thought always reminds me that it’s not necessary to save nutrition for later, rather it’s essential to prepare for later by taking care of energy now.  It’s a completely different mindset than that which we follow during a non-riding work day.

My energy was stable the entire 77.04 miles. I didn’t bonk; I didn’t even droop. I munched on my dates and three solids throughout the day, and I didn’t long for anything more. When I arrived home I had nothing left in my pockets but one optimistically half-empty tube of Perpetuem Solids.

That evening we volunteered for the second consecutive year at the finish of the Central Coast Double Century. I kid you not, the second rider (eleventh overall, I think) who rolled up after we started our post was plastered with the Hammer logo. I asked him if he worked for Hammer or just liked their stuff. Duh…shows you how sheltered I am. He said Hammer sponsors him. We chatted about what products we liked and used, and he mentioned that sometimes he thinks Fully Charged is almost too good because it can make him go out too fast and he’ll suffer later in a ride. Not only did that make complete sense having used Fully Charged enough to know how great it is, but it was another example of how imperative it is for us to stay alert to our energy in the moment.

We talked of how much we value the knowledge of Steve Born, and then he brought up exactly what I’d been pondering for this blog a few hours before. He said, “I haven’t talked to Steve in a long time. Once I figured out what worked for me, I just use it.”

Ain’t that cool.

*I am in no way sponsored by Hammer. I’m not being paid or otherwise compensated for touting their products. They just work for me and part of the impetus for this blog is to share what does.