Getting Back to Business in a Slow Year

It’s been a long time since my last post and a lot has happened. I’ve been mostly off the bike ever since my Mom got sick and passed away. Afterwards, I thought I could get back on and start riding again but life got in the way once more. Prostate biopsies, a cardiac issue forced me off the bike again.  It was a period of Dr after Dr after Dr visits that I went through to get where I’m at now.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer was a real surprise for me but I always that of it as a nuisance issue that got in the way of my cycling. I was extremely lucky that it was caught in such an early stage. It was so early that it barely registered as cancer. Nevertheless, I still had to go through the procedures of biopsies and PSA tests on a regular basis (they call it  Active Surveillance). That meant many Dr visits for tests, test results, biopsies, biopsy results which leads to time off the bike. Nothing consistent. A week here then time off then another week or two before anther Dr visit. My last biopsy turned out to be negative for cancer so I’m happy!

A Cardiac Issue

During one of my regular scheduled doctor visit she noticed a murmur in my heart! Yikes! “What now?”, I thought to myself. Well here we go again, another doctor to see. I swear there is a doctor for every part of the body. So far I have the family doctor, urologist, Gastrologist and now a cardiologist. I’m not a happy camper at this point.

After several visits and my conversations with my nurse friend my cardiologist says I’m fine. The final test, the stress test, showed no issues with my heart or vascular system. What a relief that was!

Current Time

So here I am in late June with only 1,487 miles on the road and overweight. I’m on track to reach 3000 miles for the year, far short of the 5000 miles that I originally planned for. Currently, I’m in the middle of one of my training plans from TrainingPeaks and is going well. This will help me establish a rhythm and start cycling on a regular basis. Usually, I take off right after work around 5:30ish so that I can get used to the heat. By the time I get back to the car it has cooled off a little bit but I do get in a sweaty workout. During the week the ride times vary from 1 hr to 1.5 hours with my longer rides ramping up to 3 plus hours. For those, I’m starting to get up early so that I can get most of the ride in before noon time. Long rides still gives me the hardest time. It’s all physiological nothing more. That’s one hurdle I’ll have to work though as the year progresses.

I still ride alone and I find it the best way to actually get in proper training on the bike rather than group rides. I tried a group ride last weekend. My training for the day was a 3:15 Endurance pace ride so I said, “What the hell, let me try the group ride.” While it was a fun ride it had no training value for me. Way too much stop and go and slower pace. I even tried to go to a big gear so that I can get the prescribed intensity level and while it worked for a bit, I always ended up backing off because I was over taking the group. When ever I could I would fall back so that I can ride alone and not get a draft. Way too much trouble. I’ll leave the group rides when I just want to have a fun day that way I’ll enjoy the ride better.

Eating is still a big problem for me and I need to focus on lowering my food intake, especially in the evenings. That’s when I tend to over eat. What can I say, I love food! Hopefully things will start falling into place after several training plans to jump-start myself into a better me.

So yes, it has a been a slow year for me but I see things turning around the second half of the year. I just need to get back into a rhythm of cycling, planks and eating better which will result in losing weight. My clothes will fit better and I will feel better about myself. That is certainly worth looking forward to.

My next post should be about the Wahoo Elemnt (yes, it is spelled that way) bike computer. See you then!

In Memory of my Mom

Marfa ID Booklet

Mom’s ID Card at the Marfa Airbase

Last Monday, my Mom passed away early that morning. She lived to be 90 years old and was closing in on her 91st birthday. She lived a long fruitful life raising six children.

During WWII she contributed to the effort as a Rosie the Riveter working on aircraft landing gear. She was very proud doing that and it always brought back memories when I showed her pictures of aircraft of that era. She talked about how she used to get rides on the planes and how thrilling it was. After meeting my Dad and getting married they moved down to the Valley to live and raise their family. Later she started going to school to get her degree in Education so that she could become a teacher. She started as a teacher’s aid at the Jr High school in Mission. Later, she went on to teach at Cantu elementary and in Alton as well. Eventually she got her Masters degree in Education at A&I in Kingsville. She did all of this while maintaining a full house, and working at the same time. She was a student, a teacher, a great mom and a faithful wife all rolled into one package. Overall, she was with the Mission CISD for 19 years! It is rare these days for someone to commit to one employer but, that’s the way it was back then.

I mention her being a teacher because as I was cleaning out a file cabinet, that she used to store documents, I ran across a handwritten essay that she wrote back in 1984 while she was going to school. I read the title and found it interesting so, I proceeded to read it. I went ahead and copied the essay and now present it here unedited.

The Least Age I Would Like to Be

By Ella Garza
Ed. 593
Dr. Manual Salinas
February 20, 1984
I can just picture myself an elderly woman eighty years old. Isn’t that the age when most people, who have otherwise been healthy and independent, start declining in health and mental capability? On the other hand, I would say yes. By then I will have been admitted to a so called rest home where your life style changes completely because of all the rules that you have to abide by. Where they tell you when to wake up, when to eat, when to bathe and when to turn off the light at night. Life in a rest home is so different and so strange that I am just having a terrible time getting adjusted to it.
Why am I in a rest home? I am in a rest home because my retirement check of a mer $300.00 a month is not enough to make me self-supporting. My children who are all grown up, married and with a family of their own are financially unable to support me and to care for me at home. There’s also the problem of my health which has been deteriorating very fast the last few years. The strokes that I suffered recently has required that I get special medical attention which is available only at rest homes for the price that I can afford to pay. However, this place that I am confined to is so crowded and so understaffed that you do not always get the attention that you need when you need it. My illness has deprived mess much of my independence that now I have to rely on the medical staff to help me with my personal needs. But, of course, this is one of the consequences of being old and is the price that we have to pay for being part of the human race.
Sometimes I feel that I have been neglected and not being loved anymore by anyone. Days seem like weeks and weeks seem like years when my children don’t come to see me but, of course, this is only a side effect of my illness and my feebleness. My children do come to visit me often, even those that live far away, and so do my priest and members of my church. They do visit me every week and bring me flowers or some other gift to perk me up. Then tire’s the social worker that comes at least once a month to see that I’m getting the proper services that are available to people like me.
In concluding I might say that life is not what I would want it to be, but again it is not all that bad. Thanks to all the friends and concerned people that surround me.

For her efforts, my Mom got a B+ for the assignment.

It’s an interesting perspective of what she was thinking back in 1984 and how close she was in her prediction of the future. We never put my Mom in that rest home she was writing about, there was no need to. She stayed active and lived in her house for as long as her 90 years of life would allow. It was her decision to go to a Hospice Facility and we supported her on it.

We all love our Moms and I’m no different. She will be missed by many and by me.

Bye Mom, I Love You!

Things to Come

Just a quick post to write down some cycling ideas for the coming months.

I ordered a new power meter from PowerTap the C1 model. I hope to have consistent power data when I ride on chip seal roads. It was an issue at Conquer the Coast ride in September. I’ll have to have Bicycle World RGV install it for me as I don’t have the tools.

Some rides that I’ve been mulling around in my head are A) Mission to Rio Grande City and back , B) Mission to Harlingen and back. Both are doable 60+ mile rides. Maybe I’ll break it up into an over night stay and ride back the next day. A simple credit card mini tour as they are known as.

I also want to do a ride outside of the Valley that I haven’t done before. I was hoping to go with a friend of mine but ever since she broke her toe, I don’t know if she is up to it or not. I’ll have to find someone else to go with if need be.