Terii’s Cycling Babble

First Ride After The ‘Event’
November 20, 2014, 6:22 am
Filed under: Day Rides

The ‘Event’. That’s what I’ll call my brain hemorrhage.

Since I started taking the medication to lower my blood pressure, I’ve felt quite tired and sluggish. It’s also been difficult to move around for more than 5 minutes or so. The weakness just builds into muscle aches and exhaustion as if a .25 mile walk has become a 20 mile forced march over rough ground.

In spite of that, I decided to attempt a ride. I’d asked 3 doctors if and when it might be okay to resume cycling. Kristian told me after a few days and two others had no hesitations telling me the same. One of those doctors said that just last Monday (November 17th).

I had the car as Jens took the train. Around 10 am, I decided to get moving. As I wrestled my cycle clothes on in stages, I wished I could just ride in normal clothes. Shirts I can do, particularly in cold weather. It’s the pants that would be the problem. The right leg would be getting smeared with grease with every turn of the pedals or, the leg between shin and knee freezing where I’d push the leg up to avoid the chain ring.

I noticed something as I dressed. My cycle clothes felt looser. I stepped on the scale and discovered that I’d lost over 6 pounds in the 8 days since ‘The Event’. A couple of those is probably from the fact they didn’t let me eat or drink anything for the first 24 hours I was hospitalized to be followed by 2 days of really bad food I could only bring myself to eat a tiny bit of.

Loke clearly didn’t believe me as I dressed. It wasn’t until I picked up his harness that he bounced to his feet, eyes as wide as a kid at a toy store who’s told to get everything he wants. He hurried to me and shoved his head through the loops with the enthusiasm of old. My iPhone’s weather app said it was 3 C out (37.5 F). Thermometer out the window, said 4 C (39 F). The car’s thermometer bounced between 5 C to 5.5 C. I’d dressed with a thin layer of wool on my legs. Oddly, I couldn’t find any thermal tops. I settled for pulling on a couple of shirts over my normal cycle top.

It felt chilly as we headed to the storage space. I opened the door and slumped against the wall at the sight of the trike disassembled, sitting folded in the middle of the room. If I’d remembered that, I would have probably made an attempt to assemble the day before and then ride the next.

I sucked it up. Loke had been wound up by the harness and car ride over. No way he’d settle without getting at least a short run. Just like getting dressed, I did it stages, leaning against the wall to wait for spells of light-headedness to pass. Took me almost 40 minutes to get every thing together, including putting on cycle shoes. I think it must be some kind of new pokey record for me especially for a local ride with no extra stuff.

While I waited for the Garmin to find satellites, Loke bounced and yodeled. Once I clipped in and loosed the brake, he tried to take off like a shot. After a couple squeezes on the brake, he gave up his attempts to run, settling into a jog. What a trot though! His legs swung through a long range of motion he pulled us faster and faster. We hit 10 mph as he clipped along like a prize winning sulky horse. A new record for him. Clearly, he wasn’t feeling a bit of arthritis if he had such a range of motion to pull off those speeds at a trot. I couldn’t help the huge grin that split my face. I’d been worried about his arthritis relapsing with lack of exercise. Clearly, it was going to take more than 10 days for that to happen.

Loke’s enthusiasm meant that for the first half mile or so, I had never little to do except sit in the seat and steer. Finally, we came to the overpass across the 55. I paused nervously at the climb. It’s not a very long one and not particularly steep, but enough to require effort. I photoed the overpass to post to FB with a bad joke about wondering if my head was going to explode with the effort of the slope. Loke woofed and even pawed at me in his impatience to get moving. He pulled like crazy once I put the phone away. I took it very slow and careful.

It actually felt so much easier, making that 30 yard, 6% climb than any walk I’d done since getting out of the hospital. On the other side was the long downhill to the river that I kept Loke from running down like a maddened beast.

I relaxed into the ride after that climb, heading for the downtown area of the city. My goal was the American Food Store. Charles has always been so nice. I wanted to let him and his very nice wife know what had happened to me. Loke continued to go along with machine like commitment as we rolled along the cycle paths on the familiar route. The quarter mile ‘climb’ of 2% grade felt surprisingly easy as did the other shorter, but steeper climbs. I took it slower and easier than felt necessary. I wasn’t going to overdo it.

It was still quite a relief that I felt fine. Sitting in the trike seat, pedalling along, it was as if there was nothing wrong. No dizziness. Not the least sense of weakness. I felt just as good as the last ride before ‘The Event’.

My only problem were cold toes. I’d left the footwarmer batteries at home, thinking I wouldn’t need them. I’d been wrong. They would have been nice as my Garmin displayed an ambient temperature of 34 F (1.4 C). I trusted that more than the iPhone or even the window thermometer. It would surprise me if the reading of the one at the window isn’t skewed by internal warmth radiating off the building. The Garmin, I trust as it’s actually out in the weather right with me.

My stop at the American Food Store to chat with Charles’ wife gave my feet a chance to warm up. She asked if I should be riding my trike when I told her where I’d been of late. I assured her it felt fine. I bought a box of graham crackers to eat with peanut butter as a sweet snack while I’m still adjusting to lower blood pressure and a bottle of juice. Nothing naughtier than that. Not going to risk stalling or reversing my weight loss after this scare.

The rest of the ride went fine though most of it is up hill. Very gentle slope, but still something that required me to work even with my furry engine. It still felt no different than the last times I’ve made the ride. The recumbent position is just perfect for me right now. It puts most of my body in roughly the height as my heart, making the flow of my lower pressured blood much easier. Thanks to that, I had none of the dizziness even when I exerted myself.

Loke was still plenty perky when we returned to the storage with 5.5 miles. After walking up and down to put everything away, I felt a little woozy though. Had to sit still and relaxed in the car for about 5 minutes before making the drive home. Still the ride had showed me I can ride just fine even when walking still makes the world spin and me weak. Knowing I have my trike at least, bolstered my spirits. Just as it’s always done, my trike has proven itself to be my freedom no matter what my body throws at me.

First it was my back that led me to recumbents, opening up Sweden and distances I’d never imagined with a bike. Now dealing with the adjustment to lower blood pressure, I can still cover miles while feeling fine all because of three wheels and a mesh, reclined seat. Love my trikes and even if I turn into a fitness nut, I won’t give them up. They’re pure freedom to me in ways a bike never was even when I was young and healthy.



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