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MSers in Training 2021

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  • MSers in Training 2021

    My first workout in 2021 was a 6-mile neighborhood bike ride on January 1. My cell phone is on its last legs, so there are no photos to recognize the occasion. This year I hope to really up my mileage. Last year I rode over 900 miles; for 2020 my goal is 1500. On the surface that sounds crazy, but when I get my new e-trike finally rolling (fingers crossed!) I'll be able to much farther on my rides.

    Also: I am going to double down on stretching, as I've gotten rather lax lately. Not a good thing! And I'm going to emphasize HIIT when I do cardio to make sure I get my HR up there. I hope to cycle 2-3 days a week, hit legs 2-3 times per week, and then get in some upper body strength work in between. I've discovered handcyling is great for my upper body strength, but if I cycle a day after exercising arms with strength training, my riding definitely suffers. So I'll have to space those out.

    Like every year, I have no resolutions per se, just goals. What are your plans for the new year??
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    Busy here defining goals too. I'd like to keep my mileage at at least 3,000 for the year but I'll propably drop back on ascent. Got to keep the HITT's up of course! Wish I could get back to the club and yoga but doesn't look like that's in the cards, at least not in person any time soon.

    I'm also looking for an MS 150 to get into but the only ride I've seen scheduled yet for this year is the Santa Fe Century. Anybody know if NMSS is even going to try to run any rides this year?



    • #3
      Hi gang… Been awhile since I last posted. Gotta tell you all about my skiing this season. I am loving it! I just got back from two days at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. I’ve skied there before with my dear friend, also an MSer, and her family. We ski with NEDS, which is the adaptive program that is at Bretton and nearby Loon. The North East as many of you know and lived thru, just got clobbered with a snow storm. It hit here the morning I was leaving, and started slowly and lightly, so I was able to drive in it, and once I exited the Mass. Turnpike and headed North, I drove out of it. It hit where I was staying later that day. It made for great skiing conditions! As with many of the ski resorts, they will not let ski bikes on, except for my type of bike, and only because I am with adaptive instructors. It is quite a hoot to get the stares, and very complimentary comments, and the silly questions like “How do you get that downhill?” “Does that have a motor?” … Just very funny…

      I have gained more confidence… and speed.... already this year to my total delight. The trails we took at Bretton are greens (beginners.) but some would be blues (intermediates) at my mountain. The lift we usually take was out for the two days, so we had to link two lifts together to get to the top, and this involved some new trails for me. I am always nervous about skiing new terrain unless I see it is pancake flat, so I asked that the instructor attach a “leash” on me. It is called a tether, and it is just clipped to the back of the bike and used for speed control. I have come to learn to suck up my pride and use this. It is a great training tool and helps boost my confidence on terrain that initially scares me. They always agree to my suggestion that they just let it stay nice and slack, and only if I put up my hand quickly, will they apply a little resistance to give me some drag when I feel I am getting out of control. This got me through the new terrain the first time with my asking for a little drag just once. Then after that, we kept it clipped, but the leash stayed slack…. Felt so good to conquer new trails.

      And back at home, I continue to be a weekly volunteer with my adaptive program, Stride, at the local mountain, Catamount. This is the first year that I feel that I am actively participating in lessons… With COVID 19 restrictions, and out of an abundance of precautions, we are meeting the students outside. So, either I participate in a lesson, or I sit on my bike in the freezing cold! My role has evolved into using my professional skills of behavior therapy for kids with special needs…. I am NOT a “ski instructor” by any means. I’ve already been actively involved in two lessons that just made me feel so happy and useful… The ski bike absolutely is a draw for the little kids. And I can see them at eye level! The little boy we worked with yesterday just kept yelling out “Ronnie…. go FAST”. So, I used this, as we both revved our engines (Vroom, vroom….) and he tried to beat me as the other instructors helped guide him down. Being on the bike keeps me from fatiguing and keeps me focused on the lesson. When I tried this when I was 4- tracking, it was SO hard for me to try to keep my balance and concentrate on conversations. And I would always have to end sooner than the lesson as I was weak in the legs so quickly.

      I know that I have gained a lot of respect from others on the mountain. Initially, I am sure people who don’t know me see me walking with two trekking poles in a very compromised manner, “climbing” up the incline to our equipment shed (which I have dubbed Mt. Everest) and think “What is she going to teach?” (As I have a Catamount instructor jacket on.) But once I get on my ski bike, things equal out and I can “do my thing” with the kids. And when I don’t have a lesson that needs my skills, I tag along on a lesson that will take me up the mountain so I can have some fun. At my home mountain, there are blues that I am wonderfully comfortable on, trails that as recently as a year ago gave me the heebie jeebies. My intention is NOT to be inspiring anyone, but rather to just have fun skiing…...but if people see what a person with physical limitations can do with the right equipment, I am fine with that, too. And I might never get to ski Black Diamonds, or maybe I will…either way, I am winning against MS in my book…

      Vroom, vroom……
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      Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


      • #4
        Love, LOVE the recap, Ronnie! I was right there skiing with you. And you are the poster child for demonstrating just one of the advantages of having a chronic disease: SKI BIKES!!! I like to make people jealous of my hand trike, too. (But when people say they want one, I say, "no, you don't.")

        The weather has been crap here as it is across much of the country. I hope to get back on my trike this Friday, and Saturday it'll be 60! In the meantime it's working out in the home gym....
        Dave Bexfield


        • #5
          Veronica, I love the way you do things RIGHT! From getting the equipment that your happy with to finding the opportunities to ski new areas and using your ability to share the fun and help others at the same time. It's no wonder to me that you're gaining respect from the other folks on the mountain, and well deserved I might add. It's all very inspiring.

          I know I've been unusually quiet lately. In addition to the impact of Covid there have been numerous health issues with friends and relatives which have impacted me as well as my normal routines. However, I am trying to re initiate my level of activity.

          My perennial cross country skiing plan has been thwarted again for a lack of snow, and where I would normally have around a dozen bike rides in by this time of year, unusually cool weather has limited me to 4. I have gotten out for a number of walks and surprisingly, I'm up to a mile and a half of per outing, always with a cane or hiking pole and thanks to the cool weather. And, although cumulatively we haven't had much snow, it has been snowing an inch or two a week so I have been able to get out and shovel snow - always a workout! Unfortunately, the bottom line is that I'm badly out of shape right now but I am hopeful that the gyms will re-open and better biking weather is just around the corner. Until then: 75 miles and virtually no ascent year to date.



          • #6
            Got 75 miles in last week thanks to several fabulous days in a row.

            I ran into the Bullet on the bike path on Saturday, her first day out in well over a year, and we made a date to ride the following day. I wasn't too worried because I knew she hadn't been riding and the number of times I'd talked with her she had always commented on how out of shape she was. I should have known better. We settled on a moderate 25 mile ride and left from her place. It started out easy enough, down the city streets, stop signs and red lights keeping the pace manageable but after about 20 minutes we hit the Platt River bike trail and things picked up. For the next hour my heart rate was banging off of redline as I struggled to just to stay close to her. It was everything I ever remembered about riding with the bullet, she is so strong even when she's out of shape. I must have gotten a massive endorphine rush though because about an hour after we finished I felt fantastic! We have a standing date now to ride the hills around the reservoir near us for HITT's one day a week and go for a longer "easier" ride the next day. The reservoir won't be a problem, I'll just challenge her to try to lap me but I'm going to have to figure out how to handle the long ride the next day because I know "easier" is not in the Bullet's vocabulary.

            And since I haven't been to the reservoir yet this year I figured I'd better give it a shot. I went out on Tuesday, the day after I got my second Covid vaccination, with the idea of not tearing anything up but just getting up and down the hills. I did get up and down the hills although I probably wasn't quite recovered from riding with the Bullet because I couldn't get my heart rate up like I normally would have. At any rate it wasn't terrible untill I seemed to kind of hit my endurance limit on the way back home and had to slow way down. That evening was really bad though, pain level off the chart, but in hind sight I think it had as much to do with the Covid vaccination and the hard ride with the Bullet a couple days earlier as it did with my first day of the year at the reservoir, so all in all, I'm hopeful!

            We've got massive snow coming in this weekend and snow off and on all week next week so looks like I'll be getting my exercise shoveling snow. Also, I may be out of excuses for not getting out on the cross country skis, you can hold me to that.



            • #7
              Well, it did snow a couple of weeks ago, 22 inches, only the 3rd or 4th biggest snow in the city's history. I had to call in the big guns to help me clear it. My wife and I shoveled for two days just to open a path wide enough to get a car down the drive. Boy that stuff was heavy, even my neighbor with the big ass snow blower was having a hard time. More than enough exercise for a few days.

              And I did get the cross country skis out. Cleaned and waxed them, slapped on my boots and went out behind the house for a little test run. I probably managed all of about 200 yards of skiing. It was a little like a baby learning to take it's first steps. I kind of forgot that you had to keep your feet pointed in a relatively straight line, something that has become unnatural to me since I typically walk a little duck footed to enhance stability these days - doesn't work on cross country skis. Anyway, my balance was bad, my right ankle kept collapsing, although I didn't fall down, I was nearly always on the verge of it. Obviously this is going to be a major project, requiring and AFO or some other ankle stabilizing orthotic and probably some time on the elliptical machine to build up some of the required muscles. Getting any kind of balance back is my biggest concern though. Ski poles are fine for the side to side issue but the front to back surge from even tiny hills was pretty dicey.

              The snow has cleared, the weather has warmed and I've been getting back out on the bike. My longest ride so far this year is 28 miles and I'm up to about 80% of my normal HIIT routine. Went around the reservoir by the house yesterday. Knew there was a storm coming in so tried to get out early. Almost made it. Saw the storm clouds moving in, did all but the last hill which I circumvented with an altered route just as the head winds were really picking up. Fought the wind all of the 5 miles back home and arrived totally exhausted. Still beat up today. Not my intention but stuff happens.

              One of the things I like best about this time of year is how friendly everyone I run across out on the trails are. Almost invariably a wave, a smile or a nod from all, walkers, runners and bikers alike. Lock-down relief I suppose, it really makes the effort to get out worth while.



              • #8
                Great recaps, Larry! My sister is in Ft. Collins and they got hammered, too. We got some snow down here too, but in the mountains mostly.

                After a looong delay, my trike appears ready for re-delivery! I've been getting out regularly on my old handcycle still, and getting in a mix of distance and HIIT. I definitely need to be fresh or my HIIT efforts are pretty lame. Unfortunately I've had to take a few more days off than usual, as Laura's dad recently passed. That's also kept me away from ActiveMSers on the forum and social media. Life is pretty up in the air right now (Laura is in charge of dissolving his estate), and I'm trying my best to keep my wife lifted. Thanks so much for filling in with posts during this challenging time.

                I'm going to try and squeeze in a workout, so gotta run, er, roll!
                Dave Bexfield


                • #9
                  Dave, condolences on the passing of Laura's dad, please let Laura know that we're thinking of her. And, of course, start writing, I'm going to have to hear the whole story on the trike! Judging from the pictures of that trail terrorizing machine, I've got to think that as long as things work out in the end, it'll be worth the wait.

                  I got almost 90 miles in week before last and 0 miles in last week. Blustery weather set in all last week, complete with wind rain, snow and accompanying cold temps. So far this has been a difficult year in which to attempt to recover from the difficult year we had last year and here, we have another bigish storm due in tonight and tomorrow. I was just beginning to get back in shape too!

                  BTW, kudos on the penultimate finish in the 10 mile ride you talked about in your last news letter!

                  Got in a race with a 10 YO girl on one of my recovery rides. Came up on the whole family on the bike trail, mom pulling a bike trailer, dad trailing and the 10 YO on her pink "My Little Pony" bike leading. Got by mom and dad OK but the little girl decided to challenge me. It was neck a neck for a while but fortunately we came to my coffee stop destination and I was able to let her go in favor of a spot of caffeine and a splash of face saving. Ha, I no longer need to concern myself with little old ladies on mountain bikes passing me, the new threat is little girls on kids bikes!

                  350 miles YTD and just passed 1 mile of ascent

                  Starting to think about how to make the best out of DFL.



                  • #10
                    Things are heating up!

                    Weather's been abysmal here, blustery cold, rain and snow, or am I just getting to be too much of a pansy. I was able to get out on a couple of nice days last week though. We're just beginning to experience the normal temperature swings we tend to get here in the spring. I think I started out in the low 60's and near the end of the ride the temp had reached 80. My first day out in any kind of heat. I've usually been able to acclimate to the heat to some extent but it can take several weeks and the process of getting there can get trying to say the least. Anyway, on the first "hot" ride of the season I managed to drop the cleat on my weak leg at a road crossing about a 1/2 mile from home and, being on the return leg, 2.5 hours into the ride, in the early season and not in the greatest of shape yet, I couldn't manage to get clipped back in. I finally just got off the bike and started walking down the road towards home, if you can call what I do walking. Two cars actually stopped next to me and asked if I was OK and did I need a ride. I thanked them kindly for their concern, told them I would be fine and that I lived just around the corner. Kind of heart warming to know there are so many good Samaritans out there. At any rate, I pulled up under a tree for a little shade and a short break and finally managed to get back into the cleat and ride the last 1/4 mile home.

                    These were actually a new set of mountain bike cleats I installed a couple of months ago because I was having a hard time getting into my road bike cleats. If the situation doesn't improve, there is another type of pedal I have used and recommended on this site that I can to go back to. It's a platform pedal which also has a mountain bike clip in on one side that I started out on 20 some years ago. In addition to giving several sets to friends who had just started cycling, I have long since given my original set away so I should probably just order another set, just in case. It would sort of be a "back to the beginning" situation I suppose but hey, whatever works right!

                    450 miles YTD and almost 2 miles of ascent!


                    • #11
                      You are amazing. I have often admired your get-it-done approach to keeping active. Totally see you "walking" back home and declining a ride. (There are good people out there.)

                      Nothing wrong with a "back to the beginning" approach to cleats. Maybe you just needed the shade tree to cool down a bit. At 80 degrees I turn into something resembling human jello.


                      My Two Numb Feet - An MS Diary


                      • #12
                        Life has been a bit of a whirlwind since my FIL's passing, but Laura and I are still managing to squeeze in daily workouts. I'm really enjoying my new/revised trike and I've been putting lots of miles on it. More details to come when I've got a moment! But right now I've got to get back to estate settling, sigh. Hugs to all.
                        Dave Bexfield