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STAYING FIT: MSers in Training

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  • #16
    Weird year - pools gyms still closed here, social gathering restrictions still in effect, Winnipeg is currently the COVID hotspot in north america per capita infection rates so re-opening plans still in limbo.....but I have managed to find a silver lining....horses and their care and exercise is considered essential so I have been able to continue horse back riding and have been training in dressage (think of it as compulsory figures in figure skating - no jumping) and even participated in a para (disability) dressage video competition where we submitted videos to be judged. I won my division haha! Nothing fancy, but a good way to stay motivated during these strange times.

    Had a strong reaction to the COVID vaccine that had me feeling blah and even a bad bought of vertigo, just getting back into the groove again. Nice weather helping too.

    Starting to get out on the bike, commuting to work here and there and rides with the hubby....

    Take care all

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    Callenge life before life challenges you - from inside collar of my "Bike Off More Than You Chew" bike jersey


    • #17
      Dave, repetitive motion injuries are the worst! Sneaky devils, can impart real lasting harm, just ask "The Bullet". Suggested she get a bike fit for two years, she finally did but only after she couldn't ride anymore. 20 years, a couple of kids and a few extra lbs make a difference! New handle bars, shorter stem, raised seat and different cleat angle and She's a lot more comfortable now. Hoping you get past the onslaught of problems you've been experiencing soon, I am really looking forward to hearing some new trike adventures.

      Karen, wow, what a beautiful horse! I can imagine the horse and dressage keep you plenty busy. Hope things loosen up for you up there. We are approaching normal here, just hope it lasts.

      In the last two weeks I've done my longest ride and my greatest ascent YTD, not at the the same time of course. Did some riding at altitude and climbed Lookout mtn, pretty slow but made it without stopping so I'm happy!

      I really am getting awfully slow, to the extent that I'm going to look at an ebike. Like Veronica said some years ago, it's just not fair to my buddies, I need to be able to keep up. I'm looking at something a little more versatile than what I have now, like a gravel grinder, not in a rush though.

      770 miles and 21,000 ft of ascent YTD
      longest single ride, 46 miles
      greatest single ride ascent, 1,700 ft

      Finally feel like I'm getting somewhere, although pain levels after the bigger rides are approaching off the charts sometimes,
      Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 06-04-2021, 02:56 PM. Reason: Correcting auto correct


      • #18
        Karen, love your dressage division award! Congratulations! A friend of mine used a similar description for dressage; tap dancing. Really cool. I understand too that it is very helpful for balance and core strength. Texas is open but I encounter different kind of issues with getting outside: I get dirty looks, stares, and sometimes aggressive comments because I wear a mask after the Governor lifted the mask requirement recently. It’s causing me anxiety to go out, strange for me as a natural extrovert.

        Larry, Thanks for all updates on your riding. It spurred me on to ride around neighborhood. I recently mastered getting off without falling. I pull onto grass and with both legs planted, I slowly lower bike to one side so I can bring one leg over bike. Not at all graceful, but a lot better than falling on top of bike. I hear ebikes are awesome. But it Doesn’t mean you don’t have to pedal though!


        • #19
          Hey all!

          Everyone accomplishes so much in their chosen sport! Great commitment to getting out consistently. Awesome and inspiring.

          Not a ton of training to report here but plenty of physical activity. Lots of gardening, and I ride my bike to work everyday, 3 miles each way. Dave and Larry - I’m a paralegal in estate/trust administration and work with a lot of trustees so I have an idea of what you’re going through! We’ve also been spending evenings and weekends transitioning a rental house in the mountains into a property for sale. The last renters accumulated a lot of extra “stuff” on the land that we’ve been hauling out. I can feel myself getting stronger over the past few weeks and I’m not near as dead tired as I was in the beginning of this process. Progress I think!

          I’ve only been on one overnight shakedown cruise in the woods so far. I felt clumsy and tired and kind of discouraged. It was all the little things that exhausted me, like grabbing and pulling my tent out of the backpack, rolling up my inflatable sleeping pad and stuffing it in the little carrying bag, crouching down to cook and pump water. I think I’m just generally out of shape. Now that the house is for sale backpacking will commence in earnest this weekend. Usually I feel better and better with each step further on the trail and into the wilderness so I’m hoping for that!

          Happy trails everyone!


          • #20
            Susannah, that is great news about not being as dead tired. MS fatigue is a crusher. I hope backpacking gets a little easier, but if not I'm sure there are some modifications that you can do to make it easier (not easy!). As for estate stuff, things are slowly coming together. Emphasis on SLOWLY.

            All of my exercising lately has been in the home gym as I'm letting my elbow tendonitis calm down. But I did get on my bike briefly... for a magazine photoshoot! Of course there is a story. Stay tuned
            Dave Bexfield


            • #21
              Well, I figured it was about time I showed up here….

              First off, Dave: You got dealt a big bag of You Know What, didn’t you? Been thinking about Laura and you a lot, and all that you are dealing with. I hope that the acuteness of some of this has calmed down. And that goes for the elbow tendinitis. And your new wheels….
              As others have said here... I am SO eager to see you in action!

              Last year this time I was still dealing with the shingles that ran across my face and left eye and was still housebound. So, this year, I was SO eager to get outside as soon as I could. Like Larry and Susannah reorted, I’ve also been doing a lot of very satisfying gardening in my perennial beds. I have beds on both sides of my deck, and I finally just broke down this year and got duplicate supplies for both sides…most importantly, a garden sit- upon cart on wheels with storage under the seat. It is at the right height for weeding and digging and I can get up from it on the first try! Having one on each side just got rid of the silliness of hauling the one up and over the deck to the other side or rolling it around behind the deck. Really conserves energy and helps me stay motivated....Duh, right? Also got a new and better utility cart for hauling the weeds to the compost and it has made that trek no big deal any more. I’ve been pacing myself well with working in the gardens that are in the shade and taking lots of breaks and wearing my cooling vest either during or when I come sit into the shade for a break.

              And I have been really loving getting out on the trike. Up to 25-27 miles as my standard ride now. This is the earliest that I have been continually riding that many miles. I still prefer the road riding around here as it is just so much fun to ride through this beautiful farmland, and get some good hill climbing in. But this spring our beautiful Harlem Valley Rail Trail opened the new section, and it is so enticing to include part of this trail on my rides…. Helps me to get farther as it is nice and flat! I went out earlier in the season and got on the new section and just kept going until I remembered I had to go BACK! And I was laughing when I remembered this, so all good there. With this new section, I see I can easily bump up my rides to be 30 miles plus… a first for me…and with total elevation gains of around 1000 ft. Very satisfying for me. I am planning on doing our local Roe Jan Ramble in mid-September and the NYC Bike MS ride in October. It’s a great feeling to be in this good a riding shape so early. And the Tour de France starts Saturday!!!!! THAT totally motivates me, too… yes, I am a “Tour” Geek and proud of it.

              Also dropping all that Pandemic Pudge that just “showed up” during the shutdown….and the 5 lbs. of Pre-Pandemic Pudge….

              The Alinker that I bought back in the spring continues to make me very content. I’ve done more walks with friends when the weather was cooler, and while it is hard work, I am WALKING that distance. Larry, your mention of “being a better friend” with the E-bikes, also rings true for me with the Alinker (a.k.a.”Gizmo”). I’ve had some enjoyable social walks with friends, and I value these times very much. That invisible fence is down…

              I’ve been bumping up my stretching and balance checks a lot as I slacked off doing so on and off during the shutdown and I really had difficulties in the evenings at home just getting around the house. Of course, I connected via Telehealth with my PT, and we worked through this . I learned the hard way that I cannot stop EVER doing this….

              Happy to hear everyone’s progress. I read everything….I’ve just gotten slow to post!!

              And to quote Susannah, “ Happy Trails Everyone”.
              Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


              • #22
                Great to hear from everyone, definitely sounds like we're all making progress!! Suebee, congrats on mastering the MSer dismount! BTW, I will match awkward dismount technique with you any day. Perhaps we should arrange an awkward dismount competition among PWMS. I imagine there are some real cringe worthy winners out there!

                Good to hear you're starting to get out hiking again Susannah. I've been spending quite a bit of time in the mountains myself, on the bike of course, and have noticed a big increase in crowds. I'll be interested to hear how the crowds are out on the hiking trails.

                Dave, Ah, your tendency to leave us hanging, What Magazine Photo Shoot?

                Veronica, I had to laugh, the "Pandemic Pudge". I am personally familiar with the "Pandemic Pudge", the lock down version of which seems to be an uncommonly stubborn one. Good luck to both of us.

                Was forced to spend a luxurious week on a cloudy atlantic beach recently. Dodged a bullet from the 100 degree temperatures back home in favor of cooler temperatures and massive humidity. I headed straight to the mountains as soon as I got back because the heat was still on. Most of my riding has been at a higher altitude since. Wish I could say I've been climbing but seems my cardio has taken a steep dive from where I left it last year, to the extent I'm trying to get my PCP to run some tests. It's not always the MS, right?

                What I can say about riding the bike trails in the mountains is this. There is a post pandemic influx of what I call "Bike Trail Irregulars" who, to make matters worse, are on rented E-Bikes. Ah, the carnage, the inconsideration, the insanity and the profanity as another e_bike and rider hit the deck. It is a constant gauntlet of obstacles and accidents and accidents waiting to happen. It's kind of fun for a while but ultimately too wearing to do much of. Imagine you're in a video game, dodging humanoid projectiles from all directions including from behind, maneuvering past large and small somewhat stationary objects in your immediate path, constantly on guard, ready to take evasive measures at any fraction of a second, ever trying to anticipate the movements of the next hazard. Whew, yeah, it's kind of like that! Ever been passed by a small peleton of e-bikes doing 28 MPH on a mountain trail? I hope you haven't.

                YTD mile marker 998.58 (I was really trying to get to 1,000 before I wrote this) and 27,750 ft. of ascent



                • #23
                  Whoa, those are some fast e-bikes, Larry! I'm fine going a wee bit slower. Nice bike stats. Alas, I have nary a mile since my last post, as I am still recovering. Fortunately I've been able to avoid the Pandemic Pudge thus far, thanks in part to Mossa on Demand. We bought their dvds when they went off Xbox, and recently signed up for their videos. They are not MS specific, but they are hard and fun, especially the fight series (who can resist the hair-pull face-mash!). I can modify most for my wheelchair, while Laura can crank unabated. They have a free trial if anyone wants to try it out...

                  Dave Bexfield


                  • #24
                    Happy to hear you're staying active Dave although I never considered the possibility you wouldn't be. I totally understand not being able to get out on the trike. Repetitive motion injuries are not a trifling matter but I do hope things resolve soon.

                    I managed to get up the east side of Vail Pass last week, 12.5 miles from Frisco and almost 1500 ft of ascent. It was my third attempt this year and I did walk maybe 50 ft of one steep pitch. It's been a tough year for me as my fitness level has been very slow to return but perhaps I am finally making progress. So, onward and upward, getting ready to try some of the old standard rides, some of them steeper than Vail but lower elevation. Hopefully I'll be able to improve leg strength.

                    Over 1,200 miles and almost 35,000 ft of ascent YTD



                    • #25
                      Hey everyone!

                      After the first difficult backpack trip it’s been going much better. I realized it was very hot in the few days before the first trip so that’s likely why I was slow and clumsy. Cool and cloudy weather before the next trips helped me start out with more energy for sure.

                      Also I got an ultralight backpack! It weighs 2 pounds compared to the 6 pounds my last pack weighed. I have pared down my stuff so now my base pack weight is only 22 pounds (before food and water). In comparison, I recently met an 80 year old who is hiking the Colorado Trail this year. His base pack weight is only 12 pounds! That kind of lightweight gear comes with a hefty price tag though. As long as I can stay under 30 pounds the first day out with food for 5 days, I’m very happy with this weight.

                      Yes I’ve also noticed a lot of people in the mountains. Many of my go-to secret spots in the Poudre Canyon (my backyard) are inaccessible because of the Cameron fire. Because I work full time I can only go on weekends so the amount of people can get overwhelming.

                      I’m taking off a full week in August and will be on trail for 9 days and I can’t wait!!


                      • #26
                        I have read some E-bike manufacturers claim that their e-bikes are capable of 28 MPH which isn't a stretch on a downhill run in these rocky mountains. The speed isn't the problem though, it's inexperienced cyclists going faster than they should. I've lost count of the number of near death experiences I've had this year already with e-bikes on mountain trails. Oh well.

                        Susannah, If you're out, hope you're having a great time. As always, can't wait to hear about it.

                        Dave, got an ETA for your return to the trike? Do you have to crank for the power assist to work?

                        We've had some abysmal air both from the west coast forest fires and our own unique up slope air movement activity. Some days are reminiscent of Bangkok on a bad day. I don't go out on the really bad days but I might on the marginal days although I don't go far or particularly hard. Trying to consistently break 100 miles a week but not very successful yet. Heading for the mountain roads this week (not the bike trails.) Hope to pick up a little more ascent.

                        1,472 miles year to date with 42,000 ft.of ascent
                        Longest ride YTD, 46 miles
                        Most single ride ascent YTD, 2,000 ft.

                        Stay safe out there all,


                        • #27
                          Larry, as of late last month I started riding again! I discovered I still have a touch of pain when I turn right (especially on tight turns), so we maximize lefts, which has made for some interesting rides, ha. I can power the trike without cranking by pushing the throttle, but the boost generally comes on quickly when I crank, so I only have to use that feature if I'm stopped on a hill or if I had to brake quickly without downshifting.

                          And I second that Bangkok experience! Man o man can it get smoggy (and hot) there! Beijing too.

                          Laura has started riding her two-wheeler more now that I'm fast enough to keep up. My e-assist has five levels. On one she is faster, two we are about even, on three I can pull way (about 21-22 mph). I don't usually ride at a 4 unless I'm looking at a long uphill.

                          Now my biggest challenge? Not riding so much that I hurt myself again!
                          Dave Bexfield


                          • #28
                            F53C90E1-D5B4-4F38-81A7-5D2CC9DD6C36.pngSince 2004, the year after I was diagnosed with ms, I’ve been segment hiking the Continental Divide Trail through Colorado. Some years are better than others, and this was definitely one of those years!

                            This year I was dropped off at Cottonwood Pass and walked 50 miles solo over 6 days to where I was picked up at Monarch Pass. This hike was high and wild, much of it above timberline in the monsoons. It was the biggest challenge and the greatest adventure I’ve ever had!


                            My body and mind stayed (mostly) strong, but my old tent will get an upgrade next year for sure.

                            I had leg spasms only the first night, probably thanks to all the potassium and magnesium pills I popped.

                            For convenience, I brought a lot of processed and packaged food this year instead of dehydrating my own fresh food. I won’t do that again! I don’t touch the stuff at home and I didn’t feel like eating it on trail, plus it tended to sap my energy rather than fuel me.

                            As long as I keep moving I can do this! I’ve been hiking this trail for 17 years, at first running from the diagnosis, then walking slowly through the realization that ms will be with me for life. Some years I couldn’t do more than drive to the trail and wobble down it a little ways. This year I could climb mountains and I cried tears of gratitude the whole way.

                            Next year I’m headed into the San Juans, which are even bigger and wilder mountains. I’m not sure how it will go but I’ll give it my best try.

                            Happy Trails!


                            • #29
                              Wow Susannah. That is such a great accomplishment, as you well know. Kudos to you ... Such a testament of what one can accomplish with the right mindset/determination/belief. I started smiling when I read your post, and am still smiling as I type. The higher you go, the higher you go, right??? May that euphoria last a long time!
                              Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


                              • #30
                                Susannah, sounds fantastic, bad food, worn out tent, I assume it rained and no shortage of climbs and descents, as you said, the greatest adventure!!! Perfect. And I love the graph you put up there. Here's to many more trips.

                                Dave, good to see you're back on the trike, we need trike stories! Just hope the elbow stays under control. How's Laura doing now that she's having to compete with a motorized trike? No more sandbagging I guess, not that she would do that anyway. Actually, with most couples I know, if one rides an e-bike, both ride e-bikes. It only seems fair.

                                I had a hard time getting started cycling this year and I casually mentioned it to my PCP. Given my age and all, she picked up on it and suggested a stress test, after all, it's not always the MS. Well, one test led to another and I finally got to a cardiologist, who also rides bikes. Turns out he's actually a competitive cyclist who frequently podiums on the various rides we have around here. He explained the results of all the tests, said he couldn't see any problems and that I am probably in better cardiovascular shape than 90% of men my age so feel free to go out and go nuts and send him a note in a couple of months to let him know how it's going. Then he said, Hey, you want to do VO2 test? Well duh, it's only kinda like the gold standard of cardiovascular capability!!! I know I have a lousy VO2 but it'll be interesting to see where I stand relative to one I did about 10 years ago, better, worse or about the same. I love having docs with a shared interest, IE: cycling, seems they will always go a little extra for me.

                                1,792 miles
                                55,266 ft of ascent