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STAYING FIT: MSers in Training

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  • LivWell
    replied
    You've got this Larry! Where there's a will there's a way .... I believe in you. Normal is highly over-rated.

    I'm considering investing in a new bike. I gave my old Trek to my daughter. There are some interesting looking electric bikes out there that might be a better fit for me.

    How was the in-person yoga class?

    Leave a comment:


  • AMFADVENTURES
    replied
    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

    I did it. I signed up for the MS 150. Two days, 75 miles each day, up to Ft. Collins and back with what I'm sure will turn out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 ft. of ascent each way. I haven't done it in the last two years, it wasn't there to do and now I'm two years older and two years further down the MS road. Last year wasn't a stellar riding year either so I'm heading into this one somewhat the worse off. And it gets worse still, the team I used to ride on disbanded, something to do with the organizers grandchildren. And the Bullet has informed me she's out due to other obligations. So far I haven't gotten up the courage to talk to Legs about it although she'd probably be disappointed if I didn't at least ask. Two of the other guys I ride with are still in and I'm working on one or two more. I suppose there's nothing to do about it except get to it and start training - and hope they've got the SAG wagons in good shape.

    Also, I signed up for an in person yoga class at my local Y, something else that vaporized for the last two years. First session is tomorrow, I'm so excited!

    I'm more than a little worried that getting back to normal is is going to be a real bitch,

    Larry

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  • AMFADVENTURES
    replied
    Thanks Guys,

    Tried to sign up for the MS 150 today but the website must have been having Christmas traffic problems however I am going to do it next year, Im already getting some recruits to ride with. It's planned to be a 2day event up to Ft. Collins and back. Hopefully they actually get it off the ground this year. Doesn't matter anyway, I really just needed some incentive to get back on the bike. Hey Susannah, if they actually get it off, want to grab a beer? Its the weekend of June 25

    I need to tell you about the fat tire bike I rode while I was in Alaska. My daughter picked out the route, off a map. It was 11 miles and looked like it went right along the coast of the peninsula, and it kind of did stay within about 400 yards of the coastline. She thought it would be relatively flat. She was wrong, wrong, wrong! Nothing is flat up there. That whole coast sits along the "ring of Fire" which is the edge of the pacific tutonic plate which couldn't be more mashed up with steep volcanic hills and valleys and fissures and just generally couldn't be a less bike friendly terrain. Oh and of course it was raining or at least drizzling and misting the entire time. Fortunately the dirt road we were on was also volcanic and as such, it wasn't slippery, in fact the traction was almost as good as dry asphalt.

    There were 4 of us, my daughter, her fiance, my brother and me. We were on 3 mountain bikes and a fat tire bike, I had the fat tire bike. It started out OK, steep hills but short, manageable for everyone. There wasn't a flat spot anywhere, even right along the coastline the terrain was rugged, sharp peaks and valleys. Fortunately the hills were pretty short, less than 1/4 of a mile and the fat tire bike I was riding had gearing you could climb trees with. Really, the front chain ring was half of the size of the largest rear sprocket, I could spin that thing at 75 rpm and still only be doing about a mile and a half per hour.. And the fat tires, which hardly had any air pressure at all in them, were so wide the bike almost stood up by itself, almost.

    There's always that one hill though isn't' there? You know, the one that's at least a half mile long and 18 to 20 percent grade, the one my daughter and my brother had to walk up almost from the very bottom, But the fat tire bike probably had the lowest geariing of all of the bikes so as far as being able to pedal it on a 20 percent grade, I could do it. I'm sure that was the steepest hill I've ever been on. That hill was so steep that if it hadn't have been for the volcanic road surface it would not have been possible to get up it when it was wet. On mud one would just have slid right back down.

    Anyway, I got about 2/3 of the way up that hill, to the point where I could see that not much further on, the gradient started to decrease a bit. But I didn't quite get that far. When I got down to pedaling about a mile per hour, those almost flat fat tires took on a mind of their own and made a sweeping right turn and headed for the edge of the road, which wasn't exactly a cliff but close enough. There wasn't anything I could do to turn that bike back up the hill. At that slow of a speed I just didn't have any control over it. This hill was just too steep. And it was a wet dirt road. Sometimes when a sttp hill stops me, I ride back down a few yards, turn around and keep riding back up. Not this one though, the volcanic road might have great traction but it didn't hold a bike in a turn well enough to risk trying to go back down and turn around, I also thought of going all the way back down and trying it again but that hill was so steep that just looking down it was too intimidating to even try that. So I dismounted and walked up the rest of the hill with my brother and my daughter.

    Anyway, the fat tire bikes are a kick and I can see the allure of them. I can also see that just like anything else, they probably take a little time on to get proficient on, A ton of fun though.

    Larry

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  • Veronica
    replied
    Holy moly, Larry.... WTH! Glad you focused on that wonderful "med" for MS...exercise. You continue to be one of the top Role Models for how to live well and be active with this crappy disease. Totally impressed with how you approached all this, and totally impressed with the outcome. Cheering you with a beer!
    Last edited by Veronica; 12-15-2021, 08:35 PM.

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  • Susannah
    replied
    Wow! That’s some scary stuff and serious perseverance on your part. I’m so happy you’re back. I bet your brain was loving it when you could start moving again. Good lesson here. As a matter of fact I’m getting off the couch right now and going for a hike.

    Leave a comment:


  • ActiveMSers
    replied
    Whoa, Larry, crazy stuff. Take your time with the other stories! They can wait. I'm just glad you are doing better. BTW, what antibiotic were you on?

    Oh, and mmm, Cheetos....

    Leave a comment:


  • AMFADVENTURES
    replied
    Overcoming setbacks

    I know it's been a while and it's been just as long since I've been on a bike, but I've had a little setback. In early September I went to Alaska to visit my daughter. Had a great time, got to see a lot of the Alaskan coast between Anchorage and Homer. got to ride a fat tire bike most of the way up an 18 percent grade hill (more on that later) and probably took 100 pictures of the clouds that cover Denali before I finally got one of that snow covered 20,000 ft mountain peak without the cloud cover. No doubt it would have been more impressive if I'd been closer than 100 miles away at the time but alas, a landslide had covered the road to Denali and the authorities weren't inclined to do anything about it until the following spring. I suppose that's just one of those facts of life if one has to live with in the North.

    At any rate, I'd only been back a couple of weeks when a molar began acting up. Of course it started on a weekend but still I managed to get an appointment with a dentist the following Monday. The dentist thought the tooth was cracked and there was an abscess forming underneath it, however since he wasn't a tooth puller, he arranged for me to see a specialist on Thursday of the same week. Seemed like that should have been plenty soon enough except that by Tuesday the tooth was really starting to hurt. On Wednesday I called the dentist back and asked for some antibiotics which the office happily prescribed but by Wednesday night my whole jaw, face, head and throat were swelling up. On Thursday I went to see the tooth puller who took one look at me and sent me straight to the ER, bypassing the the tooth pulling chair. Overnight in the hospital on IV antibiotics and in a lot better shape the next day but the tooth pulling dentist didn't want to see me until the infection was all gone. So 2 weeks later I went back and got the tooth pulled. Life was 100 % better the very next day.

    Shortly after all of the infection and tooth pain subsided I started noticing that my balance was quite a bit worse than normal - and it wasn't too good to begin with. And I was also getting easily confused, as in driving to an appointment somewhere I'd been many times before and finding myself getting lost on the way. I spent the next several weeks with catch up dental work that I'd put off during the year and a half of Covid, but I missed a couple of appointments because, although I'd written them down and looked at them before I went, I somehow managed to misinterpret what I'd written. Although I hadn't fallen during that time, I was afraid to get on the bike for fear of becoming disoriented or losing my balance should some unpredictable situation arise. Perhaps I should have called my doc but I didn't realize until later exactly how disoriented I really was, and I doubt there is anything the doc could have done anyway short of having me committed for my own good. Finally about 3 weeks ago, I got back to the club and started doing weight and elliptical workouts.

    The weight and elliptical workouts worked and my balance began to improve and I started to snap out of my disoriented state. A couple of days ago I got back on the bike and was very pleased to find I could still do it and in fact, it was just like riding a bicycle. In hind sight, that whole episode was very scary and I had begun to doubt my chances of recovery. But you know, once again, as has happened so many times in my life, exercise came to the rescue and pulled me out of some shit pit I'd managed to get into. It is quite remarkable and it can't be over emphasized, the healing power exercise has over the human body.

    This is getting too long and I hear a glass of wine calling my name so I'll have to owe you a little story about the fat tire bike and I owe Dave a recounting of the VO2 max test I took, the measurement units of which probably can not be pronounced with a mouthful of Cheetos.

    Glad to be back one more time,
    Larry

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  • ActiveMSers
    replied
    It's been beyond quiet over here, and I'm partly to blame! I've been busy exercising pretty much daily, my bike is all fixed up, and fun has been a priority. I've been cranking up my stretching and leg exercises which I've let languish a bit too much in recent months. Hope everyone else is hanging in there as we approach the holidays!

    Leave a comment:


  • ActiveMSers
    replied
    So Laura is now back to riding her mountain bike instead of my old trike, as it is both faster and drives up her HR easier. BUT now she is leaving me in the dust temporarily. The reason? I managed to the damage my shifter because I'm a klutz. And by "damage" I mean break. The upshift doesn't work without serious massaging; I can only downshift. So I essentially have ONE gear until it is fixed. A problem with any bike, including e-bikes. I picked something in the middle, meaning I can still crank without boost, but it's hard. With boost on level one, cranking becomes pretty easy, but not so easy that I just spin (unless going downhill).

    Long story short, my rides the last couple of weeks have been relatively short and flat. Thankfully, all gets fixed Monday! Hopefully.

    Susannah, what a recap! Larry, what's your VO2 Max??

    Leave a comment:


  • AMFADVENTURES
    replied
    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.

    YTD
    1,792 miles
    55,266 ft of ascent

    Larry

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  • Veronica
    replied
    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!

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  • Susannah
    replied
    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!

    Learnings:

    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • ActiveMSers
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • AMFADVENTURES
    replied
    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,
    Larry

    Leave a comment:


  • Susannah
    replied
    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!!

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