Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On the road to recovery, a Day of Fixed Gear Cycling

One month and six days after my cardiac catheterization, out of control blood sugar, and almost death, I am now regularly back in the saddle. I have not had any chest pain since my stent procedure, and my blood sugar is under very tight control. I credit my survival to a 75,000+ mile history of cycling. My current low glycemic index diet has gone a long way towards righting a very wrong situation. I was cautious at first, but am now almost up to speed in terms of duration and difficulty of my rides. I hope to be ready to complete the Ride to Montauk Century  ( 100 mile ride ) on June 1st.
For today's ride, I chose the excellent Lloyd Harbor peninsula, with its low traffic volume, varied terrain, and gorgeous scenery. It was also a great opportunity to test out the latest iteration of the platformed eggbeater pedals from the Crank Brothers, the Candy #3.
This pedal replaces the Candy SL. It is nominally 6 grams heavier, but replaces the Candy SL's composite body with a more durable stainless steel one. I found the pedals smooth when cruising, and stable while climbing the 16% grade Target Rock road on my 1984 Pinarello fixie. Doing this grade on a fixed gear was another step in my recovery. I want to do all that I could before and then some.
As for the continuing bike porn..Well, I was riding alone and I am such a sucker for that stuff. Spring is still in the air. Trees were in full blossom, and the buttercups were out in force.
All in all, it was a very nice ride and day. The scenery was enchanting, I got a good workout in, and the new pedals worked out great. My recovery is on schedule. My weekend plan is to do a 40 mile moderate to hilly ride with the club on Sunday, to get in a little paceline action.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catastrophe and Opportunity

My Chinese friends tell me that in the Chinese language, the same word means both catastrophe and opportunity. Maybe this is also true in whatever curves that life throws at us. On April 7, 2013, I set out for my usual 25 mile standard training ride. I began to experience significant chest discomfort, and had to quit after about three miles of riding. To make a very long story very short, I visited a cardiologist friend the next day, who sent me directly to St. Francis hospital. While there, I had a cardiac catheterization and angiogram, which revealed a significant narrowing of a major cardiac artery. A stent was placed, and I am feeling fine at the present time. In addition, my blood sugar was wildly out of control, and needed medical intervention. I am now back on the bike and am slowly building up my stamina.

This past weekend we stayed in Montauk with close friends. Helen and I went on our standard ride from our host's house to Montauk Point. The air temperature was chilly, and the wind was from the East at about 15 MPH, but it was great to get out and ride. Our friend Scott accompanied us part of the way. It's the first time we have ever ridden with Scott in about a 30 year friendship. Along the way, we stopped in Montauk town for breakfast. I am on a self imposed low glycemic index diet, and eating in or out has presented me with a culinary challenge. Since April 8, I have not consumed white starch in any form. Maybe the silver lining is that my eating habits may be much healthier in the future, So far, so good.

As can be expected, at our midway point My daughter Nina called from Tel Aviv. We look forward to her mid July homecoming. Helen spent some time on the phone talking to her, so I got a good rest while enjoying the ocean view. Later on, we stopped at Ditch Plains to inspect the beach after the recent Hurricane damage. The beach has become much narrower, but some bold early spring surfers were out.

Maybe the opportunity here is that I now seek to control time and diet in a new way. When I can control time, my diet has been exemplary. If time controls me, than the situation deteriorates, and poor eating habits prevail. So far, I have done well and am back on the bike on a regular basis. My furthest ride has been 40 miles with no ill effects. I will go slowly in a cautious manner. Will I be able to do the 109 mile Ride to Montauk on June 1st? Stay tuned for more information.