My bike shipped out to Savannah two days ago, I fly out next Thursday, and report on Friday for the start of my third FCBA June 8. I’ll be 71 at the start of this trip. My weight has not come down from my winter gain like I was hoping --- I’ve had some trouble training hard, and I acknowledge that I’m still eating too much junk food.
Riding the Trace in early March, 400 miles in a week, was really tough for me. I had not trained enough, the weather was very cold, and we had rain, rain, and more rain. I had 7,402 biking miles last year and wondered if that alone took its toll on this geezer body. But, I kept thinking I should be riding better than I was.
A few weeks ago I was still not riding well, but nothing seemed especially wrong as I started climbing. One climb I have done in the past was only about 2 miles, but had up to an 11% grade. I had to stop to catch my breath, not just once, but 5 or 6 times. After descending this climb, we then proceeded to ride up another 6 miles, but only at 4% to 6% grades. I was able to ride this climb without too much trouble, but still not like I had done in the past.
Then a week later we set off to climb Flagstaff, about a 5 mile climb, with grades running 4% to 11%. Again, I could not maintain the climb, stopping every quarter mile or so, trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t tired, but just couldn’t catch my breath. I’ve never before been dropped riding with my geezer buddies, but this time I was about a half hour behind them reaching the top, and I missed them going back down. Now, I don't mind being dropped, but not on a ride that I have done before, and don't ever remember losing sight of everybody. So I rode back home by myself, thinking about possibilities.
After getting results from a physical in January (to make sure I was OK for this summer) including an echocardiogram, stress test, then a nuclear stress test, the doctor thought I should be on a heart medication, which I started in early February. So, after the difficult times riding I decided to see a new doctor, explained what was happening, and asked him about the new medicine I had started taking. He examined all my test results, told me diplomatically this was good medicine, but it was not letting me get enough oxygen when exercising. So, he switched medicines, and today I was able to ride some 4% to 11% grades, into head winds of up to about 35 MPH, without having to stop once. Still not riding as strong as I should, but finally starting to feel good about my climbing. My average non climbing speeds have increased also.
So, now it’s time to start packing. Yeehaw, I’m coming to you Vancouver, BC, ready or not!