About the middle of last week I had a gout flare-up again, it started slow.  The next day I got quite ill and that was compounded by the medicine I take for gout upsetting my digestive system.

I missed a little work.  I skipped meal tracking and weighing for a few days.  I wasn’t worried, as I usually eat less and lose a little weight when I’m sick.  That wasn’t the case this time.

I’m back to tracking again, but I gained a few pounds.  <shrug>

Although the illness has passed, the gout has not.  In the past it’s been my left foot.  This time it’s the right foot.  Today was especially bad.  There are quite a few stairs at work, and that’s just no fun.  I’ll work from home tomorrow so I won’t need to walk much.

The Long Backward Slide

This site has been around since late 2007, as that’s when I began my weight loss.  I started posting pictures of myself in my underwear to show progress and humiliate myself into working at it.

November 2007, roughly 300 pounds.
November 2007, roughly 300 pounds.

That weight loss attempt was successful.  In a bit over a year, February 2009, I had lost about 100 pounds, or 1/3 my weight.

February 2009, about 200 pounds
February 2009, about 200 pounds

For about two years, I maintained the weight.  I felt good.  I rode my bicycles thousands of miles per year.

Eventually the old habits came back, along with a new one, too much beer.

I quit weighing myself regularly.  My bicycle rides got shorter.  I quit taking the pictures.  It’s quite frustrating to find myself back at 300 pounds, right where I started.

January 2020, about 300 pounds
January 2020, about 300 pounds

The above picture was taken today.  This morning’s weight was 299.2.  I’m more than 12 years older than when the 2007 picture was taken.  The extra weight hurts.  This is why I’m back at this instead of waiting another decade when it’ll be even harder to lose weight.


I had a wake-up moment.  Luckily it’s not my heart.

In the last week I had two trips to the ER and a third trip planned ahead for hospitalization and a minor procedure.  Why?

Kidney stone.  They HURT.

This, more than anything is making me change my ways.  Much more is coming.  I don’t think I have readers anymore, but I’m gonna write anyway.

Gout Sucks

As part of my weight gain, I’ve become acquainted with gout.  It’s an extremely painful inflammation of a joint (usually a big toe) due to uric acid build-up.

I seem to suffer from (usually) brief flare-ups that keep me off my feet as much as possible.  My doctor prescribed a medicine to take for the next flare-up, but I decided against filling it due to cost.  Much to my disappointment, I immediately had another flare-up.

I’m fighting this flare-up with a large dose of Naproxen (cheap!), lots of water, and less beer.  I also found that one of those vibrating massagers placed on my foot can help.  This might be the shortest flare-up yet.  It kept me awake for most of one night, but has been much better since.

Prevention is still best.  I’m taking a supplement that is supposed to keep uric acid levels lower.  I’m drinking more water.  I’ve cut back on beer, sugar, and a few other things that are known to cause gout flare-ups.  Also, I’ll be giving up alcohol for the month of January.  Losing 40 or more pounds would also be extremely helpful.

I am going out drinking tonight.  I’ll be safe, and try to stay hydrated.  I’m going to spend the next two nights celebrating the end of the messed-up year.

Three-Day Weekend Fun


Tim and I met up at Breadworks, as usual, on Saturday morning for an urban spin.  The ride was pleasant, but it’s really the only kind of riding we’ve been doing recently.  We schemed to do something about that.

He did play a game of Spot the Turkey at my expense, but that’s how we roll sometimes.  If you follow that link, you’ll see that I’ve gained some weight.  More on that later.

I was up quite early Saturday morning.  Diane and I bike-pooled to her work on the tandem.  Then I rode home to grab my rSogn to meet Tim for the morning ride.

After the ride, I went back, grabbed the tandem, and took it to the shop for some minor repair.  I then picked Diane up and headed home.

Later, Diane and I rode the tandem again, this time across the newly-opened Big Four Bridge.  We checked out a burger & beer place in Jeffersonville before riding back home.  The Big Four Bridge has no car traffic, but the crowds of pedestrians made this a walking-speed ride.


Diane was on her own on getting to work.  I had other plans.  I had the rSogn packed and ready to go when Tim pulled up in his car with his Atlantis on the rack.  We loaded my bike and headed for New Washington Indiana.

Tim and I have ridden the New Washington area before.  It’s got enough hills to be interesting, but it’s not brutal.  It has enough gravel to add texture to the ride.  It’s low-traffic and our Sunday morning began with beautiful weather.

Tim likes his beach sunglasses

Much of the route was wide-open farmland.


Some of it was a bit more forested.


We had navigation issues.  Tim used his Edge GPS, which isn’t meant for routing.  I didn’t have the route, and my GPS was at home with a broken mount.  We meandered in the general direction, but managed to make a wrong turn on to a long dead-end road.  It wasn’t wasted.  It was one of the better roads on the ride.

We had planned a reasonable 35 miles, as both of us are out of shape.  At 20 miles I was done.  My right ankle is still weak.  The ankle kept trying to turn while pedaling.  It was painful, but I managed the last eight miles back to the car.

Tim wrote his piece here.

After I was home, I still had a few errands to run.  I was extremely slow on the bike, but I managed without injury.


Monday, being Memorial Day here in the States, brings various celebrations.  Louisville has the Mayor’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle.  I had already planned to ride this on the tandem with Diane, but Asher contacted me about riding with him and Denis on their tandem.  Tom and Jen joined us on their Rans Screamer (tandem recumbent) – and it was a party.

Asher and Denis in matching jerseys

There was a huge variety of bicycles to see.  John brought his velomobile – probably the only one in Louisville.

John and his velo

There were a few ‘bents, and a few tandems, but I only saw one tandem ‘bent: Tom and Jen’s.

Rans Screamer

The first part of the ride was very crowded.  I spent most of that time at a walking pace in close quarters.  That’s a bit of a challenge with a tandem among wobbly children.

Tandems everywhere!

At one point Denis, started a water fight with me.  I retaliated with my water bottle.  Diane ended it by dumping water on me.  It was already unfair – Denis, Asher’s stoker attacked me, the captain.  He had his hands free to aim.  I had to steer.  Then my own stoker turned against me.  All is fair in love, tandems, and water fights.  I did get the last squirt in later in the ride.  I zoomed past Asher and Denis’s tandem, drenching the surprised Denis along the way.

I have recently put a new saddle on the tandem.  I hate it.  I think I’ll be changing back to the old one.  I was rather sore by the end of the ride.  The six of us had a meal and beer at Against the Grain before going our own way.


Over those three days, I rode 104 miles.  I’ve certainly done more, but not recently.  I’m out of shape and too fat.  I went to work today by car.  I was really sore.  I left early due to a massive headache.  I’m slightly sunburned.  I guess I need to work on my physical well-being.

Peeved and Sore

I had a minor incident while riding my bike home from work today.  A woman stopped at a stop sign, but started again without yielding to traffic (me).  I was moving at a decent clip on the Big Dummy.

The Big Dummy has excellent brakes.  I think I (barely) missed her car, maybe I grazed it.  The panic braking would have been fine on a four-wheeled vehicle, but the swerve and braking led to me hitting the pavement.

The woman stopped, but was nasty and complaining.  She tried to blame it on me.  I didn’t have a stop sign.  She did.  I called the police.  They weren’t much better.  They refused to take a report.  One officer said “I’m sorry you fell off your bike“.  They never checked her registration, insurance, or license.

The bike has some scuffs, it’s just cosmetic.  My hands and left elbow had road grit embedded in them.  My left knee got a little scraped through my pants.  That’s all pretty minor, and I really don’t even feel it now.

My left shoulder is another story.  I have a deep ache in that shoulder and arm.  This is not the right should that I’ve struggled with.  This is my left shoulder.  It’s been fine, until this afternoon.

I wrote a complaint to LMPD for the poor service I got from one of their officers.   I hope they follow-up with it, but I’m not hopeful.

So, I had a crappy evening.  I’m hoping the shoulder is feeling well enough to ride to work again tomorrow.

Atrophied Cankle in the Rain

Tim and I had planned a 7:00am ride for this morning.  At 6:30 a storm with heavy rain and lightning was moving through.  We made the decision to wait it out.  By 7:00, things had settled down, and I headed out in the rain (by then, just a drizzle) to meet up for the ride.

I took the more direct, but hillier, route along Eastern Parkway.  My loss of fitness was obvious.  I was terribly slow up the hills.

My right ankle swells up frequently.  I call it a cankle.  The calf-portion of the cankle has atrophied due to the achilles tendon not being connected to the foot for a while – then not walking on it – and finally walking carefully on it with a limp.  So, I have an atrophied cankle, and I took it out in the rain.

It was about 65F degrees.  I dressed in shorts and short sleeves.  That was probably under-dressing considering the rain.

Tim and I headed around some neighborhoods to warm up before hitting the hills.  I had already warmed up on Eastern Parkway, but I was glad to tone it down a bit.

The hilly roads in the park are a lot of fun.  I had to ride the brakes a lot to dry them while descending into a curve, but it’s all part of the fun.  There were no accidents or almost-accidents.  I am a bit out of practice with fast riding in the rain.

During the ride we had two downpours.  One of those times included a little lightning and thunder.  It passed.  We looped through St. Matthews, Mockingbird Valley, and Indian Hills before heading back to Breadworks for coffee.

I stayed warm during the ride.  I think the effort I was putting into keeping up with Tim kept me warm.

We arrived at Breakworks much drier.  The rain had let up.  We each had coffee and a snack before going our own way.

The ride home was cold.  I had sat, cooling off, at Breadworks.  My top speed for the day was also in the stretch home.

I got home with 31 miles on the odometer.  I took a warm shower, poured another cup of coffee and sat on the front porch with the dogs for a while.

This has been a good start for the day.

Hospital Stay

This hospital stay is much different than the last one.  This one was planned.  The last one began with a trip to the E.R.  This one I went in feeling decent.  The last one I went in with excruciating pain.

I arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for the 7:30am surgery.  They had me undress, prepped me, and shaved my right leg.  They asked the same questions several times – in several different ways.  They stuck an I.V. in my right arm.

They took me back to do a nerve block.  This involved sticking a needle, guided my ultrasound, into the back of my right knee.  I did not like this idea one bit as I would be awake for this part.  It would ease pain post-op though.

They gave me some drugs to relax me.  I spoke to my doctor who said we’d talk more in the O.R. before starting surgery.  That never happened.  I fell asleep before the nerve block.  I woke up after surgery in the recovery room.

During the time I was out they did the nerve block, flipped me over, put me to sleep even better, intubated me, flipped me over again, fixed my achilles tendon, and put a splint on my lower leg and ankle.

I woke up in the recovery room.  It was a peaceful waking.  My thoughts weren’t clear.  My memory was foggy.  I had trouble staying awake for more than two minutes.  No matter, I was whisked to my room, where Diane was waiting.

There’s a dry-erase board in my room with Plan of Care

  • Pain Control
  • Fluids
  • Mobility

I wasn’t in severe pain when I woke up.  I was uncomfortable, but the nerve block was doing it’s job.  They gave me an anti-nausea medication and something for pain.  I had trouble staying awake.  Water and light food was pushed at me.  I had trouble keeping it down, but did manage.

Just a few hours after surgery the PT girls* showed up.  It was mostly to figure out how I can walk while I heal.  I now have a walker.  It’s easier to use than crutches, but it’s slightly embarrassing.

The PT girls will be back today to teach me to navigate stairs.

After my rather short PT session I was quite awake.  My appetite was back.  I started drinking copious amounts of water.  I was feeling better.

A couple of hours after that the nerve block began to wear off.  Ouch.  Surgery is painful.  I’ve been alternating between Percocet and morphine.  The Percocet takes the edge off the pain.  I’ve found the morphine to just make me feel weird and somewhat sleepy.


I had a lousy night’s sleep mostly due to the pain.  Diane insisted on staying with me the whole time.  She fell asleep early on the small couch in the room.  She did crawl into the tiny hospital bed with me briefly.  It’s just too small.

I’m supposed to be discharged today.  I’m still waiting to see my doctor.  I don’t know how things will play out.

I am to put NO weight on my bad leg for a while.  This is going to be difficult.  Even once I get home, I’ll spend a lot of time in bed.  My Kindle should keep me from being too bored.

Therapy has not yet begun.  I have no idea before I can walk without a walker, ride a bike, or climb stairs.  This sucks, but I’m going to follow doctor’s orders.  I want this to heal properly so I don’t have to worry about it again.

*PT girls are the Physical Therapists.  No, they don’t work at PT’s, which is just a few blocks from here.

Back on Two Wheels

I was out sick from work on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  By Thursday evening (last night), I was itching to get back on a bike – it had been a week.

I wasn’t up for distance.  I needed a bag of coffee, so Diane and and I took the tandem to Sunergos and grabbed some coffee.  Later, after dinner, we went to Four Pegs for a beer.

I’m back at work today.  I rode the Fargo.  The rSogn needs the rear wheel trued.  I’m still sick, but things are improving.

Sick Day

I’m still sick today.  I stayed home from work and skipped volleyball.  Diane had to work so I spent most of the day in the company of the dogs and my Kindle.  I didn’t leave the house.

Since getting sick, I haven’t been drinking beer (other than the partial one in Michigan City that I couldn’t finish).  This has made me re-think my dietary choices.  I need to lose weight.  I need to get fitter.  I intend to race Gravel Grovel in November.

If I could drop under 200 lbs sometime next year, and ride six centuries… that would make up for a lot.

Apple Cider Century – DNS

What’s worse than a DNF (Did not finish)?  A DNS (Did not start).

Today was the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks Michigan.  Diane and I drove up on Friday afternoon, with my rSogn, and the tandem strapped to the back of the car.  I had removed the wheels from the bikes to have less of a weight load on the trunk-mounted rack.


It looks bad, but we had no problems with this setup, even at freeway speeds.

As I posted before, I wasn’t feeling well, but I assumed it would pass.  My sore throat continued to get worse.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday night in Michigan City, Indiana.  We carried the two wheel-less bikes upstairs to our second-floor room, and I promptly felt quite ill from that little bit of exertion.

The night became a bit of a blur after that.  I was too sick to eat or drink.  I felt feverish and really couldn’t swallow.  I slept poorly – hoping that I’d recover before Sunday morning.

Saturday morning was still quite bad.  I got up just so I could force some breakfast and coffee down.  I couldn’t talk without extreme pain.  I went to an urgent care clinic – replete with an annoying couple from Italy via Chicago who were arguing about paying the $75 fee instead of the $50 fee.

After a quick strep test (negative), I was sent on my way with the advice to take acetaminophen and gargle with saltwater.

We stopped to buy acetaminophen, salt, and soup (the only thing I could really eat), and went back to the hotel.  Diane went out on her own while I tried to nap some more.

Part of the point of this trip was to meet some people I’ve been talking to online on Google Plus.  So this was supposed to be a HIRL (Hangout In Real Life) – along with a 100-mile bike ride.

Jin, one of those people sent me a message, wondering where I was.  She was in Three Oaks at Journeyman Distillery.  Once Diane got back, we headed to Three Oaks.  Jin had left the distillery, and I don’t know where she went off to.

Diane had never seen Lake Michigan (or any of the Great Lakes for that matter), so we drove to New Buffalo and spent some time on the beach.  I really couldn’t talk, and the water was a bit cold, so I just laid in the sand next to Diane for a while.  It was pleasant.

Getting the feet wet

They may not be visible in these pictures, but there were quite a few others at the beach.

Lake Michigan on a calm day

When we left New Buffalo and headed back to Michigan City, I took an alternate route.  I’m glad I did, as we ran across Shoreline Brewery.  I drank less than a beer (Diane finished it) and I only ate french onion soup, but it was all quite good.

Saturday night’s sleep was only marginally better than Friday’s.  It had rained overnight, but appears weather cleared for the Century.  After fortifying ourselves with coffee and waffles, we packed the car, and headed home.

Much of the drive home was uncomfortable.  I couldn’t swallow or talk.  When we got near Indianapolis, I was feeling well enough to eat something soft, so I had an omelette at Waffle House.  More coffee kept me moving.

We arrived home and unpacked the car.  I immediately laid down and tried to nap.

Throughout all of this, Diane has taken care of me and been understanding of how I feel.  She didn’t tease me, or get angry that I wasted the time and money on this trip, only to bail on the ride.

I’m most upset that I didn’t get to meet those from Google Plus.  Some changes I’m making in my life mean I’m leaving that social networking site.  I’ll stick with this blog and email as my online presence.  I don’t want to spend extra energy on more.

Century on Sunday?

I’ve been signed up to ride the Apple Cider Century in southwest Michigan for months.  I booked a hotel room last week.

I’m not too worried about the fact I’m out of shape.  I’ve done 70 miles recently, I don’t think 100 will be too much of a stretch.

Diane and I are planning on bring my bike (for the century) and the tandem (for toodling around on Saturday).

The last two days have been hell.  I’ve had a low-grade illness of some sort.  My neck flared up again.  I’ve been stressed and depressed.

I’ve not cancelled yet.  I may, or I may not.  We’ll see.


On Monday I ended my post with “We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”  It brought a massive headache.  My neck is having a minor flare-up, and the muscles were so tight that it was pulling my head, causing a severe headache.  I didn’t go to work.

Wednesday morning was much better.  I rode the recumbent to work.  I’ve considered commuting on that bike a pain, because I don’t generally wear “street” clothes on it.  Pants can get greasy on the long chain.  I used two small straps to hold my pant leg, and it worked.  I arrived at work grease-free.  I didn’t have to bother with changing clothes.

After work, I went out to eat and drink with my daughter.  It was totally against the diet, but it was good talking to her.

I overdid it.  I woke up this morning dehydrated and sore.  I spent the money to take a cab to work.  I walked to Car-Free Happy Hour after work.  Another attendee took me home afterword.

I limited my beer consumption tonight.  I need to ride tomorrow.

Writing Problems

I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been busy during my good times and depressed during the bad times.

A week ago (last Saturday) I rode 41 miles on the rSogn, and was so stiff and sore that I didn’t leave the house on Sunday.

I rode the ‘bent to work, on errands, and to Car-Free Happy Hour last week.  This included one day with a winter weather advisory.  I probably should have ridden the Fargo with studded tires, but I didn’t.  I had no issues with the roads, but as I pulled into work, the bike slipped out from under me on an icy spot.  I went down in front of three co-workers.  I wasn’t injured, but it was embarrassing.

I was on a ride this morning with Tim and Asher.  I was on the rSogn again.  30 miles into the ride, I called it quits and turned for home.  I ended the day with less than 37 miles.  I’m stiff and sore again.

The rSogn isn’t the issue.  My body is the issue.  I’m having a low-grade flare-up of my neck and shoulders again.  Riding a drop-bar road bike aggravates it.  Maybe I should stay off that bike until the flare-up is over.

I’m planning on going out again tomorrow morning, but I haven’t decided which bike to ride.

As I said earlier, I’ve been busy.  Work is busy in a good way.  Other things in life are busy in a “not so good” way.  I’ve fallen behind on things I need to get done.  This has caused me to write here less often.

When I’m being lazy and not working on such things, it’s often because I’m depressed.  I have trouble writing when I’m depressed.  Okay… not entirely true.  I could write 300 pages of sad-sack shit that nobody wants to read.  I’ll spare you that.


I’m racing the Gravel Grovel this Saturday.  I know I’ll suffer, but I’ll hate myself and sink into depression if I don’t do it.  I’ll be joined by Asher and Timothy because misery loves company.

I did spend good money to buy an appropriate bike, the Fargo, for this race.  I paid the registration fee.  I bought shoe covers to keep my feet warm.  I have to race.

I’ve been without beer or junk food since Friday.  My mood is improved, but I don’t know how long-lasting that will be.

I’ve had muscle aches in my legs for months now.  They disappeared today.  I have no idea what’s going on there.  I hope they stay gone.  I still have the normal neck/shoulder mess going on, but that’s not going to go away.

I reserved a hotel room in Bedford Indiana.  I’m riding with Timothy, and he wants to drive up the night before.  This should hopefully allow me to arrive at the race well-rested.

I need to take the Fargo out for a last-minute ride on Thanksgiving to make sure everything is ready.

I consider this race as the kick-off to focusing on my health and fitness again.  I did well in 2007 and 2008.  I did a ton of riding in 2009 and 2010.  2011 saw my first neck issues, but the riding was still good.  2012 has been poor.  I’ve drank too much, ate too much, rode less, had physical and mental issues to deal with.  I put too many things at a higher priority than my fitness, yet being healthy should be my primary goal.

I’m not waiting for the new year.  January first is just another arbitrary date.  I’m starting now.

Pain and Stupidity

I’ve had recent flare-up of neck, shoulder, and back pain.  Just for added giggles my wrists have been very painful too.  I don’t know why this is happening, but it’s really poor timing as I’m about a week and a half away from racing Gravel Grovel, and I really haven’t done any training.

Today I remembered that my doctor told me to take naproxen daily to help with this.  I did for a while, then basically forgot about it.  Even with the pain returning, it didn’t jog my memory until today.

So, I took the pills again a little bit ago.  I wonder how much training time I missed due to my forgetfulness.  I hope they work well enough.

My Neck and Bicycling

I pretty much couldn’t ride a drop-bar bike earlier this year due to my neck flaring up.  I initially though that the painful situation I was in was permanent.  It wasn’t.  My neck has slowly improved.  It still hurts sometimes and is almost always stiff.

In any case, I can ride a drop-bar bike when I’m not having a flare-up.  I had put the upright “city bars” on the single-speed, but I really don’t care for them.  I’ll be switching that bike back to drop bars, and replacing the messed up crankset.

The new Salsa Fargo that I pick up soon has Woodchipper bars, which are shallow drops that are flared outward.  I’ll probably stick with those bars unless they just kill me.

The cheap hybrid?  I’m giving that to my daughter.  She needs transportation.  Her boyfriend’s car broke down, and has been sold.  He had an old bike that I fixed up to rideable condition.  I no longer need the hybrid, and it’ll fit Dawn, so it’s hers.

I still have my recumbent, which is the best bike for my neck.  I also have the Big Dummy, which in addition to hauling cargo, is pretty easy on my neck.

So, I’ll have four bikes to ride, two of which I’ll be able to ride during a neck flare-up.  That’ll do.

Mixed Feelings

I’ve been a little sick for over a week.  I didn’t feel up to riding to work today, so Robin drove me.  I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment for today.  Then I realized I had no bike to get there.

I took a bus from work to the doctor’s office without much problem.  The doctor said I have a minor virus and that it’ll pass.  He sent me on my way.

I didn’t feel like taking another bus.  It would take longer than walking.  It was only two miles from home.  So, I lugged my laptop home in the 94 degree temperatures.  It wasn’t a big deal.

The doctor talked to me about my weight.  I’ve gained since my last visit.  I’ve justified my lifestyle.  I’ve promised to do better.  Months have gone by since I knew this was an issue yet I have yet to actually do anything about it.

My bike miles are way down.  I ride slower when I do ride.  I seldom do long rides.  I’m not in as good of shape as I was.

Some of this was precipitated by my neck issue cutting into the long rides.  I have less fun on the recumbent, but am perfectly comfortable with it.

I bought the new bike two be able to do the gravel rides with friends, but I’m beginning to think that neither I, nor the bike, are prepared for that.  I’m wishing I hadn’t spent the money on it.

I don’t have answers yet.  I don’t know how to motivate myself to get in better shape again. I need to figure it out.

Canoe Comedy

I’m a member of the Louisville Ski Club.  My volleyball league is part of that.  Yesterday was the annual canoe trip.

I had last been in a canoe in April 2010 on my North Carolina vacation.  It was on the New River near Boone, NC, and was pretty sedate.  The biggest hazards were minor rapids over rocky shallow spots.  We kept the canoe upright and it was fun, possibly even a bit boring.

Yesterday’s trip was a 12-mile trip on Elkhorn Creek near Frankfort KY.  This trip has been scheduled for months, and with the drought we were wondering if the creek would be passable.  The recent rains over the last few weeks solved that.  The creek was fairly high and running swiftly.

The trip was from Canoe Kentucky.  They had a macaw with quite a personality.

You lookin’ at me?

I had brought a ziplock bag with me to keep my phone and other stuff in.  It worked well enough last time, and I didn’t plan on getting wet.  The store sold small waterproof boxes.  One that would fit my phone was $12.  That turned out to be a wise investment.

They bused us six miles upstream, so the halfway point would be back at Canoe Kentucky.  This allows a 12-mile ride on Elkhorn Creek without having to worry about the dam in Frankfort, or where the creek ends at the Kentucky River.

Neither Robin or I are expert canoeists.  She’s been out more than me, so she was captain, at the rear of the boat.

Canoes on Elkhorn Creek

There were 22 of us on the trip from the Ski Club.  I think it was ten canoes and two kayaks.

Once the water got rough, my phone was safely locked in the box, and I didn’t take more pictures until after the trip.

This was the couple we car-pooled with.

The water got rough where the creek got very shallow and rocky.  I’m not entirely sure how, but we ended up sideways and I fell out of the canoe.  The safety video tells you to fall upstream so the canoe doesn’t run you over.  I don’t know how they plan such things.  I, of course, was downstream from the canoe.

It was shallow water, but the current was strong.  I was unable to stand, and the canoe (with Robin still in it) was attempting to go over me.  The water was too shallow for that.  I grabbed the canoe, which had the unintended consequence of dumping Robin into the water with me.

The much lighter canoe then passed over us.  It, our paddles, cooler, drinks, snacks, and Robin’s life-vest continued downstream without us.  I was wearing my life vest, but the water was quite shallow.  We were able to stand up in the mid-calf deep water, but walking to shore wasn’t feasible.  I was already hurting from the rocks I had bounced against.

Robin insisted we float downstream.  I balked.  She took off without me and seemed to have no issues catching up with the group ahead that was gathering our stuff.

I allowed myself to float.  The rocks were painful, but only continued for a dozen feet for so before I was in deeper water.

The current didn’t quite take me the same direction as Robin.  She ended up on the right bank where others were.  The water wasn’t deep there.  I ended up heading toward the left bank, which was much deeper and had a large bushy tree hanging into the water.  It was dense enough to be impassible, and probably continued to far into the water to go under it.

As I approached the tree, I grabbed for a larger branch to support the force of the current.  I didn’t want to get pushed into the tree.  It was covered in thorns.  I was trying to figure out how to get myself out of the predicament, when a more skilled guy on a kayak made his way over and had me grab the front of his kayak, and he pulled me away from the tree and to shallower water.

Now we re-grouped.  We had retained most of our canned beverages.  The fried chicken was still sealed in it’s container.  Our phones were dry in their boxes.  Nothing was lost other than some of the beverages and all of our ice.  We were both beat up and had sore spots, but nothing major was bleeding.  We continued on.

There were many islands in the creek.  These narrower spots caused greater flow and issues with trees at the edge.  We had a number of close-calls and a few collisions.

We eventually made it to the halfway point, where I ran back to the car to grab our chips that were forgotten the first time.

Some of our crew, back at Canoe Kentucky – the halfway point

We continued on.  I was half tempted to sit out the rest of the trip, but that would have left Robin without a canoe partner.

Some more in our group – turned around backwards – oops

At some point we dumped a second time.  I don’t remember the details.  It was deep enough that I didn’t hit rocks.  We had our cooler bungied in this time, and lost nothing.

We approached a narrow spot.  There were too many canoes bunched up.  We backed off to let the group in front go first.  They had a few issues, but made it through.  We did not.  We ran directly into a tree at the water’s edge.  It was a hard impact and I slid off the seat on to the bottom of the canoe.  The front of the canoe went downward and we took in a bunch of water, swamping us, but we didn’t tip.  We managed to paddle (half sunk) to the other shore to empty out.  Before we got out of the canoe, another group came through and collided.  Multiple canoes hit us, but we were in very shallow water.  Once the group was past, we dumped the water and continued.  Somewhere in that mess I lost my towel, which was already soaking wet.  No big loss.

We came across another rough spot and tangled with a tree.  Me managed to lose one of our paddles.  We didn’t dump however.  Another couple of guys in our group (Dave and Pat) dumped and lost a paddle and a cooler.  We were fighting to regain control at the time, and continued our way downstream a bit.  We eventually got to shore where our paddle was returned to us.  I had Dave and Pat’s lost paddle.  We also grabbed their cooler.

We kept waiting for them to come downstream, but there was no sign of them.  I eventually walked upstream (luckily it was an easy climb up to a road in that spot) and found them.

Pat had lost his glasses.  Their canoe was trapped under a log.  The current was strong and I really didn’t think we’d get the canoe out.  The three of us were able to get the canoe free, which then led to us trying to control a sunken canoe in fast current.  We managed, and I gave them their missing paddle.  I walked back to our landing spot and we continued on.

It was pretty calm after that.  Our take-out spot was right after the US127 bridge.  We stopped just before the bridge where there was a nice place to eat and swim.  We talked with others in the group and enjoyed our snack.

After a bit, it was time to go.  Robin and I got back in the canoe and headed downstream.  The water was deep here.  It seemed the current was faster than it should have been.  We could see the take-out spot.  I complained that “of course the take out is in heavy current”. I had barely gotten that complaint out when, for no apparent reason, the canoe flipped, dumping us both in the water.

Robin wasn’t wearing her life vest (again).  I was wearing mine, but apparently it wasn’t tight enough, as it moved upward on me, cutting of my vision.  She struggled because her footwear – crocs (poor choice) slid up on her ankles, making it difficult to swim.  She was some distance from the canoe.  I was holding on to it.  Her life vest was right there in front of me.  I intended to throw it to her, but she had fastened it to the cooler, and I couldn’t get it free.

I saw one of my sandals floating (also a poor choice of footwear), and I threw it in the half-swamped canoe.  Robin was making progress toward the canoe.  We were both trying to get to the left bank, as that’s where the take-out was.

She reached the canoe, and we both swam toward shore, speeding up our glacial progress.  Amazingly, we made it to the take-out before getting carried downstream.

Robin lost her towel and a visor she had been wearing.  I (amazingly) still had both sandals.  We still had our phones and keys, and they were dry.

We were both grumpy and glad to be done with the trip.  Canoeing with someone can be stressful, much like tandem bike riding.

It also turned out to be more dangerous than I thought it would be.  On an average bike ride, I don’t crash, fall over, or collide with stationary objects.  We flipped three times and swamped the canoe once.  We collided with trees, other canoes, and one kayak (but the kayak wasn’t stationary, and it was her fault).

The two guys with the stuck canoe really scared me.  If that had been a person rather than a canoe, they would have died.  There really was no way out.

As far as the flip right at the end… The other canoeists complained about the current there, and one even said they almost flipped.  It looked calm, but there must be monsters (trolls?) under that bridge the get enjoyment from rolling canoes over.

I think my future paddling adventures will be on calmer water until I learn more.

We survived it – bus ride back

Once I was home, I went to bed early and slept for 13 hours.  Canoeing didn’t seem strenuous.  I think the stress did me in as much as anything else.

This morning I woke up quite sore.  I have a banged and scraped knee.  My right hand at the base of the thumb has a deep, painful bruise.  I have a scraped ankle, sore spots on my feet, and a scrape on my ass.

I’m still better off than Robin.  She has at least as many bumps and scrapes as I do.  She also hurt her finger.  It may be broken.  It was quite swollen today.  I helped her cut a ring off that was constricting the swollen finger.  She hated to lose the ring, but it’s better than losing a finger.

I think Robin and I learned things about each other too.  Neither of us behaved that well to each other under stress.  Does that mean we avoid canoeing together?  Do we work on technique?  I don’t know.  I’ll have to discuss it with her once she’s willing.

30 Days of Biking – Day 11

I didn’t ride to work today, Robin drove me.  I slept poorly and woke feeling bad.  I did get a half mile in after work, but that was mostly so I could say I was on the bike.

I accidently left my refrigerator unplugged overnight and all day today.  I threw away a few things, but there wasn’t much in there anyway.

I’m in a mental funk.  I haven’t eaten poorly today, but my trip to Four Pegs last night was a bad idea.  I ate dinner with Robin tonight, and I helped cook.  Now I’m back home and still feeling down.

I think my blog issues are solved.  I’m going to give it a few more days before calling it a success.

My neck continues to improve.  It’s a gradual change.  It still hurts, but my range-of-motion is better.  It doesn’t hurt to ride a bike, even with drop bars.

It annoys me to no end that I had to sell bikes to pay taxes.  Tim and Timothy rode a hilly 62 miles today.  I could have probably gotten the day off work and joined them, but I don’t have a bike that fits that kind of riding.  It would have been possible on the recumbent, but not ideal.  I know there’s a new bike in my future, when I can afford it.

More Riding and Some Weights

The week started off poorly.  I overate and took the bus to work and back on Monday and Tuesday.

Kristy, my ex-wife, recently joined a gym, and wanted a workout partner early Wednesday morning.  She understandably didn’t want to drive the ten miles to pick me up, ten miles back, then do it all over again to take me home.  40 miles uses gas and time.

She suggested I ride out to the gym to meet her on the folding bike, then she could give me a ride to work.  I scrambled to get the bike back from my daughter, who hasn’t been riding it recently.  After tuning it and taking care of the neglect it had suffered, I packed it for the next morning.  I used my large Arkel touring bags on the tiny bike.  Not only are they the only bags I can make fit on the tiny rack, but I needed the storage capacity for clothing and commuting stuff.  The bags are so large on the bike that I have to be careful to avoid leaning too much on turns or the bags rub the ground.

The ride was uneventful, which surprised me on Taylorsville Rd on a Wednesday morning.

After seeing the gym and signing in, I changed in the locker room and met Kristy by the weight machines.  I demonstrated how to use them and got a workout myself.  I may have overdone it on the machine that works the abs, I still hurt.

Overall the workout felt good, but it did aggravate my neck and shoulder.  I need to build strength in that area.  Riding the folding bike didn’t do me any favors either.

After showering and dressing for work, Kristy dropped my bike and I off at work.  The 3.5 mile ride home after work was easy, even on the tiny bike.  I rode about 13 miles for the day.  I may continue to join her for workouts, but I’ll ride the recumbent to the gym, then work, then home, giving me 25 miles or so.  It’ll save my neck.  I also need to start getting to bed earlier.  It’s hard to get to the gym before work when you oversleep.  I’m really good at sleeping.  I get a lot of practice.

Today I rode the recumbent.  It was cloudy and windy with threat of thunderstorms, but I never did get rained on.  The rain came after I got home.  I’ll be on the recumbent again tomorrow for the commute.  It’s much easier on the neck.

I’m on planning on riding on Saturday so I can spend most of the day with Robin, but on Sunday I have tentative plans to ride with the RCCS for an Indiana gravel ride.  I’ll be on the ‘bent, which should be interesting.  I think 40 miles is planned.

I have ridden gravel on the ‘bent before, but never a long ride.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll be  slow, partially because I’ll be on the ‘bent, and partially because I’m out of shape.


I was discussing my neck issue with a co-worker a while back when another co-worker heard the word cervical, and thought it meant cervix.  Quite a difference there.

I had today off work, as I had a doctor visit in the middle of the day.  After 75F and tornadoes on Friday we had a cooler weekend.  This morning I woke to three inches of snow.  By the time I was up and moving the roads were completely clear.

Snowy Scene
Snowy Scene

I took a meandering route through neighborhoods.  I noticed that my fitness level has really diminished recently.  Every small hill was a challenge.

My last physical therapy appointment was Friday.  I’ve put my massage therapy and chiropractor visits on hold.  These things haven’t been working for me.  Today was the day for me to talk to my doctor about surgery.

Beargrass Creek
Beargrass Creek

I approached Seneca Park and stopped to take the pictures in this post.  There wasn’t any snow falling from the sky, but the trees were dropping quite a bit as it melted.  I was pelted in the face by a piece of ice.

Snow-filled trees
Snow-filled trees

I eventually made it to the office.  Not finding a bike rack, I had to lock to a sign.

The 'bent
The 'bent

As expected, the doctor has said that non-surgical methods are not working.  I’m hoping for one of the “easier” surgeries, as if any of them are easy.

That’s not to be.  He is suggesting anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.  That involves cutting through the front of the neck, removing the ruptured disc (C6-C7), grinding down the bone a bit, and sticking a piece of cadaver bone in to fuse the two vertebrae.  There would also be metal plates and screws put in place to hold it all together.

I would be unable to drive(ha!) or work for at least two weeks.  I’d be off the bike for several months.  It can take a full year for full fusion to take place.

There are risks.  The bones may not fuse, which would require another surgery.  I could die.  It may not provide as much relief as I hope.  I could end up paralyzed.  It’s a terribly invasive surgery.

He isn’t rushing me to make a decision.  At this point, I can’t see going through with the surgery.  I see two options that don’t involve surgery, both involve dealing with it.

Option One:  Give up.  Buy a car and sell the bikes.  Suffer with the pain and continue to deteriorate.  Someday I’ll die and the pain will stop.  That’s a lousy option, but seems slightly better than surgery (at this point).

Option Two:  Attack this thing my way.  I’ve done some research on exercise, stretching, diet, and other things that may help a little.  So, do those things and deal with the pain.  It won’t fix a ruptured disc, but it may provide enough relief for me to keep plugging along.  This keeps me healthy, and still leaves open the option for surgery later if necessary.

I did ask the doctor if the pressure on the nerve would be damage it long-term.  He didn’t seem concerned.  I asked him about the bikes again.  I don’t want to be limited to the recumbent.  He gave me the all-clear to ride what I want, with the warning that I may be quite sore from it.

I plan on riding the single-speed to work tomorrow.  I’ll consider replacing the handlebars with something a bit higher.

Later in the week I’ll get the LHT out and ready to ride.  I’ll look into other handlebar options for that too.

My preliminary decision is Option Two.  Option One is really bad.  Surgery doesn’t sound good.  Option One is the direction I’ll head for now.  I reserve the right to change my mind later.

Riding AS Traffic

I don’t ride IN traffic or WITH traffic.  I AM traffic, so I ride that way.

Here’s a video I found showing how to do it.  He rides much the way I do, with only a few variations.

In other news, my spine issue has shifted away from pain and more toward numbness.  Still not good, but riding the recumbent is not bad at all.  I intend to ride to work every day this week.  I rode to a dentist appointment this morning, then to work.  It was a beautiful day for it.

Spine Stuff

Although I really enjoyed the camping trip over the weekend, it hurt my neck.  Riding the Big Dummy was a bad idea.  If I do another trip, I’ll have to find a way to carry everything on the recumbent.

Monday had beautiful weather, but my neck was really bothering me.  I took a cab to work.

Tuesday was windy and rainy.  I had a physical therapy appointment and I was feeling better.  I rode the ‘bent to PT then to work.  I don’t mind riding in the rain too much.  It was a good day.  The therapist isn’t happy with my lack of progress, and neither am I.

This morning I had an early chiropractor appointment before work.  It was another “bad neck day”.  The visit did no good, and I took a cab to work again… in beautiful weather… again.

I think I’m done with the chiropractor.  The visits helped for a while, but they aren’t anymore.

I’ve swapped out my desk and chair at work.  We’ve ordered a monitor stand.  This should give me a more ergonomic workstation.  Hopefully this means I can be reasonably comfortable at work without leaning back in my chair.

I still have a few more PT appointments, then a follow-up with the neurosurgeon.  Then I’ll know what direction to take.


Hot coffee after a cold ride
Hot coffee after a cold ride

I disappeared from here for a while.  I saw a neurosurgeon on the 6th.  He has referred me for physical therapy.  I’ve been to one session so far and have been doing some stretches as “homework”.  With luck things will improve enough that I won’t need surgery.

The doctor has told me to avoid the bikes, other than the recumbent, so the single-speed and LHT are parked.  I’ll still use the Big Dummy when appropriate for hauling loads.  It’s not too bad to ride it, as it a more upright position than the “road” bikes.

My eating is not doing well, but I am tracking everything I eat… and surpassing my limits each day.  I’ve not been getting on the scale every day.  Sometimes it’s because the scale is here at my house, and I’m at Robin’s house.  Other times it’s because I woke up late, and forgot the scale in my rush to get to work.

I’m beginning to tire of “tracking things”.  I’m going to bump my bike mileage tracking to monthly instead of weekly.  I’m still tracking my commute method each day (cab to work today, carpool home), but I’m not sure I’m going to continue doing it.  It’s actually a bit depressing.  I haven’t been on the bike enough.

I did ride my ‘bent for about 17 miles on Saturday.  I met Tim for a morning coffee ride.  I felt fat and slow.  The small hills around town are bigger than any of them on my commute, and I struggled.

The magical blue pony that gets me around Louisville
The magical blue pony that gets me around Louisville

Several of us are doing a bike camping trip this Saturday into Sunday.  I’ll be riding the Big Dummy for the hauling capacity.  I’m in charge of breakfast and coffee for all of us.  It’ll be fun, and we’re just riding to Jefferson Forest, so it’s not far.  The more challenging part may be staying warm and dry while camping in February.  We’ll see.

I have another physical therapy appointment in the morning.  Wish me luck.