Cycling update May 2008

Time to bring you up to speed with my latest cycling adventures since riding Chilly Hilly in late February 2008.  Basically it has been a very very wet end to winter and splash into spring.  No signs yet of global warming here in the Pacific NW.  Thank goodness too for spinning classes, which I have been able to attend 2-3 times/week.  Basically, if it is dry and above 45 degrees F, I hope to be out on my bike; especially now that I am finished at the University of Washington medical school until next January.

I have been able now to log a total of over 1100 miles on my Moots since I received it around August 2007, not too bad considering the weather, and that I hardly rode outside from October till late February.  I am most often out on my own, cell phone in pocket, flashing tail light, helmet mirror - praying for no flat tires.  Given the hilly nature of Bainbridge Island I am slowly adding post-SCI previously unconquered hills to my list of those I have now scaled.  Not checking them off with quite the significance of Bainbridge resident Ed Viesturs, the first American to climb the 14 mountains in the world higher than 8,000 meters, but nonetheless rewarding, and too involving risk - not knowing if I may stall and topple in the midst of a climb.  While I am gradually increasing the degree of difficulty, I think Toe Jam Hill with its 22 - 24 percent gradient is forever safe from my aspirations.

Most of my rides are 18-25 miles, but I have recently been increasing my mileage as I have found my endurance is improving.  This past month I traveled to Moab, Utah to ride my Moots on the roads - while my friends and son, Daniel, rode classic Moab mountain bike routes such as Porcupine Rim and Flat Pass.  I managed to put in 110 miles in 3 days, one day 45 miles, which was easier than expected and not as exhausting as it would have been even 6 months ago.  This has caused me to dream of attempting 100 miles in one day for the Mike Utley Dam2Dam fundraiser on September 27th this year.

My cycling goals for this year will be to:

  • Increase mileage
  • Improve strength and hill climbing
  • Complete 100 miles in an effort to raise funds for SCI research thru the Mike Utley Foundation on September 27, 2008.  This link will allow you to donate funds in my name directly to the Mike Utley Foundation - I would be deeply honored to ride for you, and raise money for this cause that will benefit the 11 - 13,000 new spinal cord injuries per year in this country, and which will help others living with SCI, such as myself and all those less fortunate than I. 

I have found that my stability is improving on the bike, also that the left leg clonus (non-painful repetitive spasms & twitching) I had gotten while pedaling (especially when fatigued) is now almost gone!  It seems the more pedal revolutions I do with my legs, the more they are acting "normal".  Still I do not feel them well, and have never experienced a sense of muscle burning or fatigue in my legs themselves - only getting overall body fatigue when I am spent. 

Nonetheless, much to be thankful for!  Still waiting to find if there are other quads or paras who are able to ride an upright two wheeled bicycle.  With my stability slowly improving I have decided it is time to shed my "training wheels".  I have been using TUFO tubular tires - the Diamond D28, which are 700 x 28 mm, with a max psi of 90.  Yet, I am set to make the switch to the TUFO Elite Ride 700 x 25 mm tires with a 145 psi rating and smooth center tread.  This should decrease my rolling resistance and increase my speed.  I will keep you the meantime, think seriously of investigating the Utley Foundation website and donating.  Thanks!! 


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