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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Normal?

Today I feel almost back to normal. I feel like I could ride and feel fine, but until I get some answers I'm reluctant to start the cycle of feeling bad/feeling good all over again. I haven't been on the bike at all since last Monday, but it seems like 3 months! I'm trying a few different avenues to get in front of a doctor that will take the time to listen to me and help figure out this mystery. I want to get back to being an athlete again - right now I'm a slug.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

No answers...

At 1:30 am Friday morning, I went to the emergency room because my symptoms had worsened. Nausea, cold sweat, shakiness, low blood pressure, headache - all immediately after (forgive me ladies) taking a whiz. It's like when I pee, my system gets all discombobulated. The symptoms started Monday on the trip back from Pittsburgh and have persisted all week. These episodes seldom last for more than a day, so I was naturally worried. They took some more blood and did an EKG and chest x-ray and monitored my vital signs - all of which led them to the conclusion that I am in perfect health! Great, now please tell me why I feel like a big giant pile of poop. They did find elevated Thyroid hormone levels, but when I consulted my normal physician that ran the same tests earlier in the week, my Thyroid levels were all normal. There has got to be an answer somewhere.

If I can get someone at Lewis Gale to ever call me back, I'm going to try to get referred to an Endocrinologist.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Time to solve the medical mystery once and for all

I've been battling a mysterious ailment for about six (long) years. I infrequently have episodes that scare the hell out of me. I feel like I'm going to faint, my blood pressure drops, I get the shakes and headaches and many other random symptoms. These episodes usually last only a few minutes, but the aftermath of fatigue and anxiety and aches and pains can last for days. It started way back in 1999 while I was traveling alot for work. I went to the doctor a few times only to have them tell me that everything looks fine and I had nothing to worry about. I would feel better by the time I went to see them, so I had no reason to think otherwise. A few months later it happened again. Blood tests, heart tests, etc showed nothing unusual. The episodes would go away and I'd get back to normalcy. Then there was a span of almost four years with no symptoms whatsoever.

I started training and racing seriously in 2003. I didn't have any symptoms at all until February 2006 when I passed out at a party. I felt better the next day so I didn't go to the doctor. A few days later I was in the emergency room getting my veins pumped full of fluid due to dehydration. A year or so goes by and it happens all over again. For some weird reason, I dehydrate very easily. The doctors seem to think its being caused by something, but have no idea what.

So my focus for as long as it takes, for as many visits as necessary, through as many blood tests as needed, is to get this solved. No more racing, no more training, very little riding and lots of rest are what the doctor recommended until we can arrive at some definitive answers. It may take a week. It may take a month. It may take a year. At this point I don't care how long it takes, I just want to figure this out. So, I'll keep you posted right here on this blog as things progress. You won't see me much at rides or races until I'm fixed, but I will get better.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Travels

Pookie and I are off to visit family in my hometown of Pittsburgh. We'll do a little riding while we're up there too. Harrison Hills Park is on our radar for a nice long Sunday ride. Looks like the place has a bunch of trails...we'll see.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another great evening in the valley

Just west of Roanoke in the City of Salem sits a little gem of a park called Green Hill. Although the quantity of trails here is limited, the quality of riding and the scenery is incredible. This venue was the host of the 2006 Bare Bones races that were soooo much fun. Hope we can do them again this year!! Soon there will be more trails here to frolic about on your mountain bike. Perhaps even a bit more park property if the rumor mill is accurate...we'll see. Pookie and I met after work Tuesday to play around a bit and snap a few pics. Enjoy! Go ride here sometime, it's fun.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back to basics

I have recently re-discovered something about myself that I had all but forgotten; I am not as fast or as strong racing on a geared bike as I am on my singlespeed. The Paragon is now hanging on the hook and the Rig is ready to go - again!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I quit! I can't quit. I quit. I can't see! I quit. I can't quit.

Yea. I quit at least 5 times in this years Middle Mountain Momma, but I finished the race. This was one of the most frustrating days I've ever had on a bicycle in my life.

Pookie and I rolled up to Douthat State Park for the 10th running of the MMM. The park holds some of the best singletrack on Earth. I always enjoy riding there. I have yet to enjoy racing there. We arrived early to slog around and get a nice warn-up in before diving head-first into this 21 mile loop. My legs and lungs and everything else felt great in my 40 minute warm-up. No worries. This would be a good day.

We all lined up and took off at high noon. The younger Experts took off first, then the larger field of us 30+ Experts a minute later. Still felt fine. Up the rocky Blue Suck Falls Trail we headed. I was riding more stuff than most. Middle ring all the way. Then I started to feel it: the twinge in my lower back. I shifted my weight around a bit and kept gettin' it. About ten minutes later, it was gettin' me. I had ZERO power going to my legs as my back seized up on me. This may sound crazy, but I was wishing for my singlespeed! Why? Because when I stand and hammer, my back stays loose for some reason. The more I sit, the more it hurts. The last time I did this race two years ago it was on a SS, and I think if I do it again it will be gearless.

So when I reached the ridge, I quit. I didn't get off the bike, I didn't take a short-cut to the bottom, but in my head I had quit. A friendly voice from behind asked "You alright, Warren?". It was my Team El Toreo team mate Chip Camper hammering his way to third place in the Vet Sport class. "No, I'm done" I replied. I think I'm just gonna ride to the campground (the halfway point) and call it a day. Chip went on his way and I hobbled across the ridge to the first fun downhill. Since my back was so tight, standing to ride this high-speed decent was challenging too. I managed OK, but didn't feel anywhere near 100%.

About 3/4 of the way down Salt Stump I blasted through an muddy side-hill section and a good bit of trail gunk found it's way under my glasses into my left eye. "I'll just blink it out" I thought to myself, just as my vision became terribly blurred. Expletive!! Expletive, expletive!! I couldn't see out of my eye at all, and it hurt like expletive! Like a hot needle. I had to stop. I removed my (useless) glasses and attempted to gently rub the debris from my eye. Making contact with my gloved knuckle, my contact lens promptly separated itself from my noggin. "You are freakin' kiddin' me!" I was beyond frustrated. I feel like someone hit me in the small of the back with a sledge hammer, everyone just passed me, and now my eye falls out. I quit! Again! I sighed in disgust and hung my head. When I did I noticed my contact lens clinging for dear-life on my shorts. With surgical precision, I removed both my gloves and plucked the lens from Lycra. "Now what do I do?" So, I stuck the lens in my mouth to clean the grub off of it, and gently placed it back in my eye. OOOWWWW!!!!! That hurt like hell!! Something was still on there, obviously. I carefully repeated the mouth-washing several times until the lens felt somewhat normal. Cool.

No I can make my way to the campground and quit. One problem...I can't find one of my gloves. It was like getting hit by a tractor-trailer truck. My emotions were now trampled. I quit. I quit. I quit. I quit. I quit. I quit!

My glove was attached by Velcro to the back of my shorts.

I slipped it on and started riding again. About a minute later, I couldn't see again and began to blink as fast as I could with my left eye to try and flush out whatever goobers were still in that eye. Didn't work that way and I pulled over again, removed the lens and started all over again. I quit.

Finally, after losing about 15 minutes with the eye fiasco, I made it to the campground and just spun slowly because I quit! Why ride fast when I'm just gonna go back to the car? Then I saw the left hand turn that marks the beginning of the second side of the course. I turn left and started up the rocky, rooty climb. I have no idea why. I was so far behind that I was beyond dead last. Negotiating this very technical area was extremely difficult if you are blinking one eye very quickly - trust me.

It got to the point that I had to pull over again and do a little lens cleaning. At this point I decided to just have a seat for a while and wait for my wife who was racing up behind me. Since my race was over, I could cheer her on as she finished up.



It worked! She finished 2nd in Masters Women (I guess I did too). To cap off the day, we crossed the line holding hands. What a couple of geeks. I was blinking like crazy the whole time.



Kudos to Chip Camper who finished 3rd in Vet Sport and riding (and now racing) buddy Adam Caldwell who finished 1st in Clydesdale!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Near disaster

This is what the mechanism looks like that holds my precious bike by the fork to the roof of my car. It's made by Rocky Mounts, and folks let me tell you - it is a big giant pile of steaming pooh. A small C-clip failed after less than a year, allowing the fork to work its way loose and causing my Paragon to fall over onto the roof of my car while I drove to work this morning. I was making a left turn, and the bike was in the tray on the driver's side of the vehicle. Had I been making a right when it broke free, I'd most likely have no bike left to race this weekend. A very big sigh of relief was expelled from my lungs when I pulled over to find the bike laying flat on top of my car. This was too close for comfort.

Both Rocky Mount trays will be replaced with real Yakima trays immediately.