Dreaming and Cross Training
Well, the season is finally wrapping down. Sure there are still a few Cross races going on, but by in large if you are still pedaling, it is probably for fun. Sadly, depending on where you live, you may have even put away your bike for the year. That’s already happened to a few of my riding friends who live up north. The snow is flying, winter is coming.
Here in the lower mainland, as long as you have some wet weather gear you can keep on pedaling. You know what they say… “there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices”. I’ve been able to keep up my morning rides with my hound in a nearby forest, despite it being pitch black these days. It seems especially dark on the rainy mornings, but Miss Molly doesn’t seem to mind. She is happy to get out and start her day off with a good romp in the woods, regardless of what the weather is throwing our way. Between a good helmet light and a great handlebar mounted system, I am lighting up the world, or at least the world within a 150’ radius in front of my bike. Other than the occasional green eyes peering back at me from the darkness, there’s not too much out there. (hey, I’m not kidding. I’ve spotted deer and coyote. So far no bears this year).
Its bike to work week next week, so I’m hoping that excuse will keep my truck parked in my driveway all week. It’s always fun to see others around the office here baring their teeth at the weather gods and commuting in on 2 wheels for the November week.
It’s also a time of year where hopefully you can come up for breath, go and play and maybe even jump-start a cross training plan for the winter months. YES, get off your bike and go play. That’s what I’ve been doing a bit of. I’m back on my 2 feet, doing something totally different. I’ve found over the years by doing something else for a few months it’s a nice way to mix it up and help me keep the cycling part fun. I’ve been training for a marathon and have recently signed up for a 50k trail run on New Year’s Day. I figured how better to kick off the New Year, right?
Please check out the story of Nick Geddes – Norco Factory Team Rider who was diagnosed with leukemia this spring and has been battling back ever since. Nick and his family have had some pretty low periods over the past 6 months, but he was just in building his new 2012 team bike and he looked fantastic. Life is valuable.. enjoy every breath. Don’t take anything for granted. CARPE DIEM my friends. Enjoy every single day. You never know what life with throw at you.
Sunny skies and tailwinds to you all, especially to young Nick!
Bike To Work Week is Here
Bike To Work Week is again upon us. The momentum behind this initiative has been growing and as a result Vancouver BC has had not only a Bike to Work Week in June, but also a second event in November. Commuting is a 365 day a year possibility in many places worldwide and this proves it. October 31 – November 4th is Bike to Work Week in Vancouver. Not in Vancouver? go ahead and participate from anywhere. Vancouver residents can log their daily commutes at biketoworkmetrovan.ca but if you are not from Vancouver then I invite you to tell us about you commute by commenting on this article.
If you are in the Metro Vancouver Area and are participating in Bike To Work Week Norco, along with other shops, bike companies and volunteers will be taking it to the streets offering free tech support to all bike commuters. If you see a mechanic at any Bike To Work Week station, stop by with your bike for some free labour keeping your bike running through the winter commute.
In addition to free mechanical assistance, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition will be set up around the city offering free snacks, beverages, literature and encouraging support to all participants. Besides supporting cyclists with daily commuter stations the VACC is also giving away 5 bikes and other awesome cycling prizes daily through the week long event.
So Vancouver has Bike To Work Week, but wherever you are, this is simply a reminder that you can and should ride a bike. Whether it is to school, work or even the coffee shop it is always a good time to ride a bike. Check with your local city or municipal website to get more information on bike routes, events and initiatives. There are programs everywhere that reward you for getting on a bike.
Riding Through the Recovery Process
In April 2011 while in California racing the Sea Otter Classic, I had an unexpected crash racing the Dual Slalom finals that ended up changing my life. Following a minor concussion I was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. A routine blood test revealed that I had leukemia. I was immediately transferred to Stanford Children’s Hospital and after three days of further evaluation I was transferred and admitted to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. At BCCH I had a bone marrow biopsy and more testing and was officially diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with Ambiguous Lineage.
Immediately following diagnosis I began Chemotherapy. The chemo was the first stage of my treatment then later became preparation for the second stage. On August 9th, 2011, after months of chemotherapy and six sessions of total body irradiation I was ready for a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). The marrow was a 6/6 match from an anonymous 24-year-old male donor as no one in my family was a tissue match. The procedure itself was rather anti-climactic. A small bag containing the bone marrow was transfused though a central venous catheter implanted in my chest over the course of just an hour. It was going to take a long time for my body to engraft the donor’s bone marrow, and in the meantime I would need hemoglobin and platelet transfusions, plus numerous other drugs and painkillers just to keep my body alive and my vital signs stable. One of the side-effects of the transplant was that I developed large soars throughout my mouth and throat, it felt like I had been chewing on glass for hours. This in conjunction with nausea, weakness and other flue like symptoms took a toll mentally and physically. I was put on an IV for all of my nutritional needs since eating was going to be impossible. On top of two IV lines for nutrition there were anti-nausea, pain meds, anti fungal, and anti bacterial drugs all running into my catheter. For the first couple weeks I was so drugged up that I don’t really remember what went on.
Slowly I started to become more lucid and aware as the days dragged on and I was gradually weaned from some of the meds. Going into isolation for such a long time was incapacitating for someone like myself who is used to being outdoors all day everyday. There wasn’t much I could do in my room other than watch television, use the Internet and sleep. By Day 20 of isolation I was gaining a little bit of energy and started to use the spin bike that I had in my room. After 26 days of isolation I was finally able to leave my 8’x10’ specially ventilated and pressurized room. The next 5 days were the worst because I was starting to feel a bit better and doctors were starting to talk about when I would get out. The worst part about this was that the doctors never were able to give an exact date, only a vague guess. Finally after much anticipation on Day 31 I was sent home.
I got home on the September 9th and nothing felt better than being able to get a full night sleep without being poked and prodded. As soon as I got home almost instantly I felt revived and refreshed. I was starting to eat more and more, every few days at home I seemed to be improving little by little. Although I haven’t been strong enough yet to get out and ride my bike or exercise much, it is enough to be at home resting, trying to eat normally, having an occasional visitor, surfing the net until gradually I can resume more normal activities. In the next few months, I hope to get back to the gym so I can begin to rebuild all that I’ve lost over the treatment. My goals for the spring and beyond really depend on how far I come over the winter months. Ideally I’d like to be back racing at top form by mid-April but realistically it will be longer than that until I am in peak form again. The most important thing for me in my recovery will be the just get back on my bike and ride this winter and spring.
The latest installment on my recovery path just happened last week. Feeling more energetic, healthy and slowly gaining my strength back I made a trip out to Norco Headquarters. While I know I have a long way to go before I will be back on the racetrack the first step is getting back on a bike. The newest addition to my quiver of bikes is an all-new team spec Phaser. While the snow is starting to fall in my home of Whistler, I will be riding as much as I can in the Squamish trails this winter.
I want to thank the guys at Norco, friends, family, and my parents for all their support throughout the treatment period.