Thursday, January 31, 2008

Report: Whole lotta nuthin

Went to Kaiser this AM for the crucial MRI I have been waiting 8 days for. 8 days of wondering what the hell is up with me. I sat in the MRI tube for a half hour with the thing sound like a bad tunning session at a punk rock sound check. I was calm. The ring on my finger was buzzing and shaking and I was tranquil.

They pull me out of the tube and are getting ready to inject me with some sort of tracer. The guys asks, "do you have any kidney problems?" Somewhat in disbelief I say, "Why yes."
"Oh. I better check with the radiologist to see if we can do this second half of the test."

Long story short... The second set of "contrast" images were not taken. I am trying to find out if what we have is going to work. Essentially, is half the test is going to be enough to move forward? Either that or I have to do a do-over. That potentially means another 8 damn days of waiting for an appointment! Directed rage with nowhere to point it.
I've called all the docs and left messages... heard nuthin back yet. Waiting again.

Bill and a trip to Manderes
Matt for being so freakin' solid
Lisa for her ears
Kelley my hero.
Everyone that has reached out

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Need to Remember.

American Beauty.
I loved this movie from the day I first saw it. This is my favorite part.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I just went back and read over my old posts and realized what a "down the rabbit hole" story this is turning out to be. Well I would have been perfectly happy to write a blog about what mileage I did today. What ride I went on. How the training was going. A blog that only another cyclist would even remotely care about. Once in a while I'd do a political rant that would be incoherent to anyone but me. And I'd link to stuff that seemed funny, informative or friendly. FIF. FIoF.!! Well it 'aint like that, so htfu and read on.

There is still no official diagnosis for what is ailing me right now. I have still a series of tests that I need to do before we will know what I have. That is what my team is telling me. You know you are in the shit if the people in your life are being referred to as your "team." That is not what normal life feels like. In normal life there is no competition compared to this. I feel the sense of a team forming around me. Doctors, family, friends, co-workers, community are starting to rally for a fight. It is not like we are coming together for a party like we did for my birthday a year ago. This feels like it is a fight.

So here I sit. In gratitude. For what is around me. A mother and father who care like only parents can. A brother that would walk through the gates of hell with me and keep me calm the whole way through.

And then there is my wife. The chickenhawk. She is my hero. As far as I can tell she is a lot tougher than me. She always has been. It started on our honeymoon when she out-toughed me there. She has been out-toughing me my whole adult life. I have loved every minute of it. I could go on and on about how absolutely lucky and honored I feel to have her at my side right now. She has gone up to the front, settled in and kicking over a pace that would make a seasoned pro want to up his EPO dosage. I've got a feeling she plans on taking a long pull.

It feels like we are in for a punchy battle. Dam, I'm lucky to have a team. Lets get to work.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Death Ride Memories

That is Terry and I topping out on Carson Pass last summer. The fifth pass always seems to drag on and on. I had caught up to a small group that she was riding with on the way up to Picketts junction. I was feeling pretty knackered at that point but when I saw her I got all fired up. I rode through the group and Terry followed my wheel out and up to Picketts. After sitting and drinking coke and eating potato chips at the feed zone for a while we started out again.
It was really windy going across hope valley. Feeling strong, I sat on the front and pulled. Terry echeloned off to my side out of the wind.
We stopped at the Blue Lakes road turn off. The Chickenhawk was there with the kids. Adam was there banging the hell out a aluminum pot with a wooden spoon. Jennifer was there taking pictures. That's where my profile shot came from. A bunch of the Veloloco families were there cheering. We just stopped for a minute and then went back to the climb.
From there, the road turns upwards for the final couple of miles to the top of Carson Pass. After about a half mile I cracked. It was the typical trip into the dark tunnel vision cave. My speed dropped in half and just wanted to get off my bike. "I'm loosing it Terry."
"No your not." said Terry. She comes around me and starts to pull. I focused on her back tire and we went slowly, ever so slowly up to the top of the pass. She could have easily ridden away from me at that point but she sat in a led me up that last climb. Finishing the Death Ride is always a mind over matter sort of thing for a puddin' like me. Getting to the top with Terry was a peak experience. When that picture was shot, we were both completely stoked.
Terry called the photo people and tracked that shot down recently. It was no small effort. Last night they came over for fish tacos and chatting. She brought the picture and the chickenhawk scanned it. Terry's story is hers to tell. All I can says is that in light of recent events in our lives, that photo is particularly poignant. Next Death Ride that I do, I sincerely hope to ride it with my friend Terry.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lets Not get all fired up here

I've been saying the serenity prayer a lot lately and it is working. I am tranquil. I have no diagnosis yet so there is nothing for me to do. I am sitting in and doing what I know how to do. I'm working, I'm hanging with the family and drinking maybe a little more beer than usual.
Bill and Tori both came over last night and we drank limoncello, beer and margaritas then a little Flor de Cana.
Kid 1 and I went down to Kaiser Roseville to get some more blood drawn for further testing. She held my hand while I got stuck by the needle. We had lunch at Carls Jr. She loves her some chicken strips. While we ate I talked to her about what is going on. For a 6 year old she took it really calmly.

When we got home there was Jennifer and Ray over for a visit. Love those guys! Ray has done quite well in the Bay Area cyclocross series. More about that later over on Veloloco. Ray brought over a bunch of spare parts with which to build up Curtis Hincapie's (well earned nick name) cross bike. I am all over that.

I am keeping busy. I am doing great! I dont yet know what is going and I refuse to get freaked out about it until there is something to do. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.
My co-workers
Low Interest rates

Friday, January 25, 2008

Embrace the puddin

Picked this up from the Unholy Roluer. I cringe to admit, this is the results I got on my first try. I was hoping for Jack but answering honestly.

Charlie is a puddin. I guess I've got to embrace the puddin. If you are a Lost fan go take the quiz and report back here. If you are not a Lost fan... Dont get started unless you are ready to have your brain sucked out of thorugh your eye sockets and into the television screen. Or if you are looking for something to keep you occupied while you ride the trainer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I came to recognize a couple few years ago that I am an athlete. I never thought of myself as one growing up . I always had a sport I was into but I never thought of myself as an athlete until I started road biking back in 2000. As a road biker I have learned to embrace suffering. Frankly, I started liking pushing myself to the edge of the is mentally and physical limit back in '89 when I was a firefighter with the USFS and was at the fires of '88 in Yellowstone. We worked as much as 29 hours in a shift and hiked, god knows how many miles in a day ,while eating hardly anything and digging "cutting" fireline. It was hard work. I got in shape for it by riding my bike all winter. I liked the work and the challenge but I could not stand the tweakers I was working with.
After that I got into whitewater kayaking and raft guiding. That is what lead me to the Coloma Valley. If you are a serious river runner you will eventually end up here. Maybe for a day or two maybe you will get stuck here. Coloma is to North American whitewater what Roubiax is to European cycling. To me and most of my best friends it is home. Temperate climates, it hardly ever snows and is warm during the summer. It is perfect in the summer for whitewater sports. It is a bit hot in the summer for road riding. But we are at the foot of the Sierras and all you have to do is start climbing and it'll cool off.
Whitewater is great. I'll always be a river runner. There is no where I'd rather be than nankoweap. But whitewater is not the best sport for me as the father of two girls. No matter how you slice it. You are going to be gone most of the day to go paddling and that does not work when you want to have a relationship with your kids.
So when we started having kids, I found my way back to the bike. An hour out the front door and I can get in a great work out. Two hours and I am on a good small adventure. Any more than that is gravy.
As I rode I wanted more and more from myself. Pretty quickly finishing the Death Ride became a goal. Then cutting my time down. And cutting my time down again. I never have been a good climber. I am almost always the last to the top of the climb. Nevertheless I choose a 130 mile 16,000 ft climb fest for my annual challenge. It is the suffering and the challenge that I crave. That and being out there with my friends in such a beautiful place doing something so significant yet silly.
The doctor called with the results of the Bone Scan. My bones are changing. He was really concerned with getting me in for an MRI right away. He told me, "Let me be frank with you Mr. Sorelegs, we are trying to rule out cancer." I hope you, dear reader, never have this conversation with your doctor. My MRI is scheduled for next Thursday the 31st. My plan is to call daily for cancellations. It has worked in the past. The next step after that is a bone biopsy under a CT scan so they can hit the right spot.
I am ready. Bring it on. I know how to suffer. I know how to dig deeper and I will fight. With everything I have. Others have come before me. If they can do it I can do it.
This blog was meant to be about bike riding in the place that I consider to be the most perfect place in the world. Maybe that is still what it is going to be about. For now it is about the harsh realities of an otherwise charmed and perfect life. Sit in, I'll pull.
  • My Life So Far
  • The next steps
  • My girls
  • The chickenhawk
  • My family
  • My community
  • Doctor KT

The Market or Mountain Top Finish

I've been following this for 7 years as a mortgage consultant. I've never seen the spread be 30bps. in one day. Lenders are going -APE SHIT- .5% difference in rates between this AM and now at market close. I think I'll take a nap now.

In other news: I got my bone scan yesterday. Still waiting to hear results. Still wondering when I'll feel good enough to ride my bike again.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tour de Garage

Mid winter is here and it is time for every cyclists time of tribulation and suffering. A time when pain and suffering are increased and there is little of no pleasure payoff. Some cyclist seem to avoid this all together and others just get through it. Personally, if I am going to do something I try to make it as fun as possible. That is why I embrace trainer season. Easy to say since I have not been on my trainer yet this year. Frankly an hour long trainer session is second on my list right behind a nice road ride but neither of those is in the cards right now so i might as well write about it.

I am lucky. My garage is almost completely dedicated to cycling. Observe:

There is the 'man cave'. Note that the primary trainer is a spin bike. It is great, I scored it from a local gym that was upgrading. 150 bucks, not bad. The only down side is that the crank arms on it are 170s. I ride 175s on all my bikes so it really does feel like spinning. The best part about the spin bike is that it is stable and strong enough for my 170lbs to stand and sprint or climb on. Also note: although it is hard to see... there is a autographed poster of Magnus Backstead, my favorite PRO rider.

The garage is fully sheet rocked and insulated so I can heat it up in winter. Eventually I'll install that wood stove in the picture and then it'll get rockin' warm in there. That'll be nice for winter Yoga sessions.

Here are the bikes:

Those are mine and the Chickenhawks. They sure look lonely hanging there. Note the white bar tape on the road bike well after labor day, very puddin'. But when you aint riding it why bother changing it.

I've got two fans set up for cooling while on the trainer and I've got a TV with DVD player built in for entertainment. I like to watch hour long shows when I am doing low intensity rides. Last winter I watched all of season 7 of The West Wing while sitting on the trainer. I've got a couple of Chris Carmichael Dvds for interval workouts but I can hardly stand the guy. He is such a chooch I can hardly stand it. So now mostly I make my own playlists and then build interval work outs to go with the music. That actually makes the time go faster.

Two more points of interest from the garage:

This is my high tech weather observation station.

And this is my reminder to have patience and that I am doing just what I am supposed to be doing right now.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Last night I got a full hour of yoga in. First time I've been able to move around well enough to do yoga in 3 weeks. What a treat. The small things in life can be so nice.
I got a new exercise ball yesterday. The old one had a bad leak and has been sitting. The kids helped me inflate it this AM while the chickenhawk baked cinamon rolls. I just finished another half hour of stretching on the ball this AM. We've got Ice Cube Rockin' in the house. The sun is out in the valley and the grass is popping out on the hill sides. BAM

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Tests??

Went to the old HMO today. The Orthopedeist looked at both the hip and clavicle. I've been on steroids for 12 days and off the bike for 3 weeks and the hip pain is subsiding. He thinks it bursitis as well and is going to send me for a MRI. With the collar bone he got a bit tripped out. He ordered a Xray right away. It showed poor bone density at the end of the bone and a big old hump in the middle where break healed over. I've got to go for a bone scan soon. Yikes.

The good news is that the hip is healing nicely.

Work is super busy. Interest rates are down. The yield on the 10 year bond closed at 3.62% lowest I've seen in over a year. Go refi your house if you have any equity left. You should be able to get 5.625% or so.

The chickenhawk and I made a date to got to Harbin Hot Springs next month. Looks sweet. Now I've got something to look forward to... That and a bone scan. All I can think about is going here. I haven't so much as looked at my bikes in two weeks. Imagine that.

Today I am grateful for: The fact that I have money to deal with this. The Chickenhawk and her support. The team of healthcare PROs that are working with me. My family and friends.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Populist Messages

The press has been all ga-ga about the primary elections. Obama seems to be a golden boy and Huckleberry is the surprise Republican candidate. Personally, If Obama makes it I'll be OK with voting for him but and if Hillary makes it to the final I'll have a tough decision to make. That is not the point I wanted to make tho'. Obama's message is one of 'Hope' and 'Change.' I'm sorry but I want more than that. I want to shake up the system, Kunslter's latest puts it Beautifully:

Edwards seems to recognize that there are some people -- like the health
executive he cited who retired from his job with over $100 million in
the policy-holders loot -- who don't deserve to come together with anything
except a grand jury. Edwards is willing to gaze past the kindergarten
emotions of primary politics and see the stupendous ugliness and unfairness
of a land that is being sucked dry by corporate vampires. I believe he will
righteously kick their asses, and that they need to get their asses kicked,
so I'm more inclined to support Edwards. I believe he means it, too

Edwards message is distinctly populist. A message of power to the people and not the companies running our so called lives. That about you and me y'all not the corporate bosses. I only personally know one person who is making enough... were talking more than 500k per year, to really benefit financially from the republican agenda (all social issues aside).

Don't like the liberal social agenda Huckleberry is preaching about class warfare as well. I don't like the guy at all but i want to point out that he is pushing a similar fiscal agenda of giving power back to the people instead of the Man. Even the

I find it refreshing that after 7 toxic years of Bushco's ravage of our environment, the constitution and especially the American middle class that there are candidates on both sides talking about lifting up the middle class.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Laugh, I nearly cried.

I didn't realize how down I've been until last night after putting the kids to bed. The Chickenhawk and I were actually laughing. I haven't laughed in a week or so. That is just not me. It feels good to be on the way back. I can't say how much I appreciate how she's been helping me through this.

The prednisone is kicking in and the pain in the hip is back close to pre-last-weeks-fall levels. When I was at the PT's office on Wednesday I had him look at the big old bump on my left clavicle. The shoulder has been hurting since last weeks fall. This is a re-injury of the same thing from last April when I crashed at Priaire City. I had the Doc check it out last May and it was so inflamed then that he missed the break in the clavicle. I'd been doing my best Tyler Hamilton impression and riding through it. So, I've got that going for me, which is... you know, nice.

Next week I've got an orthopedist appt. Fun with HMO's I tell ya. You call 'em and tell 'em you can't walk and they get you an appointment in 10 days. Could Single Payer Health Care be much worse? Anyhow, I'm gonna push hard for an MRI to determine that there aint any soft tissue damage lingering in the hip and then I am going to push for a cortisone injection. Hell I'm gonna push for Human Growth Hormone and EPO if I have to. I want back on my bike dammit.

On the bright side, what am I really missing? Rainy rides and ridiculous trainer sessions. At least I'm not wearing out drivetrains and expensive michelin rubber. If it was May I'd be going insane!

BTW I loved O'Grady's Rant today. I'm thinking that Mr. Ball is going to be the gift that keeps on giving this year.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wrong on So Many Levels

First you wreck the constitution then you blow it by not paying the bills:

WASHINGTON - Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time. A Justice Department audit released Thursday blamed the lost connections on the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000. In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation "was halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government's most sensitive and secretive criminal and intelligence investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.

It Boggles the mind: Link

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Three Steps Backward

Whoa what a ride! Wednesday night I was feeling good. Doing a very low weight shoulder and chest work out when I tripped on a dumbbell and fell on my left knee and left hand. BAM the impact shoved the left femur head up into the hip socket. With the left hip already completely dodgy that impact sent the pain level up to 11.

I woke up Thursday AM in a ton of pain and toughed out a trip to the office for a client meeting. After the meeting went home and ate a vicodin and passed out.

Friday the valley was shaking with a big old winter storm. I was worrying about one of the big oaks in our yard falling on the house with all the wind. The Chickenhawk took me to a series of appointments starting with PT Dirk. I could barley make it up the five steps to his office. He was able to help me get a bit of the spasm out of my hip flexor and do a slight pelvis adjustment. I was waaay out of alignment.

From there I went to a Chiropractor that was a complete quack! I was there for three hours and got nothing out of it except a $300 dollar bill! It was an adventure in medicine that I will not forget. I'll write the story about it when I am a little more done being pissed off.

After that off to Kaiser for an Xray recommended by doctor KT. Results for that show negative for arthritis or bone damage. KT says I have ilipectineal bursitis. All I know is it hurts like a mofo and I cant really walk all that well. I started taking perdnisone yesterday. Yeah now I am on Steroids... look the F out.

So we get back to the house on Friday night and the power is still out and the storm still raging. All day Saturday we waited for the power to come back on. At our house no power = no water and no heat (well and central heat). I desperately need to keep warm since cold induces those dreaded muscle spasms. I spent the day under a down comforter in pile jacket and pants. It was a blur. Finally at 4:00 we bailed to warmer more comfortable digs. Best $100 I've spent in my life. Back in the day I would have toughed it out but now, I am a puddin'.

It looks like I'll be on the bench for a while. It is a real pain in the ass. Cycling is my mental outlet. It is the thing that reaffirms my humanity after the week's BS beats me down. I don't know how long I am going to be out. Right now my guess is that I might be able to do some miles in March. My big goal for the year is to race cross in the fall with a good strong run instead of a hobble.
Thanks for reading.