About That Title - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

About That Title

I Don't Really Want To Die; Not Yet Anyway

Bicycle Warrior's Death. This is the second part of what I hope will be an even longer series before it's done.  Rather than bore you with the details concerning the title, I'll simply point you to the explanation in the first part of the series; Warrior's Death.   Other than being 1 year older than I was when I wrote that explanation, most everything is about the same other than as described below. 

Health Update.  I have ridden consistently most of this year (although my rides are usually only 15-20 miles) and I have been in pretty fair health other than as mentioned below.  Unfortunately for this tour, my wife got sick with a cold or such a couple of weeks ago and I came down with it 5 days ago.  I'm getting better already, but I have felt yucky and haven't ridden much at all in the last week - and I leave for the tour in 2 days.   I think I'm ready to go, but I'm definitely not 100% yet. 

Herniated Disc. Last Fall I hurt my back and experienced a herniated disc - fluid leaked from my spine and has put pressure on a nerve - it causes me to have a constant small pain in my right hip and leg down to my knee.  It's not too bad now, just like a minor burning/tingling sensation - but it has resulted in some reduced strength in my right leg.  At first I was unable to even walk without great effort - then it got better and I was able to start cycling on mostly flat ground - I was afraid to ride up even a moderate hill, but eventually I got stronger - over time and with persistent efforts I have gotten to where I can now ride short steep hills on my (unloaded) bike.  This problem can be fixed with surgery, but back surgery is something I'm hoping to avoid.  The funny thing is that I can cycle OK now, but it affects my walking such that I sort of "straight-leg" it when I walk very far.  No big deal unless I have a bike problem and need to walk a few miles.  Even then I will be OK, I just walk a bit awkward - so enough of my whining, I'm capable of doing this tour. Maybe. I think so anyway. Hey, we'll see - if the outcome was known it would not be an adventure. 

Sleep Apnea.  Like so many of my older friends, I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea.  I have been using a CPAP machine for a couple of months now, and it does help me sleep better.  But it's too heavy and too big to take on a bike tour, so I have gotten a travel-size CPAP machine that I will take along.  I've only used it for 1 night, so don't really know if it will be worth the effort to haul it for 1,500 miles.  Guess I'll find out.  I do know that the air is much drier when using the travel CPAP than when using the home machine (the home machine has a water tank so that moisture is put into the air I breathe through the mask).   Anyway, I need to try to use the CPAP even when traveling so I get consistent therapy.  I'll either be happy with the travel CPAP or ship it home.  It's a bit expensive and insurance doesn't cover the travel unit since they paid for the home unit - so I need to try and make it work, if for no other reason than to justify the purchase price.  And, you know, it would be nice if I could sleep well while on bicycle tour; it's kind of a strenuous period you see.  And the planning I have done shows that there will be some challenging days on this tour - that may be the biggest understatement I've made in some time cause the Tennessee and Kentucky hills can be more than just "challenging."  And there's a bit of the Missouri Ozarks as well.  So I need to sleep well if I'm going to pedal up them hills.

The Big "C."  I will be seeing my oncologist at M.D. Anderson in Houston immediately prior to this tour.  I don't expect that he would want to commence any therapy or do some procedure or such that would interfere with me commencing this tour, but it is possible.   I have rented a vehicle 1-way so that I pick it up in Tulsa, drive to Houston for some medical tests and a consultation with the doc, and then drive to New Orleans and turn in the rental vehicle at the airport and immediately commence on the tour.  So it is possible that my medical situation could throw a huge monkey wrench into the gears and stop this adventure, but I don't plan on allowing that to happen.  I mean, hey - they say the Big C will eventually be terminal for me - so why should I allow it to interfere with my plans now?  I'm going on tour unless the doc has some really powerful reason to convince me otherwise.

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