So, damn it. Here we go again.
If you’ve been following along with this blog, you’ll know that I was admitted to the hospital the weekend before I left for Florida. That admission was kind of a mess. My blood pressure had fallen really low and that led to the discovery that my BP meds were probably at a dosage that was no longer needed, in that exercise and tightly controlled diet were doing the job pretty much on their own.
The problem with low blood pressure, at least for me at this point, is that it leads pretty quickly to my kidneys starting to shut down due to dehydration. That process was reversed during the three days I was in the hospital through IV hydration, and we thought we had addressed the problem by cutting in half the dosage of one of my BP meds.
But not so fast.
Wednesday of this week was a really great day for me, ride-wise. I met both of my goals- ten miles an hour and forty miles total for the day. My legs were strong at the end of the day. Even though it was very hot- near 100 degrees- I felt good throughout the ride. I’ve described elsewhere the glitch as far as not having a place to stay when I arrived in Lake Butler, but that wasn’t really a big deal.
So on Thursday everything seemed to be going OK. I did notice that I seemed to be moving along somewhat slowly as I packed up for the day’s ride, but I chalked that up to my first night camping instead of sleeping in a bed.
As soon as I got on the bike, though, it was apparent that something was up. I felt weak and wobbly from the first push on the pedals. My immediate inclination was to stop and get something to eat, as I had not been hungry before I went to bed the previous evening.
There was a handy pizza stand right next to where I had camped, so I had the nice Pizza Maiden make me one, which I then sat outside and ate.
One pizza later I got back on the bike. After riding about a mile, I called a halt. I didn’t feel steady on the bike (even with all that pizza weighing me down) and I was worried about being at risk on the busy road on which I was traveling. I stopped, leaned my bike up against a sign, and sat down on one of those above-ground utility cabinets. Nice folks brought me out some cool water from a nearby apartment building. When I couldn’t pull it together after sitting for a while the local rescue squad was called and I was off to the North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville.
And, as I said back at the beginning, it’s deja vu all over again. My blood pressure is low. I’m dehydrated (despite drinking enough Gatorade on Wednesday to float a battleship). My kidneys are crying “uncle!” I’m back tethered to an IV pole.
The recommendations this time around go even further than last time. Stop both the Azor (which had already been reduced by half) and the Bystolic altogether. Wait at least two weeks before resuming my trip. Oh, and find somewhere other than Florida to resume it in. Antarctica, I guess.
So I’m really pretty down at this point. I have already hugely modified the trip from what I had originally planned. I now need to ask my wife and her mom to do without me for another two weeks. Relocating the start of the trip to somewhere meaningfully more temperate will cost at least $500 and probably more in airfare and bike teardown/shipment/reassembly. And I have only packed one pair of non-bicycling underwear.
Well, OK. The last one may verge into whining. But I guess it’s either that, or cause my kidneys to fail, or just fly home. At what point does audacity turn to folly? I guess I’m about to find out.
So here’s the story on last night.
As the campground I was headed to turned out to be closed down, I was without accommodations when I arrived at the little town I had set as my goal for day two of this ride. There were no other accommodations available without another 25 miles of riding. I wound up at about 7:00 p.m. in a convenience store where pretty much everyone wanted to be helpful (but nobody appeared to want a tent in their own front yard or else didn’t live in town). Finally about nine in the evening after several hours of nothing panning out I called the sheriff’s department, which sent over an officer who looked me and the packed bike over, said “you’re legit,” and accompanied me to a city park where he indicated that I could put my tent anywhere I would like. So, in the dark, I took my tent out for the very first time and fumbled my way through setting it up.
Not bad, eh?
So today I am going to take it very easy, planning to do 33 miles to Newberry, Florida. There is a small mom ‘n pop motel there in the center of town.
It’s very hot. We’ll see how this goes.
Going to bed tonight required the assistance of law-enforcement. Don’t ask. I’m too hot and tired to talk about it right now, as I have just set up a tent for the first time with only a puny flashlight for illumination.
Bet nobody else reading this can say that.
Random thoughts and observations:
- Flat is nice, but if you never climb a hill you never get to coast down.
- The ratio of bicycle-friendly drivers to -ssholes here appears to be about 100 or so to one. And yes, the -ssholes all appear to be driving pickup trucks.
- I’ve not seen a single bit of roadkill. What does Skink [linkie] eat?
Gotta go- the road is waiting.
Well, made it through the first day. Wound up doing just a little over 20 miles/32 kilometers and spent the night at a Mom ‘n Pop motel in Baldwin, Florida at the end of the Jacksonville-Baldwin bike trail.
The room was not much to speak of, but it was clean, had a bed and the air conditioner worked.
Couldn’t ask for more.
As far as the bike goes, I had three issues yesterday. The seat came a little loose, which I tightened this morning.
I kept kicking the front fender when I mounted the bike and once managed to push it out of adjustment so that it rubbed the tire.
I fixed that on the road yesterday but am going to have to be conscious of avoiding that mistake in the future. The third issue was not a bike problem. Both RidewithGPS and Strava crapped out on me. RidewithGPS reported the entire ride, but the mileage was wrong and Strava just stopped along the way. I was disappointed, but what can you do?
I didn’t take many pictures yesterday- I was too focused on what was going on with the bike. I hope to do better today.
Yesterday was also a very short day at 20.2 miles/32 km. Urban riding accounted for much of that, and I just felt tired. I could have pressed on and made it to Mcclenny, about 10 miles/16 km down the road, but it is a busy two lane, dusk was approaching, and there was a big thunderstorm off to the south that didn’t look good (it ultimately never rained here, but there was a lot of thunder).
Today I plan to ride to Booker, FL, just a little over 40 miles away. I have an earlier start and won’t have spent five hours sorting and packing panniers.
Today’s weather is expected to be in the low 90s with intermittent rain this afternoon. It rained for about half an hour yesterday while I was riding- like being in a warm shower.
Heh! Ninety-four, overcast, could rain.
Bring it. Here I come.
…someone told me that just because you can fit everything in your panniers doesn’t mean you should put everything in your panniers.
Still sounds like good advice to me. Wish I was following it.
Fine tuning the load is still in progress. Fortunately it’s a bit cooler here today. I’ll let you know when I get started.
I won’t post a picture of my fat stomach here directly, but if you want to see what I am working on while riding, go to the link at the bottom of this post.
You have been warned, though. IT AIN’T PRETTY. I don’t like having a body like Jabba the Hutt. That said, I am not into fat shaming. If someone is obese and he or she is OK with that, then I’m OK with that too. I don’t want to be obese any more, but I’m not claiming that the way I live my life should be a model for anyone else.
I will post an “after” pic at the end of the ride.