Friday, December 19, 2014

Lessons From The Blue Hose

Camelbak Hose
Kirk and I spent a couple of days in Scottsdale celebrating his birthday in early December. 

While riding from Phoenix to Tucson by bike is not a challenging ride or inspired by scenic awe and wonder, there is a Randonneur 200k Permanent Route between the two cities. Riding it would qualify for my December Permanent, number 5 out of 12 toward my R-12, an award given to riders who ride a minimum of a 200k approved route in 12 consecutive months. 

I had had a spate of seizure activity for the week preceding my 200k PhxTuc Ride so was grateful my Rando friend, David Brake, would be riding with me, just in case...

The start was 7:15 a.m. at the intersection of Ray Rd and Priest/56th in Chandler. I loaded my bike on the rear rack and packed all my on-the-bike gear carefully in the car. We left in the dark headed for the Start. David would meet us there. 

Meet we did. David and I were both in a most unpleasant dither, I because I couldn't find my blue hose, my only source of fluids for 129 miles; David because he couldn't find his sunscreen. Both of us crescendoed in our own personal dithers, our spouses just wishing we would leave and reminding us that we both deserved each other given our momentary inability to be gracious and civil to them. 

I knew my blue hose HAD to be in the car. I knew I had put it there, but dang it was just not there! Dither grew into an almost panic as I contemplated the dehydration hole I would end up in not having an efficient and accessible source of fluids. And, having just moved through at least a week of seizure activity, who knew what kind of a trigger dehydration would be!? 

Then Kirk, bless his heart, found my blue hose. It was on the floor on the passenger's side in the front. It was still too dark to see it against the black rubber matting. Phew! I began to breathe. I don't know if David ever found his sunscreen, but that was replaceable at any convenient store. Not so a blue hose.

And so we began our 129 mile 207k ride to Tucson.

Nature called at mile 18. Off the bike I had a sinking feeling: all my classic pre-seizure auras and I still had about 110 miles to go. I guess many of us with seizures don't always know what triggers our seizures. Some triggers are predictable, but there are certainly a lot that don't have a 1:1 causal relationship. I was pretty convinced my blue hose dither didn't help maintain my intracranial equanimity. But I also had not been aware of the auras until I got off the bike at the Circle K. Grateful to have gotten the message at mile 18 instead of mile 36 or 69, the next two known rest stops. 

David and I fell into quiet riding, no chatter, and I practiced some meditative breathing and Jin Shin Jyutsu finger holds hoping and praying that my own version of on-the-bike neuro-bio-feedback would interrupt the seizure process.

Our first required stop (Control) was at another Circle K, this one in Stanfield, where we need to purchase something as proof that we were on the pre-determined route and that we were there within the required time limits. Got off the bike and I was aura and seizure free and remained so for the remainder of the ride.

David's wife, Kristy, met us at the finish at Cortaro Rd/I-10; I appologised for being so unpleasant a few hours before. 

It was an awesome ride; thoroughly enjoyed David's company and learned much from the blue hose.

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