Spent the last week at the Blurb mothership in San Francisco. I drove up so that I could take the machine with me. Glad I did. Still fighting Lyme which means every single day is a guessing game. I think I’m going to ride and then reality hits and I end up staring at the bike, but this past weekend I was up for it. Rode about 60 miles over two days. Slowly. When I say “slowly” I mean never maxing out or hammering to the point I’m going to blow up, which is precisely the way I would ride pre-Lyme. I would hammer, implode, then see how long it took to recover. Then I would do it again. That’s how I built up my routine and my stamina. Now, I can barely remember those days. I have almost no strength in my legs, which frankly is a combination of lack of exercise, nine-months of antibiotics and the actual disease. I’m also on a very strict diet. No sugar, gluten, alcohol or dairy. I’m down to 158 pounds. In some ways this entire debacle has been a good thing. My life is changed forever, and in some strange ways, for the better.
Over the past nine months I’ve been asked about Lyme on a near daily basis. I don’t like talking about it, and I don’t visit Lyme websites. They are too terrifying. I’m lucky. Very lucky. I have insurance, which works with a small part of my Lyme experience, the rest is out of pocket. I wanted to write about the bike, and I will, but I just wanted to add a bullet point list of strangeness associated with being a Lyme patient.
I want to dispel a few things and shine a light on others.
1. It’s global. Truly global. The CDC has convinced Americans it’s an East Coast thing but it’s not.
2. Over half the people who have it, including me, never had a bite or rash.
3. A significant number of people who have it have never been in the woods. They are CITY dwellers who live near wooded areas.
4. One antibiotic for treatment is not enough. You need three. (Gov of NY just made this kosher)
5. The American medical world wants NOTHING to do with Lyme patients regardless of what they say publically.
6. Six doctors have blown me off or flat out refused to even TALK about Lyme.
7. A standard blood test is useless to test for Lyme but used as a legal basecovering by many medical orgs.(Including my current insurance.)
8. There is mixed information in regard to transmission, person to person. I was told to “take precautions.”
9. There are somewhere between 3-10 million new cases per year.
10. Everyone gets diagnosed with MS, Lupus, Parkinsons, chronic fatigue, polyneuropathy, restless leg, etc, etc, etc. This goes ON and ON.
11. There are stories of the US military weaponizing the bacteria post WWII and the bacteria “getting out,” so to speak. Hence the coverup like coverage.
12. It is BY FAR the worst thing I’ve ever had, and I’ve had meningitis, Epstein Bar, Giardia, Mono, kidney stones, etc. Lyme is relentless.
13. Most people seem to spend about 2-10 years being misdiagnosed. NO EXAGGERATION.
14. I had a nurse tell me if the medical facility I was in knew I had Lyme they would “ask me to leave the facility.”
15. I just had my insurance company tell me I had to prove I had it before they would talk to me, but refused to look at my lab results. I was told they circulated a memo that said not to deal with Lyme patients. My doc said “They are blowing you off.”
This is a MINOR glimpse into the madness. You wont’ believe anything I say until you are in the middle of it. I didn’t.
Okay, back to the bike. Added rear rack. Went with the Salsa rack due to the extreme width required. Tubus doesn’t make ANYTHING to fit this thing. I had originally planned to buy a titanium rack, based on the shape of my old racks which are pretty worn, but ended up with the Salsa. Love the water bottle mounts on the front forks. I’ve also got a third, larger bottle down below, which gets nice and grimy from the front tire spray. Use with caution. I might also mount a bottle on the top of the stem at some point. Remember my kidney stones? Ya well the last one they had to GO UP AND GET, and yes, that is as bad as it sounds. What could be worse? Funny you should ask. I’ll tell you. When they get the stone they leave a stent in place. And then they go get that little bad boy….with NO anesthetic. NONE. I had flashbacks for weeks. No joke. So water is my new best friend. Love it. Can’t get enough.
I loaned this bike to a friend for a quick spin and his one word response was “effortless.” It is. I’ve ridden 60 miles many times, but never with such ease. I rode trail, bike path, gravel, singletrack, parking lots, pavement, over curbs and wood, etc., etc. So comfortable. Quicker than you would imagine on the road and smoother than you would imagine over the rough stuff. Titanium is as good as I thought it would be. Also, I spent the entire 60 miles on the large sprocket. This thing is geared for the mountains but still has enough for a nice, long, sustained road ride.
The only thing I’m really ready for is new tires. These are Racing Ralph’s, but I need a touring tire. I’m thinking Continental Travel Contact or the Schwalbe Mondial.
The bulk of my miles will be on pavement or dirt road. I’ve got a mountain bike for New Mexican singletrack, but this thing will do everything else. I flatted on Sunday and was amazed at how soft the tires were. A shard of glass cut about a 1/4 inch slice in the tire and did the same to the tube. I’ve run the Marathon tires in the past and a piece of glass like that would have never come close to puncturing. In fact, I never flatted with the Marathon tires. Ever. And have only flatted with my Gator Skins once in about 3000 miles. I did put a set on my wife’s bike and she flatted about ten feet from the driveway then looked at me like “You idiot, what did you do to my bike……no get over here and change this for me.”
In short this is the most fun I’ve had on a bike, and this includes flashing back to my middle school BMX glory. Crossovers over the double jumps, running over another kid who everyone despise and having the crowd cheer me for doing it. Yes, the Salsa is even better. More fun. So I find myself bidding my time. Waiting to get healthy and staring at a lot of maps.