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  • bioniccyclist 9:30 pm on November 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    THE Bionic Ride: Some detail. 

    THE Bionic Ride will be an unusual bike ride (ride, not race) happening in your neighborhood for the first time ever on September 18, 2011. It will be as long or as short as you`d like it to be. As tough or as relaxed as you prefer. As big or as small as you want it to be. It will be important and enjoyable.

    I`m currently ironing out the details, but for now I`ll let you in on some of the secrets.

    Unlike most bicycle rides that are organized at a certain time in a specific place, THE Bionic Ride will be organized in smaller groups in different locations around the world, at the same time. The plan is to come together in spirit although in different locations. The hope is for the event to raise awareness for and interest in nurturing one`s heart, both literally and symbolically. It`s not meant to be a fund raiser!

    If you are intrigued and would like to be one to organize a ride in your neck of the woods, contact me (thebioniccyclist@gmail.com). For the time being we have one ride planned in Las Vegas and one in Australia(!). I will contact some of you in the following days, but if you beat me to it, that would be great. I will not turn anyone down. If you have questions, contact me. I will not pressure anyone…promise.. Also, if you have any ideas, no matter how wild, let the brainstorming begin.

    I have plans for marketing, sponsorships, locations +++..more on that later. Keep an eye or two on the dedicated web site as well (www.thebionicride.com)


    THE Bionic Cyclist

    • Ron 8:21 am on November 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Keep me in the lupe on your Sept 18 2011 ride. I will definately do something on that date.

  • bioniccyclist 9:41 pm on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , the bionic ride, , , ,   

    Now what? 

    200 miles on a bike in one day has been checked off the list of things to do. What does a 45 year old in bad shape and with an artificial heart valve in his chest do next? I have goals, oh man, do I have goals!

    Goal one.

    Probably the least ambitious and certainly the least exciting of my goals for the future is the first one. I don`t expect anyone to be excited reading about it and I doubt I can drag it out much longer before you skip this entire paragraph. On or before March 13, 2011 I will do 100 miles on my bicycle in less than 7 hours. Not at all fast by anyone’s measure and not very long. Especially considering that I did 200 miles  in one day already. Nevertheless, it took me 25 hours to do 200 miles, so 100 miles in 7 hours is a challenge for me. I will do it in a cooler season so training in the heat will not be an issue. March 13 is by the way the one-year anniversary for the day I bought my bike. Not quite as significant as the anniversary of my heart surgery. I know.


    Goal two.

    Very much more ambitious, possibly even impossible to accomplish, but I do believe in you! Yes, I said “you”. On September 18, 2011 (by now I hope you know the significance of this date?) I will organize a bike ride, world wide (!) There will be much more details about this later. In the mean time, check out the web site (pretty much a “coming soon” site for now) which also reveals the name of the ride. (well, actually this link does!) http://www.thebionicride.com


    Goal three.

    A new personal goal. In July of 2012 I plan to participate in and complete the http://www.deathride.com/ This is an extremely challenging bike ride in California. It`s 129 miles long with five mountain passes, a total of 15.000 feet of climbing. Wanna do it with me?


    Thank you to those of you who suggested other rides. I really appreciate it even though I have chosen different challenges. I hope that many of you will be up for THE Bionic Ride. For now, I hope you are a little curious. If you just can`t wait for the details, send me a few words and I`ll be happy to spill some of the secrets before I make them official. The total rundown will appear both here and on the dedicated web site for the ride.


    Don`t change the channel.


    THE Bionic Cyclist.

  • bioniccyclist 9:53 pm on September 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The one-year anniversary, the day, the ride. 

    The one year anniversary of my open heart surgery has come and gone. My goal was simple, the plans were clear. I wanted to complete a 200 mile bicycle ride on or before September 18, 2010. Here is what happened.

    September 18 this year was in many ways like Christmas, or any other big holiday, in the sense that I felt like I had been planning and preparing for a long time yet, the day itself snuck up on me. The week before the 18th, I was eating carbs and drinking water like it was going out of style. I wanted to have enough energy and liquid stored in my body so that I wouldn`t go dry or hit the wall due to lack of energy. I`ve done both before. Less than a month ago I spent a day and a night in the hospital with dehydration and  heat stroke. The bike was ready, I was ready and I had food and drinks prepared. A nice selection of high carb energy bars were spread out on the island in my kitchen. They were accompanied by bananas, gels, sport drinks, bread, raisins, and even some protein drinks that were intended for post ride fuel.

    I managed to sleep a couple of hours after work on Friday the 17th. The plan was to start at midnight in order to put in as many hours/miles as possible before the heat. I would go 40 miles in one direction, turn and go back home ( I have mentioned this before and thought it was 37 in each direction, but my map lied a bit. It`s actually 40), then go 12 out and 12 back and repeat the 24 mile loop until I reached 200 miles. That was at least the plan. My wife would be my service car for the first 80 miles, after that I would use our house as food and drink station since I would return there every 24 miles. Nine minutes past midnight and I took off. (see picture)

    THE Bionic Cyclist, ready for take off. September 18, 12:09AM

    The first 12 miles seem relatively flat when you drive them in a car. It is however a false flat for the first 9 miles,    then you hit a hill that might surprise you if you`re not prepared. You might remember this hill from one of my very first posts. I didn`t even make it to the top then. It was dark, but some street lights here and there mad it a little easier. Since there is a olt of road work going on in this area, I wanted to ride here only once in the dark.

    After 12 miles I went down hill for 23 miles or so on the freeway. The freeway has a broad shoulder so I felt safe. After that, there was a mile or less through a small town with some street lights. This is where my wife gave me drinks and some food for the first time. Then, 26 miles on a very lonely and very dark desert highway. Eagles might have gotten some inspiration from this place when they wrote “Hotel California”. ( “On a dark desert highway….”. It`s so lonely out here that I saw less than 5 cars going the 26 miles out and 26 miles back. I saw, or rather heard, more lizards and snakes in the bushes than I saw cars. My wife was anxious about several things regarding my ride. One of them was the freeway, another was this lonely stretch. Did I mention it was lonely? She gave me a can of pepper spray to keep in my pocket in case I was attacked by mountain lions or coyotes. That might sound like a silly thing to do, but both of those animals are seen out here frequently. Especially coyotes.

    I reached the turnaround point, 40 miles from home, in one piece. Pepper spray can untouched. This stretch is fairly hilly. There are no Mount Ventoux size climbs here, but some hills that make your heart beat go up quite a bit and that make your legs tell you that they are still there. On purpose, I went very slow. I didn`t want to burn myself out and I didn`t want to crash. Back again to where the 26 mile stretch started, I met my wife for the third time. I had to wake her this time. Poor girl didn`t get much uninterrupted sleep that night. She did a great job helping me and supporting me that night as she did during my many many hours of cycling before THE ride. I had done 66 miles at this point, 6 more than my longest ride since I bought the bike. I felt great. A little cold (it was 66-68 degrees at this time), but generally energized and in good spirits. I was just getting on the bike again after i had taken a short break and refueled with more food and drinks when I lost balance and fell. Not in any way a serious fall, but I cut my knee so it started bleeding enough to worry both my wife and myself. It doesn`t take much when you`re on blood thinners and your blood takes three times as long to coagulate as for a normal person.

    Around ten miles before I came home, I discovered that my bike wouldn`t let me use the lowest two gears without slipping. An adjustment for sure, but one I was not able to do myself. I probably should be able to make an adjustment like this, but not this time. I made it home fine. 80 miles down and it was daylight again. It was time to start riding the 24 miles loop over and over again. I made it once. I desperately needed the two gears I wasn`t able to use and had big difficulties getting up the hill (the one form my old post and earlier in this one) without them. I mad a choice to cut the loop short and thereby avoid the hill. I just had to make a shorter loop more times. It might sound like this would be an easier loop, but since I avoided the uphill, I wouldn`t be able to go downhill either. This meant that for about half of the 200 miles I would not have a single chance to rest while going downhill.

    At around 100 miles I started to feel that I was on a long bike ride. My seat started hurting and the knee I banged at the 66 mile “incident” (that sounds a little more serious and not so clumsy…or?) started to ache. It was time to bite my teeth together. I said this on Facebook at the time: “Half way and then some. 105 miles. I’m beginning to hurt now. I could list the body parts that hurt, but I might as well say everywhere. Time to kick the will power into overdrive.”

    The temperature went gradually up now that the sun had been up for a while. I rode for a couple of hours in 90-100 degrees and decided at 141 miles/105 degrees/3PM that it was time for some rest. I did not want to risk my health. I noticed that my pulse went up from 110-120 to 150+ due to the heat. I took a shower, had a good meal(see picture),

    plenty of liquid and actually managed to sleep for a little bit before I got back in the saddle at 8PM/83 degrees. I`m not sure if I see it myself, but my wife assures me that I look horrible in this picture. I think I look pretty good. I even Photo Shopped off a couple of banana pieces that were stuck to my face! Getting back on the bike after my break was rough. My muscles were cold, my knee..who am I kidding, everything hurt. I left this note on Facebook only 27 miles after I had satrted up again: ” I’m at 168 miles now and I’m aching absolutely everywhere, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

    I didn`t plan for the long break, but I`m very glad I was smart enough to take it. I honestly think that I would have gotten myself into trouble if I had not done it. Since I did take the break, I had to ride a few more miles in the dark and those extra miles I had to ride in an area with road work everywhere. It`s annoying in day light, having to steer around rocks, holes in the ground, barriers and what-nots. In the dark, I simply didn`t see all those things, at least not all of them. So, I fell into holes and flew over bumps too many times to count. Those things are NO fun when your crotch feels like it`s been operated on with no anesthetics already. Back and forth on my loop. At the end I realized that despite the fact that I hurt all over and despite the fact that I was very ready to take a nap, I had actually quite a bit of energy left. I sprinted the last few miles and was veeeeery happy when my computer showed 200 miles. I did it!

    It`s difficult to describe how I felt. I`m not the only one to have biked 200 miles in a day. It`s not even that long compared to what some people do. For me, the success, if I may call it that, means that I might have had heart surgery, but I`m no heart patient anymore. Does that make sense?

    Today, I had my one-year check up after surgery with my cardiologist. After EKG, ultrasound and plenty of tests and measurements my doctor told me that my heart, which before my surgery had grown so much that it had moved a little around its own axis, has now moved back in place and has shrunk down to normal size. You have no idea how that makes me feel!

    Keep your eyes on this blog for things to come. Have I got plans or what!?

    Don`t change the channel.

    THE Bionic Cyclist

  • bioniccyclist 5:59 am on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    It is time 

    One year ago today, I was dreading the pain I was about to experience as a result of necessary open heart surgery. I had do to it to improve the quality of my life. In the long run, save my life. Today, I`m celebrating that decision by reliving the dreading and indeed the pain. Funny thing is I`m 100% certain that this time I will be in much more pain than last year!

    Like last year I`m relatively sure I will make it, but not totally sure. Unlike last year, if I don`t make it I have only my self to blame. Unlike last year I feel good about the way I have treated my body the last 365 days.

    Thank you to all of you who have supported me. For those of you who know me personally, I`m sure you understand that it will be an emotional weekend for me. It`s good to be alive folks!

    My 200-mile/321.87km day will begin midnight tonight PST, 9AM Saturday morning in Norway. I will try to post updates on Facebook as often as possible. That`s my way of soliciting “you-can-do-it” from you online 🙂

    Time to go to work, take a short nap and then start counting miles. The forecast has changed a little, but not much: night time 67F/19C degrees, day time 102F/39C.

    Don`t change the channel

    THE Bionic Cyclist

    • steinar 8:35 am on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Ja. da er dags. Tenk hvor fort ett aar gaar.
      Du har jobba maalbevist mot denne dagen. Det staar det respekt av. Vi er sikre paa at du greier det maalet du har satt deg. Men husk at helsa kommer foerst. Det er ingen skam aa gi seg hvis det blir for toeft. Selvsagt ett hypotetisk spoersmaal. TVI! TVI! Lykke til og take care. Vi krysser fingerene for deg. Mvh INR senior

      • bioniccyclist 1:20 pm on September 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Takk for det. Naa er det bare noen faa timer til det braker loes. Helsa er som du sier det viktigste. Varmen er egentlig det eneste som gjoer meg litt usikker, Men, som en klok mann sa “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever”.

  • bioniccyclist 7:59 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    One week left! 

    The big day, the day I have been planning for and preparing for is coming up in seven days. I am not as well prepared as I should be, but am I ready? Mmmmmmaybe…that`s as good of an answer as I can give you right now.

    The heat has been my enemy. It`s not like I didn`t know that I live in a hot area when I started this, but I have had more trouble handling the heat than I anticipated. Being from the cold north originally, my blood wasn`t exactly thin from birth. (I know, I could make so many jokes right now, being on blood thinners and everything), but I have always considered myself being relatively tolerant of high temperatures. I`ve lived here in the desert for the last six years where we have 120 degrees F consistently in the summer. That would be 45-50C. It`s one thing to live here and stay in the shade or even better, in an air conditioned room when you need to. It`s something else to exercise in temperatures where you can fry an omelet on your front porch. I do mean that literally!

    Twice this year have I been hospitalized with dehydration. One of those times with a heat stroke. The other time with renal (kidney) failure. Both times has it been my own fault. I simply have not been smart about hydrating myself and listening to my own body. I don`t mean the ticking of my heart valve either. Perhaps as a result of the hospital visits, definitely as a result of me being a dumb ass, I have not met any of the goals I set earlier this year. I wanted lose a certain amount of weight, I wanted to do at least one 100 mile ride by the end of July, and I….wanted so many things really. So far I have not lost a single gram since my last post (which was way too long ago), my longest ride has been 60 miles and I feel very very unprepared. UN-prepared might not be exactly how I feel, but at least under-prepared…if that`s even a word. I have by the way ridden around 1200 miles (2000km) since March.

    One part of me that is ready though, is my will power. I know I will not give up unless my legs stop working. I will start next Saturday and I will go for as long as I can.

    I`ve received a few questions regarding the 200 mile ride. Some of you seem to think it`s a race I have signed up for. It`s not so. It`s only me. I`m doing my own thing. The good things about that are that I can plan my own start time and decide where I ride.

    So, where and when? I will start at my house, then go about 38 miles in one direction, back again to my house, 12 miles in one direction and back to my house again. I will repeat the 24 mile loop until I reach 200 miles. You do the math. I will have a service car (my wife) with me for the first 76 miles. After that I will return to my house every 24 miles for drinks and food. I`m anticipating a total ride time of between 15 and 20 hours. I will start at midnight September 18 (Friday night). If you live in the area and would like to come out and experience some schadenfreude, let me know. Send me an email (thebioniccyclist@gmail.com) and I will tell you exactly where and when the pain will be on public display.

    I hope to be able to post some updates live here as well and if all goes well I will post a few short live video updates on Facebook. (add “terje riisnaes” as a Facebook friend and you will be able to see these clips).

    Until THE day, thats it!

    Don`t change the channel

    THE Bionic Cyclist.

  • bioniccyclist 8:10 pm on July 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Good news times two today. 

    Good news on two fronts today: Let me first congratulate my fellow Norwegian and fellow Cervelo rider, Thor Hushovd, on an amazing victory in le Tour de France today! His strength and tactics were beyond comparison. The victory put him in the green jersey and in seventh overall. Where was Cavendish? Pfffftt, who cares!
    Also, I`ve been struggling with an old skiing injury for the last 10 days or so. I had a disc prolapse many years ago. Every now and then it gives me trouble for a few days. This time it lasted a little longer than normal so I went to the doctor on Friday last week. She gave me some really strong pain pills that made me feel real loopy, but at least pain free. Because of all the medicines I`m on after my heart surgery, I can only take a few select kinds of pain pills. Unfortunately they work so well that I cannot drive while on them so I couldn`t take any today. After more than a week with pain anyway I decided to try a chiropractor for the very first time in my life (!). Amazing! The results that is. Not only did he fix the disc problem less than 10 minutes after I met him, but he loosened up a lot of stiffness I`ve been experiencing after the surgeons broke my chest bone. I feel so much better now. I might have to go back once or twice, but for now I feel good enough to get back on the bike again. I`ve not been able to get on it for the last 10 days.
    SO, two Cervelo riding Norwegians achieved some great results today:-)

    • Kim 9:54 am on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have been trying to get you to go to a chiropractor for months now. You should have listened to me in the first place!!!!

  • bioniccyclist 8:02 pm on June 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    I will make you famous! 

    Here`s your chance to spread your message and perhaps become famous like me doing it! I would like to invite any and all of my readers to write on www. theboniccyclist.com

    I know from your comments and emails I have received that many of you have at least one thing in common with me. You might be a heart patient, you might be exercising, you might be a cyclist, you might want to lose some weight, you might be an outdoors person. Who knows, you might not have anything in common with me at all, but have something you would like to share with the world anyway. Maybe you dislike people like me  or maybe even me specifically for some reason? In any case, email me and I WILL publish your thoughts on this very web site.


  • bioniccyclist 10:13 pm on May 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    My Tour de Fire 

    The ride last Saturday was full of ups and downs. Literally and figuratively. I signed up a few weeks ago for the 38 mile ride. The options were 20 miles, 38 miles, 60 miles, 74 miles, and 100 miles. I figured 38 would be relatively easy. I was wrong!

    I`m not sure about you, but I tend to estimate how challenging something will be before I actually do it. As for the 38 mile TDF, I knew the terrain and I knew what it meant to be in a group race. Races like this aren`t races where you compete to win, but rather participate in in order to complete for some sort of self gratification and sometimes to raise funds for a good cause. TDF is an annual event, raising money for the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. In other words, cyclists who sign up for races like this will normally ride at a moderate speed. Riding in a group normally makes it easier to keep a steady pace as you will almost always be able to benefit from being behind someone. I was planning on drafting as much as possible and should therefore be able to ride with less effort than when I`ve been on solo rides. I did a 42 mile solo ride a couple of weeks ago with no big issues. 38 miles in a group should be no big deal. Did I mention I was wrong?

    I drove to the start area early in the morning. My scheduled start time was 7:30 AM. I drove where the route was so I saw the terrain. It sure seemed a lot hillier than I remembered! 7:30AM exactly and we were sent off. I started in the back of the field that consisted of 100-150 riders, young, old, men, women, small, big. A diverse group indeed. After a mile or so, the field had stretched out more than I expected. A fast group took off in the front and a slower group remained in the back. I felt that the slower group was a little too slow and that if I decided to stay with them, I would take too long getting through the 38 miles. From Boulder Beach up towards Calville Bay, the terrain is like a roller coaster. Up and down, mostly up. It`s practically never flat. I climbed and I climbed and soon found myself in no mans land, in between the fast group and the slow group. It was windy. I was riding against the wind up hill for 11 miles where the first rest stop was. I felt pretty good, but I was going slow. By the time I left the rest stop I had already taken an hour. Not good. At least the turnaround should be only 8 more miles up the road. Since I had climbed so much already and since I was riding against the wind, it should be a lot easier gong back again. I didn`t happen to mention I was wrong, did I?

    After the rest stop it kept going up and up, the wind turned too. I was no longer riding directly against the wind, but diagonally against the wind. This made it tougher to keep the balance and I was going even slower. Riders kept passing me at an alarming rate. They were going much faster than me. I was past by a guy who was in his 60s on a 30 year old bike. He was pedaling along wearing sneakers. I did manage to stay with him for a while, but had to see him get away from me after a few miles. It was pretty discouraging to see that so many cyclists were in so much better form than me. I kept repeating to myself that I had only been in training for 7 weeks (I went on my first training ride on March 13, 2010), but it didn`t really make me feel any better.

    Before last Saturday, I predicted that I was going to be able to complete the race in around 2 1/2 hours. I based that on my rides the few weeks before TDF. I was nowhere close to the average speed I needed for that to happen. Around Calville Bay my computer showed 17 miles. I was going up a long hill that made my legs feel like they would fall off any minute. Pain, pain, and more pain. I had to focus big time in order to stay on the bike. Others were passing me as they were chatting to their buddies. Rub it in folks! At least the rest stop and the turnaround should be right over that hill. But, no! I bit my teeth together and realized that there was no rest stop there. My computer could be a little off I guessed. More hills of the upward kind and more pain, and more wind. I passed 19 miles, then 20 miles. Where on earth was the friggin rest stop?! As I struggled to maintain my cadence at more than 5 strokes per minute and as that skinny woman passed me for the fifth time (for some reason she always passed me uphill and I her downhill. I guess her75lbs vs my 210lbs was a little unfair both up and down) I started thinking that perhaps there was no official turnaround point? There hadn`t been a sign at the 11 mile stop despite the fact that it was the turnaround point for the 20 mile route. I was getting ready to turn around. I had as a matter of fact been ready for that for at least 5 miles. Then my wife and father-in-law came towards me in their car. They stopped. I asked them if there was a rest stop further up. “Yupp, a mile or so up the road”. I could do one more mile. It ended up being 3 more miles.

    The official distance to the turnaround rest stop was 21.5 miles. My computer showed close to 23 miles. I hadn`t exactly been keeping a straight line up  Mont Ventoux. Since the routes had had to change due to road work in the area, the organizers had had to change the location of the turnarounds and thereby the length of the rides a little. At the rest stop I hung out with my family for a while and grabbed some food and drinks before I headed back. The ride back was indeed as predicted quite a bit easier, but since I had used up so much energy on the way up, it was still tough. In actual time on the bike, it took me 3 hours and 55 minutes to complete the 46 miles (according to my computer). Total time with stops, 4 hours and 35 minutes. Embarrassing numbers, but I have learned a lot from this.

    I know now that I need to focus on riding faster up hill. I need to ride longer rides. I need to lose more weight. If I feel I`m on schedule to complete my goal in September? I think so, but I have a lot of work ahead of me and you know where you can read about the progress.

    Don`t change the channel

    THE Bionic Cyclist

  • bioniccyclist 8:38 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    How are YOU doin`? 

    It`s almost May and it`s been a while since I`ve said anything of importance. Some might say I`ve never said anything important in here, but I beg to differ. Between the lines and sometimes above them you will find sophisticated thoughts and clever ideas…if you just look. (You should try! Let me know what you find…I`m still looking)

    On March 13, I wrote this:(https://bioniccyclist.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/its-time-to-start/)

    “Whichever way you slice it, the time to prepare, the time to train for my “tour” is now! I figure my max distance right now is around 20 miles. I need to double that by mid April. May first, I plan to do “tour de fire”, a local bike ride that offers several distances ranging from 20 to 100 mils. I figure I should be good for the 38 miles or perhaps even the 60 mile by then. I will give myself a couple of weeks before I make that decision. By mid April I need to have dropped at least 5lbs as well. Now it`s online, so I just have to do it, right?”

    It`s a little past mid-April. In other words, it`s time for a status check!

    Max distance in March :20 miles. Max distance  April 23: 42 miles. Check! Weight loss: ~7lbs. Check!

    Tour de Fire distance: (signed up for) 38 miles. More or less…check!

    I`d be bold and say that I`m en route, but there`s a long ways to Rome (is that even a saying?) There is at least a long ways to 200 miles in one day. Fortunately September 18 is still 4 1/2 months away too. But, the weather is heating up. The training will be tougher because of that, but hopefully also better in some ways. At least the sun will melt the pounds off, right?

    I have no idea what i`m doing really. I have a little experience from back in the days, but that only means that I`ve done some of this before. if I did it the right way then and if I`m doing anything right now, who knows? Those who do know will probably get a good laugh when they read about my training strategy. The only educated suggestion that I have listened to came in the form of one sentence from a personal cyclist trainer at the store I bought my bike. He suggested that I start out by going on short yet frequent rides. That way I`ll get my body used to cycling without completely giving it a shock. Well, in the shape I was (still am probably), looking at a bike gave my body a shock. So..too late for that, but I do believe the suggestion made sense to me. I did after all take it to heart. I have gone on a lot of short rides. 10-12 miles, sometimes as much as 20.

    I have up until now chosen rides with a lot of climbing and I have focused on cadence as opposed to speed. This part has been my own idea. hardly a revolutionary training philosophy, but it seems to be working. I haven`t run empty yet and I feel stronger and stronger on the climbs. After the Tour de Fire, I plan on changing my approach a little. I will focus a little more on speed. Not that I need to be the fastest guy on the block (which shouldn`t be too hard anyway. There`s pretty much retired old folks living on my block), but by going faster one also spends less time in the seat, which is muy importante when one plans to do a triple metric century in one day!

    So far I`ve been averaging 20-22km/h on my rides. I need to be at 25km or so on 25miles+ miles rides by the middle of June. ( are you confused by me mixing metric and US values yet?) Back in the days (I know I say that a lot) I was able to average 28-32km/h on 25 mile rides. That was then.Like I wrote in March “Now it`s online, so I just have to do it, right?”

    Don`t change the channel

    THE Bionic Cyclist

  • bioniccyclist 4:22 pm on April 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aortic valve stenosis, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    THE Bionic Cyclist, recycled. 

    With lots of new readers, I figured I would recycle some of the older posts. here`s the very first one, recycled (very green of me)

    So..I`m blogging now. Wow! Never thought I would do that. I`m not even sure why I am doing it. Maybe a little bit because my wife thought it would be a good idea. We both saw “Julie and Julia” and were intrigued. Or was it “Julia and Julie”?

    Anyway, my story is as follows. It will hopefully explain why I`m doing this (“this” as in what I will blog about, not “this” as in why I`m blogging).

    As a young teenager I was told that I had a heart murmur. One of my valves was leaking and I would need surgery some time in a distant future. “When you are 60-70 years old” my doctor told me. Looking through old  files the doc saw that the valve problem had been detected earlier, when I was five and a half years old. At that time, however, I underwent surgery, not heart related. Since surgery at that age was rather serious, the doctors focused on what was at hand. The heart valve discovery was noted, but not followed up on until it was rediscovered 8-10 years later.

    As a young boy I never noticed my heart condition. I actually feel a little guilty about even calling it that. Heart conditions are for people with gray hair and wheezing breaths, right? I was relatively active in sports. I played soccer, competed in motocross and rode a road bike. I was in pretty good shape. By the time I got to my twenties I  had a full time job and wasn`t as active anymore. I gained some weight and generally became a lazy butt.

    In January of 1993, I was having lunch with a friend and colleague. I`m not sure who suggested it first, but we agreed that signing up for a really long bike race would be a good idea. None of us even owned a bike, so naturally that was a great idea! I guess we were both in a what-the-heck-let`s-do-something-crazy-and-impulsive mood. We decided to go for it! We bought bikes a few days later.

    Trondheim-Oslo (In Norway. Now you know where I`m from and why I write with an “accent”) was at least at that time the longest one-day bike race in the world. 540km/335miles in one day. Perfect for two ambitious untrained young whippersnappers! Especially since we bought our bikes just about 5 months before the race.

    You (as if I already have anyone but the few I have given the link to reading this already) might wonder what this has to do with why I`m blogging. I`m just going on about something that happened back when I was young. Well, hang in there. I`ll get to it. I promise.

    Just to be sure I wanted to run the whole thing by my doctor before I started exercising like a madman. “No, you cannot do that” was his reaction. He recommended I see a cardiologist for a second opinion though. I did. “Yes, you can do that…but you have to be careful” was his reaction. Much better. Then, it was time to turn the switch to “madman”.

    My friend and I both completed the race and vowed never to do it again. 365 days later I completed the same race for the second time. Since that day at the lunch table when e decided to be “cyclists”. I was bitten. I jumped on the bike 5-6 times per week for several years.

    This is now 16 years ago. I moved to the US in 1997. I have not been on a bike for exercising purposes since then. I`m married now and have lived a lazy couch potato life for a loooong time. “Not enough time for exercising”. Isn`t that a good enough excuse? After I became Mr Lazy I gradually started feeling my age and then some. I gained about 50lbs, felt tired and exhausted all the time, but still managed to blame it on my age, weight gain, lack of..well..moving! and so on. In March of 2009 I went to my doctor to have him check on a cough that I hadn`t been able to shake off after a cold I had several weeks ago. The cold was gone, but I was still coughing. Yeah, and while he was at it he might as well help me make an appointment with a cardiologist also. Just for a check up. I hadn`t had one of those in seven years or so. My wife insisted I`d do that. It was the least I could do to make her happy at least. Big deal. Big deal indeed! “You have a loud murmur and need to see a cardiologist ASAP. You might need surgery soon”, were his words. Oops!

    It turned out he was right. It actually turned out that my cough was caused by my “flappy” heart valve, or “aortic valve stenosis” as the cardiologist called it. Dozens of doctor visits and too many tests to count later, I had my heart valve and heart root replacement surgery on September 18, 2009.

    The recovery process went smoothly. I might or might not revisit that experience later. Depending on the readers feedback! (yeah, right…)

    I now have a mechanical heart valve, which means that I tick. Stand within a few feet of me in a relatively quiet room and you can hear it! It also means that I am part machine! Amazing and very cool, right?

    About 8-10 weeks after my surgery I felt almost like normal. As a part of the recovery process I was walking daily. I actually felt great! I realized that the fatigue and tiredness I had blamed on my age and other factors had been at least to some extent been caused by my defective valve. With a new valve I don`t have to be careful about pushing myself physically anymore. I have to be careful about falling since I am on blood-thinning medications, but my heart should be tough enough to take a sprint or….a bike ride!

    I miss my cycling days and desperately want to get back in shape. I have decided to go for it, again. My goal is to complete 200 miles on a bike in one day before the one-year anniversary of my heart surgery. The first hurdle I have to pass is getting a bike. Unfortunately, I got spoiled riding one of those expensive bikes back in the days of Trondheim-Oslo. Getting approval from my better half to purchase a bike worth more than her wedding ring (yeah, it`s gonna be SO much easier when she reads this. Oy!) might be a little tricky. But, we`ll see. I still have plenty of time. Maybe I`ll be rich from blogging…or maybe we`ll win the lotto? Maybe it`ll rain dollar bills tomorrow morning?

    Reading through the last paragraphs I realize that my story, despite it being extremely interesting, might mot explain why I`m blogging. I guess it`s just the cool thing to do nowadays. I don`t need any better reasons. At least I can`t think of any.

    So, you. You know, the one who received the link to this from either myself or my wife, please follow me as I struggle with my wife to buy a bike, with myself as I get up in the morning to exercise, with……well..I can`t think of anything else that I might have to struggle with. Maybe it will be a walk in the park? I know one thing for sure though, it will be blogged. Right here! Don`t change the channel.

    THE BionicCyclist

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