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Monthly Archives: October 2018

What if We only have So Many Heartbeats in a Lifetime? Fit Vs Sedentary, and the Math

I wrote a post yesterday about a new study that showed not only that a sedentary life is worse for the health than smoking, but that ultra-exercisers don’t face a higher risk of death.  A comment came in from a blog friend of mine:

A cardiologist at work ascribes to a theory that we all have a predetermined number of heart beats over our life time. Ergo exercising will speed our demise! I think that I will speed mine up by enjoying exercising some more…

I’ve done the math on this before, so I jumped on that right away – see, the common misperception is that, because one exercises, one blows a lot of extra heart beats elevating the heart rate during exercise.  While this is partially true, what it doesn’t account for is how many beats one saves by being fit.  My resting heart rate, should I lead a sedentary life, would be around 70 beats per minute.  However, because I’m fit as an ox, it’s 42 beats per minute…  Here’s my response:

You figure an hour a day you’re riding, right? Then three a day on Saturday and Sunday. That’s 11 hours a week you’ve got an elevated heart rate, right?

There are 168 hours in a week. Because I’m ultra-fit, my resting heart rate is 42 bpm. Average for someone who isn’t is 70… a difference of 28 bpm. Each and every minute of each and every day.

Long story, short, you save something like ten million beats a year being fit.

[Drops mic].

Exercising, I’m at 26,000,000 beats a year…
Sedentary I’m at 36,800,000 beats a year…

There are other factors involved, of course. But that’s a fair ballpark right there.

Now, that was my response.  I didn’t get into those “factors” because I was replying to a comment, no need to get into too lengthy in the response, but turning that into a post, we can define some of those factors.

Most important, I’m not always at my resting heart rate throughout the day.  I’m walking, on the phone, in stressful situations, walking up stairs (because I don’t take the elevator), etc..  On the other hand, one would assume that a sedentary person would have the same day, or close to it, at least, so their heart rate would rise above their 70 bmp mark as well.  The point is, without getting too deep into the woods, we could fairly assume apples to apples and just go with the resting heart rate as a baseline.  In fact, if we really want to get into it, we could assume that the person with the sedentary life would be more adversely affected by stressors and their heart rate would rise higher than a fit person’s when taking the stairs or dealing with stress.  At least this makes sense to me.

To get into the numbers I used for the math, I figured I average almost 19-mph a mile throughout the week.  My fast days are a lot faster than that, but my slow days are a lot slower, so I figured an average of 160 bpm for my elevated heart rate.  I think I figured high.  So that’s 11 hours a week at that 160 bpm, then another 157 hours at 42.  Multiply by 52 weeks.

For the sedentary fella, just figure a straight 70 bpm across the board for 365 days.

So, is it fair to say a fit person will save roughly 10,000,000 beats a year?  As I said in my response, I think it’s a fair benchmark – but even if it’s only half that, I’d rather be fit if we’re living on a set number of heartbeats in a lifetime.  I don’t think there’s any question, I get more years out of less beats as a fit fella.

New Study Shows Not Exercising is WORSE than Smoking… There’s More.

Time recently featured an article about an enormous new study that shows currently smoking isn’t as bad for the health as leading a sedentary lifestyle. That surprised even me.

That’s not the good part, though. It gets better. Here’s my favorite part:

The study also took a look at the risk of being overactive and found that “ultra” exercisers do not face higher risk of death: the research consistently found that the more a person exercises the lower their mortality rates.

Somebody pick my jaw up off the floor. Somebody smack my ass and call me… well, maybe we needn’t go that far, here. The point is, how many times have we been told over the last couple of decades that too much of a good thing is bad?

As I go, I’m not one who must be fretted about cycling “too much”. I ride a lot, but I need balance. Too much cycling and my conscience will eventually catch up. Better to keep the good balance I have than have to cut back or worse, quit, later on.  For those with a family, an exercise addiction is almost as tough to forgive as drug or alcohol addiction – the only thing missing is the legal trouble.  Please, just keep that in mind.  Coming to the conclusion that you are or have been a f*** up is a rather bitter pill to swallow.

So, back to the fun stuff!  This is good news, indeed!

Ride hard, my friends… because we can (and let’s face it, we were always going to anyway).


An Ugly, but Wonderful, Saturday Morning Ride

The temp was a balmy 43° (6 C) as I was readying the Venge for a wonderful, sunny, Saturday morning ride. It had rained the night before, but the weather report was for sunshine and happy times.

I was going to ride the Trek, but I figured one more ride on the Venge – just in case I don’t get another opportunity this year. 43 isn’t too cold for the good bike…

I walked out the door with a couple of minutes to spare to damp pavement. The sun was already out, though, so I figured it’d be a matter if minutes before it dried up, so rather than head back in and air up the Trek, I decided to roll with the chick that brung me (that’s a riff on an old Arnold Palmer quote).


The first five miles were spent dodging the rare rooster tail that popped up when someone rolled through a wetter chunk of the lane. Same with the next five. And the five after that. Hey, guess what the next five were like?

Nope, not the next five. For those, we had to dodge mud clumps left by farm tractors hopping from field to field… as well as rooster tails. Woohoo!

The ride in the sun sure was nice, though. The last sixteen were almost all tailwind and fun. It was too bad about my gnarly race bike, but whatever… it was already a mess. Nothing could be done about it, so I just rolled on with a smile on my face.

I’d failed to miss a lot of that aforementioned mud, though. The down tube and bottom bracket area were coated. It wasn’t all that big a deal in the end. Cleaning the bike up simply took some time.

A bit muddy, yes, but it was a wonderful morning on the bike. Today will hold a different story. The real cold hit last night – a month early.

Modernizing a Classic Road Bike; The Trek 5200, for All the Right Reasons

The initial question that must be answered when considering whether or not to modernize a classic road bike is, “Do I want to alter the bike from what was originally intended?” With my Trek, I struggled with that question mightily… for about five minutes.  For others, especially when it comes to older bikes, that Q & A might not be so easy.

I bought the 5200 used in January of 2012 because that was about all I could afford and the first road bike I bought was entirely wrong.  Too small, down tube shifters, and old-timer heavy wheels.  Over time I took the Trek from a nine speed triple (27 gears) to a ten speed compact double (20 gears) that I’m absolutely pleased with. I like the bike a lot more now than I did when it was a triple, and the reason for this is a little geeky.

So, the 5200 has been my “rain” bike since late in the 2013 season when I bought my brand spankin’ new Specialized Venge.  The Specialized became my “A” bike the day I brought it home.  Over the years, though, I came to appreciate the simplicity of the Trek and how it’s built.  External cables, exceptional components…  As parts wore out, it became increasingly clear that I wanted to use the Trek on multi-day tours rather than the Venge.  The Specialized was great, but if anything went wrong with the Trek, I knew I could fix it blindfolded.  The Venge is a little more labor intensive that way.  Going back to geeky, I knew, from the voluminous articles I’ve read about road bikes over the years, that triples have a lot of overlap gears – doubles, therefore, are more efficient.  Let’s look at the new gearing versus the old:

The top speed is a little misleading – I can get 40-mph out of the 50/34 (I’ve done it).  The 52 tooth big ring is closer to 43-mph.  That said, the granny gear is what’s important to me – I travel to a lot of places with hills, so I want to be able to climb anything that comes at me.  You can see, the new gearing and the old are almost identical at the low-end.

Getting back to the overlap, look at the triple chart.  52/15 is almost identical to 42/12.  52/19 & 42/15.  52/21 and 42/17 match up exactly… and you can do the same thing for the baby ring and the middle ring.  You’ve got another five overlap gears between those two.  You’ve got 27 gears with the triple, but you only need 19 or fewer because of all of the overlapping gears.  In other words, the triple is inefficient.  Using the compact double, there is some overlap (50/24 & 34/17 for instance), but I use a double different than a triple on the road.  The overlap isn’t quite as wasteful.  The transformation was slow, though.  It took some time.

As purchased in 2012 (with the addition of a modern saddle – the original was too wide):


The first thing to give out on the Trek was the wheelset. The Rolf wheels were bombproof as wheels go, but one too many rides in the rain and the brake track thinned and blew out – the aluminum brake surface wore too thin. The wheels were simple enough to rectify because, even being a ’99, the rear dropout width was the modern 130mm. I had a spare set of wheels that went on the bike. The headset was next to give out. The original headset was a mess after decades of abuse, so when I got the bike painted the stock headset was upgraded to a new Chris King. Shortly after the paintjob, the right shifter broke – again, after almost two decades of hard use, they were simply beat. Rather than change the drivetrain, I decided to go with MicroSHIFT 9sp. shifters to save money. They were only $75 shipped to my doorstep and I installed them myself. They worked flawlessly.

Painted, new headset, saddle, carbon fiber seat post, stem, handlebar and 9sp MicroSHIFT shifters 2016:


Eventually, a friend was selling an Ultegra 10sp. component group that I put on the Venge and I took the 105 drivetrain off that and put it on the Trek.  A used Shimano crank for ($20), some new chainrings ($60), a new Ultegra bottom bracket ($40 installed) and I was ready to roll.

Today – 2018: New compact crank, new Ultegra bottom bracket and bearings, 17° stem (flipped), 10sp Shimano 105 drivetrain:

Whether good or lucky, my ’99 Trek was easy to upgrade – at least the parts I installed myself were easy (everything except the bottom bracket and headset). The headset was a little tricky because, if memory serves, there was only one available on the market that would fit the bike. The bottom bracket was a happier story; ultra-easy. I did agonize over the stem for a bit, though. I was stuck between going with a 17° and a full-on-crazy drop with a 25° stem. I’m glad I went with the 17 in the end. The 25 would have been too much drop for me to reach comfortably.

Other than that little bit of consternation, everything fit and worked perfectly.

I think, eventually I’m going to change the brake calipers to something a little more black but that’s way, way on the back burner.

So, from a 21-pound 52/42/30, 9sp. triple to a 18-1/2-pound 50/34, 10sp. double…  Having to do it all over again, would I alter the original again (obviously, the worn-out parts had to go anyway)?

In a heartbeat.  I was never much for nostalgia anyway.  The bike is faster, lighter by 2-1/2 pounds, and more enjoyable to ride… not to mention, it looks a lot better.  In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.  1999 was the only year the triple got it’s own designation as the 5200T.  In reality, what I did was upgrade a rare bike – doing what I did in the automotive world would be a pure travesty.  Thankfully, as bike geeks go, it’s less about altering a classic and more about making an old bike into something that’s more fun to ride.  I’ve taken that bike on every tour I’ve done for the last two years, and I couldn’t be happier.

I took a fine classic and perfected it.

Would the whirling dervish purists get their undies in a bunch over what I’ve done?  Without question – but they’re not riding the bike, so let them whirl.

The Michelin Pro 4 Service Course and Endurance 4,000 Mile Reviews

I’ve got a confession to make… I’ve been riding Specialized tires for years but I’ve got two friends who swear by their Michelin Pro 4 tires. One day, perusing one of my favorite cycling shop websites, I happened upon 23mm Pro 4 Endurance for $30 each. I snapped up four without thinking twice, a heck of a bargain.

I am limited to 23mm tires on my Trek 5200, so when my last set wore out, I tried the new Michelin tires. They’re fantastic.


I don’t quite know how many miles I’ve got on that set in the photo, but it’s a lot – enough I’ve already rotated them once.  The Endurance tires are a touch heavier than the Service Course as the flat protection covers the entire tire – bead to bead.  Whilst I’d never go for the extra weight on the race bike, on the rain bike it just made sense.  I’m exceptionally pleased with the performance of the tires.  They’re supple, quiet, fast, and the flat protection, wet or dry, is fantastic.  No flats.

This post isn’t just about the Endurance tire, though.  The Title says Service Course as well.  My buddy, Chuck, decided he wanted to go tubeless on his race bike, so he just happened to have a brand new set of 25mm Service Course Pro 4’s.  I snapped them up in a heartbeat for the Venge:


They’re a little more supple than the Endurance model, which is to be expected without the extra Kevlar lining and the 25’s on the carbon wheels are mind-blowingly smooth.  Now, with the 25’s above, I’ve only got 1,000 miles on them since September because I don’t put many miles on the Venge towards the end of the season.  The miles I do have on them have all been enjoyable.  Also, I put a set on my wife’s bike a while back, too so figure another 3,000 miles on hers without a problem.  My friends, add them all up, that’s a lot of perfect miles.

While the review of the tires has been glowing thus far, they’re not quite perfect.  My wife’s Ultegra wheels are tubeless ready, so tires are already going to be a tight fit.  My Ican wheels are a tight fit as well – I couldn’t get them on the wheels without a tool.  In fact, they were tight on my Velocity wheels as well, and tires are never tight on those wheels.  In other words, they fit snug.  You’d better have some strong hands if you’re going to change a flat with those tires.

That said, if the only thing I’ve got to complain about is the wheels being snug, well I’m a happy guy.  They’re broken in enough now, I should be able to work around them easily enough…  Of course, they don’t go flat so I probably won’t have to worry much about roadside tire changes.

What is the Minimum Number of Bikes a Cycling Enthusiast Needs to be an Enthusiast?

Now, look, I’m not about to sit here and say to Bob, “Hey, Bob, because you don’t have “x” number of bikes, you can’t be an enthusiast like me”. That would be stupid, ignorant, and repugnant. I’m not that kind of guy and this won’t be that kind of post.

That said, let’s break it down for shits and giggles.

You need one bike. Preferably a gravel or cross bike with two sets of wheels, one for the road and one for the dirt.

With that you can do anything… except snow.  Crap, forgot about the snow.  Okay, so let’s make the bare minimum, two bikes. A fat bike for the winter and a cross bike with two wheelsets. Bob’s your uncle.

That doesn’t really get it, though, does it? Let’s face reality… You’re going to be out of the fast group rides because you’ll be at a disadvantage with that gravel bike. Let’s go with three bikes. Add a sweet carbon fiber aero road bike. You can use the gravel/cross bike with two sets of wheels for a rain bike.

Wait a minute, though… You’re going to want to chill on the mountain bikes with your buds in the fall, right? That fat bike is going to be cool and all, but let’s face facts; that fat bike is for the snow and it’ll be slow, right? You don’t need a disadvantage trying to hang with your friends. Right!

You’ll need a mountain bike, too.

So let’s make that four bikes. A mountain bike, an aero road bike, a fat bike, and a gravel bike… with two wheelsets.

Then you see a classic you’ve gotta have. Better make that five. Besides, you can use that as a rain bike and hammer almost as fast as you would on the race bike.  Yeah.  Five works.

That’s not quite the done of it, though, now that I think of it…  You’re going to need another mountain bike for your really nasty days.  One of those, “I don’t care how gnarly it gets outside.  Sometimes you just gotta ride!” bikes.


I may have to paint this one black…

So let’s make that six.  Six bikes should do.

Oh, shit.  What about a track bike?!  And a time trial bike?!

Hang on, Baby Jesus.  This is gonna get bumpy…

You need a lot of bikes.  A whole lot of them.  In fact, you’d better invest in a bigger house while you’re at it.

Or just ride what you’ve got an be happy.  That works too.

The pure joy of a 35-mph sprint.

I have a sprinter’s bike and it is awesome…

We paid for our tailwind at the end of our ride with a gnarly headwind the first, brutal half. A group of six or seven of us left a full half-hour early to avoid the big group in a howling wind. Safety was our main concern.

So off we went. Headwind for two miles, cross-tailwind for four, headwind, cross-tail… and with a sharp lefthand turn it was come to Jesus time. Dead into a 20+ mph headwind.

Ugly was all you could call it. We had a tough time keeping the group together.

Fifteen miles in, though, and the tides turned. We had a lot of cross-tailwind, but I’ll take that over the frontal assault we’d just fought through.

It was with that cross-tailwind that we hit the intermediate sprint section. The pace was ramped up from a spritely 24-mph and I launched my sprint with several hundred meters to go and took it up to 31-1/2… I could see the shadows fading on the pavement behind me, so I knew I was pulling away… no sense in giving it too much before the final, so I let up just a touch as I came up to the City Limits sign.

A quick recovery through town and it was back on the gas. It was a cross-tailwind all the way home.

Coming down the three-mile home stretch I was fifth back. A small uphill and Jonathan took over with 2-1/2 to go… I expected him to take a mile, but he was still up there with a half to go. He started picking up the pace, steadily, up to 28. I waited for the farm house and went for it.

Nine times in ten, I’ll sprint out of the saddle but I was a little too far out to sustain it. I hit 33, sat down, up-shifted, and put the hammer down passing 35-mph. I cruised across the line completely out of breath and gassed.

I know the pros are pushing 40+ on their sprints, and I’d never claim to be all that sprint-y even in against our A Group. I can, however, throw down some watts, and I do love the speed of it…. Hitting 35 on a flat sprint, just to do it, puts a smile on my face every time. It’s all about pushing that sprinter’s bike as hard as I can (first across the line or not).

Just one more reason, on a long list, why I love cycling.

It is good to be me.

Specialized S-Works Turbo and Turbo Pro 2,000 and 4,000 Mile Tire Reviews

The Specialized S-Works Turbo Tire (24 & 26mm)

This review is going to go to a dark place with the S-Works Turbo tire, even though it’s the nicest, fastest tire I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding on, and with a retail/bike shop price of just $55 each, they’re a fantastic bargain for a race tire.

Normally I give a 4,000 mile review of tires, but I couldn’t get one over the 2,000 mile mark without a fatal meeting with a rock or some other miscellaneous chunk of debris. The rubber is so soft (and thus, sticky in corners) that hitting a rock takes a chunk of rubber off the tread. I went through three tires in the space of a few months.


If I could afford 2,000 miles a set, believe me, I’d never ride anything else. Unfortunately, I’ve got the Venge, my 5200, and my wife’s Specialized Alias to worry about as well… and we ride about 9,000 to 10,000 miles a year, each. We’d be looking at $600 a year in tires, after taxes. That’s simply too steep. So, other than longevity, and having ridden both the 24 and 26mm options, they’re spectacular, supple, fast, sticky and comfortable (if I had to bet, it’s the supple part that takes away from longevity).

The Specialized Turbo Pro tire (24 & 26mm)

So the S-Works tire leads me to the Turbo Pro. I easily get 4,000 miles out of a set of the Turbo Pro’s. It lacks some of the suppleness of the S-Works edition, but what they lack there, they make up in longevity – and the only reason I noticed the difference is I ran Turbo Pro’s for years before switching to the S-Works tire (and then switched back).

The Turbo Pro feels every bit as fast on the flat as it’s big brother, it’s just a shade less grippy in the corners and a bit less supple due to the harder compound (almost unnoticeable). I’ve ridden everything from Conti’s to Michelin’s to Bontrager’s, and I always come back to the Specialized tire. The flat protection is great, the wheels roll fast, and I get good longevity – especially because I rotate the tires).

Finally, there’s a bit of an X factor that comes with the Specialized tires… They’ve got about a millimeter more give than most tires, so they’re easier to install, especially on tough rims.

The S-Works edition, if you’re rolling on great pavement, is phenomenal. Anything less than great, I choose the Turbo Pro every time, with a smile on my face (and an extra $30 in my pocket per set).

Why the 1x Drive on a Road Bike should be a Fad Fading into the Memory Hole of Cycling

Before I get into this, the Title says road bike. Got it?

There is one simple reason the 1x drive should be a fad on a road bike, and it’s not aesthetics (though it should be).

Where I live and ride, most of the faster crowd rides cassettes that are referred to as “corncobs”. They’re 11/23 tooth, either ten or eleven speed cassettes. The beauty of a corn cob is there’s only one tooth difference from one cog to the next – two for the two biggest cogs on a ten speed and for the biggest cog on an eleven speed. That works out to a change in revolutions per minute of five rpm per gear. They spend most of the time in the big chainring, too, because we have speedbumps for hills in our neck of the woods. Any hill we’ve got can be climbed in the 36/23 combo, the vast majority in the 52/23.

With a 1x drive, corncob cassettes are out of the question except in Florida where only the overpasses can be called “hills”. Actually, I did ride over one bridge in the panhandle that would be near impossible in a big ring, so only southern Florida… The point is, the 1x drive on a road bike is simply too limiting.

Of course, on the other side of that ledger, I’ve got a friend who’s been riding mountain bikes long enough to have thought front fork shocks and disc brakes were fads… so there’s that.

Look at the average enthusiast, though. We don’t even have to use the speedy 24+ mph average group to ixnay the 1x drivetrain. I ride a 52/36 on the Specialized and a 50/34 crank on the Trek below, both with an 11/28 10 speed cassette. I don’t much care about the corncob because I actually travel to places with real hills and I don’t want to be climbing an 18%’er without some gears – and that 36/28 is used regularly when we travel up north or down to Kentucky.

The 1x drive is simply too limiting, especially for group rides, so I’d never buy a road bike that had it. The big problem, the real problem, is in trying to select a gear to match pace with a large, fast group. With the crazy cassettes on a 1x drive, 10 or 11 to 42, you’re jumping three or more teeth for each sprocket – a difference of 15-20 rpm per gear. That’s simply untenable.

A gravel bike would be a different story, though.

A View from the Drops; A Crazy Week in the Life of a Cycling Enthusiast…

This past week was a bit of a downer – and not only as weather goes. It was supposed to rain all week but I only really had to ride once on the trainer to avoid it, so we really lucked out there. There was a second trainer ride of the week, on Thursday, but that was for simplicity’s sake – and the fact it was cold outside and I just didn’t want to throw on all of the crap that would have been needed to stay warm.

Tuesday night we rode in short sleeves and shorts. Wednesday, had it not been raining, would have been knee warmers, wool socks and arm warmers. Thursday, had I ridden outside rather than choosing convenience and warmth, leg warmers, wool socks, arm warmers and a vest. Friday morning’s ride started out at just 38° (3 C) – so doing the math, that’s a drop of 44° or 24 C. For Saturday, it was full-on cold patrol; leg warmers, tights, wool socks, winter gloves, wind-stopper hat… Autumn, it appears, is here to stay. The weekly outlook is for fourteen days of the same – lows in the upper 30’s, highs in the low 50’s.

And that was the highlight. Friday morning’s ride was the real mess. We started out well enough. I’ve taken my computer off of my rain bike because I had a desire to be free of it for a while. I have a friend in the A Group who manages to ride without knowing how fast he’s going and he does quite well no matter the pace. I want to be able to do that, too. Well, I’m not very good at it, yet, so I can hammer some of my friends into the ground if I’m not careful – especially if I’m coming up to a City Limits sign I want.

Friday started out all fun and games. We rolled west, into the wind – I took some long turns up front, and we maintained a jovial mood. We stopped at a park to use the portable facilities and eat a snack. Everything was great. We’d rolled past a “Road Closed” sign, so Mike went up ahead to find out if the road was really closed or if we could get around… It was closed, so we looped back and decided to head for home.

Coming into the town of Durand, one of my “must get” signs, I started to crank the speed up a little early – I like to try to hurt those I can behind me to discourage them wanting to come around to try for the sprint. Cresting the little hill just before the sprint, I heard a shift of someone’s bike behind me and hit it. I hit the line smiling, north of 30-mph, then looked back and slowed to wait for my wife, Mike and Diane to catch up. Everything was smiles and chucks on shoulders. We looped around town to avoid crossing a massive set of train tracks five or six wide that we’d all fallen on at one point or another. It adds another two miles, but anyone who knows me, knows I don’t mind the bonus miles.

I was still up front and we were approaching the county line… another sign I like to get, but don’t “have to” have it… I picked the pace up a little bit – Strava shows I went from 20-21 to 23. My wife came around, if memory serves, to pip me, and we formed back up. She took the lead, I was behind her, and Diane and Mike followed.

My wife tapped out to go to the back and asked me to take it easy because Mike was having a tough time keeping up at 23. According to Strava, I picked the perfect gear for 20-mph and I kept it there. Two miles later, Mike was off the back by a quarter-mile. When he caught up, he complained of having a tough time. He said he could keep up at 20, but more than that was hurting him. Problem was, I’d been at 20… Diane is a medical professional, so we stopped at an intersection and she checked his pulse. It was faint, but she said he seemed to be regular enough. Mike said he was fine, so we pressed on. We let Mike take the lead so he could choose the pace with the wind at our back. We went on for another few miles but Mike would “hit a wall” every once in a while and slow from 18-19 to 16-mph and that’s when he mentioned he was short of breath, that he couldn’t get a deep breath.

Diane looked at me and we dropped back a bit… and she quietly said, “You need to call 9-1-1 right now”. I pulled out my phone and did as I was told, after making sure I heard right. Fortunately, we had just happened on the Gaines Township Fire and Rescue station, so we had Mike pull into the parking lot so she could check his pulse again. We got Mike off his bike and she checked him out. His pulse was “all over the place”.

We managed to keep Mike off his bike for a few minutes but he wouldn’t sit down. After about five minutes, with an ambulance on the way, he said he was okay again and went to get back on his bike. Diane was fairly adamant that Mike choosing to ride home was a very bad idea – and I liked the idea that we were sitting in the parking lot of the fire station (!). If there’s anywhere to be when you need an ambulance, it’s at the fire station for God’s sake. Diane and my wife, who was also on the phone with Mike’s wife or daughter, tried to talk him off his bike while I stood in front of his handlebar so he couldn’t get rolling to clip in. He tried to move his front wheel to roll, and I’d side-step in front of him again. This went on for a minute when two fire & rescue folks rolled up in their pickup. A woman got out of the passenger side and immediately went to Mike and worked on getting him off the bike with my wife and Diane. The guy who was driving grabbed a medical-looking bag and headed for the door of the fire station, urging us inside where it was warm. The woman tending to Mike told him she was a nurse and that he should go inside, just to get checked out. And finally he broke. He got off his bike and headed over to the door.

From there it was a flurry of activity and Mike getting sorted. Phone calls were made and I sat down with a small cup of coffee that the firefighter had offered. An already long story shortened, Mike finally agreed to a ride home in the pickup of the fire and rescue people, but no ambulance. He wanted to go home and wash up before he went to the hospital. He called his cardiologist and let him know what was going on. I put Mike’s bike in the pickup and after the ambulance techs ran a few tests, he got in the truck and took his ride home.

My wife, Diane and I rode home without our buddy.

Mike is doing well, though he’s in the hospital till he goes through a couple of procedures on Monday. The good part is they know what they’re looking for now. Having Diane there for the episode was perfect. Because she got his pulse, they know they’re looking at an arrhythmia problem rather than a racing problem. We stopped up to see him for a bit last night. He seemed to be in a good mood, though he’s pissed at the electrical heart doc who told him he should rethink his cycling. You can guess where that went. An “F” bomb or two was dropped.

According to what Mike said, they ruled out a heart attack, which is fantastic news. Sadly, they haven’t come up with a way to remove the cranky yet. They’re still working on that… and it’s a very good chance he’ll die of natural causes before they figure that out.