Author Topic: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm  (Read 11155 times)

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Offline imaginarydave

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2021, 07:53:42 am »
A lot of us can identify with your frustration and sense of urgency, but the advice above on not starting out unless you can handle a 40 mile day seems sound..., though you might be able to pull off somewhat lower mileage for the first week or so running west from Norfolk. To answer your question, yes, one can ride themselves into good shape in the course of riding the Trans Am, but the first 3-6 weeks would require a lot of planning and include a lot of recovery days with no travel. One of your comments suggested you did not want to take too much time away from home. If you plan on riding into shape, you will not want to feel hurried; 120 days would not be an inreasonable time frame.

I,ll second the suggestion for a shakedown on the KATY-Rock Island rail-trail from St.Charles to south of KC. Your first day could be a simple out and back from the hotel in St. Charles to the official but remote starting point of Clinton. There are a couple of pretty boring stretches, but you could use those to test your mental fitness.

I'm assuming you're getting some of your renal consultations in Aurura. U.C has had a long tradition of top notch physician-scientists in nephrology.  The condition you describe is quite rare, so I encourage patience. Low potassium will make you feel weak as a kitten, and effects of stress and adrenaline of exercise on the kidneys can further lower potassium. If you ask around, I suspect you'll find a couple of the nephrologists are avid cyclists. Although for legal reasons, their enthusiasm for an immediate adventure might be somewhat blunted, they might still be a source of encouragement and good advice.

Those of us who have more than a couple of decades on you will do the dad thing - which might seem frustrating - but be patient, plan ahead, and work your way up to this. Your instincts are good; a long tour on a bicycle is a great way to recover one's health and fitness. You might enjoy it more if the first few weeks are not spent lying around hotel rooms by yourself, wondering how long it's going to take for your recovery times to improve, so you can ride daily.

The comments about the 75 y-old body hit home; most of what we call aging is just decreased fitness....

Safe travels.

It sounds like you might be in healthcare. 

I used to be clinical faculty on the CU campus and had my second transplant there. I have moved on.  There are good people there, but the culture of the organization is very far removed from patient centered goals and outcomes.  This is a top down problem.  I also have many negative things to say about the culture of the nephrology community as a whole (and positive things to say about some amazing exceptions).  The expectations or willingness to prioritize quality of life is very hard to find in a disease category more commonly associated with quality of life causes, but in the end I am grateful I was born in this era where I am still alive. 

the legal and administrative burdens of our healthcare system has contributed adverse incentives where care is mostly driven by measurable statistics like years lived, transplant survival years and laboratory values.   Quality of life measures are fuzzy and hard to define, so repeatedly get marginalized in our metrics and protocol driven healthcare system.  Having a chronic illness as an atypical patient means that we are unlikely to get care appropriate to our circumstances with this imbalance of priorities . Overly broad application of studies with severe selection bias is a problem plaguing medical care everywhere.

Anyway,  I want to do this while I still can. even if it is really hard.   I have concerns about winning this battle (it really has been a battle) for quality of life the next time around.

I can probably take as much time as I want (weather dependent), just trying to be conscientious of the effect on my family, and I might just do half of the route now.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 08:11:16 am by imaginarydave »

Offline imaginarydave

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2021, 08:09:34 am »
Dave,

I can somewhat relate.  I am a liver transplant recipient and was exhausted the first couple of years due to some post transplantation complications. 

That said, if your body is actually able to do it, i.e. no dialysis, then it is possible.  You just have to plan.  My first major post-transplant trip was 2 yeas afterwards from Tulsa (my home town) to Winnipeg.  Mostly tailwinds, relatively flat, and the bus transportation back to Tulsa was fairly well spaced out.  I had to carry a ton of meds due (29 pills a day, plus a really good water filter).  Took up about 1/3 a front pannier.  I buried the pills inside the sleeping bag so they would not melt in August.

To prepare for the trip, I rode for about a month before the start doing 30 mile days.  About 15 of those days I had loaded "gear" (water jugs) that equaled the weight of the gear I planned on taking.  I just put extra jugs in the panniers as the weight increased to my 25# estimate.  I started out easy and built up.  When I started on tour, I again started out easy (30 mile first day) and increased by 5-10 miles per day until I was doing about 55 in a week.  The tailwinds really helped as I now HATE headwinds since no longer have the torque I used to have.  One thing I noticed immediately post transplant and is still somewhat in place today is that I have very little "reserve", i.e., once my energy is gone, it takes at least overnight to recover so I careful not to go into the "red zone" too much when before it was just a long lunch break.  I used to climb hills with the best of them but now a centipede is faster than me. I takes lots of breaks, especially above 6k feet altitude. Above 10k, it is comical how slow I am.

I don't know much about kidney transplants and their idiosyncrasies but will start to learn as the drugs I take now are very hard on the kidneys.  If the electrolyte issue is non-medicine related, I would suggest you eat potato chips or something salty at every break.  Really helped me out as I was washing the electrolytes out due to drinking a lot of water which I needed for the all the drugs I was taking to ease the stress on the kidneys.

As suggested, if you do start in Colorado and head east, consider the Katy Trail and maybe continue into Illinois and Indiana instead of Kentucky.  Then the tough hills won't start until Kentucky/Virginia except for a few possible detours on the Katy due to washed out sections.  For a flat route, consider reversing the Eastern TransAm Express, a non-ACA route that is mostly well done.  It uses a lot of rail trails like the Katy, the GAP, C&O, etc. to Washington.  From there use the Potomoc Tidelands route to get to the coast or just take a train back to Colorado.  Download the maps this year as the website is stopping at the end of 2021.

Get started early in the day and/or season so the heat doesn't sap your strength.

Regardless, your body will adjust, if the ride doesn't kill you  ;) .

Tailwinds, John

Wow,  thanks for the inspiration.  Nice to know there are other folks that have had to deal with similar issues and overcome them. I like your idea of diverging from the traditional transam route.  I think I could handle eastern Colorado and Kansas - though what a boring start LOL.

I've had a few bouts where I was doing ok and even managed to do most of the whole enchilada mountain bike ride in Moab last summer.  I skipped the first big climb and 6 miles,   I was physically destroyed after, but I do think despite my problems there is a background cycling fitness there that I hope I can revive.


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2021, 08:27:19 am »
John - would you happen to know if there is a full gps set of this track (Eastern TransAm Express) somewehere? I have not bene able to find it yet.


I am unaware of a single set of data.  That said, he put the entire route, by map segments, on RidewithGPS so you could download from RWGPS each set and piece together or just use the many sets as written. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline jkbrooks

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2021, 12:24:16 pm »
Dave,

Impressive that you're contemplating such a worthy endeavor! Bravo :)

I wonder if you couldnt do a week or two long trip that is hotel to hotel rather than camping. Lot to unpack in that I'm sure but hotel rates seem a bit low right now because of covid . . . and my tolerance for well less than 4-star accommodations when I'm solo is noteable. My requirements are; "clean bed, shower, towels & access to food . . . and low risk of contracting Hep C!" ;)) My standards go up if I'm rolling with a friend or if I'm being met by my girlfriend . . . but mostly "cheap with a bed & shower" is ok with me. Also means that you gotta pick a route with some lodging/food options. Not super hard but not something to "figure out as you go" unless you're under duress and running away for some reason ;)

I have a heart condition (had a cardiac arrest 15 years ago and was one of the 3% that survive and one of the .03% that dont require assisted living afterward) and I've been having a number of related arrhythmia problems/procedures. My cardiologists are great but I'm not their typical patient. I sent my garmin heart rate graph to my cardiologist after doing hill repeats once and his response was "wow. I'm glad you can tolerate that but I wouldnt tell you to go do it."  ::) I've come to the conclusion that their other customers dont really look like me. I like them just fine and have been seeing them (at a research institution) for 15+ years. But they dont really know. Not their fault but there are big gaps in what they're able to provide actionable info about. So, I listen to my docs and if they say "absolutely do not do xyz," I pay attention. But Im also aware I own the machine, have a better sense of what's ok and what's probably not than they likely can . . . and then I go do my thing (with more caution & vigilance than I might otherwise.) The drugs are tough mentally. They doubled up my beta blockers recently which further restricts my already suppressed heart rate. Which is a thing actually. So, you know, there's stuff to keep figuring out. That's just true for me and I imagine you live in a similar world.

So, I'm not one of the fast kids. I'm 53 and as a younger man I was quite a bit more speedy. Simply not true today. I'm pretty slow. I recently completed a 360 mile 8 day ride from San Luis Obispo to San Diego along the pacific coast. I took off (undertrained) after a series of heart procedures over the previous 3 months. I was anxious and didnt know how it would go. I was grateful that I'd planned a hotel to hotel trip and ended up hauling about 15 pounds of stuff. Frankly, climbing up a steep 10 mile schlep over the mountains out of Solvang, 15 pounds might as well have been 100. I stopped 1/2 dozen times. It was hard; not soul robbing but I could see soul robbing from where I was. In the end, I was happy to have done the ride. It boosted my confidence that I can sustain and that my resilience hadn't totally evaporated . . . and I feel like it left me with a bit of a rebuilt base that I've been capitalizing on.

So, I guess my opinion is you're totally ok to make your decisions with the information you have, hear the "don't kill yourself & sue me" advice from the docs but appreciate that you're not necessarily being irresponsible if you make decisions that are not 100% aligned with their preferences, and maybe find a way to get more data about how it'll be for you. You know, by knocking out 40-50 miles loaded to see how it goes. I could have done a better job of that before my short trip and wish I had. I waived it off because I'd done +/-20 days similarly loaded; and I didnt know what it would be like in the condition i was ACTUALLY in when I took off. Dunno that I would have done much different but it would have helped me manage my mental game more effectively on the bike ("Why the hell can't I go any faster! Oh my god I'm slow!")

Impressive you've got your head in the game. Especially given the challenges you're dealing with. I'm sure it's not easy and I think your intentions and grit are admirable. I hope you're able to find a way to go do your thing. I think you're 100% right to think it matters.

Offline imaginarydave

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2021, 07:11:00 pm »
another great story of overcoming health issues.  wow.  I refuse to be put on beta blockers for exactly the reason you stated.  It get hard to get my heart rate up.   

A friend of mine just moved to San louis Obispo.   I was looking at the Paso Robles area and realized how awesome it is there.  Hadn't been since I was a kid.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2021, 07:57:27 am »
 
(1) I'm guessing I would probably have to  start at like 20-30 miles a day.......
(2) I'm wondering if I anyone has ridden themselves into shape from that far out.
(3) I live in Colorado, and would possibly just do half of it
Yo Dave,
(1) I train to 30 level miles per day and launch my tours and let 'conditions' (i.e, what is 'out there' + mine : ) spell how far I, then, go per day.  Related to this/btw ... what originally was the final straw and 'launched' me into touring years ago ... was when I read an author's statement educating me that one of the great attributes of touring was that "...one can stop anytime..." - for my simple mind that was the trip wire .... the freedom of it all ... I finally concluded and found it to be almost 100% true: Hence, if I get exhausted while touring it is ONLY because I want to.
(2) Yes.  It takes me several days (post age 60) to toughen up, acclimate to camping and moteling, living on Subway Sandwiches as I can find 'em, et.al.
(3) I have toured end to end, as well as, in sections ..... both have their pluses and otherwises.  What I have always loved about doing what I will call sectional touring is that I come back home before completing the final destination objective and (a.) am able to rethink all that I learned - I have never not learned something new on EVERY tour - so that I can apply it on my next sectional tour, & (b.) enjoy being able to dream about being out there again all the while till the next time that I am.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 07:24:04 am by BikePacker »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2021, 08:23:41 am »
(1) I train to 30 level miles per day and launch my tours and let 'conditions' (i.e, what is 'out there' + mine : ) spell how far I, then, go per day.
This is important enough to repeat.  Ride what you can without overdoing, especially the first 10 days to 2 weeks.  Absolutely don't overdo to the point of exhaustion.  You shouldn't "need" a day off.   That doesn't mean you can't take one, but you shouldn't need it.  If you get up in the morning and can't ride you are doing too much.  You are asking for burn out or worse yet injury.  Later in the trip you can push harder and it will be okay in part because you will be in better shape and in part because you will better know your limits.  In the beginning those short days may seem to be hurting your progress, but you will be able to make up for them later in the trip if you don't over do and burn out.

Offline imaginarydave

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2021, 08:44:30 am »
Thanks, this was exactly the kind of advice insight I was looking for.  I honestly dont think 30 miles a day as you described is out of reach for me pretty quickly and had fully expected to have to start slow.  plus while on a tour it is nice to be able to take frequent breaks and take your time.

That eastern express route seems perfect for riding into shape from there. .   lots more services, without brutal climbs, and it looks like there is a lot to see.  I was worried about starting in eastern Colorado and Kansas because it can be boring with not much there.   the riding might be easy but I would be tempted and forced to do too much, and be exhausted when I hit Missouri.

 
(1) I'm guessing I would probably have to  start at like 20-30 miles a day.......
(2) I'm wondering if I anyone has ridden themselves into shape from that far out.
(3) I live in Colorado, and would possibly just do half of it
Yo Dave,
(1) I train to 30 level miles per day and launch my tours and let 'conditions' (i.e, what is 'out there' + mine : ) spell how far I, then, go per day.  Related to this/btw ... what originally was the final straw and 'launched' me into touring years ago ... was when I read an author's statement educating me that one of the great attributes of touring was that "...one can stop anytime..." - for my simple mind that was the trip wire .... the freedom of it all ... I finally concluded and found it to be almost 100% true: Hence, if I get exhausted while touring it is ONLY because I want to.
(2) Yes.  It takes me several days (post age 60) to toughen up, acclimate to camping and moteling, living on Subway Sandwiches as I can fine 'em, et.al.
(3) I have toured end to end, as well as, in sections ..... both have their pluses and otherwises.  What I have always loved about doing what I will call sectional touring is that I come back home before completing the final destination objective and (a.) am able to rethink all that I learned - I have never not learned something new on EVERY tour - so that I can apply it on my next sectional tour, & (b.) enjoy being able to dream about being out there again all the while till the next time that I am.

Offline LouMelini

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2021, 01:02:18 pm »
This has been an interesting discussion. I am asking a question about the TransAm Eastern Express site that HikeBikeCook referenced. As noted, the website is closing at the end of 2021. I went to the website and it is very nice, so my question is why isn't there collaboration with the "owner" of the website and the ACA. It seems a shame to lose a valuable route that would enhance the ACA's offerings. Perhaps this question is for a different posting.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2021, 01:09:22 pm »
I am hoping that ACA will pick up the route. Frank Moritz, the developer of the route, has been a very active participant in the ACA, as tour leader and I believe board member. I have heard that the ACA also leads organized tours along the route. I have downloaded all of the material. All the work is done and ACA is already paying to host their own website. It would seem a minimal amount of work to transfer the information to pages on the ACA site to make it available, even if the ACA disclaimed ownership and updates.
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Offline BikePacker

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2021, 07:20:19 am »
I honestly dont think 30 miles a day as you described is out of reach for me pretty quickly
Dave - Given that 30 seems feasible to you,
permit me to supplement my earlier comment with the emphasis on that
'I train "up to 30" ' meaning that pre-tour I will work my way up to 30 per every other day and
only do 30 three times and
then I consider myself good to go (come what may / it is all part of what makes it an adventure for me, anyways : ). 
In other words, I do not spend a whole lotta time doing 30s. 
Thanks for letting me throw this in to your thinking as you formulate the approach that is best for you.
Hope you will post some updates to the Forum as you progress eastward,
Fred.

Offline imaginarydave

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2021, 10:25:05 am »
I'm going to ride 30 miles today.  It will be pretty relaxed, unloaded and with only 745 ft of climbing, but I should be fine.  I have been doing 10-15 every day.  of course I will have to have a surgery, recover and get back to shape before I can go anywhere.  doctors appt is tomorrow, so hopefully will have some answers.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2021, 10:46:55 am »
For what it is worth...  Folks talk about losing fitness levels quickly and there may be a lot of truth to that, but there is another aspect that I have found that may be more encouraging.  I think that having gained some high-ish level of fitness in a given sport or activity means that there is some long term ability to quickly reestablish a level of performance in that activity.  Even saddle comfort after years of not riding comes back quickly.  This former activity may not even need to be a level of super high fitness, but just lots of hours in the saddle.

Even after long periods away from riding I never felt like I was starting from scratch.  I figure that I could be away from riding for a year or more and take off on a tour and have a reasonably comfortable experience with zero training due to the fact that I have a long history of riding long distances in the past,  I don't know if there is any real physiological effect or it is just knowing what to expect and how to deal with it, but I never feel like I am starting from scratch after a long time off whether forced or not.  Some of it may just be better understanding my limits, some may be willingness to suffer a little, but knowing how much is okay, some of it may just be that I have totally killed all the nerves in my saddle area.

Offline loonyy

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2022, 12:19:33 am »
Wow,  thanks for all the advice folks.  I am really intrigued by the eastern express option that could really work for me. I'm going to guess that by the average persons definition of fitness I am not as out of shape as most might think.  My health has just made for ongoing significant setbacks but with the problems hopefully identified I am optimistic about my abilities to start making progress again. I wouldn't show up without any training with it.  After my first transplant I was doing 50 mile rides in the Colorado front range within a year, and even last summer I had a stretch were I was doing ok and I managed to do some pretty long rides,  so I think I could get back there.

On a philosophical note I am very grateful for the perspective my illness has given me.  Permissions to step of the American hedonic treadmill is a wonderful thing, and aside from the challenges covid has handed a severely immunocompromised person I continue to embrace the idea of living for today.

There is also the chance I could convince the wife to drive our cargo trailer conversion camper as a sag wagon with my daughter, but at least out west here finding a place to camp without a plan months in advance is getting really hard since covid hit - even in dispersed camping areas for half the week. I'd always wanted to do it self supported, but I could accept that change.

First of all, I want to wish you good health! You did well that did not allow the disease to deprive you of love for life and movement, I am proud of you! You will definitely succeed, I am sure of it.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2022, 11:11:38 pm by loonyy »

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Out Of Shape and Wanting to ride the TransAm
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2022, 10:05:29 am »
Did the OP go on tour? How did it go? (and don't be ashamed if you didn't!)