As I got on my bicycle at 5:45 this morning to commute to the Wellness Center to teach cycling class, the weather for the day was typical for a South Dakota Fall. The ground was wet. There was still moisture in the air and still an occasional drop of rain falling, either from the sky or from the tree, desperately trying to hold on to the moisture on it leaves. Temperatures in the high 40's and winds out of the north at a chilly 10-15mph. Everything is in balance in the world as I commuted by bicycle for the 2,000th consecutive day. Ride on.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I went for a quick 30 mile ride this evening and I ran across a person that I just have to find. I'm not sure if I will be able to sleep until I do -- I feel THAT bad about what happened. Please allow me to explain and help me find this outstanding citizen of Clay County South Dakota.
Crossing the Hwy 19/50 interchange heading north of Polaris, I looked back in my mirror and noticed a truck crossing the intersection. I first feel I must apologize to the driver as even though he was probably an 1/8 of a mile or more away, I was on his road. Quickly I realized the error of my ways and I moved over onto the inside of the wide shoulder, on the other side of the white line and corresponding rumble strips. Even though there was a little gravel where I was at, going over further would have proven more dangerous.
You came up slowly in my mirror, and even though there was nobody coming in the other direction, you chose to stay inside of your lane, seemingly as close to the white line as possible, maybe yourself worried that crossing that center line may be seen as suspicious behavior should an officer be anywhere near. I must say you approached carefully and slowly.
As you pulled up next to me, I looked over and gave you a nod. You passed me ever so slowly, which I have to tell you was a pleasant surprise as I rolled along around 20mph on a 65mph road. Apparently it was at this point your foot must have accidentally slipped and stomped on the gas pedal causing your diesel truck to spew out a dark cloud of pollution in my face. It was then I realized that something was wrong! I don't think enough pollution was coming out of your truck! I'm very worried for your health as I really believe that something is wrong with your exhaust. Something must be clogging it up.
This clogging is potentially life threatening and I was trying immediately to figure out the best way to get your attention through the cloud you left behind. As I raised my hand to get your attention, I thought at the same time that I should get your license plate number so I could trace you down, but I was only able to get the first three numbers of the plate: 19D. Through the cloud of emissions and my sunglasses, I believe it was a maroon truck along with your extra wide mirrors which mean that you must pull something on occasion.
It was then that I realized that my hand that was raised must have had a bad cramp as only my thumb and middle finger were extended. I thought back to my childhood and remembered my parents telling me that combination of fingers meant something really bad. You must have noticed that also as you slowed down again. Finally all my fingers came up and I motioned for you to come on back so I could apologize for my completely legal and safe cycling that caused you to feel uncomfortable.
Apparently you misunderstood my attempts and you sped away. I was hoping that you maybe lived on the Bluff Road as that is the way I was going to be going and I may be able to find you again, but alas, you went North on Hwy 19 past the turn. Luckily for me, Clay County is fairly small so I hope that somebody out there may help me identify you so that I may sit down and apologize for all the things that I didn't do wrong.
I really feel that without sitting down and discussing this man to man, not only will this misunderstanding stand in the way of a potential beautiful friendship, but I will wonder if the potential blocked exhaust is slowly filling your truck, slowly killing your few precious brain cells. So please, if you are reading this, or if a person who knows you is reading this, contact me soon so I can sleep without the guilt of wondering if you are okay. Sleep will most certainly elude my guilty conscious until you do.
Mr 19D xxx, please allow me the opportunity to talk with you. You seem like such an important man in your big diesel truck. Surely you will give this puny bicyclist the opportunity to right this wrong face to face.
Friday, February 07, 2014
Thanks to the blog-killing application known as Facebook, many of you know most of my medical story by now, but for the rest of you, and the Facebook averse, here within is going to be a rather long post that I will do my best to shorten up for the sake of losing those who might actually read, but not want to read too much.
It all started on July 27th, 2013. It was my son Carson's 10th birthday and I had arose early and knocked out a quick 50 mile bike ride with a friend to Centerville and back, with the obligatory stop at the Royal Bake Shop for a Zebra Donut. I had been home a while. I had showered, powered down lots of liquids and Carson asked me if I could help him set up his XBox Live account that we had purchased for his birthday.
Needing a parental account due to his age, I went down and set up what I needed to. I had been in a squatted position for quite some time and on the completion of the account set up, I grabbed my iced coffee and stood up to leave. I took a few steps, and became dizzy with blurred vision. I grabbed the wall to steady myself as this was not my first time that this had happened. However, what happened next was a first.
All I remember was two sons standing over me with a rather panicked look on their face screaming "DAD! DAD" and me coming out of my stupor, not really too sure as to what had happened or what was going on. It was a pretty terrifying experience, but I was most upset about the spilled iced coffee of course.
Other than the initial panic by everybody in the family, it seemed to be a remote incident and nothing to get too worked up over. Then it happened again, and again, and again. Seven times in all between July 27th and Thanksgiving Day. One time that was probably worth of a trip to the emergency room as I went backwards hard, using a nice concrete basement floor to soften the blow on my head.
After it was apparent that is was more than just a remote incident, Laura was not about to let it slide and appointments were made with the VA to get in and see what was going on. When I sent a message to my Primary Care Physician, an immediate appointment was set up to have an ECHO done to my heart. Long story short, ECHO came back great. No issues with the heart walls, etc.
Step 2: Wear a Holter Device for 21 days. For those who don't know and don't want to Google it, it's a monitoring device that you put three sticky pads on your chest that connects to a device that you put on a lanyard around your neck, or some other creative place. Another device that you put on your belt records "events" that happen and you are supposed to press when you are having an "event".
I told them I work out pretty hard and was assured that I wouldn't break the device. After my first day of wearing it in cycling class, it quit functioning. My sweat was indeed mightier than the device. Enter device number two which I put in side a Ziploc baggie while working out. It did fine but the recording device touch screen quit working. I found this out when I actually DID pass out and then tried to hit "record" on the device. Enter device number three to actually finish my 21 days.
The suffering of actually wearing the device was equal to the issues I had with it. Not to mention, after all the waiting to find out results, it didn't show anything. There were two events they discussed with me. One was at 0640 on a Monday morning when my heart rate shot to 163. Well, since I was in cycling class at that time, that would be a pretty normal heart rate to have. The other event was that my heart rate went too low for their "normal" range a couple of times in the middle of the night. Maybe something serious, maybe just because I still have a really good resting heart rate, but nothing seemed to alarm the cardiologist.
Speaking of the cardiologist, we asked to have an EKG completed and he complied without questioning and that too came back without any issues. Then came the Tilt Table Test the he ordered. They did not have the setup at the VA to do this so the VA scheduled the test through Sanford.
What is a Tilt Table Test? Evil. Pure and simple. It sounds simple enough however. You lie on your back while they put an IV in you for fluids. You stay there for a half hour or so and then they raise you up to a 70 degree angle and you are standing there, strapped in, with your feet on a foot board looking out. The object: you passing out. If you don't, no worries, they'll give you medications to lower your heart rate so you DO pass out. Awesome.
For the first 15 minutes of my test I was staring at the clock on the wall wondering why I was even there. I felt great and nothing was wrong. Then, slowly, my mid back started to hurt somewhat, which can be fairly normal for me. Then at about 21 minutes, I started to perspire a little and I told the Nurse. Then at 23 minutes I was beyond perspiring and now my pores were acting like individual spigots open wide. I was begging the Nurse to put me back down as I was going to throw up. With a look of "it sucks to be you", she said "Just hang in there for a bit longer" while handing me a barf bag. Somewhere after 24 minutes, it was over: I passed out and the next thing I knew they had lowered me back down and I was staring at the ceiling once again.
The Nurse Practitioner seemed fairly confident at that point that I have Vasovagal Syncope. That has a wide range in the diagnosis world. Mine would be a positional version of it. However, it's the same thing that happens to people when they pass out at the sign of blood or pass out when bearing down to poop. Yeah, I'm really not kidding with that either.
I finally had another appointment with my cardiologist thinking this was going to be the big break, the one we really needed to move forward with some sort of treatment plan. A list of do's and don'ts with hopefully no medications. Well, turns out that the results were nothing spectacular. He said that he could take a good portion of healthy people and get the results he got with me. Great. Excitement drowned.
Laura brought up the fact that during times of stress that I can "zone out" and not be there for a few seconds as well. When the cardiologist discussed this further, he seemed to know exactly what was going on as had a name for it, which escaped both Laura and myself after we left the appointment. He also stated that he didn't believe that my episodes had anything to do with my heart and that maybe I needed a neurology consult. As much as that too didn't excite me, it was another option to try to get to the source of what's going on.
At this point he then stated that we should look at putting a "Reveal Device" in to monitor me for up to two years. He said that he would order the procedure and I'd be contacted soon.
This invasive device is about the size of a flash drive and is surgically put under your skin and monitors you constantly. At first I had resigned myself that I would be getting this device. After talking it over, praying about it, reading more about the device, and realizing the device would only catch MAJOR events (i.e. passing out), I decided against it.
It was also at this point that I came to a "I'm very worn out by all of this" conclusion that I had to approach Laura with. I decided I was done for now. I had been healthy for a couple of weeks at that point with not anything but the very lightest of dizzy spells when standing. When I told Laura I expected to get a lecture, which would have been totally justified since she has the joy of seeing me pass out the most. Instead she informed me that she was actually expecting I might say that I was done.
I struggled to want to go through with more tests when, at that point of having no spells, they would probably find nothing wrong as well. I did make a deal that if they start up again, we are not going through the slow slow process that is the VA and we would go the Mayo Clinic route. Go up, do everything at once, and see if there is anything that can actually be done.
Although this leaves out many of the details, you now all know what has been going on in my world. 99% of the time I feel great. I'm healthier than most people half my age. It's just the teensie weensie little issue of falling down and going boom that seems to be a small issue.
Don't worry, I'll be back on the road biking with you all this Spring provided that the issues stay away!
Incoherently rambled by bikingbrady at 4:03 PM
Monday, November 18, 2013
I admit it. I gave up on blogging. With Facebook, Twitter and the like, who actually takes time to read this beside the faithful bloggers of old (and are they really reading anymore)? All I seem to do on my blog is to update the number of consecutive days that I have ridden my bicycle to work. And that, gentle readers, is why I am blogging now.
You see, I posted on Facebook -the blog killing invention- about my new streak milestone of 1,750 consecutive days. The post was:
I just hit 1,750 consecutive days of commuting to work by bicycle. Every day that I've come to work since March 5, 2007 has been by bicycle. My blogging has decreased immensely (mostly because of Facebook and the ability to "microblog") but I keep adding to the tally on bikingbrady.com. Sometime next year I should his 2,000 which is pretty hard to believe.
Well, this started off may "likes" (currently 72 likes at the time of this post) and comments. But one comment definitely made me think about why I blogged in the first place: To try to encourage people to bike more and drive less. To be less car-centric.
Although I knew that Tina Shantz-Hart commuted a great deal by bicycle, I had no idea that I was a contributing factor in that. Tina posted the following:
Your (b)log inspired me to bike to work and to keep a record of it!! I don't have the superb track record you do but I've logged 800 days and over 7,000mi commuting on my bike since Sept '10 - and it all started thanks to YOU!
7,000 miles that wasn't driven. 7,000 miles of health benefits. 7,000 miles of seeing many things that you would NEVER see in a car. 7,000 miles of not being able to explain why biking is so much better than driving whenever possible. 7,000 miles of reminders of why I need to keep at this, to be (one) change I want to see in the world.
Thank you Tina for reminding me why I do this. Here's hoping I stay motivated to blog. To motivate others like you to help make positive changes in our society. Keep pedaling Tina and I'll do my best to keep motivating others to do the same!
Incoherently rambled by bikingbrady at 10:58 PM
Monday, June 03, 2013
As of tomorrow, 1914 days since this streak started, we will once again officially be a two car family. My attempts at holding off came to an end due to two teenagers and one very busy (nearly) 10 year old.
Unfortunately, the bottom line now has to be removed/altered, with great remorse.
The new wheels. Proof that there are no dents or anything prior to teenage driving.
Incoherently rambled by bikingbrady at 2:25 PM
Monday, March 18, 2013
I received a little pub in "Her Voice". Not sure how I fit in that crowd, maybe it's because of the shaved legs? At any rate, David wrote a nice little article.
Over 1,500 consecutive days and counting
Kevin Brady of Vermillion is so into biking that he writes a blog about it: “The Life and Times of Biking Brady.” (http://bikingbrady.blogspot.com/) One portion of his blog’s web page is constantly changing. He keeps a running total of the days he has biked to work.
As of Feb. 20, 2013, he has ridden his bike 1,547 consecutive days. This long streak began on March 5, 2007.
A one-way trip from his home to his job at the University of South Dakota is about 10 blocks, not counting the diagonal crisscross path he takes through Prentis Park.
This habit could almost be described as a healthy addiction.
Kevin was interviewed for this story at a local restaurant. His mode of transportation to the interview site was by bicycle, naturally. By the end of the interview, it had begun to snow. He had listened to the forecasts; he was well dressed to pedal back to his job dodging both snowflakes and fourwheeled, gasoline-powered vehicles on Vermillion’s Dakota Street.
“I’ve been an active biker for about 16 years,” Kevin said, who grew up in the Wakonda area. “I was a runner, but I just can’t take the pounding of running anymore, so I turned to biking to fill that void of running.”
He’s able, he said, to perhaps go a day, maybe two, without taking a bike ride. Kevin, however, is hooked.
“I can’t go an extended time (without biking),” he said. “Here and there, I take a day off. Sometimes, I force myself to take a day off. There are days when there’s plenty to do around the house and you do it, but you get the itch to go to the Wellness Center or get out on the bike and ride.
“I don’t know … it (the urge to ride) just triggers inside of you after awhile, I think,” Kevin said.
Shortly after Kevin began biking, he decided to not pass up the opportunity to buy a high-quality, touring bicycle for a bargain price.
“That’s when I realized the world of difference that a high quality bike makes,” he said. “People wonder how you can bike 100 miles at a time, and it comes down to the quality of bike.”
He rides a traditional-style bike for his commutes to and from work.
For long distance rides, Kevin recently began using a recumbent bike to avoid back pain.
A recumbent bike provides more back support, and a rider doesn’t have to pull his or her head with that type of bike. “The reality is it’s easier – I call it riding the Barca Lounger, because you’re in a chair, and you’re looking straight ahead. To me, it’s a lot easier.”
One reason he began his blog was to spread the word about the benefits of bike riding. He began keeping a running tally on his blog of the number of consecutive days he biked to work as a way to encourage others to consider pedaling to work or other destinations more often.
He’s only let weather be an excuse not to ride to work once. That was years ago, when he tallied about 60 consecutive days of biking to his job.
Today, he’s prepared for any type of weather – heat, cold, rain and snow can’t stop him.
“I have the gear for all of it,” Kevin said. “Rain is probably my least favorite thing to ride in – especially if there’s a thunderstorm. I do not like lightning at all.”
Once spring arrives and the weather warms, he will begin training for long distance racing. Last year, he participated in Gut Check 2012. The Gut Check is an endurance race across South Dakota via SD Hwy 212 where riders have 48 hours to make the 412-mile journey from the South Dakota/Wyoming border east to the South Dakota/Minnesota border.
The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
“I’m planning to do the Gut Check again this year, and in getting ready for something like that, you can put in between 200 and 350 miles a week,” he said.
Besides the sheer pleasure he receives from his biking activity, Kevin said he also appreciates the health benefits that he gains from his “addiction.”
“I tend to try to watch what I eat, but I don’t always,” he said. “That’s kind of the beauty of cycling; I probably average about 2,400 calories a day, and especially if you are a dieter, you’d think I’d be gaining weight, but I don’t. I stay about the same all of the time, and if I want to lose weight, I’ll drop under that (2,400 calorie amount).
“But part of this does involve trying to eat the right stuff, especially when bicycling season comes around,” Kevin said. “If you don’t eat right, when you get out on a 50 to 60 mile ride, you’ll feel it.”
Biking activities that test one’s endurance, such as the Gut Check, also demand a high calorie intake to maintain enough energy. “On something like that, during a two-day span, you take in about 28,000 calories,” Kevin said. “But, the health benefits are a big plus.”
Biking has allowed him to stop taking lipids, as his cholesterol almost immediately was lowered to normal levels.
He’s lost track of the last time he needed to take a sick day from work, except for a time when he broke out in hives. “That was more of a very uncomfortable day rather than a sick day,” Kevin said, laughing.
Since there’s a good chance he hasn’t missed any work thanks to his healthy lifestyle, there’s more than a good chance that the number of consecutive days he’s biked from home to work has grown by the time you’re reading this. You can check on that growing number by logging on to bikingbrady.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I've been dealing with pain in my groin area for 2-3 months now and finally figured that if it was serious I better find out for sure and get things taken care of. I had a Physical Therapist bend me seven ways from Sunday and even though I had some pain, it wasn't enough to make me jump off the table, which I know he was secretly shooting for. I was instructed to follow his stretching routine, which I have religiously, but it just wasn't getting better after three weeks.
On the advice of the Physical Therapist, I started my search for a specialist in the area of sports hernias. After getting opinions on who to go to, I chose one in Yankton and made the appointment. I have to admit, I was extremely nervous. I really expected the worst and hadn't told hardly any body except my wife and a few people in my cycling class about my issue.
The doctor took his time in checking the area and completed all of the typical hernia checks (turn your head and cough anybody???). In the end, he was satisfied that I did NOT have a hernia. He did state that he could tell by the way I twitched hard when he dug in the adductors that they were WAY too tight and inflamed. He asked what my current workout regimen was and I told him honestly. It was like telling your parents that you broke something in the house. Needless to say, I'll be taking it easy, along with 2400mg of ibuprofen for the next two weeks (at least).
Below is a picture of the area in question. They are not some of the bigger muscles you have, but let me tell you, they can be incredibly painful when inflamed. It's tough to become the "aging athlete", but it's better than being a couch monkey.