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Let me get this straight…

June 17, 2011

It’s that time of the month for me.  Time to get my haircut.  I’ve been going to the same guy/shop for 20 years: Dave’s Barber Shop.  (Shameless plug!)  Dave and Debbie are the two barbers.  Debbie usually cuts my hair, but today Dave was.

I sit down, and just as Dave is about to start, another guy walks in.  Dave acknowledges him by saying “Hi Doc!”  The guy says “hi” back and Dave starts cutting my hair.  While he does so, he also starts grilling me:

“How’s the PD?”   “Not bad.  It progresses pretty slowly.”

“Now how long have you had it?”  “About eight years now.”

And he asks a bunch more questions about the disease and how it is diagnosed.

Then he starts in about the ride:  “When you leaving?”  “July 17.”

“How far you riding?”  “From Prudhoe Bay to Anchorage, about 900 miles.”

“Who’s going with you; who’s following you?”  “No one.”

And so on and so forth.

Debbie calls out: “Ready for you Doc!”  Doc gets in her chair, turns to me and says:

“Let me get this straight.  You have Parkinson’s, you’re going to ride a bicycle 900 miles across Alaska, on one of the roughest roads in the world, by yourself.  No one is going to follow you, you won’t have anyway to call for or get help, you have to carry all your supplies, food and water.  You’re camping out with the bears, wolves, moose, mosquitos and whatever and you’re not carrying a gun.”

“That pretty much sums it up.”  I replied.

Doc looked at me: “Man, you’re ballsy.”

On to other thoughts.  A friend had asked me some time ago if I thought I could ride up Old Mill road three times in a row.  I replied that I was sure I could.

Old Mill is one of the steeper climbs out of the valley.  A lot of people, like me, avoid it.  It’s steep, about a mile long, and  just a lot of work.  But I always say “Words are cheap.”  So tonight I decided to do it.

At the bottom, as I started up the first time, my average was 16 mph.  At the top it had dropped to 15 mph.  I was puffing like a steam engine.  I turned around and went down.

I started the second climb.  I heard voices behind me, and knew I was going to be passed.  The first guy passed me.  As he did he asked: “How’s it going Doug?”

I have no idea of who that was.  I didn’t know anyone even knew me.  Anyway, four more guys passed me.  I was embarrassed.

At the top, I didn’t feel as winded as I did the first time up.  My average was 14 mph.  Then I did something I consider ballsy:  I turned around and went down.

The third ride up wasn’t really too bad, I briefly considered doing a forth, but came to my senses.  At the top my average had dropped to 13 mph.  By the time I got home it was up to 13.6 mph.  Not bad, all things considered.

Oh yes, true confession. I did ride up Old Mill last night too.  It really is kinda fun.

Clarification: The average speeds quoted are for the entire evenings ride.  I definitely did not ride up Old Mill at an average speed of 13 mph!  And I figured out who said “hi”, it was Greg; a guy I ride with occasionally.


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One Comment
  1. Request: tell us about your impressions of your c.1983 Specialized Expedition with Schwalbe tires!

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