On The Road To Recovery

21 May

Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed that my usual “three reviews a week” schedule has not adhered to for the past two months and fellow-bloggers might have noticed that recently I haven’t been commenting on other blogs very much—so I think a word of explanation might be in order.

Back in February I got the flu (a genuine case of influenza, not a common cold) and it took me off my bike for three weeks. When I finally got back to riding I was a bit slower than normal, but I worked my way back up to normal speed and distance rather quickly. On Thursday, March 28, I went out for a Metric Century ride on a beautiful day—light winds, full sun, a foot of snow on the ground and temps slightly above freezing. The ride was enjoyable and I felt great when I got home. However, about four hours later I was at my office when my chest started hurting. Actually, the word “hurting” doesn’t even begin to describe the pain—it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Since I have asthma I assumed it was just an asthma attack (something I’ve not had in 12 years) and waited till the next morning to see a doctor. After a very thorough examination the doctor agreed that it was asthma and not a heart attack, so he gave me a prescription for prednisone and sent me home. Unfortunately, the prednisone did not relive my symptoms and, to make a long story short, I am still not sure what is wrong with my lungs.

For the first five weeks I couldn’t ride my bike or lift weights at all—now I am slowly getting back to riding. I’ve gone through numerous medical tests and so far the only thing we’ve found out is that my heart is in incredibly great shape (thanks to a nuclear stress test and echocardiogram). Years of cycling have paid off—my morning resting pulse rate is 50 to 52 BPM, and my morning blood pressure is averaging 104/62 (not bad for a man my age). Today I saw a pulmonologist (lung specialist) and have a few more tests scheduled. At the moment, the working theory is that back in March I contracted a serious viral lung infection and though the infection is now gone my lungs are just taking a very long time to heal.

Last week was the first time I tried to ride since this whole mess began. My first ride out on a road bike turned into a cyclocross event since the heavy rains we had in April washed out one of the roads I use. I was glad I had a lightweight bike since I had to climb down about three feet into the chasm left by the rain and then walk through a bit of mud and sand before I could climb back up to a path and carry my bike to a nearby road.

Road washed out due to heavy rains

Road washed out due to heavy rains—time for cyclocross!

By the way, the road that was washed out by the rain is the same one that was blocked a few months ago when beavers cut down several trees. After I carried my bike across the chasm an older couple carried their bikes across and rode with me for a mile or so. Thought these people were at least 15 or 20 years older than me, I won’t call them elderly—in my opinion you don’t become elderly until you stop riding your bike.

An older couple decided to join me for a little while

An older couple decided to join me for a little while

At the moment my lung capacity is very limited, so if you want to know what I feel like while riding just try this: put on a pair of nose plugs so you will be forced to breathe through your mouth, then close your lips around a straw and try to breathe through it. Yeah, it sucks. However, this past Saturday I rode through a small college campus in Wisconsin and passed a lot of the students who were riding their bikes.

Hopefully next week I will be back to writing product reviews!


Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels


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130 responses to “On The Road To Recovery

  1. billgncs

    May 21, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    feel better soon! Ride safe !

  2. DummyDiva

    May 21, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Hope you get to feeling 100% soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      I think I am back to at least 70% right now — still a long way to go.

  3. Mountainstroh (Tony)

    May 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Damn son! Gad you are in recovery mode! My wife has serious lung issues, so I know a bit of what you speak. By the way, I plan to steal your “elderly” comment sometime in the future! Loved it! Looking forward to seeing your reviews soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      You are welcome to steal the “elderly” comment! I thought of it the moment to gentleman picked up his heavy bike and walked across the planks — then his wife followed him. Most people would have turned around and gone home by then.

  4. MikeW

    May 21, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Totally admire your true grit. In due time, you’ll be back to form on your your spoked-horse.

    Put powerful recovery foods into the tank and hydrate a LOT. Glad you updated us.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      I am tanking up on recovery foods — unfortunately, the other foods I eat are starting to claim there toll on my body. After many years of burning 6,000 to 12,000 calories a week on a bike the lack of cycling is impacting my waistline.

  5. Rubia

    May 21, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Wishing you a speedy return

  6. Urban Rider

    May 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Possibly you had undiagnosed pneumonia. I have had pneumonia. It drains the life out of you and it takes forever to recover. Take it slowly.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      I have had pneumonia before, but not this time. My lungs actually sound clear, but they are extremely inflamed.

  7. kandjcolorado

    May 21, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Hang in there! Wishing you well!

  8. unsportywomencanrun

    May 22, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Hugs, I’m really sorry to hear this, hope you are 100% soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      I am on the road to recovery — but it is a VERY bumpy road at the moment.

  9. MichelleK

    May 22, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Sounds rough 😦

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      The roughest part is staying inside on a beautiful day when I ought to be outside on the bike.

  10. Lilitte

    May 22, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    I was sick back to back three weeks in a row. It’s a real downer when you want to workout. You’ll be back on track in no time.

  11. Alex

    May 22, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Cycling is best 🙂
    Cool blog, like it!!

  12. hughonabike

    May 22, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    Sorry to hear your poorly. I hope you get well real soon. And BTW, I heard a couple cyclists referring to me as, “the old guy with the fatbike……..Ouch!.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      I hate to tell you, but I haven’t seen many “young” guys on Fat Bikes (part of it might be the cost).

  13. TdF

    May 22, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    get well soooooon my friend and for the next winter start on sept with echinacea and in winter abuse in OLBAS. see you soon and have a good day. ciao!!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      I will have to look into echinacea — I’ve never tried it before.

  14. brendaintheboro

    May 22, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Dont push yourself too hard, it can hinder your recovery. take it easy and build up slowly to begin with. Best wishes from an “older lady” (BG)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I found this out the hard way. I probably should of started slow with a few 20 mile rides instead of pushing my luck the first few times. I guess I’ve always had the mindset that anything under 30 miles wasn’t even worth doing.

  15. Chatter Master

    May 22, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    I hope the healing starts moving along a little faster for you. Please be well. Miss your reviews and glad to know what’s going on. Be well.

  16. elisariva

    May 22, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    So sorry to hear of your challenges! You are a wonderful example though, so many people would have hit the sofa and given up. Feel better soon!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I am too “Type A” to ever settle down on a couch. Staying inside is really rough on me — the first few weeks I was sick I think my wife hid all the sharp objects in our house!

  17. Charles Huss

    May 22, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    I’m glad you are getting better. Just think where you would be now if you had never started riding.

  18. James

    May 22, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    Get better soon mate….health is No.1!

  19. Christov10

    May 22, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    Hang in there – like you, I’ve had asthma since early childhood. Trouble breathing is no joke. C.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      I’ve only had asthma for 12 years — and until this event it was very well controlled. Hopefully the allergist I’m seeing next week will be able to sort things out for me.

  20. Gwen

    May 22, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    Wow – so sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather. And I have missed your posts! Your experience is an unfortunate reminder to us all about never taking one’s health for granted. Hoping for a smooth recovery. xo

  21. an uncommon girl

    May 22, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    Prayers for a speedy recovery

  22. tri-grandma-try

    May 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Sorry to hear, being sick and injured is a bummer!! Did they check for pleurisy? Inflammation of the pleura, around the lungs…just a thought. Get better soon!!!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I did ask the doctor about pleurisy since that it what if felt like, but he ruled it out. Still hurts though.

      • tri-grandma-try

        May 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Hope you get better soon!

  23. tonyscamino

    May 22, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    I had noticed and thought it was just one of those “things” When life gets in the way. You are the only person I know capable of keeping up a phenomenal amount of reviews and I thought something had to give!

    Hope you take it easy enough to ride safe and return to full fitness soon. Who knows you may even discover a more relaxed approach to cycling brings new rewards!

    Take care and please keep us updated.


    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Thanks for noticing the lack of current reviews. As for the more “relaxed” style of riding — I’ve noticed that since I’ve had to slow down I am talking to more people on the road. I was always polite before, but I seldom took the time to talk to the folks I passed — now I do.

  24. Ryan Christensen

    May 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Your blog was invaluable in my switch to full time bike commuting here in the awful September-June weather of southern Idaho. Thank you for all the sagely advice and reviews. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  25. Katie

    May 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Well #^*~! Good luck with the tests and climbing back. Just had to shift gears to make the pedal easier. (Sorry had to go there) 8)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Nice play on words! If I have to shift any lower I might as well walk!

      • Katie

        May 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Cross training?! ;). Good luck on your recovery!! 8)

  26. Chatter

    May 22, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Hope you get this thing figured out. Wish you the best and get better soon.

  27. stagewest

    May 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Be well and I too will pray for a speedy and full recovery!

  28. Joy

    May 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Also praying for a speedy recovery. Get well, my friend!

  29. Linda

    May 22, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Get thoroughly well! Your writing and reviews are missed.

    You inspire me when you talk of riding in snow and mud. I’m a fair weather rider unless the weather turns when I’m out there. I laughed when you said you went out to ride a ‘metric century’. I’ve used that description and people go HuH? And I too think it is true… we won’t be elderly till we can no longer ride!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      I’ve met several people who were well into their 80’s and still able to ride their bike — that’s my goal as well (I am just scared that when I am 80 I will go out for a ride and then forget how to get home).

  30. Lisa Shaw

    May 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I am very sorry to hear you have been ill, especially with something that can’t be readily diagnosed and treated. I wish you a full recovery.

  31. Colin DeWaay

    May 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Sorry to hear, glad you are on the mend anyway!

  32. gitwizard

    May 22, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Get well soon.

  33. Gina

    May 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Holy crap! I’m so glad it wasn’t a heart attack, and it’s great to hear that you’re recovering and riding again. Wishing you all the best for getting it figured out and making a full & speedy recovery.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      I didn’t really think it was a problem with my heart, but when a doctor can’t give a firm diagnosis I guess you have to do the stress test just to rule it out. On the other hand, I was kind of glad to have the stress test just to see how the ticked was doing anyway.

  34. Nancy Loderick

    May 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I hope you feel better soon! You were smart to get it checked out.


    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      My father was one of those men who would never go to a doctor until it was too late — I don’t want to be like that!

  35. janelily7

    May 22, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Although I wish you a speedy recovery I ask that you also take it easy. Like you I had chest pains, wheezing and the like. It all passed until one day while out riding, everything went black and wham -bam I landed in the grass (lucky for the grass). It took me weeks, months to recover.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      The SLOW road to recovery is killing me. “Patience” is something I am not exactly known for.

  36. kellydomara

    May 22, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    That sucks. Hopefully they figure out what’s wrong soon?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      At the moment I am beginning to think that allergies are involved — we’ve had the 8th wettest spring in history and the pollen count is unbelievably high. I see an allergist next week.

  37. Michael

    May 22, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Hi David,

    Eat plenty of apples especially the skins and get some extra Vitamin C into you specifically the Vitamin C Powder produced by HealthForce Nutritionals.

    Also beetroot, especially juice is good for oxygen uptake.

    Oh, and 1 more thing, no dairy products.


    Take care, Michael (in Peru)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      I already eat a couple of apples every day and take Vitamin C supplements. However, I’ve never tried beetroot juice. After I read your note I looked it up on Google and there are a lot of article concerning beetroot juice and improved lung function. Thanks for the tip!

  38. AndrewGills

    May 22, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Get well 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      Thanks (I think your note holds the record for the longest distance get-well note I’ve received — it’s hard to get further away from Chicago than Oz).

  39. bgddyjim

    May 22, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Get better soon brother.

  40. Amy @ Healthy and Fit for Real

    May 22, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Hope you get well soon! I know it’s frustrating to not be able to get out and be active like you want. Hang in there.

  41. Laura

    May 22, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    R’fuah shelemah! Wishing you a full recovery!

  42. Irish Katie

    May 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Oh noooo. It does sound like you have been thrown one of life’s curves.

    I hope you recover soon…and….DO NOT try to do too much too quickly okay. *huggss*

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Don’t feel sorry for me — feel sorry for my poor wife! She is not used to having around the house so much.

  43. Sandra

    May 22, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Boy do I ever understand how you feel. My description is like wearing a bra that is 14 sizes too tight, and a boulder between the holders on my chest. 😦 As well as the breathing through the straw. Asthma not only sucks, it HURTS. Unlike you, I am relatively new to asthma, so I still haven’t figure out how to control it yet.

    I also had to go in last week and got the five day prednisone burst, a steroid inhaler, allergy OTC meds, and another rescue inhaler. It took five days before my pain disappeared. I have to go in again tomorrow to the Allergy/Asthma specialist because I’m still not up to par. Hopefully I can do a little ride tomorrow.

    Pollen in our area is high (tree) around 250, and last week it was almost 6,000. I’m guessing you dealt with the same issues?

    Anyway, good luck, and come back the way you need to–on your terms. I’m right there next to you, my friend. I’m going to try to hit some miles tomorrow–very slowly, and on pretty level track.

    PS: have you ever tried riding with a particle mask? Just curious. I’m a little scared to go tomorrow, to be honest.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      The extremely high pollen count in our area is probably contributing to my problems. It started with a viral infection and that left my lungs rather weak — and now the inflammation caused by the pollen won’t let my lungs properly heal. I am seeing on allergist on Tuesday and I hope he can sort things out.

      • Sandra

        May 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        I hope so too. Good luck. It is so frustrating to be sidelined, probably more so for you. :-). You put in far more miles than I do.
        Either way, heal quickly!!

  44. Fitwellmom

    May 22, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Take care of yourself! Wishing you a full recovery to continue to do what you love 🙂

  45. Adam C. Henderson

    May 22, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Not good at all! I’ve been off my bike for a few weeks too and its driving me nuts! I hope you’re back in the saddle soon!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Anytime I am off the bike for more than two days it drives me crazy!

  46. Gerry

    May 23, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    I’ve drunk beer through a straw, so I can almost imagine what your breathing is like. Get well soon!

  47. cyardin

    May 23, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    Rest up and save those lungs for some beautiful summer riding which is just around the corner.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel — it is just so SLOW in getting here!

  48. northernwalker

    May 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Sorry to hear about your illness. Like you, back in March I contracted proper flu which knocked me sideways. Took a long time to get back to full speed on the bike and I am still feeling the effects in my lungs if I really press on, particularly if the weather is cold. Like you, there was a suggestion that I had contracted a viral infection that would take time to heal. I’m off to Iceland next month on a tour so I hope all will be well by then.

    Wishing you the very best

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Thanks for the note! Broken bones heal a lot faster than damaged lungs.

  49. Jeff Katzer

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Pace yourself my friend… We’ll all be patiently waiting for your next post. Get well soon, Kat

  50. kristoffrides

    May 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Really sorry to hear this. Hope you get better/back to full fitness soon. Take care and keep thinking about all those great places you’ll be able to ride again soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      While I’ve been off the bike I have been able to take my car out to search for new cycling routes — can’t wait to try them out.

  51. MG

    May 23, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Sorry to read about this. I hope you continue to recover and that the breathing gets easier soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      The breathing is getting better — just not as fast as I would like.

  52. marylouharris

    May 23, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Sorry you’re having a long, tough bout, but your BP numbers are amazing. I could have been half of that elderly couple but haven’t been in Wisconsin for a couple of months.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Wisconsin is a great place to ride a bike — I live just south of the Wisconsin border in the People’s Republic of Illinois.

      • marylouharris

        May 25, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        Your are among my people. Each time I return to the region, there is a new trail added to the existing trail system. One of my daydreams is to get a sibling to run/bike/walk/whatever the Ice Age Trail with me.

  53. doctorlynn

    May 24, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Thank goodness it’s not your heart. I’m sure you had some anxious moments when that wasn’t ruled out as a possibility. The body has remarkable powers to heal which is the good news although sometimes not as quickly as we’d like. Hope yours is on the fast track!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      I was glad it was not the heart, but the lack of a firm diagnosis isn’t helping a lot.

  54. triathlonobsession

    May 24, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    As a fellow healthy asthmatic I feel for you in your lung recovery. Have you considered trying some acupuncture? That helped me with a slow healing sort of undetermined lung infection. I’m glad it’s not as worrisome as your heart. And by the way–my husband loves that pink pump I won from you–said it’s the best design he’s ever seen. We’ve gone through a ton of pumps–as you probably have too. Take care! elizabeth

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      I haven’t tried acupuncture (yet). I really hate needles (I would make a terrible drug addict). I am glad that both you AND you husband like the air pump.

      • triathlonobsession

        May 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        I was desperate when I tried it for allergies–and I’ve felt great for years now. Doesn’t hurt!

  55. forsair

    May 25, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    Glad you are doing well and slowly working your way back. I’m in a similar boat, except I didn’t have base health. May you have a complete recovery, even if it isn’t as speedy as you might like.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      Twelve years ago I was in horrible health — cycling brought me to peak performance — then a stupid virus got in the way. As bad as I feel now, I am still a lot better off than I was 12 years ago.

  56. the drunken cyclist

    May 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    My goodness! I hope they figure out what it is soon and that you recover quickly!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      May 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Thanks! I think I will have some answers after I see the allergist next week.

  57. Jill

    May 26, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    Wow. What a awful couple of months you have been through! Hope you get to the cause and feel normal soon!

  58. Dickson

    May 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Get well soon!!!

  59. kruzmeister

    May 31, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    Sorry to hear you’ve been so crook mate, hope things are starting to pick up now for you! – Simone

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 4, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      I ended up having surgery on my esophagus on Monday, June 3, and it appears to have helped a lot.

      • kruzmeister

        June 5, 2013 at 1:09 AM

        Glad to hear it. I hope you have a speedy recovery and can get back out on the bike(s) again soon!

  60. NaturesComplete

    June 1, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    This years influenza was a nasty strain. Unfortunately people who got the shot still got the flu. It was only predicted at a 50% rate this year. It does not surprise me that it dropped you for that long. I know someone else that knocked him down for that long. I liked reading your articles. I was a mountain biker back in the day and I miss it. My bike got stolen just recently when I felt like I needed to start riding again. I hope your stamina picks up even better than you remember it because the flu does kick you hard. Keep up the good articles. I will follow you because soon I will be back on my bike.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 4, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      I seems like everyone I knew who got the flu this year said it took them longer than usual to recover — must have been a real nasty strain.


    June 7, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Wow – what an ordeal! Hope you are feeling better and they figure out the right medicine for you. It’s so good that you exercise as much as you do. A normal person would have been a whole lot worse, I’m sure.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 8, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      I have been able to ride three times since the surgery and am feeling stronger after every ride — but I am still not ready to race.

  62. Sarahlynn Pablo

    June 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Would also like to extend my wishes for a very speedy and complete recovery. And to think I was going to ask if you’d done the Naked Bike Ride last weekend… 🙂


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