Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mighty Mouse

A Cancer treatment update for this week.  Again,  pretty damn boring,  which is a damn good thing.  Got thru my post Chemo infusion weeks,  with good blood counts (yea,  I plot them....  the Geek in me can't help it...)

Have now done my second round of the Mutated Mouse Antibodies.  As advertised,  with Rituxin,  the side effects are minimal.  After going thru a 7 or so hour first infusion protocol last week to insure there were no severe reactions,    this weeks mouse injection was down to about 3.5 hours,  as they know I am not reacting to it.  A bit tired on these days,  but may well be the IV Dexamethasone or IV Zantac (Benadryl) they give you before the Mutated Mouse stuff.  All those Antihistamines are for reducing the possibility of reactions,  and I'm sure that stuff can't help but make you feel funky.   One of those drugs also make it so I can hardly talk,  and fills my throat with gunk.  Fun!  At least two more of those sessions on tap.

Maybe My lack of issues with the Mouse stuff is because my Chinese astrology sign is the Rat.  Family familiarity?  Who Knows.

Since I feel so good,  I've been trying to get out & ride,  and the motivation to try and make up for almost a year of having to NOT ride hard is high.  Turns out,  that same year away from any kind of intensity on the bike has left me rather "slow".   Realized I need to back off and get some decent base miles in with my newly functional blood.  Let the Mouse stuff run it's treatment course first,    as I am sure that is NOT helping my aerobic potential right now.  So I have been trying to reel in the immediate expectations for fitness improvement,  and let all the drug nonsense finish up first.    That,  and turns out it's still kinda winter outside most days.  Seems easy to go do a cross race at 35 degrees,  but it is not as easy to get out & do that base thing at that temperature.  Been motivated enough to go do it,  so far at least.  

Going back to work now that my immune system is probably capable of withstanding the viral.  germ-ridden cesspool that is the modern workplace.   Seems like all that "work" time is going to cut into my midweek,  mid-day bike rides as well.  Bummer,  was getting used to having that time available.  Ah well.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Remember when our "friends" in Colorado Springs decided to "fix" the Cross Upgrade/Category system a while back?  Seems like someone,  somewhere,  noticed that maybe,  just maybe kicking ALL the Cat 4 riders up to the 3's after doing 10 races was maybe,  just maybe,  not the best way to fix whatever problem someone,  somewhere,  dreamed up needed fixing.   Maybe,  just maybe,  the sandbagging or other imagined problem they were trying to fix was not worth the damage to a thriving grassroots cyclocross participation scene that seems to be doing so well in the U.S. right now.

How do I know that this bit of enlightenment may have taken place?  It seems that the USACycling rulebook sections that HAD just implemented the "10 & out" rule have VERY quietly changed.  No announcement this time,  the relevant rules just....  Changed.    Fortunately,  some people noticed,  and I managed to confirm that the upgrade rules did indeed change for next season.   The Cyclocross Cat 4 to Cat 3 upgrade stuff changed,  the higher category upgrade criteria and the road side changes did not.  The slightly lower  mandatory points limits remain for the higher categories.  The changes were made to the Cat 4 & BELOW levels for cyclocross only.   Wait....  BELOW Cat 4 you say?

Yep,  rather than force everyone to be a Cat 3 after 10 races,  they added Category 5 for new cyclocross riders.  Yep,  The lowly Cat 4 is no longer the BOTTOM of the cross gene pool.  They will have the Cat 5's to make fun of now.  

Here is the new Cyclocross upgrade rules verbatim:

1E6. Cyclo-cross Upgrades and Downgrades Cyclo-cross categories are upgraded similarly to road category upgrades using the system below:
(a) Requirements for upgrading:
5-4: Experience in 10 races is a mandatory upgrade. 
4-3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or
two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a
mandatory upgrade.*
3-2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or
two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a
mandatory upgrade.*
2-1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points
or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is
a mandatory upgrade.
*Juniors are exempt from this mandatory upgrade 

So what does this mean?  Well,  it certainly is less bizarre than what WAS going to happen.   Adding yet another group to find a race day slot for brings it's own problems to the table,  but also satisfies the real need for a "true beginner"/newbie group at the bottom,  allowing Cat 4 some more breathing room to be a long term home for the "recreational" or "not serious" racer.  I personally think there is a strong need for that in cross.  A 10 race & out limit on Cat 5 makes a lot of sense for a try-it-out-get-your-feet-wet kind of group.  After 10 races,  those who are hooked can survive or even thrive in the Cat 4,  making room for more newbies.  

Going to be a challenge to add that group to an already VERY full race day,  including a very likely and VERY needed women Cat 3 field.  Intel says it might go off with the older Junior races (15/16 & 17/18....).   Going to take a while to build a field of any size,  since only new cross licences will be granted that coveted Cat 5 card.  At least I don't see this actively HARMING participation & motivation,  as the original proposal certainly had the probability of doing.

With all the momentum and warm,  fuzzy feelings after Louisville worlds,  I feel a LOT better about next season,  and the continuing growth for Cross.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

No More Waiting

Seems as if I have out-waited the Chemo side effects.  18 Days post chemo infusion now,  WELL past the drugs effect times,  and I never went off the cliff.  Never felt bad.  Had to HUNT for any symptoms.  Was pretty strange feeling SO good after getting those drugs,  sitting there just waiting for the truck to sneak around the corner & hit you.  Many days second-guessing how you felt,  second guessing every little ache or tired moment.  The expected crash never came to pass.    Had to ask the Docs if this was normal or not,  getting the drugs I did and NOT feeling like crap,  especially after feeling SO bad on my first visit to chemo-land 5 years ago.  In typically reassuring doc-speak,  it was,  "sure,  sometimes people have no effects,  and have differing reactions,  we really don't know why."

Whee.  Reassuring that the understanding of giving you such potent cytotoxins is SO well understood.  Especially when it's YOU they are getting pumped into.  Even started to wonder if I got the right drugs,  etc.  I REMEMBER getting something,  and seeing the name on the bag.   Cancer brain makes one have strange thought processes at times.  I DID get the drug,  and both my blood counts,  my obviously shrinking spleen (When you can FEEL your own internal organs,  that is a hint something ain't right....),  and my new found ability to actually push on the pedals of a bike with at least some limited authority

says it did SOMETHING.

Got over what fatigue I had,  and got over the dread of the NOT-arriving crash,  and started riding my bike again.  A mountain bike,  thank god.  Slow,  out of shape,  but can already just "tell" my blood is fixed again.  Was able to get my heart rate over 150 (and even 160),  for the first time in almost a year.  Actually feel like I can ride again.  A Pretty damn sweet feeling,  after having that taken away for so long.  I even Strava-ed the hell out of those rides.

Check it out,  158th out of 358 on the Heil/Wild turkey loop,  fresh off Chemo.  Better watch your sorry Strava/KOM Ass,  ya'll.  I'm BACK.  Oh,  and 11,  count 'em 11 Personal Records on all them there segment thingies on that loop (Maybe that had something to do with never me Strava-ing that loop before?  Nah,  I'm just kicking butt...)

Am I done with the medical nonsense yet?  Nope,  got a whole second set to start up on Valentine's day.  Some Mutated Mouse Antibodies that will hopefully kill off a bunch more of the Hairy little bastard cells that the Chemo did not get.  Lower "Minimal Residual Disease" is the intent,  with the hope that less leftovers to regrow means a longer remission,  and I want that.   An IV once a week for 8 weeks is the plan.  Eight full hours to get the first one in,  a very detailed infusion protocol to mitigate any adverse "reactions" to the Mutant Mouse cells.  That should be fun.

One more set of treatments to go.  At least these are not poison,  so SHOULD be low impact.  Of course after skating thru this Chemo,  now I worry the "benign" treatment will be the one to cause me grief.  We shall see soon enough.

I look to have some news on the Bike racing & Upgrade front coming soon as well.  Might have been a bit of a common sense outbreak down in the Springs.   Scary.