A BIG EFFORT

The daily nuisance for the cyclist

Seems there is just a chance I might get some miles today? It will take a lot of effort on my part, and of course there is the constant threat of MORE rain and afternoon thunderstorms.

The plan is 3 rides! First one pre breakfast around town for 10+ miles to kick the day off then another circa midday for my standard 23-27 miles up to the lakes and back and then a final run about 4 pm down town and the brewpub for my Friday beer.

At the start of today I needed a smidge under 75 miles in these last 2 days of July to crack the 1700 Banner. Now 75 is quite a long way for the 74 year old but not outside the realms of possibility with a degree of effort! Run 1 knocks out 14.54 before coffee and toast and then the big one for 27.22 before lunch. Well that’s pretty good with another over 40 miles in the bag! Light lunch and ready for part 3, BUT another one of those bloody “Goathead thorns” which are like a cyclist’s land mine!! has jumped on my back tire

These things are NASTY!
They are terminal for the tube!

Seems I’m out of tubes so nothing for it but to patch the puncture. Haven’t come this far to give up now! Tube patched and out again stopping at our “NEW” in town cycle shop for some more tubes and a replacement for this one. Off again and net 2 lovely beers, replace the patched one, which is beginning to lose pressure, and press on for a daily high of 50.78 miles.

The 50 MILE FIRST

This is the longest distance I have ever ridden in one day!! All I need now is 24.10 tomorrow and I will have made it!

More storms arrive around 8 pm with monstrous flashes and huge bangs shutting down TV and computer with a mini power outage. Mercury, the dog, can sense the storms better than any Met Man and it carries on flashing and pouring for a good hour.

Not a great start to the morning with a flat tire AGAIN!! in the one that was replaced yesterday afternoon!!!!!! I can only assume that the road work team, who are now doing driveways are responsible with their tractors and backhoes rotovating the dirt by the edge of the road causing me 3 flats in 2 days, and it’s my driveway. Anyhow forced to refit the liner and see if that keeps the little buggers out! Better carry the bike out to the road surface. Completed the mission with 26.54 taking me to 1702.45 for the 3 months and I’ll target August for another 700 miles. Meanwhile the 1700 Banner was passed even though it had fallen down

1700 Banner passed and on we go, must be the weather

TONY DOWN

BANNERS & BANGERS

Tis’ the season

Yesterday’s forecast storm turned up a bit late but then it poured and this morning it’s overcast and a bit cooler. Might have to have a “rest day” and sort out the washing machine and dryer chaos and cut the side grass which is getting up there.

The people who delivered the machines didn’t have much in the way of “technical acumen” as with them both upright there was a 3/4″ difference in their height?

THey are supposed to match!
3/4″ difference!

Reason pure and simple was they had not screwed the adjustable legs in, or maybe they didn’t have a wrench the correct size, or were unaware that people like matching machines to actually MATCH!

Measure all 4 legs and screw in 3/4″
Now they match!

Legs measured and marked, screwed in with wrench and repositioned for the “PERFECT FIT”, actually a lot easier than I was led to believe.

Strimming the entire side area of the property took quite a long time as the grass and weeds had been soaking up all this rainfall but it is all back under control now.

Last task of the day was a video conference with my Nurse Practitioner, Julie, who agreed with me that I should have another scan and some more bloodwork and then after review maybe some more chemo.

More scans please

With the rest day done I now need 88 miles in the last 3 days of the month. The weather forecast shows an ever higher chance of showers and storms with most days in the 80-90% range. Oh, well just do what I can. I also see the weeds are back!!!

Brilliant ride by Roglic

Meanwhile in Japan, Primo Roglic had an outstanding day at the Time Trial winning by over a minute which to me seems a just reward for losing last year’s Tour de France on the Time Trial.

No mistakes today and she has the Gold

Our Dutch lady Superstar made no mistakes today and also won by a commanding time so she has come away with a Silver and now the Gold

I set off in reasonable conditions but the road work continues as they have raised the road by two inches and are now doing peoples driveways so that they can get onto it smoothly. Stopped at the Flagman and his boss says follow me but I’ve picked up a mini thorn and another flat tire!!! No matter he gives me a lift home and another tube goes in and the thorn is removed and I’ve only achieved 0.96 so I’m off again staying in town due to the 90% forecast of rain. Drag the total up to 5.58 as the lightning starts and I stop. Rain follows with some huge droplets but it doesn’t last long!

Might try for a few more as the thunderstorm threat seems to have gone. Made 12.37 before the rain shut me down and the next bout of thunder started.

The midnight banger

Another severe storm around midnight woke me up and it was raining even harder. There after a restless and uncomfortable night. So here we are 7/30 and 2 days left to try and get 74.87 which could be done but will require a lot of effort, or the storms might beat me ?

TONY DOWN

THE “1500”

1500 in the bag

Despite the stormy weather the “1500” was achieved before the thunderstorm arrived with all it’s rain. Today is 7/24 so plenty of days left to rack up some extra mileage before we get into my month of August.

Meanwhile in Japan the Olympics are in full swing and I’ve watched the men’s and women’s cycling road races and also some of the swimming events. I can remember when the Olympics were truly “Amateur” and no Professional Sports people were allowed in. Now it seems the most bizarre sports qualify for a Gold Medal!! Surprised we haven’t got Motorcycle Trials in yet as we have just about everything else!

Trials as an Olympic Sport ?

Something I didn’t know, in the Olympics riders are not allowed radio communication and that was somewhat evident in the ladies race where one of the Dutch Superstars thought she had won! However the Gold medal went to an Austrian who had led the race from the breakaway shortly after the start!!!

Never mind, you got the Silver!

I did better than expected yesterday with 34.45 miles in the book on what appeared to be a “no chance day” with all the storms. I guess I’ll be trying for something similar today. Just seen all the road working heavy equipment on their low loaders off to their next venue. Better have a ride through town and see how it is ?

Dodged all the nasty black clouds that are building up and did 24.11 before the first splatter hit me! Home and dry but would like a few more this afternoon if this big cloud would drift away. It seems my afternoon timing was perfect and finished the day with 35.35 and now its rumbling so I expect the downpour shortly.

Monday, and very wet! Seems the storm arrived around 12’ish and stayed until 0200. Forecast this week much of the same with afternoon showers and thunderstorms. First up need to get into Cortez and post a set of handlebars that sold over the weekend. USPS used to have a box that worked for bars or fork legs but it has since disappeared so I’ll be using UPS.

Bars gone, warming up nicely, better get out there before those clouds build up. Up to the lakes (recently restocked) for the opening 10 miles and back for my 2 mile loop before getting back in town. Morning total 27.38 so shouldn’t have a problem making the “30” unless the weather goes wormy. The afternoon run extended the total to 37.51 as I kept track of an ever darkening sky. Coming towards the end in the School parking lot, only a hundred yards from the house, there was an incredible crack as the first bolt shook the town! Time I was leaving as carbon bikes and lightning are not a good mix. Well 107 miles in 3 days despite the horrors of the weather.

Tuesday again, 7/27, showers and storms again around 1500 so better get going and then just maybe attack the grass which is now growing profusely with all this rain, but it does look good!

Grass gets cut and strimmed, mileage completed at 36.29 and through the next banner finishing at 1612.76 and day 4 at over 30 miles but the legs are feeling it! Even managed to get to the Brewpub for a well earnt beer.

Riders behind me were not so lucky with the banner!

In the morning Home Depot finally delivered the NEW washing machine and dryer but left them at different heights which is quite unacceptable ! More on this later.

TONY DOWN

MONSOON TIME

Here they come

Monsoons and daily afternoon and night time thunderstorms with heavy rain to please the reservoirs and water levels. Not forgetting my center bed of course!

My Center Bed says thank you!

With the forecast in mind, and 70-80% chance of afternoon rain I was out early but on my return coming onto my last 3 mile stretch there had been some rock slides, which are a daily thing, but there was an armchair size rock in my riding lane! Must have hit a small piece of the debris and an instantaneous concussion burst in the back tire!

Unimpressed Gecko

Great, and today I’m on dog feeding as Brenda has gone shopping so I can’t ring for help so better start walking for the hour it will take. Fortunately for me a young couple of mountain bikers stopped and offered me a lift which I gladly accepted!!

1 pissed off Gecko gladly accepts

New tire and tube on but now the first of the predicted storms has rolled in and its raining! The question is, “more miles and the Friday beer at the brewpub or forget about it?”

Seems far too dangerous to be out there riding with heavy rain from these thunderstorms and flash flood warnings coming in about every 10 minutes, so the Friday beer will have to wait and I’ll stay dry instead.

One of my worst cycling weeks with only 65 miles ridden due to rain and winds and one day gardening. We will see what tomorrow brings but I think it will be more of the same.

Saturday and although damp and wet from last night’s rain it is bright and sunny and no ominous clouds as yet. Better make the most of it with a 25.34 and then the first sprinkles from a cloud that had followed me down the mountain.

Good effort for the 25.34

Dry at the moment but the forecast says 80% chance of HEAVY rain. I need 5.50 miles to hit the 1500 which has been hard work this week but I think I’ll creep out again and see if I can get them. Creeping out again with one eye on the clouds I managed a good chunk at 9.11 which takes me to 1503.61 so mission accomplished !

Made the 1500!

TONY DOWN

THUNDERSTORMS

Storms and showers non stop

The weekly forecast is 60% chance of showers and nasty thunderstorms every day this week! Today watched the restarted British F1 Grand Prix where Hamilton had collided with Max Verstappen on the opening lap. Despite being given a 10 second penalty Hamilton won the event.

Here, as I had nominated the day as a “rest day” due to the forecast inclement weather it was anything but! Gorgeous blue skies, no wind and pretty hot at 92F. But my plan is set and weeding begins around the Waterfall Bed and some extra Vincas are planted for a bit more color. The game moves on with yet more weeding of the top of the center bed and in go more of the Vincas and a few Impatiens to brighten things up.

Lets get this job finished

The roadworks has restarted and still leaves a lot to be desired. They seemed to be going well having put in 3 of the 4 lanes through town. Then their blacktop plant broke down so we have now been a week and a half without any progress with one lane missing and another only half complete for an extra 1/2 mile on the way out of town.

It came onto rain and then horrendous winds from both directions with clouds of dust and leaves and then more rain but I got the majority of my plants in. A few more for tomorrow and then assess whether its cycling or not.

An early start to the day talking to a Cancer Counselor at 0745 on all matters, from religion to hospice, anger to relationships and what happens next if anything! I think perhaps it helps but of course there is no way of knowing as yet.

They are back

Tuesday then, the road works is happening, windy at the moment so I’ll carry on with my weeding and planting ritual and then see if I can squeeze a ride in? Must get into town for some of the Omega 3 supplements and give that a try.

Tuesday 7/20


More weeding than I thought and after 2 hours I’m still not finished! The dreaded arsebine creeper has said thank you for loosening the soil and doing all the watering and is taking off in all the beds I cleared only a week ago!!!!!

30 minutes more weeding and planting of the last 12 Vincas and 6 Impatiens.

More Vincas

Which just leaves 5 more plants, thinking I might need 3 more of these and maybe 3 more boxes of the Vincas.

The forecast rain and thunderstorms didn’t show up so I was forced to water all my plantings and then did a quick 11.37 to round off the day. New weather alert and a Flood warning! south of Cortez so it might rain yet!

Wednesday again, weather forecast the same, with showers and thunderstorms for the next week, as we pick up monsoon moisture.

Waterfall Bed gets a few more
Stand up and thrive
Topside complete

Last of this round of weeding and the last plants go in! Well that was true until I shot off to 4 Seasons for a few more to fill a couple of vacant sectors in the lower section. Having planted them, in the VERY near future, as in today, I wonder if I will EVER plant anything else in this lifetime ? Well they look good so I hope they will flourish as a fitting memorial.

Last of the planting
Not bad
Smoke everywhere
Something to drive on at last

Road work continues all day, the delivery man with new washing machine and dryer arrives but is on his own?? Not sure how this will go but he breaks his super “do-it-all” trolley .so nothing is removed or delivered! Meanwhile Sasha and Brenda are in Durango where the broken leg is looked at by the vet and re-splinted.

TONY DOWN

NEXT SET OF HURDLES

3 more stages of the Tour, the British F1 Grand Prix and then the Olympics next week. Mark Cavendish managed to beat the cut again after some vicious mountain stages and now has 2 chances left to equal the all time stage winner’s record.

Beat the cut and still in with 2 chances of another sprint win

Today was disappointing from a viewer’s point of view as after the mid point sprint the peloton just let the break away group go and finished in a procession some 18 minutes behind.

Friday’s plan is get a few miles in the bank and then top off at lunchtime followed by the last few to get over the 30+ hump!

Bring on the plan

The plan got hopelessly screwed up and instead of the pre-lunch quickie of around 10 miles I kept going for 29.34 in near perfect conditions. Some weeding followed and then the run to the brew pub and arrived there with over 38 on the clock. Two beers later and time for dogs which finished the day passing the 40 marker and leaving me at 1377.08 which means I should crack the 1400 with a simple 23 for Saturday.

Wout van Aert wins the time trial but he has already won a Mountain Stage and was second to Cav in a sprint finish!

Tour de France wraps up the places with the Time Trial with no changes in the top standings although Wout van Aert won it to show what a fantastic all rounder he is!

First ride of the day nets 27.84 and takes me over 1400 and also another 200 week despite getting soaked on the rainy day when only 5.30 was ridden. Now its thunderstorm time, raining, and temps shot down 20 degrees …. no more riding but I did get some weeding done and 5 more plants are in the ground but will need more water before nightfall. Done!

Sunday morning, cooler and a late start with the British F1 GP about to start then flash over to France for the Tour then back here for lawn mowing.

F1 and Verstappen out on the opening lap after a skirmish with Hamilton so race red flagged and I’m off to Paris where Cavendish beats out his nearest challengers on the mid-point sprint. The laps around Paris appear somewhat disjointed to me as Cavendish seems a long way away from his lead out chain and never gets the launch he needed. Wout van Aert wins again, what a talent!

No stopping him, bad luck Mark!

Never mind if you a get a contract, as I’m sure you will there is always next year. The lawn gets moved and a mid range ride takes me to 1421 miles and then time to get some more Vincas.

TONY DOWN

WHAT’S LEFT OF LIFE GOES ON!

Nice Rainbow

Well if anything I’m feeling stronger with more energy as I move into week 3 of my 26 according to the Oncologist! One can easily dispute “The quality of life” when the rainbow you once had stops in mid curve! When life seemingly had no ending and what you enjoyed was fun and time consuming, but had goals and pleasure, and is now plunged into despair and a loveless void it is very difficult to find enjoyment and see any future, so perhaps death will be a welcome release from this torment.

Here’s a new bed dedicated to cycling I call the “Saddle Bed” spot the saddle

Finally I have the center bed wet enough that my poor plants are not wilting non stop so water, as ever, does the trick and they are responding well. 205.12 was the 6 day total of the last week with the previous Sunday a gardening/rest day. Looks like there will be “some” riding today and maybe get the last of the plants (about 12 ) into their final homes for 2021.

Then time for another Jag wipe over as the oddball nightly rain showers do nothing for appearance as the clouds are full of AZ dust which is now all over the car.

Morning (rest day) maintenance ride (spinning) goes well for 19.29 and might get a few more later if the body is willing. Yet more arse bine has emerged after yesterday’s watering but at least the soil is moist. An afternoon of yet more weeding and finally nine more plants go in leaving four dianthus for tomorrow if my Pre 65 Scottish shoulder injury will let me dig the holes.

Tuesday, a little cooler, but prospects of thunderstorms later in the day which might save me from watering. Riding might be a bit tricky with the showers but we will see. Morning ride goes better than planned with 24.16 in the log. Nearest storm, the weather alerts tell me is 50 miles away! Day finished on 32.46 with a total of 1295.32 and a beer at the brewpub. No sooner home and dogs fed and walked and it comes on to rain which then changes to a mega downpour with thunder and lightning and I can see the ground can’t take it all. More rain overnight and cool and muggy this morning with threats of more of the same. I had an awful night’s sleep which in no way could be called restful, too hot, too cold! kept waking up ….. awful!

Wednesday morning, damp and wet, with more to come, as I said, and temps down to low 70’s from the 90+ we have been having. The roads dried up and I ventured out with the plan of staying fairly close to home. Not quite close enough as after 2.5 miles it was time to turn round only to meet a big black cloud of pouring rain! Well I guess that completes my Tour de France experience as I crept back in soaked from the downpour but I DID crack the 1300 banner so I achieved something.

It carried on raining most of the day!

Thursday and the last Mountain Stage for this year’s tour which I found very exciting, and once again last year’s winner proved he is not a one horse race and surged to the front, again, for another superb win to equal his performance from yesterday taking the “Polka Dot, King of the Mountains jersey” just as he did last year. We still have the individual Time Trial, which is where he won everything last year, and looking at his form I see another Stage Win coming!!

In a class of his own!

Change of game plan for me with a “quickie” 10.54 before feeding and walking dogs and then out for a longer effort of 25.66 to wrap up the day in the thirty+ and up the total to an impressive 1336.82 in the quest to crack 1400 by Saturday.

In other news a slight uplift to the mental state with news of a new “Trojan Horse” which I will be looking into. When I was dealing with all this chemo they did “PET Scans” where they inject you with radio active glucose and they can see the hot spots of where the tumors are feeding. Very clever I thought! Well if they can do that why can’t they target those tumors with something they like but kills them as we do with other pests? It seems they like fish foods with Omega 3 which the tumors store from fish like Salmon, Tuna, Cod (all fish that I like) so if you take a supplement of this called DHA any overload will kill the tumor! HEY, at this stage I have to ask myself what harm can it do??? It worked for the GREEKS!

TONY DOWN

MORE MILES

Not the route I’m taking!

Yes, more miles in some faint hope that if I keep the body fit and strong maybe, just maybe, it will fight back against the cancer. A forlorn hope I know but in this desperate situation I’m open to any suggestions!

Another 37.23 for yesterday’s efforts and now closing in on the 1200 as we endure the heatwave, and of course yet another round of strong winds, and Red Flag Weather Alerts. Stopped at the Brewpub for a couple of very nice beers and a pleasant hour and a half consuming same. A good Friday!

Another record for 5 days!

Yet more rides in the 30’s and now I’ve knocked up 173.84 in the last 5 days!! with today’s 36.44 Perhaps I should try for 27 and then be able to say I did 200 in 6 days!

Time to get going!

A fantastic day in France with our local boy from Durango, Sepp Cuss taking the stage win! Time for me to impress myself! How does 31.27 sound ? and a nice cold refreshing beer. More targets achieved and tomorrow is the Tour’s last rest day.

TONY DOWN

THE QUEST FOR LIFE

Getting more exciting by the day

July 2nd, The Tour de France rumbles on, so does my life or what’s left of it. Riding to start then some more bed prep before getting those plants in. Ordered some “Moms” which are not my favorite plant but they can go in the center bed and continue to flourish long after my demise. The advantage of Perennials, is course they come back year after year, but in my case according to the Cancer experts I’m an annual and I won’t be coming back!

Just waiting for my phone to charge before setting off for another 20 with the hope of converting that into 30 by close of play.

Morning run done!

26.70 for the morning run and after some excellent weeding and old plant removal another afternoon run takes me to 33.57 for the day. Tomorrow just might be a full gardening day but the weather will no doubt decide the course of events.

On target

Saturday and as promised after an amazing Stage 8 of Le Tour time for some serious gardening which went very well and I finished the Pool Bed . Tomorrow another manic mountain stage with a summit finish, assuming any of them still have anything left in the legs! After that I shall be planting and weeding for all I’m worth and then as Monday is The Tour’s first rest day I’ll be cycling!

That’s more like it
A bit of color
The Lilly has gone mad!

Day 2 in the Mountains for the Tour riders, and Day 2 for those involved in planting! Just about everything that I wanted to do gets done so I’m ready to get back on the bike and see what I have left. Still VERY bitter about the prognosis and ongoing care which seemed to be entirely lacking?? I’m really not surprised that Cancer is such a killer as this is all we have to combat it and then we just give up?? It’s fucking appalling ! Can’t help but wonder why we are not doing periodic scans to see how things are progressing, along with blood tests to check the tumor index and other markers. I’m afraid being told to go home and die doesn’t really crack it.

With planting nearly complete back to the miles and a third day of 30+ miles takes me through 1100. More planting to come when I’ve got this lot flourishing. The bed is just too dry and is sucking all the moisture out of my freshly planted flowers.

Win No 31

They say you can’t make a comeback? well Mark Cavendish would say otherwise as today he knocked up his third stage win of this years Tour!

Then No 32
First day after the “Rest Day” win No 33

The top side of my center bed is nearly finished but its hard work watering everything as the ground really needs such a lot of rain. Another 24 Vincas went in this afternoon and much watering followed. I hope they are all standing in the morning.

Top side of Center Bed planted

Bottom side of the bed weeded again and now water sprinkler on full flow to moisten up the ground as its sucking the life out of my new plants.

Ready for planting again

Meanwhile in France the Tour continues to amaze as the new riders seem to be good at everything! Today’s winner over a double climb of Mon Ventoux was yesterday’s runner up to Mark Cavendish in the sprint!!

Belgian Champion and complete all-rounder Van Aert

Thursday and another flat stage with a sprint finish but a breakaway takes it with the peloton finishing over 14 minutes behind! Yesterday must have been tougher than we thought! Road work continues out front but they should be on their last run through and today could be the last day.

Friday 7/9/21 and the plants are happier and all standing up, the power of water! Someone else is also very happy as he wins the Sprint in the Tour

He has finally done it!

Good ride for 26.15 this morning, should be no problem making the 30+ for the day.

TONY DOWN

THE HOSPITAL VISIT

Mercy at Durango

Monday 28th June 2021 at 1300 and here I am in Oncology at Durango Hospital. Dr Cathcart finally comes in and off we go. Starting with the blood tests where they were looking for a DNA match to see what other drugs/poison they could use, answer NONE!

Oh well, what can we do now? Well there is one more set of pills that you could try but they bring your face out in a horrendous rash, and they don’t work that well either, but they might give you another couple of months ………. or ???

Well now we know where the liver is

What else is there? ……. well you could sign up for clinical trials up in Denver …….. Hmmm, that is ridiculous and would cost a fortune, Oh well then just enjoy the time you have left then and the quality of life! …….. and how long is that ???

A liver

Well it’s TERMINAL so anywhere between 6-12 months ……… SHIT! so this is the DEATH SENTENCE then ? ABSOLUTELY but its the liver cancer that will kill you. Pray tell me, as I’ve not had any symptoms from this cancer what are the signs and what should I be looking for and how painful will it be ?

Well you are lucky, as eventually you just fall asleep but you don’t wake up. You get jaundice and your eyes go yellow along with your pee and you get more and more tired until the end. Well that’s great!

It’s almost too much writing this stuff, and I’m very scared bordering on terrified as I have no wish to DIE. In all my years flying, apart from the first time when we were about to go to war with Iraq, when I was in Cyprus on my first tour, back in the 1960’s, I never really thought about dying. I certainly don’t have any strong religious convictions and perhaps I should seek help in that area. It really brings it home when you realize you might not make Christmas this year .

Enough of this. Can’t get sucked into this feeling sorry for myself and giving up, got to FIGHT to the bitter end if I have enough strength and willpower. Apart from the Tour de France how is my personal cycling going? Well not too well at the moment as the weather was cool and wet with some severe thunderstorms yesterday. The garden is soaked, and I’ve just been out to water my new plants which were sheltering under the balcony. The plan was to hit 500 miles a month, and in the light of other things (like DEATH) that now seems somewhat futile! However, can’t give up and let this beast devour me.

Once round, a good try, but not in this lifetime

Starting today after a wet 6.30 yesterday I’m up to 983.73 for the year and still need that extra 17 miles to crack the 1000. Right now in the big picture I’m at 17,374.40 out of the required 24,902 so with what we have discovered this week that target seems a little too far unless I have a mini miracle which can only be achieved by staying fit …… what a joke!

Almost time to get out there avoiding all the road works and relaying of blacktop which is quite impressive. Better get a few pics before they finish. Need to see what the other nursery at Cliff Rose has left. Went there yesterday and a thunderstorm with torrential rain arrived as I did and it was so bad I didn’t get out of the car.

There are 4 of these tar layers
Stinky and smoky
I’m thinking one more day

Cycling miles achieved so I’m through the first 1000 this year and who knows how much more I will get. It does keep me off the Internet and worrying myself so with that and gardening I have quite a lot to do in the immediate future. Plant shopping went quite well at Walmart and some reasonable plants could soon be in the ground and brighten the place up.

3 baskets of Vincas
Dianthus
Pretty pots
Colorful unknowns

Thursday 1 July, might be the last one I see! No matter a day of full on gardening, weeding, dead heading roses and prepping beds for the new flowers.

TONY DOWN