ANOTHER FRIDAY

C’mon daylight

Looks like my hands are in for a rest after all the weeding and planting of those Mums. But as we know you no sooner finish one project and now its back to mowing and strimming.

Should get another load of firewood today and maybe another bike ride if I’m feeling up to it.

Load 5 collected and stacked in this very warm weather, I know he never stops complaining, too hot, too windy, too cold! Into town and Walmart still have the mums so another batch are picked up as they are such good value at $5.97 a plant. These are planned to go in my old seed bed by the Maple where I planted radish and lettuce in previous years, but I don’t have enough teeth left to eat radish these days!! The bed does have irrigation so at least I don’t have to water them.

Some sleep last night without any pills, but I was getting to a point where some changes needed to be made. No fear of the dark but painful for the bum which kept waking me up.

You may remember our Lions who were unimpressed with the tofudebeest and not keen on spamalopes either. Well as the tourists were, like me, past their shelf life, they have turned their attention to a herd of sheep.

Look a bit wiry to me, desperate measures!

Saturday, the watering ritual is complete, next plant the new mums and mow the lawn, finally add a few miles to the annual total.

Still in their pots, but this will be the layout

Sounds easy but I had forgotten I hadn’t used this bed in the last two years and Mr Maple had taken over and spread his roots throughout. Two hours of digging, cutting and pulling and I have a full bucket’s worth of roots of all sizes and I’m finally able to get planting.

A lot of hard work getting the Maple roots out
2 hours and a bucket full

Too warm, energy way down, after the root removal but I get the bike out for a short ride to show willing and remind the body we are still fighting even at times when it feels like a lost cause.

Planted

TONY DOWN

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

When will I sleep ?

Vuelta done, Tour of Britain begins but I don’t think its on TV in the states so its back to the Center Bed for some full on garden work starting with a few days weeding.

The weekly plan will be a mix of weeding, planting, collecting firewood and some light cycling. Quality of life my arse! Get to see my Chaplain tomorrow, hoping for some enlightenment in this mystery, still don’t know the questions to ask.

Cool overnight with temps down to 45F but now on the rise cresting the 70F mark at 0900. A bit of weeding then breakfast to start the day. Edward seems to have gotten over his little bout of Covid and can now be released to the wild.

Work continues on the center bed on an off all day. My rear end is very painful, can’t sit on anything as it feels unpleasant. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end? The ground is bullet hard and difficult to weed so I transplant some of the annuals and put the sprinkler on for the rest of the day.

Another poor night with about 5 hours sleep. Weed the driveway while I’m waiting for the Chaplain. He fails to show up but his wife is expecting a baby anytime soon! Back to weeding and planting. But before that, load 3 from the woodyard and its all gorgeous dry fir, my favorite.

Not much humping going on here apart from wood!

Wednesday once more, still in a lot of pain, let’s see if the medical fraternity can do anything to help and who knows maybe, I’ll get a decent night’s sleep. Worthless sleep pills, or is it a placebo? Perhaps they are worried I’ll take the entire bottle but I’ll guarantee that wouldn’t work as they are so useless!

Meanwhile, another day of the same, weeding, logging, and perhaps some planting today. Went out early, bit chilly, but topped off the pool and some watering completed. Temp coming up, maybe a little more weeding before the lumber run.

Load no 4 ready to unload
Building the “Great Wall”

Another load of good dry fir, that makes 4 loads so far and looking for 3 more to complete the Great Wall of Dolores and then moving over to the front of house for maybe 5 more.

Ready for those mums

Another area of the Center Bed clear of weeds and with any luck I might get to plant the “mums” either late this afternoon or tomorrow .

SRAM 1070 Cluster 11 x28

My cluster of gears for the Roubaix arrived so off to see Scott and get that done tomorrow afternoon, then back for a rescheduled Chaplain visit at 1600 tomorrow. Into town for the pain pills and some conflict on how to take them. One at night but then I can take another if I wake up. IF ????

A little humor to finish the day concerning Douglas Bader the WWII fighter pilot who lost his legs but carried on flying.

It still makes me chuckle

Awful night! 2 hours tops, but no pain, scared and getting to be frightened of the dark? What the hell is happening?? Ordered some more books on Heaven in the hope I might get some peace. A visit to see Edward one last time would appear to be on hold due to Covid, but it was a lovely thought.

Should finish up the weeding this morning and hopefully get those mums in the ground. Think I’m too tired for any logging activities this morning. Full afternoon with Roubaix new parts and then meeting Chaplain Ian.

Day actually goes to plan with the weeding completed and all nine mums planted. Pictures tomorrow. Pretty hot out there! Short ride to the bike shop to have the cluster cassette fitted and home again in time to meet up with Chaplain Ian and get some more answers to questions of the day.

New rear cassette and chain

Some sleep tonight but, its 0400 and I’m up again typing this and after a warming coffee try for another couple of hours.

Waterfall bed looking good with another flush of lillies and now asters
First time for these huge mums in the center bed
I like them!

Not sure about these pain pills! pharmacist did say it would affect my breathing, and that is noticeable and not good, so I’m not too keen on taking any more of those. Also has a side effect of making me frightened of the dark.

TONY DOWN

TWO DAYS TO GO

Should be a lot harder than it looks!

One more grueling mountain stage and the time trial to go in this year’s Vuelta. With 9 hours restful sleep I’m ready to tackle one more load of firewood to wrap up the first week of logging and then prep the center bed for the Mums.

Off to the lumber yard only to find it is CLOSED! Well we did have 2 days of rain, or maybe they are having a long weekend as it’s Labor Day on Monday. Didn’t get round to weeding as the ground is still a bit wet so read a few chapters of my spiritual books so that “I’m prepared” for whatever is to come. Arranged another meeting with my Hospice Chaplain and see what comes next.

Next, didn’t have long to wait, having followed all the instructions to the letter re the sleeping pills nothing! Up and down all night long and maybe managed 3 hours if I’m lucky in fitful bursts of about 30 minutes or less each time. I’m fading fast. Not enough energy for a ride or any gardening so finished the book.

Another awful night’s sleep but a few hours in short bursts, so looking forward to some serious rest.

Last mountain stage in the Vuelta shook things up a bit a and some changes in the GC battle but Roglic seemed to have it under control and came home to another 2nd place finish.

Another 2nd place and just the TT to come

0400 and while I’m up I can think about some gardening tomorrow and maybe get back to cycling next week as I have a new cluster on order for the Roubaix. They need to be changed regularly as they start to “clack” after a few thousand miles and I’m at about that point on this set.

Time trial goes as expected and Roglic wins that one as well and completes his hattrick of wins in this classic. Well done!

Gardening for me with a lot more serious weeding and re-dos on the center bed but it will all be worth it when its finished

TONY DOWN

REST DAYS

Time for a rest and try and pick myself up, which is beginning to get difficult these days. I will try my best but I am feeling I’m losing the battle on all fronts.

Team Jumbo’s Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic celebrates as he wins the 17th stage of the 2021 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain, a 185.8 km race from Unquera to Lagos de Covadonga on September 1, 2021. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Today the Vuelta was as I had hoped for with Roglic and Bernal heading the break from a long way out, very impressive and Roglic showed his dominance winning the stage in some cool wet conditions. Sepp Kuss sprinted to the line for a Jumbo Visma 1, 2, taking the second place time bonus from all his team leader’s rivals.

A great second place for Sepp Kuss

Seems the lions didn’t much care for some of the other animals so tourists beware!

Change in the weather, cooler and 100% chance of rain which it is currently living up to. Any gardening plans on a back burner as this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Good steady rain and no signs of letting up, but I don’t have to water anything either.

The day has past, but the night time is giving me problems as once again no matter what I do I can not get to sleep. Ironic that it should be my rest day and I can’t get any!

Night without end! Very uncomfortable with all the “leaking” and constant bathroom visits and I doubt if I even got one hour of sleep. The rain continues but I MUST get some rest somehow.

The bad weather has drifted through, still cooler and I’m tired beyond belief but still can’t get the rest I need.

Night again and I finally manage to get some sleep and from my calculations I made about 9 hours which I needed big time!

Looking good for win No3

The Vuelta continues as predicted and no changes in the Jerseys as we come up to the last 2 days of competition. Roglic looks in a good position to take his third win, barring any major accidents.

Time to get you lot in the ground

On the home front time for firewood load No3 and then weeding and planting of the Moms.

TONY DOWN

LOGGING

Only 35.10 left to crack the monthly target and get through 2300 miles for the year. However there are other things that must also be done, one of which is start the annual logging collection of firewood as we have open fires both upstairs and down.

Last winter the wood pile took a heavy hit with me on constant chemo and then a fire in the wood pile where all the firewood is from. Aspen Wall Wood is where it comes from and I’ve been using them for about 15 years. They charge me $10 a load for the Cadillac full to the window line. I honestly don’t think they realize just how much you can get in a Cadi ! Normally about 12 loads provides all our winter heat and although Oncology say I won’t be around to enjoy it I need to start stocking up now while its in a nice dry condition. First load home and stacked, now time for a beer and attack that 35.10 hurdle.

First load done!

A longer lie than usual to 0730 and feel somewhat better after a reasonable time asleep. Nothing to watch this morning, (No Vuelta) so out for the gardening water ritual and get round to cleaning all the AZ mud off the Jag and put on a couple of decals that were on my “to do list”.

Clean again
A little bling

After load 1 was arranged time to knock off some miles to hit that planned target as I’m seeing some rest days coming as I move into household tasks of firewood and more gardening. Manage 21.52 towards the goal so well placed for the last day of the month.

Vuelta went as expected with the sprinters taking advantage of a flat stage. For the GC men we have two mountain days and the final time trial so hopefully there won’t be anymore dull days of not trying.

Load No2 collected and stacked, lunch done, now time for about 8 miles and then into town to pay the property taxes! This time by check to avoid the 3% add on for using a debit card!!!! If all that goes well home for a top off ride and some well deserved cream ale at the Brewpub!

A quick ride of 9.80 before paying those taxes and then another 16.78 which takes me to 2303.20 for the year.

Monthly, and yearly banner gone through!

TONY DOWN

MEANWHILE IN THE SERENGETI

Leaving the Vuelta for a moment you may remember the Lions I reported on in an earlier article who were not enjoying their meal having killed the wrong animal.

Earlier

The Lions have reviewed their “Ambush Playbook” and decided to go after something easier to catch and perhaps with some protein and red meat.

This should work

MEANWHILE, on Facebook someone posts a couple of pictures of Superglitz after I rebuilt it in 2014 with all the new components, TY350 forks, IT front wheel and GasGas mudguard, Shedworks tank and seat, Magical shocks and all the other goodies I put on her. Including the WES Big Bore through the frame exhaust

Terrific bike and now FOR SALE !!! PM me if you are seriously interested.

Despite being absolutely knackered by these non stop sleep deprived nights I pushed myself through the 2200 mile kite for this year. That leaves me 5 days to crack the last 100 for the month.

2200 in the bag
Through another one!

Actually got some sleep at last with 3 hours between 2200 and 0100 before a big thunderstorm woke me up and then managed another couple of hours from 0130 to 0415 when nature popped its head up. Then a bit more up until 0610 so by my previous standards this is a breakthrough! Also very pleased that my UK bank has restored the funds!!

While in town yesterday afternoon bought 6 Mom plants which were a VERY GOOD SIZE at only $5.97 each.

Teflon Roubaix tire on the Roubaix

A soft rear tire yesterday, although its holding air it has a mini pin prick somewhere so I’ll changeover to the Roubaix Teflon lined tire and see if I can keep these goatheads out!

New tire goes on, new moms watered and now ready for the “off” but man oh man its 91F !! A two part affair nets another 25.36 miles in blustery conditions which were hard work. Met someone at the Brewpub who says he knows of a cancer treatment that I can get locally ? Well of course I’m interested as I have nothing to lose and the medical fraternity are not offering a thing to help!

Back in the big mountains in Spain this weekend so lets hope its a bit more dynamic and Roglic reclaims the leader’s jersey. Not to be as once again they give the breakaway group 14 minutes! Nobody in there going to challenge and even with the last push Roglic gets a bit closer but he still has a lot of work to do!! Maybe tomorrow?

Hot and windy and not feeling on top of my game today but I will get out there and get some done. First ride gathers 15.52 and I need another 8.01 to be a day’s worth up to hit 2300 by month’s end.

Done the ride, now the BEER

Didn’t get that second ride but will try for some more tomorrow assuming I’m feeling up to it.

Sunday and not much going to plan so far! Message from Daughter Sally to say her brother Edward has tested positive for Covid despite all the shots. Just spoke with him and he seems in good spirits, so I’m relieved. The Vuelta was pretty dull for the GC riders with nobody stamping their authority on the race. C’mon guys you only have a week left. F1 in Belgium wasn’t any better and couldn’t be run due to the pouring rain. Time to get out there again and add some more before the Enthusiasm Low light comes on again.

Bounced through a solid 14.13 which I need to improve on later. Another trip to the Nurseries and Walmart. Walmart wins again with cheaper plants and twice as big so another 3 yellows are now back here.

Now up to 6 of the yellows
and 3 pinky reds

Out again, and I’m forcing myself and I struggle through another 8.78 to complete the day and the body is saying enough is enough! Well that leaves a mere 35.11 to hit the monthly target I set myself.

TONY DOWN

THE TROPICS

In view of the Oncology Department’s dismal prediction of my future it is time to revise my cycling ambitions! According to them I don’t have enough time left to complete my Equator trip around the globe or Oblate Spheroid, 4th Rock from the Sun, Good Old Earth, or whatever else you want to call it. At 24,902 miles it is a pedal stroke too far!

How much further ?

So what is next ? Research tells me (yes I had forgotten) which Tropic was nearer the North Pole, and of course it just happens to be our strangely appropriate “The Tropic of Cancer” !! Even that at 22,847 miles sounds too far. However here in the USA I’m at around 37.65N Latitude which is equivalent to about 19,262 miles as near as I can calculate. Total pedaled from previous years is 16,319.10 and this year only starting in May, due to the miserable cold winds, another 2151.42 tops me out at 18,470.52 so hopefully, unless I have a sudden decline I should make the 19,262 hurdle.

Tropic of CANCER

The day has not gone to plan so far! But there is still the afternoon left and I’m working hard to resolve the early morn which did not start well.

A rest day in Spain but anything but here, a brake plate sells but needs cleaning and polishing , the annoying double take of my UK funds is still not resolved , I will wait until Wednesday but there had better be a resolution by then. A shorter ride in windy conditions and I now have many things outside building up and needing attention. Also want to do some fishing in the near future. Clean the car again and yet more deadheading of the roses but they are all budding again so its worthwhile.

A very cool start to Tuesday with temps down at 45F this morning but it will soon start back up again. Must get in the loft and find my log books. The log books are found so questions can be answered. The roses get another deadheading and the lawn gets mowed.

Let the breakaway get too far out but he surges off and gets a 30 second advantage on all of them , but the back wheel breaks away on a corner and…….

Wednesday and another pretty much sleepless night. Out in Spain Roglic seems to have tired of the leader’s jersey as the GC riders let the breakaway group get a 13 minute lead. He did break away from all his rivals and got about 30 seconds but then crashed on a corner and his chain came off. Lets see what happens today!

The crash loses those 30 secs

Today he wins the stage and gets another 10 seconds in so doing but is still 2 mins off the lead.

I’m having a very bad time after only 2 hours sleep last night and can only hope for full night’s worth. I’m so tired I’m almost dizzy and the brain will not go into sleep mode and is in just mindless nonsense.

TONY DOWN

n

TAMING THE BEAST!

The Price is right

For the Vuelta Competitors its Stage 9, for me its Stage 4 Colon Cancer over which it appears I have Zero control. So how do I handle it without going completely insane? Please don’t give me any more of the “Quality of life” crap because that doesn’t sit too well with me right now.

Right now humor might be the way so here are some things that made me laugh a little in the last few days.

Good one!


Caterpillar into Butterfly
Feeling lucky “Punk”?
Say nothing
A labs lament

Hope they made you chuckle.

0700 Sunday morning, chair in place, TV on, and off we go up several mountains. Solo breakaway looks very strong and amazes me as he holds onto his lead until the GC riders up the ante on the last climb coming back from 5 minutes down. Once again Roglic takes second place and holds onto his lead.

Another determined finish

Rest day tomorrow so I’ll be bored witless until we get going again on Tuesday.

Outside the Pheasant finally gets put in it’s location and while I’m working on the photo I notice that it’s breast and back have a cleverly implanted image of the lab? I confess that was the first time I have seen it.

On the other side of the waterfall the “Rabbit can finally see the Dog” another fun play on words

TONY DOWNO

FUN IN THE MOUNTAINS

Still there but lost some time

A vicious day of climbing and despite everything Roglic maintained his leader’s jersey while Durango native Sepp Kuss finished 4th on the day and is now 8th overall.

On home shores after a very wet week here in the Colorado Mountains I put in a gamey 26.50 in the much cooler, but dry weather.

Getting to be hard work!

Tried to pay the property taxes but the Treasurer’s machine managed to take the money TWICE!!! and they better get that sorted pronto or I’ll show them my other side.

Consultation on the scans and they tell me that the tumors are all growing nicely and of course there is nothing they can do. As I have discovered from many books Chemo has a 90% failure rate against ALL cancers, but is FDA approved and a $200 billion industry. Natural cures using plants etc are not covered by insurances so there is nothing left but to accept fate and die when the disease says so. Of course I have never felt ill from cancer just the horrible side effects. They do say in the books that it “seems” that once you have tried chemo it almost promotes it as the cells gain immunity, bloody brilliant! Certainly feeling completely helpless and more than a bit pissed off and terrified.

All these wonderful terms “enjoy the quality of life” , “do what you can to enjoy life” etc, etc, are just PURE BUNKUM!! There is NO QUALITY of life when you are told you are going to die! Yes, you can argue that I can ride my bike or do gardening but there are millions of other things that just seem so pointless at this moment in time.

Another flat stage for the sprinters today but of course if they were not included you not not expect them to even attempt the mountains.

Not for me!

Tomorrow a real beast of a day but then the 1st rest day which will be a huge relief for some.

TONY DOWN

MORE VUELTA

The weather will not play ball today!

Wednesday 8/18 and another flat stage, and another one tomorrow. Mighty big crash about 7 miles from the finish so a bit of a shake up in the results. But of course for the GC riders it’s not until the Mountain Stages that it gets interesting.

Leader involved in big crash with 7 miles to go

Went to bed at 2100 last night and could not get to sleep again despite pills. I’m wearing myself out doing nothing! and no sleep is taking it’s toll. A very easy day for me with very light gardening which I hope will include positioning Sally’s Pheasant which was last year’s Christmas present. I have it placed mentally but need to cut some of the sage back so that it can be seen.

Made a gentle start dead heading more roses, which have been quite exceptional this summer, but then it all changed!

More Dead heading

Gloom and doom arrived and the first of the thunderstorms arrived with some torrential rain! The lower lawn was flooded, well it needed it and of course that put an end to any outside pursuits for the day.

Tomorrow looks very similar with a slight improvement Friday and that seems to be the case as at 0600 this morning the storms are still booming and its still raining with 80-90% rain all day and night.

Another day of it
And a lot more of this

An enforced rest day! However, despite all my ailments I did sleep a bit better. Don’t see much happening outside today, but there might be a break or two for me to work with the pheasant and maybe “pot up” some Russian Sage cuttings. My Met Officer dog, Mercury, hates this weather and is currently in the bath which is her sanctuary when its this nasty.

Lunchtime and the weather “seems” to be improving, but it could be a sucker’s gap, so, if I do go out I think a rain jacket might be the order of the day. I make an unexpected 12.68 but forced to up the pace and get back to the house before it starts again.

Meanwhile back in Spain, the last of this group of “flat stages” has a sting in the tail with a vicious little climb in the finishing town. Roglic very nearly catches the last man in the breakaway but finishes a close second getting some extra bonus seconds and the Leader’s jersey again while putting time into everybody else. Mountains tomorrow!

Roglic nearly catches the last man in the breakaway but finishes 2nd

TONY DOWN