Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Setbacks


Setbacks are part of living with a chronic disease.  We don't like them but we don't really have a say so in it.  The real key is to not let them get you down...easier said than done sometimes.  Angela recently posted on everyday victories and I think that is an excellent way of keeping us grounded.  Our victories may differ from day to day but thats what makes living with RA so interesting.  That was a joke.  It's hard to explain to someone how it can take everything I have to get out of bed and walk to the living room one day and the next day I can go ride 150 miles.  After living with RA a few years, we learn to listen to our bodies and know when we can push and get away with it and when we need to take it easy.  Still somedays I do get surprised though.  Learn to recognize your victories and use them for self motivation on future rough days.  While you may not be able to relate to me riding a 200 mile adventure ride through a national forest, you can relate to the time you mowed your yard in one day (I have a big yard), went to the movies or for a bike ride with the kids.  You can submit your victories to EverydayRAVictories.com and UCB will donate $1 for every victory until the $30,000 goal is reached.

I'm excited beyond words right now.  I continue to feel good (for someone with RA anyway) and I have new tires, wheel bearings, chain and sprockets ordered.  I have a long day ride planned for late September and a 2-3 day ride in October.  Plus I have 2 bridge rides that I will work in on my days off soon.  I am looking forward to hunting one bridge down that not only is abandoned, the road is no longer there as well.  I have (hopefully) good coordinates for my gps so the only challenge should be actually picking a good line through the trees.  I may have to ride my KTM for this one though.
 My KLR 650
While looking for an old iron truss bridge in January, I found this old concrete bridge.

I have now put close to 9000 miles on my KLR and while it is far from the perfect bike it is a good fit for what I am riding.  The suspension upgrade this summer is by far the best money I have spent on the bike since owning it.  I bought my KLR used with 4400 miles on it for $3600 and have put another $1005 into it, not counting consumables such as tires, oil and filters.  I have had it to 90 on asphalt, 83 on dirt roads as well as taking it for a mild beating off road.  You can't find a cheaper, more capable adventure bike than the KLR.  The downside is that it does lack brutal, rip your arms out of their socket horsepower, is a bit heavy and being a 650 single ... it's a 430 pound vibrator.  I am easily distracted by KTM and BMW's but the bottom line is I am riding everything they ride for a lot cheaper.

Remember to get your questions to me for Angela's guest post (see my previous post) coming up.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Short Bus


I have my moments - okay sometimes days.  Some can be blamed on the RA/meds that leave you in a medicated fog, some can be blamed on the three concussions I have had and I suppose some can just flat out be blamed on bad genes (no, I didn't ride the short bus).   I have felt better over the last two weeks than most of the year and it finally hit me like a ton of bricks ... I have been in a serious flare up since April.  I was quick to blame the Humira, thinking it had quit working, and hadn't even considered that I was in an extended flare up.  Then again the longest flare I have ever had lasted only three weeks.  There you have it, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a mental midget.  I still hurt everyday but overall I feel great right now.  Healthy people won't understand that last statement.

RA Adventure Rider was selected by Healthline as one of the top 20 blogs on RA for 2013. You can see all 20 of the blogs here. I'm humbled to be included with the likes of real writers and health advocates. I would like to thank all of my readers, followers and Healthline.

If you don't already know her, I would like to introduce you to Angela Durazo.  She is is former professional model who currently runs a small media and public relations consulting company, a triathelete, oh I almost forgot ... she also has RA.  An amazing young woman who will be on the September cover/cover story for 'Arthritis Today Magazine', and will be doing a guest post here in the next month. Angela was on biologics, steroids, anti-inflammatories & muscle relaxers but after having bad side effects, she got off everything and now manages her RA with a controlled anti-inflammatory diet. You can read her blog here and I will forward any questions you have for her so she can address them in her upcoming post.
I met Greg for a heavily overcast mid-morning ride.  We stopped by his new house when he discovered his BMW needed oil.  After the quick detour we were off like a heard of turtles, really large turtles with fast bikes!  We have had so much rain and flooding lately, we headed to the Ozark National Forest to check it out.  Our first stop was at Natural Dam, an all-natural rock dam that's nearly 200 feet wide.  We were shocked at what we saw ... nothing out of the ordinary.  While there we talked with a man and his son that had rode their Harleys over from west of Okmulgee.  I always enjoy visiting with people out on rides, especially other riders.  Next we rode over to Devils Den State Park and again the same story.  No water there either, we had even talked about if the water was up over the low water bridges we would just turn around, but there was no chance of getting a bike washed away today!    We rode old scenic highway 71 back up and over Boston Mountain and cut across Frog Bayou and again, same story.  Turns out the heavy rains and flooding we have experienced have been spotty just like the summer showers are.  Still, a great way to spend a day.  The clouds gave way to sun and with a heat index of 103, I nearly over did it again.  I did something I don't normally do, I pulled my jacket off and rode in a short sleeved t-shirt.  I believe in AGATT but it was so hot I made an exception this one time.  Despite the air rushing over me at 60-75 mph, my t-shirt was wringing wet by the time I pulled in the garage and I payed for my fun later that night but all is well now.  At least the ER was not involved in this over heating episode.
View of the Arkansas River from Gregs back yard.
Caught my bike out sunning ... like its not dark enough already.
Half of Natural Dam
 You know me, I love iron truss bridges!
 Super fast dirt road that comes out at Devils Den.
 Shade tunnel
 I thought bats took shelter in caves ... I learned something new.
 A view under the overpass that few ever see
on the road/trail less traveled.
As a matter of fact Greg does own the whole road... until a car comes!


Remember to get your questions to me for Angela.