Part 1: Indian Summer and Buffalo Creek Ride
On Monday, Oct 22nd, the weather was gorgeous! I grabbed Little Cam and headed to Buffalo Creek. Buffalo Creek is listed as "Epic" by the International Mountain Bike Association. Here is a link to the IMBA site describing Buffalo Creek.
Buffalo Creek is hilly to say the least with a 2,000 feet elevation change. I started riding at the lowest point and started climbing. Here is the sign near the parking lot:
This great trail system is only a 15 minute drive from my house. I started at 5:30 PM and only had about an hour of daylight left. I figured I could easily get in 10 miles. I keep fiddling with the Little Cam's cockpit and tires.
I put the original stem and handlebars back in place. I also replaced the 2.1" wide WTB Velociraptors tires with 2.35" Kenda Tomac Nevegals Dual Compound tires.
The Kenda Nevegals have ramped center lugs and very tall side lugs. The side lugs are made of a soft "sticky" compound. The tires can also be run at 20 psi for improved traction. The mountain bike rags rave about the Nevegals.
My opinion is that the Velociraptors are more responsive and better looking. The Kendas roll better/faster and hold better in loose conditions. I am pleased with the Kendas.
Part 2: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
Little Cam and I started climbing. The grade was between 20% and 25%. My Garmin indicated we were cruising along at about 8 mph with a few bursts on flatter sections of 16 mph. The Kenda tires were just great! Going back to the shorter stem and riser handlebars made hopping over obstacles easier. But I really had to lead forward because the front tire would get too light on a steep ascent.
After a 5 mile climb it was time to bomb the descent! I stopped at the top of the trail to take a drink from my water bottle. Then it hit me! I started coughing up white frothy stuff! I have had this condition before but never at 9,000 feet. Last time I got High Altitude Pulmonary Edema I was running at 12,500 feet a few years ago.
This coughing hurts. Without enough oxygen, part of the lungs shut down. This is called a pulmonary shunt. Due to lack of blood circulation, the alveoli starts to fill with fluid. This is a bad thing.
I got off my bike and rested for a while. I took a photo of Little Cam waiting patiently for me to get back on.
It was starting to get a little dark when I snapped this photo. A rapid climb and heavy physical exertion can trigger HAPE. But this is a new one at such a low elevation.. I am thinking that asthma has something to do with this.
After I caught my breath, Little Cam and I started back down. The descent was exhilarating! There were a few technical sections that Little Cam just crushed! At a little over 30 mph on a pretty sharp curve the back tire broke traction and skidded out. I cranked Little Cam into a steeper lean. The rear tire bit into the gravel and we flew around the curve. Little Cam is a real confidence builder!
By the time I got to the car I felt fine. The upgrades I made on Little Cam have paid off handsomely. The bike is amazing.
Part 3: Pulmonary Function Test
At 8:00 AM on Wednesday I had to be at National Jewish Pulmonary Center for a Pulmonary Function Test. I couldn't have any inhaled medicine for 24 hours. prior to my test. They stuck me in a big plastic box.
This torture chamber is called a pulmonary plethysmograph. There is a speaker in the box so the technician can talk to me.
First they did some normal breathing tests. I had to put this thing in my month that look like a snorkel mouthpiece. I also had to put this thing on my nose to pinch my nostrils shut. The technician guy would say something like, "breathe normally...inhale...blow out as fast as you can! Keep going .. keep going ..5 more seconds, keep going........done! By this time I am blue! This is not too bad and is called a spirometry test. After I did this test about eight times it got a little old.
The fun started.
The jolly technician say, "Now we are going to see how strong your lungs are. Just breath normally into the tube." I start to breath and I sound like Darth Vader. "Ok, breath all the way out. Keep going...keep going.... 5 more minutes....keep going..." I now have no air in my lungs. Then the tech says. "Keep you mouth on the tube......INHALE AS HARD AS YOU CAN! I suck on the tube and there is no air. The tech had closed some valve, "Keep sucking...keep sucking!" The stupid rubber tube is starting to collapse. My eyeballs are being sucked into my brain! This really hurts! About the time I nearly pass out, some valve pops open and air rushes into my abused lungs! "Ahhhhhh". The evil tech says, "Ok, let's do that again!" I am sarcastic, "Ok, its your turn now!"
I have to go through the oxygen deprivation drill three times. Each time I do this "no air" inhalation test I am sure my lungs are going implode! I feel like I have been kicked in the chest by a mule.
Then I have to do just the opposite drill. The tech tells me to breath normally into the tube. Then he says, "Inhale ..... hold it ... now blow!" The stupid valve is shut and I cannot exhale! My eyeballs bulge out and veins pop out on my head. My abused lugs are ready to explode. Finally the stupid valve opens and my lungs empty. I do this same test over and over.
Then I get out of the chamber for the next test. I have to breathe out of a gas bottle and hold my breath. This test is to test how well my lungs absorb oxygen. The tech tells me, "Breathe in and hold your breath ... hold ...hold....." I guess holding my breath would be fine if this bottle contained oxygen! FInally after an eternity, the tech says, "empty your lungs".
Then they put me on a nebulizer. After I was done with the nebulizer, they started the whole testing process again.
Part 4: Results, Sort-of
Oh goody, I have two more rounds of testing to go through before I meet with the doctor again. But I asked the tech, "How did I do?" He said, "Your lung capacity is 160% of normal for a man of your height." He continued, "Your oxygen absorption is 120% of normal. Your lung strength index is 251." I ask, "What is normal?" He says, "mumble, mumble 59". I didn't hear him very well. So I ask "So I am 8 points below normal?" He says, "No, you are 400% of normal. This is one of the highest I have ever seen."
I am skeptical, "Ok, great! Do you see anything that is wrong." He says, "I am not a doctor. But you have a low initial rate of emptying and filling your lungs. You have obstructed breathing." He grabs a printout. He points to the spirometry results, "This line should be steeper. This profile is typical of asthma."
I got two more terrible tests to go. I suppose I can ride my bike slower and do run/walk instead of run/run.
Thanks for reading my blog.