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It’s taken a few months, but I’ve finally found a couple paths to ride with my road bike. As I’ve spent a good bit of 2016 running, I’ve realized the cycling is really more my style. It’s just tough to pound that payment. Thankfully my bike is still in pretty good shape and it’s felt great to ride again.
From the house, I managed to map out a trail that takes me through a couple large neighborhoods onto a road that has a lower speed limit and a large percentage of motorist that seem to be okay with a cyclist on their roads. It’s roughly a 20 mile trail over to Champion Forest road and up to 99 (toll road). I do have to keep an eye on traffic and there are several large intersections that take a while to cross. The starting and stopping can be tricky when you’re clipped into the pedals. Regardless, I can ride from the house and that makes things more simple.
The second path that I’ve found to ride starts for me at Pundt Park. This is a county park that leads in one direction about 3 miles to Dennis Johnston Park and the other way about 8 miles towards Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center. If I ride both directions then I’m able to get ~ 21-22 mile ride. Below is an overview of the path.
The trail itself is an approximately 8-10 feet wide asphalt path that winds through the woods along Spring Creek. Most of it is in great shape with a few sections that have some small buckles and other areas that have been freshly repaved. The flood earlier in the year covered a couple miles of the trail and you can see where the county pushed the sand to the sides forming a boundary of sand in those areas. It’s a winding path that is also frequented by runners, walkers and other cyclist though I haven’t had any troubles navigating there.
The woods are primarily pine trees with a sprinkling of hard wood which is very similar to the area in which I spent my childhood. Riding through the park really does bring me back to my younger years spent out in the woods next to my childhood home. Although those weren’t always fond memories, it provides a fresh perspective on the routine of work and family that I enjoy now.
So far I’ve been able to ride once a week. Throw in a run in between and that sums up my exercise routine. It’s light weight for sure and only a shadow of my prior routine. It does match up with my expectations though (see earlier post). I can definitely feel a difference in my endurance as a result. After about an hour, I’ve lost my edge somewhat. At times I’ve been able to hit the 25-30 mph range, but generally it’s around 18-19 mph. As the weather cools perhaps I’ll spend more time exercising and get my mileage up to 50-60 miles per week. We’ll see.
This past weekend while we were in New Orleans, we had an unplanned visit to the ER. I’m not sure you would plan it unless it was part of a field trip or something, but anyway. Emma’s knee cap was dislocated when her cousin crawled over her while she was watching TV in Paw’s room. I thought that it was the knee itself, but apparently not.
I was a pretty big mess as Connie can’t handle the sight of a dislocation (or break) and apparently I have an issue with trauma as I had a vasovagal syncope (i.e. passed out) for a few minutes. Emma was freaking out over the whole matter as well. Thankfully we made it to the ER and a little morphine in Emma’s arm (IV) made everyone feel better. The doctor did a great job of taking care of things and we were headed home with crutches and an immobilized leg (Emma’s leg, not mine or Connie’s).
Back in Houston, Connie brought her to an orthopedic doctor who gave her a clean bill of health with the stipulation that she take it easy on that knee and realize it might do this again. All said and done, it was a bit of overkill on Saturday. At the time though, we really wanted to be safe rather than sorry and the “freak-out” meter was pegged. Overall, I’ll take it.
This year end up being my biggest one yet for cycling and running. I surpassed my previous years and hit some milestones along the way. Let’s take a look at the stats.
Hayden has had braces on his teeth since the start of the year. He’s done fantastic with them (even though they can be painful and aggravating as anyone who has had them knows). Hopefully he will get those off in the next 3 to 6 months. On Friday, he was fitted with a different kind of brace. This one is going to be with him much longer and addresses a curvature in his spine that has developed in the past few months.
We first noticed something earlier in the year and had a consult with an orthopedist. A follow-up visit confirmed that he had scoliosis and would need a brace to keep the situation from getting worse. It is amazing (in a negative way) how fast the changes can occur and we worked as quickly as possible to get the brace ordered. The brace must be fitted specifically for the person that will wear it (no generic sizing) and ended up being pretty expensive (just a few dollars less than our annual deductible). Unfortunately, it’s also very painful for Hayden to wear and there’s not any other good option other than to wear it.
In the image above, you can see a little of the build-up (it’s not soft) on the upper right side. There’s also a similar build-up on the lower left side. These work in concert to keep the spine from bending in those directions and forcing it to grow vertically. They also dig into Hayden’s side and cause him a lot of pain. Between the heat and the pain, it’s probably not going to be pleasant for him for the next four or so years. His attitude has been great and I really appreciate how he has been very mature about this. We love Hayden and hate to see him in this much discomfort, but given the alternatives we’ll just have to work through this.