South Salem Cycleworks, 4071 Liberty Road South
Salem, OR 97302-5752
(503) 399-9848
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM; Closed Sunday

June 15, 2017 (updated November 19): I'm off the bike for now, or "The Summer (and Fall) I Didn’t Work in a Bike Shop!"

Shop owner Michael Wolfe was diagnosed with a recurrence of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June. On this page He has been chronicling both his treatment and his life on the bike and in the shop.
Posts on this page: Original June 15 post explaining Michael Wolfe's diagnosis and initial treatment for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Plus: November 19 update|November 17 update|November 13 update|October 24 update|October 12 update

Earlier update posts (on another page): June 19, June 20, June 25, June 30, July 21, August 19, September 17 updates


November 19 update: Last Saturday looked to be the opening in the weather for a ride. I agreed to meet Tom at the shop at nine, hoping to ride the Calfee again. It rained that night and the pavement was still wet, so I had to disengage my Farewell Mondonico with fenders once more. I’ll be glad when I get fenders back on the Mondonico that was designed to be my rain rider.

By the time I got the bike ready to go, Tom came through the door, and quickly assessed that I wasn’t dressed to go yet. I glanced at the clock, surprised to find it was nine already, and Tom left with the words “I’m going to the bank!”, or at least that’s what I heard. I hurriedly got dressed and wheeled my bike and accessories out the front door, locking it behind me. After 20 minutes, I texted Tom inquiring as to whether he’d held up the bank! I kept thinking he’d show up any time, but when Nate showed up to open the shop, I still hadn’t heard anything from Tom. When I called him, he informed me that he’d instructed me to call him when I was ready, and that it was now too late to go for a ride.

Knowing that this was the break in the weather, I elected to ride by myself and go rescue the mudflap girl. We’d spotted the the jettisoned mudflap weeks earlier out on Ankeny Hill, but it was much too cumbersome to ride with, and I’d simply turned it over and flipped it to the far side of the ditch. I selected a pair of vise grips to remove the art from the mudflap and decided to ride out Skyline, and test myself on those bumps. I did okay, far better than that death ride I did in September. But I still approached the bumps with trepidation, thinking I’d run out of gas and have to stop or fall over. Descending on the Mondonico was more exhilarating than on the Ira Ryan, though the disc brakes on the Ryan certainly give more confidence! The ride alongside the slough on Riverside was quiet, less traffic than the last few times, and I could tell there were fewer leaves on the vineyards as I passed.

Mondonico bike

Farewell Mondonico with fenders

As I approached the site where I’d cached the mudflap, I watched earnestly for the dog at the top of the rise, wanting only to pick up the mudflap and find a more suitable place to separate the art from the flap. I must not have been breathing as hard, for the dog never appeared. I quickly grabbed the mudflap and started back down the hill. As I gathered speed, a gust of wind caused me to dangle the flap from one arm and steer with the other while the bike had lurched to one side with the gust! I found a wider spot to perform the work and used the flap as a knee pad. Facing east, I doubt anyone thought I was performing a religious exercise, though I motioned one driver onwards who wavered as he saw me. The other motorists, thankfully, sped on about their business! The flap had been run over, and the bolts securing the art to the flap were bent, which I had to straighten so as to free the nuts. I was hoping for a simple rescue, with little exposure to passing motorists, but that’s what adventure is about, the unforseen!

Mudflap

The precious mudflap

Wrench on mudflap

It's good to have the right tool for the job

Once removed, I didn’t see room in my seatbag to stuff it, so into my jersey pocket it went. But as I rode along, paranoia set in, and the thought of a crash sending the bolts into my back side led me to stop after turning onto Lake Drive with their new landscaping, and find a means of fitting it in my seatbag. I was relieved once I’d accomplished that. I wasn’t fast going up Lake Drive, but I wasn’t worn out when I reached Liberty Road, and continued on up the hill. I won’t say I wasn’t tired when I reached the top, but I didn’t feel like I was exhausted. I rode the rest of the hills with a little effort, but never had to convince myself that it was only a little further, and continued feeling strong. When I reached the shop, the guys weren’t too impressed with the mudflap girl, and so it was back to diagnosing used wheels after having lunch. I took two Excedrin pills, and that seemed to alleviate the pain in my right hip.

We’d sold a Campagnolo C-Record rear derailleur to a gentleman in the UK, and we tried to do a direct wire transfer to my bank. Every time I checked my branch, however, there was no deposit. Towards the end of the week, I was transferred to the specialist at the main building, who said yes, they’d received a wire transfer, but the first name didn’t match the sender, and the beneficiary portion of the transfer hadn’t been filled out. If I hadn’t pursued it at that day, they would have sent it back! In the meantime, the customer had noticed the matching front derailleur and wished to purchase it as well, only thru PayPal. I mistakenly thought I had quit using a PayPal account (certainly had received plenty of notices regarding it being in danger of being hacked, used, etc., etc.!), but found that I mistook it for my eBay account, which had turned into a gambling without a credit limit at a casino for me, experience! I had simply ceased using eBay, as what I had thought was cool product, was not what my customers were looking for. Buying on eBay had only filled the store with non-sellable inventory!

So, I struggled getting a PayPal account set up, and was considerably relieved when that was accomplished, only to find that the box containing the C-Record front derailleur was missing! Nate & I spent 2-3 days turning the shop upside-down and backwards looking for that box, to no avail. I left for a ride on Saturday morning to take my mind off it, and when I returned, there was a C-Record front derailleur sitting on my bench! Nate had found the box buried in a box of tires, but as I pointed out, this derailleur was a braze-on, not a 28.6 clamp! And so the hunt was on again!

We’d found a Triumph/Valentino front derailleur from that era, but there is no shield on the clamp, nor is the the parallelogram as well structured. At this point, I was certain that the missing box had to be somewhere in the shop, but as Bill McGann reported, the items were photographed in April, about the time I was diagnosed with Lymphoma and began extended stays from home and the shop.

Nate had done some serious re-shuffling of inventory, making it easier to access, and we’d ruled out some locations as too recent/too old to dig through. We spent a lot of time staring at the walls, ceilings, shelves trying to re-create the return of the box and events following. I decided that the box had to be between the repair area and the curtain to the back of the shop, even to the point of looking in the plastic tub that holds the Schwinn Chameleon with the stuck seatpost. I spied a box beneath a box, which Nate insisted was there before April, but as I explained, it was a rock that we hadn’t overturned, and 15 minutes before closing, we found the missing box! Whew! Nate chastised me, saying that I needed to make sure I had a specific place for vintage parts, and that they returned there always! I thought about it for a few minutes, and then replied, “Nate, I knew that box was there, and I just wanted you to know every inch of this shop!” Stewart chimed in with “I don’t like it when momma and poppa fight!”

I asked Nate what kind of beer I should buy, as I wanted a reward for finding the box. He suggested Widmer’s Brrrr Hoppy Red, especially if I were to bring the rest of the 6-pack to him! I stopped at Roth’s on the way home, where they had a 12-pack on sale, and found that the case didn’t fit in my pannier! I wedged it in the opening, and pulled the straps tight, hoping I wouldn’t find a bump on the way home that would release it. I made it home, and I hope that there will be beer still for Thanksgiving!

November 19 post, Part Two:
My relaxing ride earlier that Saturday morning, was over in West Salem, going up Gibson, a steady incline, but long. I was pretty sure I could do it, and looked forward to its tranquil beauty. It follows a creekbed, with trees and verdant ferns on either side. It’s still farmland, though I did see a new development underway on Brush College beyond Doak’s Ferry.

I had a late start, as I wandered about the shop continuing to look for that missing box. It would have been a wonderful thing to have ridden without the periodic fixation on the missing box. I put a tail light on my seatbag, as there was still lingering fog, and I thought it might be thicker as I crossed the river. It seemed like everyone in South Salem was headed downtown that morning, and I missed the left turn to get onto Front street due to the herd of vehicles occupying the travel lanes. I made the left on Court Street instead, and was amazed at the number of homeless lining the streets of downtown, more so than I remember over the years. I crossed the river using the Center Steet bike/pedestrian corridor, careful not to spin my rear tire on the metal plates covering the junctures of the concrete.

The river was high beacuse of the recent rains, but there was a constant stream of people on the Union railroad bridge and Wallace Marine Park. I encountered no one crossing the bridge, with no one seeking shelter under the hairpin that leads to Musgrove Road and then Wallace Road. Of course, lots of traffic on Wallace, and lots of debris in the bike lane, with lots of fast food businesses shoveling cars in and out onto Wallace Road as well. I had my earflaps down on my new Louis Garneau cycling cap, but hardly noticed for the ceaseless noise of the traffic. An occasional jogger would appear on the sidewalk, and I was startled to find a car parked in the bike lane on a descent with someone leaning in the passenger window. Using my mirror, I quickly assessed the traffic flow, and eased out and around the parked car, grateful to be back in the bike lane as the traffic behind caught up.

The left turn lane to access Brush College must be one of the longest in the world! I always feel like I’m doing a time trial sprint to get to the intersection before I have a motorist sitting on my tail flashing his lights, or worse, honking and waving the international symbol! I usually run the light at Doak’s Ferry, but this morning there were too many cars, and I stuttered across the intersection in too high a gear, but continued to push it, standing up, past the elementary school, before sitting down and resuming a more reasonable cadence. I’m always surprised to find myself in the 39/26 combination as I approach the Gibson turnoff, hoping I’d have some momentum to aid me in getting up the little incline at the bottom of the gully on Gibson. As I struggled up that incline, I thought of the times I’d ridden my fixed gear up this ride, using a 42/21, or possibly even a 42/17! I hope I get to that level of fitness in the future, as I really do enjoy riding a fixed gear over terrain like this.

Gibson Road

Gibson Road

I stopped at the crest of the incline to take pictures of Patrick’s sheep, wondering where his dog who likes to chase me up the hill. He was on the other side of the fence, protecting his sheep. I didn’t need to stop, but I wanted to document this ride in case it became too difficult for me at some time in the future.

Sheep

I stopped to say hello to the sheep.

Gibson Llama

The llama certainly wants to keep an eye on me.

More Llamas

More grazing creatures

Spring is beautiful on Gibson, the green is so intense, but the fall colors are striking as well, and so I did periodically stop to take a picture of a waterfall, or just the road winding thru the trees and fog. I did take a picture of the sign warning drivers of the impending climb and slipperiness of a driveway, but neglected to take pictures of the new crosses that have appeared along the road. They’re not memorial crosses, as they seem to serve as entry guides or boundary markers, with what could be light fixtures mounted on the top.

Gibson Road

Warning noted.

Gibson Road

A beautiful Fall day on Gibson Road.

Gibson Road

Prettier still, if that's possible.

Gibson Road

And there's still some fall color.

Gibson Road

A little mist still hanging over a vineyard

Gibson road vinyard

The grapes have been harvested and the vines are going dormant for the winter.

Waterfall

A little waterfall

Just before reaching the intersection with Eagle Crest, I spied a tool along the edge of the road. Double-ended, with a 7/16 socket on one end and a 3/8 on the other end. Some kind of tiny insertion in the middle, but too frail to apply any pressure for turning either end of the tool. Puzzling, but I’d found it at the base of a phone post. Upon my return to the shop, Bentley discovered via the internet that it was indeed a phone tool, and the incision in the middle was for stripping wires! A useful tool for a phone worker, but no practical use in the bicycle world!

Eagle Crest

Eagle Crest

After descending the winding hill on Eagle Crest, I caught a glimpse of the contrasting colors of orange and green foliage in my mirror and had to stop to take a picture of that, not having noticed it in the past, perhaps being more intent on getting to Orchard Heights than the scene behind!

Eagle Crest foliage

Eagle Crest foliage

Eagle Crest foliage

Hard to beat being out in the country on a bike

Eagle Crest horses

Still a little mist in the air as I pass grazing horses

I stopped again when I reached Orchard Heights, knowing that the climbing was pretty much over, and a pretty fast descent awaited me. The rock on top of the fence post had fallen off, but the horses were still there, and I took a picture of them while zipping up my jacket and closing my sleeves. The descent was exhilarating, and the driver of the truck waited for me to pass before he pulled out behind me. He nearly waited ’til I got to West Salem High School before safely passing me, and I waved a thank you as he did.

I did the turn onto Doak’s Ferry, and again was amazed to find myself in my lowest gear almost immediately, even having caught a green light and carrying some momentum through the turn! The descent to the intersection at Glen Creek is pretty fast, but the bike lanes can be treacherous with leaves and branches, and I ran the light at the intersection turning left on to Glen Creek, after assessing the traffic, and remembered the last time I’d ridden my rain Mondonico thru this, where climbing up the slight ascent here, I’d caught a branch in my rear fender and shattered it. I’d seen the branch, but the rush of traffic prevented me from leaving the bike lane. It had been a resounding “POP!”, and I’d stopped to pick up the custom painted pieces, only to realize, that like Humpty Dumpty, there was no putting this fender back again! And like that time, the lane was filled with branches, but with not traffic, so I was able to avoid them. I followed the water flow thru the mounds of leaves on that uphill, but worried about descending to Wallace Road at speed with the lane being filled with leaves. I shifted onto the big ring, and held my line, with a few impatient drivers hustling past me, but for the most part giving me lots of room.

I actually made a green light at Wallace Road, and rode on into the park, where I encountered lots of joggers, walkers – some with their dogs, and some sports events. I wound up the walkway to the Union bridge and crossed over following some homeless with their sleeping bags draped over their shoulders, and when I looked back in my mirror, the woman was wearing a Halloween skeleton mask! How to surreptitiously take a picture of that, I wondered? I turned and road thru the Riverfront Park, and was surprised to find myself in front of the new ice skating rink! A big tent, with lots of rental signs announcing how it had come to be! There were plenty of folks skating away in there, and I momentarily wondered if Russ & Helene would find themselves there during a visit from Arizona. Russ had been a competitive roller skater at one time, before that business left Salem. I sold them matching Farewell Tour Mondonicos and built them with grey Centaur components on blue frames with champagne accents, striking bikes!

Riverfront rink

The new skating rink

Not feeling pressed for time, I decided to pedal up Saginaw, rather than compete with the traffic on Commercial, and again caught a green light descending Rural, allowing my momentum to help make the right turn up Commercial. It was pretty uneventful, other than finding a pair of nearly-new landscape gloves in small, and I felt pretty good upon reaching the shop.


November 17 update: I’m still uncertain about my medical issues. While all the counts are lower than normal, the platelet count is advancing, though slowly. Just last week, while getting blood drawn and my dressing changed, I was informed that my neutrophils were very low. Two weeks prior I’d been at 7.0, and now was at .02. A high risk of infection, and to watch carefully for fevers or chills. The last time prompted a week-long stay in Salem Hospital! No explanation at all as to what caused the plummet, just the everlasting effects of chemo!

I keep riding, building myself for a sustained existence in a bed, and no, exercise is not a detriment nor cause of my counts being low. I’m warned not to crash, as I could bleed out easily!

I rode last Saturday morning with Nate, but got a late start. We left Liberty Road to veer thru Creekside golf development, and I pointed out where Stu Coffey used to live before fleeing to California to avoid the gray Oregon winters. As we turned on to Sunnyside and began the climb to Delaney, I told Nate to leave me and make sure he got back to the shop in time to open up. He disappeared up the hill, and when I reached Delaney, I couldn’t tell whether he’d continued on or turned up Delaney. I rode my "Farewell Mondonico" bike with fenders, and elected to ride Ridge Drive, as I was feeling good. The corners with wet leaves and abrupt changes in pitch keeps one alert and constantly shifting.

I lurched up the last bit of hill after making the first turn, and remembered Di falling over after she’d run out of momentum. I also remembered the rider who failed to brake enough entering the first corner and slid over after hitting the gravel! Neither were hurt, outside of dignity! Catching the summit of Ridge allows you to gather speed and make it up the next bump, and once you’re over it, a fast descent before the short climb that T-bones you into Parrish Gap. I was climbing this short climb when I heard the cacophony of geese on Parrish Gap. As loud as anything I’d heard down in Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, I was puzzled as to why such a congregation should be here. I turned right to take in a sea of geese, elbow to elbow, strutting thru a farmer’s freshly plowed cornfield! Insects, grain, or worms, they were noisily enjoying their repast!

PArish Gap Geese

Parrish Gap geese. Lots of them!

Parrish Gap Geese

Lots of good food to find in the ground there.

Parrish Gap Geese

Working hard on lunch

I turned around and made the left turn to continue on Parrish Gap, and was astonished at the amount of traffic I encountered. Not farm vehicles, mostly SUVs! Landed gentry? The closest I could identify as a farm vehicle was a noisy, big-tired, four-wheel-drive pickup. It passed closely and repeatedly gunned the engine, with the passenger in the middle turning to observe my reaction. I tried not to appear startled, wanting to discourage future actions of this nature, but it was close, and the engine was loud.

Reaching Delaney, I turned down and crossed the bridge where I’d slid sideways one winter day, and where my manager, Kent Cacak, immediately followed suit in attempting to come to my rescue. Again, neither of us were hurt, but we got off that iced bridge in a hurry! I made the left on Battlecreek, and was pleased at the reduction in traffic, which I’d anticipated with Delaney having the access to I-5 at the top of the hill. My legs held up on the short bumps of Battlecreek, but I was wondering how Landau would feel.

Landau is a narrow road with a fairly steep pitch to the top of the hill. The road is broken on the shoulder, and I try and ride near the centerline where it is smooth, to continue momentum, but that’s only possible when no cars are coming from behind. The large, convex mirror at the side of the road at the top allows the driver leaving the house there a view of oncoming cars. It also provides an easy means of getting pictures of large groups or riders and their bikes! Coming down the west side, your speed will allow you to bunnyhop the first two speed bumps, but you’ll just roll over the third. The speed bumps were installed because so many teen drivers were hotrodding their cars over the crest of the hill to get air, and failing to maintain control when they landed.

I returned to the shop about an hour after Nate opened, but he’d elected to go down Delaney and make a loop of it before returning to the shop!

By Monday, the pavement had dried out enough, that I felt confident enough to take the finished Calfee out with Tom. I used the polymer shifter cables that are 75% lighter than steel versions, even though they have a shelf life of two years, and I’d purchased them in 2005! I did put a steel shifter cable and multi-tool in my seatbag, however! This started out as a bet from Nate that I wouldn’t finish the bike before March 20th, the last day of winter, and that the bike would allow me to keep up with Tom — for 15 pints of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream!

I’d seen a prototype at the 2000 Interbike, and convinced that the shop needed a carbon presence, had placed the first order for one like the prototype, along with the other mandatory dealer agreement framesets. The Dragonfly Pro was half a pound lighter than their Tetra Pro, and to save further weight, I didn’t have it painted. The decals have suffered, as a result, even though it’s been window dressing for so many years.

I’d carefully selected components in preparation for building it, weight being the ultimate consideration. Cane Creek single-pivot side pull brakes, Easton EC90 carbon bars, ITM magnesium stem, USE Alien carbon seatpost and saddle, Stronglight Propulsion carbon cranks with a FSA titanium bottom bracket, Connex titanium chain, Record 10s ergo shifters, derailleurs, cassette, headset, and water bottle cages, Mavic’s Ksyrium wheels, Torelli open tubular tires, Michelin innertubes, Time’s carbon/Ti I-Clic pedals.

The outbreak of the war in Kuwait postponed the arrival of my frame for three years, as allegedly the tubes necessary for my size frame was needed for landing struts for military aircraft. By that time I was thoroughly in love with my 20th Anniversario Torelli made with Columbus Foco tubes. I’d also heard that a rep in the Seattle area had owned both the Tetra Pro and the Dragonfly Pro, and while the Dragonfly was a half-pound lighter, it was also stiffer. Having been disappointed in the ride of the Bianchi MegaTi, I had some doubts of the ride quality of the Dragonfly, and put aside any thoughts of completing it, while enjoying the sweetness of the 20th Anniversario Torelli.

We again drove out to Independence and rode back across the bridge. The I-Clic pedals were a breeze to engage or get out of, and I was surprised at the smoothness of the ride. I’d anticipated terrible vibrations of this carbon frame coupled with Ksyrium wheels, but perhaps the open tubular tires negated part of that white noise. I did hit a couple of stretches where the water bottle wanted to dance in its cage, but overall I was impressed. I wonder how the frame would ride with a traditional, hand-built wheelset, and when I get the 2000-2006 silver Record hubs with Campy’s Cult ceramic bearings built to the Open Pro’s, I’ll know.

As we approached the railroad underpass, I tried to stay on Tom’s wheel, but he pulled away on the incline, though not as much as in the past. And riding around the bend on the slight incline that leads to where Bunker Hill intersects Riverside, I was able to keep on his wheel. Descending from Ankeny Vineyards, I led thru the turn out on the flat and was surprised to see Mark Hall riding the other way. I hope he didn’t see my leading on a carbon bike as an endorsement on my part, or that it made a difference in my ability to go faster!

Michael Wolfe

A day on the Calfee. Taking a momentary stop

We again climbed up Liberty to Lake Drive, and again, Tom dropped me, despite my efforts at keeping up with him. I did enjoy the 26-tooth cog, as the last two times the bikes had 23t cogs for a low gear. I felt good, and convinced Tom to take Oak Drive with a little more climbing and a terrific descent.

I let Tom lead, as I wasn’t confident in the Dragonfly’s handling yet. We rode east on Ankeny Hill before heading south on Wintel again, and rode the longer loop into Talbot and finally the Buena Vista ferry. Claudia was definitely closed, we discovered after crossing, and I hadn’t stuck an energy bar in my seatbag. So I followed Tom as normal, just sucking away on his wheel to Independence.

Michael on the ferry

On the ferry with the Calfee

Buena Vista Hourse

At the Buena Vista House. They're closed.....

After returning to the shop, I weighed the bike, which was a touch over 16lbs, including the pedals. That’s about 4lbs less than my 20th Torelli. But I still don’t feel it rides as nice as the Torelli, though I am looking forward to trying it with a pair of traditional wheels.


November 13 update: Still doing nothing but blood counts and Pic-line dressing changes. Tomorrow, Santolli, the Skyline KP oncologist, may have some news for me, having used me as a case study on Tuesday’s Tumor Board meeting.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Tom and I planned to ride both sides of the river again, only backwards starting in Independence. I’d tried on my old Sidi Revolution shoes to see if my feet still fit earlier in the day, and to my surprise, they still did! So, I decided to ride my old Cannondale R1000 with the Mavic equipment, outside of the Campy ergo shifters and rear derailleur, but when I pulled it down, I found a note I’d written to remind myself to re-lube the headset. The steering is stiff, and as you ride, it would get stiffer. I attributed it to using the wrong grease, causing the seals to expand, and as they warmed up from riding, expand further yet. It turned out to be a bigger job than I remembered, as the quill stem couldn’t be removed without releasing some of the cables. I remember attempting to use loose balls in the headset, but it uses 1/8” bearings in very small races. The nylon retainers work better in this case, but seemed pretty difficult to remove from the lower cup. I’d agreed to go out for a dinner engagement, so time became critical, and I couldn’t finish the job. I packed my riding gear into a bag and put it in the car so that I could ride my 70th Anniversary Mondonico, which sits at home waiting for sunny days.

We had dinner at the Olive Garden, where I accidentally had an 18oz glass of beer. I ordered what the others were having, only in a 12oz. The waitress returned later to inform us that they were completely out of that beer, and in the substitution, I ended up with an 18oz, the most beer I’ve drunk in one sitting in easily six months! It was consumed over dinner and conversation, so I didn’t really feel any effect until we were on our way home, where I almost fell asleep before we got to the shop, where I’d be riding my bike home from.

Tom picked me up at 9am on Wednesday, and we decided to ride from Independence and go south on the east side of the river. Tom had forgotten his knee warmers, so off we went to his house, and that’s how we drove out River Road South. It got pretty foggy, and I wished I had a taillight on my bike. We both agreed that the fog would lift, but I was wiping it off my glasses frequently as we rode back over the bridge and made the turn down Riverside. The 70th felt really good underneath me, and I was eager to test myself on the hill just past the railroad overpass. Tom was insisting that he follow me as he did have an emergency taillight on his bike, not bright, but something! When we hit the overpass, I told Tom to go ahead and I’d catch him at the top. But when he stood out of the saddle, his chain skipped and then like a snake, began to slide out of his derailleur! Tom was surprisingly adept, and managed to get both feet out of his pedals, and not fall over! This isn’t what Lance referred to as “chain-less drive”! I couldn’t stop, but pulled into the next driveway and waited for him. The chain had come apart at a link, and the masterlink was still intact. I had no tools to fix this, but remembered using two rocks decades ago to fix a friend’s chain. The house beyond the driveway looked vacant, and I do remember their moving out last year, so there was no help to be offered, or tools to be used there.

Michael Wolfe

On the Mondonico 70th, stopping for a moment at the water tower

Tom was all set to begin walking, and I was surprised because the last time he broke a chain, it had been the masterlink coming apart (which we never found, but now carries a spare!), and I’d towed him by looping our spare tubes together and towing him. Which is what we did, after he glided back down the hill. I let him walk his bike to the top of the bridge, however, but he coasted down to the car from there. I tried to encourage him to go back to the shop, fix the bike, and resume our ride, but he felt it was too late in the day already, and he had things to do. So, we agreed to ride Thursday morning, which was supposed to be a better day.

The next morning was a surprise! The streets were wet! Very wet, and a cloud cover hovered over us as well. Tom and I decided to put it off an hour and see if it would dry up some. It didn’t, so I packed up everything and rode the Stump down to the shop to get a fendered bike. I really didn’t want to ride the Ira Ryan, after enjoying the 70th, so I chose to air the tires on my Farewell Tour Mondonico, which has the Campy horizontal dropouts with eyelets that I sent to Italy, since Italy has no steel dropouts with eyelets anymore! It’s a Columbus Foco tubeset, and I really didn’t build it as a rain bike, mostly an elevation gain bike that I could ride on special rides regardless of the weather. Hate to get it dirty, that kind of ride I leave to the Ira Ryan.

Tom had gotten his Gran Sasso out with fenders as well, but as we neared the river, the road began drying out and the fog was nowhere to be seen. My heavier jacket was not necessary, nor were the fenders! Tom climbed the hill beyond the railroad overpass without trouble, leaving me behind, but I was able to climb it without much difficulty, though the thought of turning left up Skyline was nowhere in the recesses of my brain! We did take the furthest loop east at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, and stopped on the last incline of Ankeny Hill Road because a truck had lost it’s mudflap, complete with the reclining woman weight, but it was securely bolted to the remains of the mudflap.

Tom brought out the German Shepherd from the house near the top, and I was concerned that it would find me, a slower cyclist, even more enticing. But my slower pace left the dog bored and only after returning to his porch, did he notice me. He this time ran across the yard, which had a fence to prevent him from fastening his teeth in my ankle! After turning north on Talbot Road, I felt the headwind and began sucking Tom’s wheel, and happily at that! We stopped just prior to reaching Buena Vista Road for a pee break, and I remarked that the last few miles reminded me of riding centuries with John Pink, and always feeling fresh leaving the start wishing he would pedal faster, but hanging onto his wheel the last 20 miles, hoping I could stay there! Tom said he’d never ridden as fast as John Pink, so there’s my assessment of riding fitness at the moment!

Michael Wolfe

Stopping by a sheep pasture

I’d remarked on the number of flat snakes earlier in the ride, and after leaving the ferry, I spotted a live little wiggler as I climbed the river’s embankment. Shouldn’t the snakes begin looking for hibernating places by now, I wondered? We stopped at the B&B once more, but it was closed, and so we sat outside while I once again enjoyed a long-expired energy bar, but was interrupted when Claudia appeared. She didn’t have anything to offer, but swapped stories of restaurants in Albany while I finished my still edible bar!

Claudia and Michael

Chatting with Claudia

When we left, the wind was still in our face, and the west side of the river offers little protection, so I watched Tom’s blue Tacx pulley wheels spin the rest of the way into Independence! Well, almost, as I pulled downwind of him when the road turned and the headwind became a crosswind!

We rode again on Saturday, which was actually warmer, and I took my 70th again. I thought we’d wait ’til Sunday, but with everyone’s permission, decided to not risk losing a sunny day! We parked at the foot of Liberty Road hill, and rode north on the east side of the river. With any ascent, Tom easily pulled away from me, though I was thoroughly enjoying the ride of the ELOS 70th! Even the Independence Bridge was steep enough for me to lose sight of Tom, despite my efforts and preparation as we began. I was disappointed in that the wind from the north was not apparent, compared to days prior, but riding the ultra-smooth pavement of Wells Landing is always exhilarating!

Wells Landing

There be dragons at Wells Landing.

Wells Landing

Actually, dragons and beautiful, hand-made Italian bikes

We’d called ahead, and Claudia let us into the B&B for a brunch, which was a “not quite quiche” with peppers, scallions and goat cheese. We shared a blueberry muffin afterwards before continuing on our way.

Mondonico 70th

Nice bikes at a nice place

Sign, B & B

Finding Claudia...

We again turned right onto Talbot Road after crossing the ferry, but headed north when we reached Talbot, where we encountered two pickups parked in the roadway, the owners leaning out of the driver’s door having a conversation. They didn’t appear to be in any hurry, so we carefully skirted the remaining foot of pavement and then crossed the railroad tracks at the right angle. We followed Wintel up to Ankeny Hill, and buzzed down the descent before climbing the rollers that followed. I did convince Tom to take Lake Drive and then slip down Liberty Road hill to return to the car. The climb was taxing, and I wished I had a lower gear, but the legs prevailed and I made it.

Talbot Maple

A Maple tree on Talbot

The ride was so good that I felt like going Sunday as well, but Tom & Brad had other plans. Nate decided to go, if we could return by one o’clock. I said I’d meet him at the shop at 9, and we’d do the MaCleay loop out to Waldo Hills and back thru Aumsville and Turner. The streets were really wet the next morning, when it became light enough to see, but I hoped it would burn off, after such a glorious day yesterday. By the time I got to the shop, it didn’t show any signs of drying up, so I put on arm warmers under my long sleeve wool jersey and chose a heavier jacket. And pulled the Farewell Mondonico with fenders out of the jumble in the shop once more. Nate showed up on his carbon Bianchi, a cap under his newly acquired helmet, wearing arm & knee warmers, but only a synthetic short sleeve jersey. I offered a jacket, but he didn’t think it would be necessary — besides, it was going to burn off soon, or so we believed! I was happy to leave with not only knee warmers, but also toe warmers, and on a fendered bike!

I encouraged Nate to ride ahead to keep warm, but he didn’t seem to mind the mist at all. It was only after we were climbing MaCleay, that I told him to ride ahead and take the road to the left, Dunsmere, to make a loop so he could ride back and find me. I hadn’t reached the intersection of the two roads at the top, when he came whizzing down. I motioned him to do it again, and he did. I rode to the top of the climb, and pulled out onto a driveway to await him. I kept looking back down the hill, and finally decided that he must have tested out his new helmet after finding a slick pile of leaves in the road. But, no, he thought I was further down the hill when he completed his second loop, so he decided to ride a third loop! He got a good workout and warmed up some, I’m sure.

Nate hadn’t ridden this route, so I regaled him with tales of the time I jumped the Stump over the railroad tracks and broke my driveside dropout, pointed out the inn, the buckboard on the porch under the eaves of a house, and the cute pond just beyond, with fake frogs, ducks and other critters. Turning on Deschutes, I asked Nate how many pavers it took to get to the house beyond the two ponds — there’s a few of them! The donkeys must be hibernating or sheltering in a nice dry stall somewhere, as we didn’t see them. After reaching the end of Edmunsen, the contrast between the new “California” style residence, and the old farmhouse with gingerbread, leaves one with a feeling of senseless change. It’s out in the country, on a fairly desolate road — why build a house that looks like it belongs in a gated community? I’m sure it’s someone’s apple of their eye, and I hope I haven’t offended anyone, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There were cattle to the left as you began the dip into the woods, but no longhorns were apparent. We appreciated the color of the leaves as the road wound thru the wooded area, but we exited into the filbert orchards before coming to the Century Farm, with the usual horse and llama off to the left. Somewhere in the filbert orchards, the mist began to drizzle, or maybe it was just an extremely heavy mist, but we told ourselves it would burn off. I was less than happy even with my jacket and fenders, and didn’t envy Nate riding his light carbon Bianchi in his short sleeve jersey!

I told Nate to watch for buffalo, or bison for those politically-oriented correct, in the ravine as we approached Waldo Hills. They weren’t there, but after making the sharp turn up the hill, we could see them off in the middle of the pasture. And as we reached the top, a big hairy one was hanging out by the road. A branch seemed to outline his frame, and he was using it to scratch his back, and, uh, rump! This was as close as I could remember seeing one here, and Nate and I took turns taking pictures of ourselves in front of him, of course, with the fence between us! Just as we were getting ready to leave, he decided to amble off down the hill, and in doing so, we got an eyeful of his backside relieving himself! It was certainly not the cowpie rendering!

Michael Wolfe

Michael with a big guy

Nate & Bison

Nate enjoying the moment

We’d barely got started, when I remembered to ask Nate if he knew what all the CO2 cartridges were from. He made some remark about “huffing”, and then seriously suggested that some places used them to aerate the ground. There must be at least two hundred of them lining the road, and there are big, open fields on either side. Pellet guns, perhaps? In looking at them, Nate spotted an unopened Busch Lite beer can! He waived me on, while he stopped to get it, and I sped on down the hill to Silver Falls highway. After stopping for the buffalo, and the can of beer, the descent for Nate was a nippy one! We made the turn to head into Aumsville, and the old truck that had been used as a flower pot was gone! It had been replaced with most of the body of an older car, complete with bullet holes in the trunk lid!

We rode into Turner following Mill Creek road, where I turned off to ride Wipper road to ride up Cloverdale and Sunnyside. Nate took the shorter, and steeper, route of Delaney to Sunnyside. I bet he was happy to get some hillwork in to warm up, and the mist was still soaking everything. It seemed like an endless parade of cars on both Cloverdale and Sunnyside, and I was certainly struggling when I was near the top of Sunnyside — embarrassed with every passing car! While most of them probably would have looked just as pathetic, if they’d elected to ride a bike up the slope, I felt I should make it look like it was an easy task, but couldn’t!

I was happy to get to the shop, where I found a text from Nate, and a picture of his beer and pizza! I had to settle for hot mocha and warm apple pie!

On Wednesday, Tom and I drove to Independence, where I rode my old Cannondale R2000, yellow with Mavic components, other than the first generation Campy Record ergo shifters and the Sachs New Success rear derailleur I had to install. The Sachs 8s freewheel was incredibly quiet when coasting, though the bike itself would frequently rattle my bottle in its cage! We rode south on the east side of the river, and I made it up beyond the railroad underpass with the 39/23 combination, struggling and watching Tom roll away on his Gran Sasso! I was watching the steering as we rode, as I’d had problems with the headset seizing up in the past. I’d attributed it using the wrong grease and causing the seals to swell. I’d put a note on the stem last time I rode it to overhaul the headset before riding. It was a bit of work, disconnecting cables to remove the fork, and it looked like the grease I’d used prior was the same as I was going to use this time. I noticed immediately when I re-inserted the fork that the steering was stiff, and upon closer inspection, the base of the steerer tube appeared to have a gray film on it. The lower cup was to tight a tolerance and was rubbing against the steerer tube! I honed out the cup and re-inserted the fork, which now turned nicely! Now, how many times had I overhauled the headset in the nearly 30 years I’ve owned that bike and missed that! The bike did appear to have some stiction still when out of the saddle, but I attributed that to the 14cm stem I used to compensate for Cannondale’s ultra-short (and stiff) top tube.

I suggested we ride up Liberty Road hill and turn down Lake Drive this time, and at first, I thought maybe I’d goofed, but plodded on up the hill. Going down Lake Drive was unfamiliar, and I watched Tom wave out past the center line on one corner as we careened to the intersection with Ankeny Hill road.

The mudflap was still there on the edge of the ditch, and the dog was barking at Tom as he rode past again, but didn’t bother to leave his porch, until I came along, but thankfully ran thru the front yard to the fence instead of out the gate and chasing me! With the wind coming out of the southwest, we elected to take the longer route of taking Jorgenson road to Talbot road, where we enjoyed the tailwind, mild as it was, to the ferry. Claudia came out and visited us as I ate my expired energy bar, but she had to be somewhere soon, so we didn’t get coffee & tea to go with my decade old bar!

Following Tom

Following Tom...

Even with the tailwind, I was happy to be drafting Tom, watching his blue pulley wheels turn on his derailleur into Independence.


October 24 update: Sunday’s promise of 71 degrees turned out to be false, but not by much. I had checked over the Torelli Titanium with Mektronix wireless electric shifting the previous weekend, but the wet pavement prevented me from riding that bike. However, this Sunday I’d coerced Tom into taking us down to Ankeny again, and I took the Torelli Ti. After finally getting the yellow jacket out of the car, that flew in with the door open, we got underway. Tom really wanted to do both sides of the river, I could tell. So we rode the east side first which made the bumps a little less steep. The wind was coming out of the north, and once we descended onto the floodplain, it was evident. We’d seen a heron where we parked the car, and I stopped to try and get a picture of a white egret against a field of green, but he was too quick. Tom had continued on, and so it was only out of the corner of my eye that I saw the outstretched wings of the dead vulture by the roadside.

I tried to keep up with Tom as we ascended the Independence Bridge, but to no avail — well, maybe a little closer than last time, and resigned myself to viewing the flotilla of kayaks going downstream. The Torelli felt as if it didn’t exist beneath me, compared to riding the Ira the previous weekend. There is a five-pound difference, what with fenders and disc brakes. Wells Landing was as smooth as ever, and the little shed at the south end will have a skylight in it. Looks like some wiring is going into it as well. I thought maybe it was going to be a bus stop, or a dog house, but maybe a pump house. Not the size you’d spend much time in. Perhaps one of these rides we’ll ask!

We stopped at the old farmhouse near the intersection Buena Vista road to take pictures, as eventually these uninhabited structures are burned to the ground by vandals. The upper windows appeared to be double-paned, surrounded by the gingerbread woodwork. I got close enough to see the wall paper inside, and the furniture that was still there. I doubt there’s an unbroken window in the structure, and the east side is overrun with blackberry vines. Claudia at the Buena Vista B&B might provide some insights, if we were to inquire.

Old Farm house

At the old farm house with all its windows broken

d farm house

Another shot of what had once been someone's beautiful home.

The fence of shoes hasn’t seen any growth, at least to my eye as we pedaled past. But I had to stop and take a picture of the cows chewing their cud as we turned onto Sequoia Street, leading to the B&B. All was peaceful in Buena Vista, but the B&B was closed. I could hear someone working on the guesthouse that would become Claudia’s residence once she’s found a buyer for the B&B.

Cows

We saw cows working hard as we turned on to Sequoia Street.

I was still feeling pretty good as we boarded the ferry. Tom asked the ferry captain if she was ever bored with the job. She said no, she had “imagination”, to which I said “Quick! Let’s avoid the Titanic!” pointing upstream at nothing. I think it fell on deaf ears, as neither Tom nor the captain betrayed any emotion. I found that I hadn’t shifted to my lowest gear when boarding the ferry, so it took be a while to follow Tom up the ramp.

Michael Wolfe

I'm on the ferry and ready to ride.

The field of squash that we’d wondered would be harvested, was now a field of squashed squash! One of my customers who lives in Talbot had informed me that the squash and pumpkins were grown for the seed, and that the machines would leave the shells and meat in the fields. That explains why they were so small, and why they’d been left in the fields so long.

Squash field

A field of squashed squashes

I surprised Tom by turning off and following Talbot Road. He didn’t mind, and while I had hopes of mimicking Grace Panther’s selfie in front of a decrepit cornfield in France, they’d plowed under the cornfield along Talbot Road. Somewhere after we turned onto Wintel Road, a hawk soared into the roadway, his wings outstretched, and did a fast 180, with a bird in his beak. His wingspread seemed like it took up the entire width of the travel lane. But it was only a glimpse before he was gone.

Tom dropped me on the bumps of Ankeny Hill Road, but not as badly as the last time we rode them. I hope I can blame the difference on my chemo recovery and not the difference between the bikes we rode!

On Wednesday, I learned thru the New York Times that the FDA had approved T-Cell treatment for lymphoma, but only if the subject had gone thru two rounds of chemo unsuccessfully. I’ve now gone thru four rounds, and cannot sustain any further chemo for fear of kicking my bone marrow to the point it can no longer produce platelets. It is recovering, but is still at about half of what would be considered normal. Dr. Santolli, the Skyline oncologist, said on Thursday that it would take about a month for the arrangements to be made between KP & OHSU. And that’s prior to the selection of candidates. The chief oncologist at OHSU felt I would be on the short list for the program, but Santolli felt I’d have a better chance were I ten years younger. Hmmmmmm.

In the meantime, I took on a bet, though I cannot reveal the details of here. It involves 15 pints of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. I can only say that I’m going to finish building the Calfee Dragonfly Pro that had languished in the window for over a decade! I’ve got ’til March 20th to do so, along with a minor clause in the bet. Campy Record 10s cassettes are no longer made, though I could order an 11-25 from Italy. I bet that 11t would serve me well, at least for the three seconds a year I’d be pedaling down an extremely steep descent! I’ve got a 13-26 in stock, but hate to use it for myself on a bike I’ll rarely use, so I ordered one off the internet before they become no longer available! I discovered that I’d robbed the spring from the Ksyrium freehub on the Calfee yesterday — it freewheels forwards and backwards easily, and I hope I’ve got a replacement somewhere in the shop! I’ve got to get the rear cluster on the bike before installing the Connex titanium chain. The bike is all about build/stationary weight, not durability nor ride quality, and that has been my reluctance to build it. On the other hand, I could win 15 pints of Cherry Garcia!

I’d like to take my old Mavic/Campy-equipped yellow Cannondale out, but my feet have outgrown my Sidi shoes! Almost every bike I ride has Time Equipe pedals with the older 4-hole drilling, while the Mavic pedals use a traditional Look cleat requiring a 3-hole drilling. I’ll have to dig thru my collection of shoes and see if any are Look compatible and I don’t mind dedicating them to the Cannondale’s occasional ride!

Saturday night, after a dark & stormy day, while Trevor was bringing in the bikes he brought in one end of a security cable that had been cut. “Looks like someone stole a bike” he said. Only one, it turns out, a 19” Specialized Hardrock Sport, in a copper/red color. The serial number is P5I-E35504, and has a former owner’s name etched on the right crank arm. We have filed a police report, and installed cameras on the outside of the shop since. This was the first bike stolen from the outside cable-locked bikes in 25 years.


October 12 update: Low platelet production prohibited my going to Portland KP for further chemo. I made the most of the additional week to ride bikes down at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, with the aid of my friend Tom who transported our bikes down and back up Liberty Rd. hill on the back of his car. I rode my Torelli 20th Anniversario the first ride, and was a little anxious about getting up the embankment on the west side of the Buena Vista ferry landing, especially with clipless pedals.

auto Row

Just before the ferry, there is an interesting parking lot.

1952 Ford

This looks to be about a 1952 Ford. If it's got a V-8, properly tuned it can crank out 110 horsepower! The straight six of the era could put out about 100 hp. Times have changed. You can get a little Honda Civic Type R with a 300 horsepower engine.

I thought I had it in the lowest gear, a 26t cog, but when I parked it at the B&B, the chain was wrapped around the 23t cog. Nonetheless, when we made a second foray to the B&B on my Miyata ti with Mavic Zap, I was still anxious as a 23t was the low gear.

Miyata Ti

Giving the Miyata Ti a short rest.

Visiting the Buena Vista B&B in the middle of the week was unusual, but Travis and Kalah are doing an admirable job of filling in for Claudia. We did spend some time with Claudia, who’d returned from California to visit friends, and while she misses them, she didn’t miss living there!

After three weeks of not having sufficient platelets to undergo further chemo, they opted for a bone marrow biopsy on Wednesday morning. A little trepidation, but I was assured that lots of women with osteoporosis underwent this procedure. Well, I’ve been told that there’s nothing like childbirth to appreciate pain, so I was a little concerned about my ability to deal with this pain. And after the spinal tap of 5-6 weeks of follow up pain, I was even more nervous, especially when Angela suggested I take some anti-anxiety meds the morning of the procedure. She’d sat thru one comforting a friend, and didn’t let on as how alarmed she was!

It turned out that it while it was a lengthy process, it really was merely a discomfort more than pain. My porous pelvic bone might have lessened the threshold of pain, as the doc didn’t have any trouble pushing the needle into the bone. Finding landmarks on my bone-grafted hip sockets was another experience for her, however! The results would not be available for 7-10 days, with the options being that lymphoma had penetrated my bone marrow, that the chemo had kicked the heck out of my bone marrow, or it just needed more time to produce more platelets.

The morning after the biopsy was supposed to be one of the last sunny days before a week of a rain deluge! I elected to get another ride with Tom, this time on my Miyata Team with SunTour Superbe components. Downtube shifters, and the last cassette I could find at SunTour’s demise, was one that ended in a 21t. We met an older — hey! Who am I kidding! — couple at the ferry, with adventure bikes sporting low gears and disc brakes. He commented on how good my “old Miyata” looked. Yeah, it is a ’93 frameset!

Michael Wolfe

On the ferry with my Miyata

I was apprehensive about climbing the ascent off the ferry with the 21t, and rolled to the back of the ferry to get as much time to to get clipped in as possible. Tom took off first and pulled away from the couple, while I gave everyone plenty of room, in case I couldn’t climb, or worse unclip from my pedals. I caught the couple at the top of the incline, while Tom was already rolling into the B&B.

Tom on climb

Tom takes the lead.

We rode a longer loop after re-crossing the ferry than the previous two rides, and Tom thought I wasn’t breathing as hard as the prior rides. I hesitate to agree, but the ride felt good, even the short little spurts on Ankeny Hill.

Tom and B & B

At the B&B

The results of the bone marrow biopsy were revealed to me on the following Monday. No lymphoma in the bone marrow, but the chemo had permanently damaged the bone marrow in its ability to produce platelets. The oncologist suggested that now might be a good time to have my marrow replaced with that of a young 21-year-old female that OHSU said was a 99.99% match. I’m not sure that low platelet production rules out T-Cell, however. I did inquire as to whether the amount of bone they removed was enough to judge whether an artificial hip could replace my worn out one. No, but they could schedule a bone density procedure, similar to an X-ray, which measures how many photons pass thru the bone in a given amount of time. They checked, and I hadn’t had a bone density taken in the past. We’ll see what comes of that.

Thursday afternoon, I had a blood draw and a pic-line dressing change. The Skyline oncologist had agreed to cancel the 9 am meeting and include it with the 4:30 pm appointment. Turns out my bone marrow is recovering, but the platelets are still below the “safe” level, and the bone marrow won’t deteriorate into a condition that would allow leukemia to set in as well! He hadn’t had any feedback from OHSU as of yet, but was certain I could be infused with Rituxin to put the cancer at bay without further damaging the bone marrow. So, I’m still waiting for the FDA to make additional rulings on the T-Cell technology. The good/bad news, is that the Rituxin can be administered at the Skyline clinic, and I won’t be going back to Sunnyside for extended chemo treatments. I do wish I’d known that the last time I was up there was to be my last, as I’d liked to tell the staff there how much I appreciated their help and genuine concern. Not saying good-bye leaves an emptiness, but just going there in hopes of seeing all of them would be futile with the different rotating shifts that they do.

It was raining Saturday morning, or rather it had, and the pavement was wet. Forecast was a shower around 2, so hurried on down to the shop and readied the Ira Ryan with fenders for hopefully, only a wet pavement ride! I was looking forward to riding my Torelli Ti with Mavic wireless Mektronix shifting, but wasn’t willing to gamble on cleaning myself and the bike up afterwards. We drove down Vitae Springs and Orville to Independence Bridge, where we parked the car and rode back over the bridge to ride the west side of the river on Riverside Drive. The bump past the railroad overpass was intimidating, and I was glad I was riding the lower-geared Ira, but felt I would have made it on the Torelli Ti with a little effort. Tom was enjoying himself, probably just lollygagging, but I was pacing myself, and looked forward to our brunch at the B&B. We stopped at the pumpkin/squash field and I had Tom take a picture of me with my arms raised in front of the gourds, which had been gathered in rows. I wanted to mimic Grace Panther’s picture of herself in front of a decrepit cornfield somewhere in France that she sent me and return something with a little more color.

Grace France

Grace Panther in France

Grance picture

Another picture Grace sent of her European trip. Lovely.

Turns out Tom took movies, and whether that was Tom’s idea of the zoom function, or my sliding the switch as I pulled the camera out of my pocket, I don’t know! Fortunately, the unbeknownst recorded conversation between Tom & I was politically correct! There are some nice shots of the pavement with the sound of cleats stepping toward me as the movie continued!

Mike Wolfe

Screen capture from Tom's video of Mike.

We caught the ferry as it was loading a car, so we didn’t have to wait at all. I rode up the west incline in a middle gear, and remembered climbing steeper hills where the rear wheel would slip as it passed over wet leaves, but this incline isn’t steep enough, nor were there enough wet leaves to induce such a reaction. To our dismay, the espresso sign was off, and as we rode up to the porch, saw a note pinned to the door, notifying potential customers that Claudia was not feeling well that day, and the café was closed.

B & B note

They're closed...

We sat on the porch, and I invited Tom to share a long-expired powerbar, which he declined. But I went ahead and consumed! And no Americano to go with it!

Michael Wolfe

A guy's got to keep up his strength

Well’s Landing was just as smooth as ever, but I was happy to reach the traditional pee-corner further down the road. The ride into Independence was uneventful, no close calls, dead deer in the ditch, and I reminisced to Tom about the time that Katie and I were riding out this way when the pawl spring in her freehub broke. I was riding my Jamis fixed gear, but borrowed a rope from the local nursery, and towed her back to the foot of Madrona hill in Salem. Almost fell over pulling her thru the railroad overpass on River Road South, and called the shop to pick her up rather than attempt to pull her up Madrona’s climb.

I started entering the large Campy shipment from July in the computer on Sunday, and in retrospect, should have called Tom and gone for another ride, as it was the last sunny day for some time. We received our Swagman order for the year, and ended up with a great deal of protective cardboard covers. There was no place to store it, and with the impending rain, needed to get it to the recycling center soon. I decided to trailer it Wednesday evening after work, hoping Nate, who’d gone home feeling ill, would come back in to close. I closed and in my hurry to get the trailer loaded and underway, left the back door ajar. My first trailer trip to the recycling center since I was diagnosed, and while it was comparatively a light load, I could tell I wasn’t who I was last spring. Just climbing back up Boone Road hill with an empty trailer was a prolonged effort, and it was a relief to coast down the west side and run the 4-way stop at the bottom! Fortunately, Nate did come in the shop after work and found my open door!


Original June 15, 2017 post:

I’ve been off my bike for three weeks now, and am not sure when I’ll feel up to it again.

I began experiencing lower abdomen pain, back, maybe kidney, unable to sleep very well, and finally towards the end of April went into to check it out. They observed me, took a chest x-ray and scheduled me for a CT scan for the 16th of May. The nights became a roulette of finding positions in bed, the couch, even the toilet attempting to relieve the pain. After a few more days, I called them and said I need to get that CT Scan sooner, but they were booked up. They promised to put me at the head of the cancellation list, and I was surprised to have them the next day to inform me that they had the cancellation the following morning. But before I left that day, they called and the specialist was sick, and I would need to re-schedule for the 24th. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and on the morning of the 24th at 2am, unable to sleep or sit, I got on my bike and pedaled around the neighborhood for 45 mins with no pain. I came home and caught a 20 min nap, woke up with the same amount of pain, and rode for another two hours without pain, pushing myself hard in hopes of the exertion would allow me to sleep upon my return and make it to the 2pm CT Scan.

The pain prevented any hopes of sleep, and instead of riding some more, I woke up my wife to take me down to Urgent Care of the Salem Hospital. I thought about just riding down there, and letting my wife sleep, but it was close to her regular rising time anyway. Would have made a better story if I’d ridden, just would have been more complicated for my family.

It was a good time for a check-in at an ER but the wait seemed infinite. I may have been awake when they inserted a Foley catheter or not, but they emptied over a liter out of my bladder and I guess I’d had some pain meds as well, the pressure was gone, just an irritation lingered. They got a CT scan immediately which revealed growths around my left kidney and surrounding areas there. They did a biopsy which later to their relief, showed that the non-Hodgkins lymphoma I’d been treated for in 2002 had returned. The option would have surgery and removing body parts. Nice choice, eh!

I spent 4-5 days grogged-out before being sent home. Nice folks, a really good inspirational crew. Wasn’t looking forward to being returned to the hands of Kaiser Permanente my health insurance provider whom I’d had to wait so long for the CT scan.  KP was not aware of the cancer treatment I’d received in 2002, to my surprise, but in juggling the expenses of health care, we’d switched providers since then. Worse, Salem Oncology, where I was treated by Bud Pierce, who ran against Kate Brown for Oregon governor this last round, destroyed the records on a ten-year-rotation, as they hadn’t started computerized filing until 2013! Someone there sleuthed the name of the treatment from the billing department, R-CHOP.  I remember riding my bike thru the entire 12 weeks of treatment, with the exception of the day of the weekly chemo injection, and finally learning to hate even the taste of lime popcicles!

I was released after 4 days at Salem Hospital.  Upon a consultation with the oncologist at Kaiser Permanente, I was scheduled for a 10:30 PET scan, but had to be taken to Portland for that.  My folks drove me, and while I just wanted to snooze, my lovely 87-year-old stepfather had to make comments on cars, interchanges, weather, etc.  I wasn’t worried about getting there, he’s pretty proficient with his navigation system, but his reaction times are not that of a younger person, and listening to directions in crowded Portland traffic and having to make decisions had ultimately involve me as well!  Such is life!  We made it, but I’d made the ultimate boo-boo!

After waiting for a half hour, they wheeled me back into a corner of the facility, and asked if I’d consumed any food during the last six hours, and I replied I hadn’t since just before 6 am.  Brake lights really lit up at that point!  Not possible, the scan isn’t accurate with only a 4 hour fast.  I asked if I could wait another couple hours — no, they were booked up.  I explained that I was supposed to return to Portland at 8:30 the next morning to undergo a week of chemo treatments, and if re-scheduling a PET scan would really mess things up.  She hesitated, and said she’d look to see if there was anything she could do.  She returned and informed me that she had a couple of regulars who had shown up early, could move them up and shoe-horn me in at the appropriate time.  Whew!  I explained to my patient parents awaiting a very sterile atmosphere outside.

My folks drove me up the next morning to the Sunnyside Hospital on 205, and yes, there was some traffic jam, which I think secretly delighted my stepfather in his search for the faster lane, but had me constantly looking for brake lights coming on!  He drives a lot less aggressively than a decade ago, the gas pedal doesn’t get as much force as it used to, but his ability to keep his peripheral vision when scanning to see an open lane and not tailgate left me in unease.  I wasn’t sure what to do when we got there, whether to thank my folks and send them on home, or again have them wait for eventual initial consultation. They didn’t really have to wait, not much new info was dispersed, so I sent them home.

During the last five days, I’ve had three different drenches of chemo with no nausea, thank god. I got to watch a lot of DVD’s, which initially no one could find a remote that would work with it! The nurse’s would have to stand by and fast forward the disc to the play button before leaving, and I had no way to pause for the numerous vital checks and other routines of life in a hospital room. If fell asleep, well find someone to rewind for you!

I did take a few books with me, notably Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking Fat-Tire Flyer by Charlie Kelly, which I’d initially ordered as a “well, it’s a bike story” kind of read, but turned out to be pretty engaging. The other books I took were pretty dated, or superfluously light reading.

Ever since American Cycling ceased to be a book distributor, I’ve fallen behind on books. Bill McGann, the founder of Torelli, publishes books on bike racing and lives up the road in McMinnville. He manages my webpage, and is currently adding bicycles, framesets, and parts to it as an ongoing gallery. He doesn’t watch movies unless they are bike related! Here at home, I have Netflix to entertain my veggie brain, but still at this point, I find I’ve fallen asleep though as much as an episode of some show.

Three weeks off the bike, and my right knee wants me to remember the tear it received nearly 4 decades ago! Just a daily pedal to the shop and back has kept it in place. I’ve yet to ride that Ritchey P-29’r, but it is now set up in the living room on a trainer for watching Netflix, when I can get on it. Catheter has got to go first, I think!

Be my virtual rider,

Michael