Back among the living!

My private dining room in the Holiday Inn – soon to be joined by another COVID+ rider. Yes, it’s a storeroom.

Frost on the tents in West Yellowstone. Going to sleep at 70 degrees (21 C), it was hard to imagine that it would be 36 (2 C) by morning. We had to sleep with a pile of clothes to put on as the temperature dropped. Again I rued my decision to leave the sleeping bag in the closet.

The creeping cold comes like an Ambush in the Night.

We slept on the high school football field, with meals in the Holiday Inn – white tablecloths for dinner, red for breakfast. 25 miles in the COVID bus followed by 40 on the bike as I work to get back into riding shape.

As I finished the last dose of my 5 day drug regimen, things started to look up. It took the full 5 days, but I feel better. Now it’s mostly the rigors of life outdoors on the road; that and the need to regain the strength I lost.

We rode through Mesa Falls on a Scenic Bypass. I was going to ride the COVID bus to the water stop to leave 40 miles to ride. Due to circumstances I wasn’t dropped until the Scenic Byway so I rode part of the route twice to get to the 40 miles I wanted for conditioning purposes. I have no pictures of the falls from 4 years ago because we rode out of West Yellowstone in a hailstorm and cold rain continued all day. Today’s 75-80 and sunny was highly preferred.

Lower Mesa Falls
Alpine meadow

At 10 AM, Grand Teton appeared on the horizon, perfectly framed by trees on both sides of the road. We were aimed straight at it, though it will be a while before we get there.

At the end of the ride I found a root beer float with my name on it.

COVID-19 has changed my life in ways I hadn’t imagined. Riding alone early in the pandemic made me realize I wanted to make this trip and that I was willing to retire in order to do so. COVID helped me decide to retire earlier than I planned to.

I look for places to eat/drink outside; now to protect others from me instead of vice versa as it has been for 2.5 years.

Sitting with a dying man as he enjoyed possibly his last pleasurable moment helped me to savor those moments. Having COVID-19 myself this week put me through a lot. I still have flashes of “COVID brain”, like today when I got out of the shower and realized I hadn’t brought clothes with me. I put my wet cycling clothes back on and made my way to my tent for clean clothes.

I found emotions much more powerful, with tears easy to come by. I bought a plane ticket home, ready to throw in the towel on this ride, and now every mile feels like a gift. Tomorrow will decide whether I get on that plane or give up my seat and prepare to ride through Wyoming next week.

Riding today felt good. I had the occasional burning sensation in the main stem bronchus, for those of the anatomical persuasion – windpipe to the rest of us.

Tomorrow we climb Teton Pass and descend into Jackson Hole for a day off. We’ll be staying at a science center outside of town. If I make it over the pass, I’ll let you know.

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us rode coast to coast across the US. It was so much fun, he's doing it again in 2022! If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

8 thoughts on “Back among the living!”

  1. I’m crying reading this, but don’t take it seriously. I hope so much you can keep going.

    I’m still tired, some brain fog, don’t feel ready to take out the dogs yet, have ridden the bike to nowhere and will ride today. I learned yesterday my covid tests had expired. If I hadn’t had such a messed up brain, I probably would have looked at the boxes instead of just opening them and taken the tests. I keep doing stuff like your not taking clothes with you into the shower. But it’s getting better.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay!!!!!! I’m so happy you decided to persist!!! I see your ride like me having the courage to dedicate a room in my house to painting. It’s the line from Hopkins’ poem When Kingfishers Catch Fire, “This I am. For this I came.” Your whole trajectory right now is beautiful. 2+ years of caring for Covid patients, retire to follow your heart, get Covid, keep riding. YES!!!!!!

        I rode the bike to nowhere this afternoon at a decent clip. I’m tired, but not dragging. I’m thinking more clearly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to hear. Hope you’re healing well. Must be to do 40 miles. I rarely do over 20 anymore; it’s too darn hot, me being too tired, and without the Fairdale or Fuji anymore.

    Sorry if since you’re retired or just don’t want to answer this. Someone recommended a nucleocapsid protein blood test to see if I ever had it. Worth it? Most insurance cover it? What do you do if positive? My PCP hadn’t even heard of it.

    Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know about that test. I know there is an antibody test for that purpose – I wonder if it’s the same with a fancier name. Five days of being pretty sick. Two days of building back up, then climbing a mountain pass and riding a century on my next two rides. Or maybe it was two consecutive passes, one of which was a century. Still a little fuzzy at times. I’d say I’m 85% of my normal self; if I ever had a normal self. Thanks for the well wishes and for reappearing and reading again.


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