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A New Perspective


Come to Arizona they said. It will be warm and dry they said. So I loaded up my car and left a week earlier than scheduled for El Tour de Tucson. My plan was to enjoy the moderate weather in Tucson and Phoenix and get in more riding than I would have in Colorado. You see, we had just had 3 days in a row where the high temperature was 10 degree F in Colorado Springs and I'd already shoveled more snow before Halloween than I could remember. I was ready for a warmer climate. Merely having the ability to ride after dark without suffering frostbite sounded great to me.

The drive was smooth once I got past the icy, snow-packed Colorado roads and reached Trinidad. I'd nearly forgotten the deep freeze by the time I got to Albuquerque and arriving to T-shirt and short weather in Phoenix was pure bliss. On trips like this I often experience a notable change in outlook once I'm able to put on my sandals, and this one was no exception. It's shocking what a little sunlight on my feet does to my emotional state.

The first handful of days went smoothly and the change to more hospitable conditions had my productivity up, as usual. The added bonus, and something people in warm-weather climates take for granted is that I didn't have to consider whether it was too cold to go on a bike ride. It also didn't take 20 minutes to determine the level of insulation required for said rides.

Fasten your seatbelts - La Milagrosa is a rough and rowdy ride!

Then I got hit with all the symptoms of a sinus infection. Thankfully it didn't last too long and I had a week before the El Tour de Tucson Expo to recover. I arrived in Tucson a couple days early to sneak in a ride on Mt. Lemmon. Unfortunately, Tucson was catching up on rainfall at the time and my ride was cut short due to high winds and heavy rain mid-mountain. It was a bummer, but I knew it was still more than I would have done had I still been in Colorado Springs.

The two-day El Tour de Tucson Expo went great despite unseasonable damp and cool weather. I was feeling a bit worn out while out to dinner with the Enduro Bites staff, however, and the next day woke up in a haze. We had scheduled a mountain biking photoshoot before the staff left town later that day and I was optimistic that the warm weather and sunshine would pick me up. And they did for a few hours. However, later that afternoon I began experiencing body aches and chills. I was incredulous - how could I be sick again???

At least I looked fast!

I spent the next several days taking hot baths and getting way more bed rest than I wanted, but I was thankful the symptoms didn't last longer. While it felt like the flu my doctor believes it was another virus due to the relatively short duration of my symptoms.

Thankfully I was feeling better by the 27th (the day before Thanksgiving) and was looking forward spending the holiday with friends in Prescott. Rain turning to snow across Northern Arizona meant I wouldn't by riding one of my bikes to work up an appetite, but I was fine with that.

Arizona knows how to do sunsets. These were taken in Prescott.

Since I had the weekend to play before heading back to Colorado, I drove back to Phoenix where it was considerably warmer and dry to try and end the trip on a positive note. I was looking forward getting in another mountain bike ride, as well riding the Turkey Grinder.

Things did not go as planned. Both rides wiped me out. I felt as though I had no energy reserves and I developed a deep, persistent cough. Knowing something was wrong as soon as the intensity began to rise, I pulled out of the Turkey Grinder and limped back to McDowell Mountain Cycles frustrated and tired of dealing with health issues.

Before my lungs let it be known that they didn't want to ride.

The following day I drove home and have been confined to bed rest until my doctor appointment today. He diagnosed me with early-stage pneumonia and put me on a course of Doxycycline and Benzonatate. My blood oxygen is also low and my resting heart is over twice what I typically see (99bpm vs 47bpm). Returning to elevation while being so worn down wasn't ideal.

Waiting for the doc to tell me whether I will turn into a zombie.

What's the point to my story? While I'm normally a little neurotic about exercise and training, the forced time away from it has me simply looking forward to being healthy again. I'm not concerned with my next workout, and I'm not even sure when it will be at this point. Perhaps next week. Now is the time to chill. My goal now is to get back to healthy and regain my normal energy level to make it through a day without constant napping.

While I'm not happy that I've been struggling with my health for the past month, I do appreciate the mental reset it has triggered. Now I need to find a way to achieve a similar reset without so much bed rest, sinus headaches, body aches, chills, and all-around suffering.

Any suggestions?

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