On The Bike Again

…after too long off it.

16 miles, riding in the hills near my house in Sunland on Sunday, took my pulse rate up to 163 beats per minute, almost 98% of my theoretical maximum (which, if you’re not too familiar with typical pulse meter readings, is more or less stunning).

My breathing has been stellar the last few days, so I’m guessing that the high pulse rate is due to:
    (a) 13 months off the bike, and
    (b) the recent ALYX blood donation, which takes a double-dose of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. I’ve read complaints from athletes that it makes a noticeable difference, compared to a normal donation.

I’m lucky to have these lovely hills so close that I can literally step out of the house, hop on the bike, and be among them just a few minutes later.

I didn’t have any problem actually climbing the darn hills; the only limiting factor was some lower-back pain, and then last night, some leg cramping, both of which definitely have to do with lack of practice.

On Big Tujunga Canyon road, an evil hill
On Big Tujunga Canyon road, an evil hill.

Next up: a longer ride later this week!

Flowers and Blood

I went to buy some flowers yesterday (having taken Good Friday off), because I have some nice vases at home, and I decided that I liked having some cut flowers around the house.

I picked out a few loose flowers, including one of Sylvia’s favorites, the Stargazer Lily, and had them make up a nice arrangement for about $25:

Good Friday Flowers

…and then while I was at the flower shop, I saw a bloodmobile ad for a blood drive at the church where I go to vote, so I went down there to check if they could fit me in, and they said, “Sure!”, so I made an appointment, took my flowers home and came back and donated.

It was the first time that I’d given blood where they take a double-size donation of red blood cells, separate out the plasma and return it to you for you to cherish.

Here’s a picture of the ALYX machine, separating my blood into flavors. It has three pouches on the left, and you can see the whole blood going into the right-most pouch of the three, the red blood cells being accumulated in the middle pouch, and the plasma on the left waiting to be fed back into me. Technology!

ALYX Blood Donation

They do it all with just the one needle in your arm, and an automated blood pressure cuff. First the cuff presses down, and the right-hand pouch fills maybe quarter-full or so with whole blood, and ALYX works on separating it into parts into the other pouches, and then at some point the cuff lets up, and you feel a chill as the left-hand pouch is emptied and the plasma is returned. Then it repeats for maybe four or five cycles. Takes about 10 minutes longer than a regular donation, but with all the paperwork and waiting and so forth, it’s a huge win all around to get what is effectively a double donation in so short an additional time.

Seriously, though, I can’t imagine (or can barely imagine) thinking about that problem and saying, “Sure, we could build that!”