cyclic revelation

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chest x-ray, an EKG test, an echo-cardiogram, a holter monitor test and a cardiac stress test. Thankfully, all of them turned out with great results, so it seems that everything is okay.

The cardiac stress test ironically relieved a lot of stress for me and made me realize that all the biking I’ve been doing has done wonders for my cardiovascular health. During the test they hooked a bunch of EKG probes to various locations on my chest and then had me walk on a treadmill while the tech monitored the EKG readings. They gradually increased the incline of the treadmill and increased its speed until my heart rate reached the target that they had set, which was 162 beats per minute. It felt like it took forever for my heart rate to get there, it wasn’t until I was running uphill at an 18% grade that it hit the target. The tech said that meant I was in pretty good shape. She could find nothing wrong with my readings and said that most likely my fainting was a vasovagal syncope.

On the one hand that was really good news. I originally had gotten into bicycling to keep my blood pressure down and my heart healthy, although I continue to bike mostly because I love it. So it’s good to know that my heart is healthy. It would be the ultimate irony and (for lack of a better word) would’ve been really really crappy if I had to stop biking because of some heart condition.

I’ve done a lot of research over the past week on the vasovagal syncope, basically it sounds like a medical term for an unexplained fainting spell. There’s a ton of different things that could cause a vasovagal syncope, from low blood sugar to heat exhaustion to too much caffeine– even just getting up too quickly could cause it. So while it’s good news that my heart is healthy, I felt like a vasovagal syncope was kind of bad news, because I took it to mean that I could faint suddenly for no apparent reason.

So anyways, with my heart healthy and with the Davis Livestrong challenge a week away I wanted to go for a good long ride. I originally planned to do the 65 mile Cantelow loop, but with the weather forecast saying that it would be 105 degrees in the afternoon, changed plans and decided to do a short hills training ride in the morning.

I ended up driving out to Vacaville with Jiro and Ray to ride Mix Canyon and Cantelow. At the bottom of Mix Canyon we met this guy, who said that the climb had kicked his butt. It would soon kick ours too.

Since a vasovagal syncopy could be caused by low blood sugar and dehydration, I loaded up on carbs and chugged a bottle of gatorade, along with some electrolyte pills to prevent cramping.

Mix canyon is a tough climb, and it was really hot, but I was actually feeling pretty good. I didn’t expect to make it all the way to the top of the climb, but I was hoping to get to about the 3 mile marker. At around 2.5 miles I saw Jiro stopped on the side of the road, so I decided to stop and take a breather too.

I got off the bike, and then maybe a few minutes later I started to feel light headed. It was then that I realized what caused me to faint a couple of weeks back. It seems that going from riding pretty hard in hot weather to stopping suddenly causes a rapid change in blood pressure, which causes me to feel lightheaded, and even faint. Afterwards when I got home, I did some research and this seemed like the most probable cause.

So I sat for a while until the lightheadedness subsided, then continued up Mix Canyon until about the 3 mile mark. Amazingly, it gets even steeper from there on, so I decided to give up and save it for a cooler day.

After Mix Canyon we decided to head up the backside of Cantelow. I still remember the first time Lynn-kai and I attempted to go up this hill– it utterly destroyed us. Nowadays it’s not too bad.

I always enjoy the view from the top of Cantelow. On a clear day you can see for miles.

I had brought four bottles of Gatorade. By now I only had half of a bottle left. Thankfully there was only one short climb left, then it was all downhill back to my trusty old Subaru which was parked in Vacaville.

Afterwards we hit up a Filipino place we had found on Yelp. On weekends they have a lunch buffet, and all the food was pretty good. The owner, Roline, was super friendly and warmly welcomed us into her extended family.

They also had halo-halo, a Filipino iced dessert, which really hit the spot after riding in hot weather.

Things I’m thankful for:

  • Friendly Family-owned Filipino Food
  • Gatorade
  • Cold Desserts on hot days (Seriously, it was hot. It hit 106 degrees…)

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