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that guy with the scythe

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that guy with the scythe

Old 12-02-14, 07:37 PM
  #1  
geezerwheels
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that guy with the scythe

about two weeks ago, during a harder than usual ride, I had to slow down for traffic ahead. But needing to brake, my hands nearly refused my brain's command to squeeze. It was like all the strength had left them. Now, rapidly approaching a busy intersection, I felt the weakness spread up my arms, all the way to my shoulders. Somehow, there was enough left in my fingers to pull back the levers--and I stopped with my front wheel inches shy of the pavement. Then I caught a glimpse of a man with a scythe on his shoulder--or at least I think so. Maybe it was just some glare from a windshield. Regardless, after a brief pause, I shook out my arms, and enough strength flowed back into my arms that I could finish my ride. Thankfully, the last three miles were downhill.

by the time I put my bike away, I was back to normal. I did not mention this to anyone--not even my wife. Just put it out of mind.

but then, in the wee hours after Saturday night, I was awakened by the sensation of someone--someone large--straddling me with his knees on my biceps. Again their strength vanished. It was all I could do to wake up Janet and say, "I need help." Moments later I entered another world, of IV's and CT scans, bad food, and embarrassing gowns. Just for a second, the orderly who rolled me up to the x-ray station--just for a second--he looked like that guy with the scythe.

But all the tests came back negative. No heart attack, no stroke. BP perfect, vitals all in range. Monday I went to see my regular doc--an affable young man. He bikes, too. We compared injuries--he knows well my matched set of collapsed clavicles. Recently, his front wheel caught a pavement seam--and he went down so hard his helmet was split in two. "But was the bike ok?" I asked.

All that aside, he suspects that these episodes were the result of riding crouched in the drops, with the neck cocked up unnaturally. He says it's common among older pro riders. I'm not ready to go to straight bars, but I did raise the stem a good 3CM. The bars are those narrow Pivo's, with a randonneur bend. Might change them out for some wider Cinelli's--I'm not a purist by any stretch.

What you might find ironic is that earlier that Saturday evening was my uncle's 90th birthday. Uncle Jerry is a father figure, a strutting stud, a WWII hero, Camel's smoker, an irascible husband and father to his own three daughters. And now he is a shrunken shell of a man, a walker-shuffler. He's seen that scythe guy up close, and now he sees him beckoning. His own sister--94-- was at the party; so were some of his buddies and co-workers, some going back to the 40's. Bent, hobbled, withered; blotchy, baggy. Some were entering the tranquil world of dementia.

But I'm not one of them, I thought, in spite of the newly printed Medicare card in my wallet. Not me, I can zoom around like a banshee on an old Motobecane. All that changed in the ER, however. I may be just a newbie, but this is my country, now. I keep my eyes peeled for that guy with the scythe.

Last edited by geezerwheels; 12-02-14 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 12-02-14, 07:48 PM
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The image of death has made me more adventurous since I know for sure that this is my last chance
to do epic stuff. Glad your tests came back negative.

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Old 12-02-14, 07:53 PM
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I think a rear view mirror is in order, so you can see if HE is gaining on you while your riding..... (might help with traffic too)
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Old 12-02-14, 08:15 PM
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Perhaps some cross-training/targeted stretching - even with a PT or personal trainer? My PT advised to pull the chin back instead of stretching the neck out and up; and she treats a number of bicyclists.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-02-14 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 12-02-14, 08:30 PM
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Glad to hear you're OK. If you're not ready for flat bars, then you're *really* not ready for inverted V bars, but I'll include a pic anyway.

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Old 12-02-14, 08:38 PM
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That guy with the scythe is a friend of mine. I don't have any influence over him, though; he comes and goes as he pleases.

Last edited by DeadGrandpa; 12-02-14 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 12-02-14, 09:20 PM
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I think I know the guy you're talking about . . . with the scythe. I saw him on a brutal local competition climbing ride called Breathless Agony.

I had my photo taken with him . . . is this the same guy (no, I'm the guy on the right).
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Old 12-03-14, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I think I know the guy you're talking about . . . with the scythe. I saw him on a brutal local completion climbing ride called Breathless Agony.
I gather Modo Vincere has joined his peloton. And he never even qualified for the 50+ forum.
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Old 12-03-14, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I think I know the guy you're talking about . . . with the scythe. I saw him on a brutal local completion climbing ride called Breathless Agony.

I had my photo taken with him . . . is this the same guy (no, I'm the guy on the right).
Rick / OCRR
yeah! That's him!
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Old 12-03-14, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by geezerwheels View Post
yeah! That's him!
^lol

Well, all I gotta say is that when he catches you, it will be a loss for the rest of us. That was great prose!
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Old 12-03-14, 09:04 AM
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Death is not my fear but seeing that guy with the scythe would certainly improve my devotional life.
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Old 12-03-14, 09:54 AM
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That scythe bloke sure gets around town. He was in my neck of the woods in the summer. Met him half way up a hill whilst pedaling like a crazy person. The shock of seeing him gave me strong palpitations followed by dizziness.

I had chest pains and dizzy spells for a week before heading off to the ER when I developed tingling sensations in my left arm.

Same story - tests all looked great! They brought me back in for a stress-test the following day. Like your story the cardio-quack who oversaw the stress-test turned out to be an avid cyclist. I asked him if I could wear my cleats on the treadmill.

Again, everything tested good.

I guess he's always present, I think one just has to pedal faster to keep a good distance.
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Old 12-03-14, 10:45 AM
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On a century ride I did years ago someone had painted "Pedal faster, you fool" on the road near the crest of the worst hill. Good advice.

You might read this thread:
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...discovery.html
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Old 12-03-14, 06:57 PM
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Always gotta ride faster than the Grim Reaper can run.........
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Old 12-04-14, 07:41 AM
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That guy (Death) is the only honest broker. We will never escape him. But, with him at your side you will never forget to seize the moment. That is his value to us. No need to fear him. Just ride with him at your side and every moment will be yours. In his own strange way he is a "gift" to us all. Still, I am glad you are still here to finish well.
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Old 12-04-14, 07:42 AM
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BTW your post is a reminder and gift to us all. Thank you.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
That guy (Death) is the only honest broker. We will never escape him. But, with him at your side you will never forget to seize the moment. That is his value to us. No need to fear him. Just ride with him at your side and every moment will be yours. In his own strange way he is a "gift" to us all. Still, I am glad you are still here to finish well.
Yeah, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

I just saw a GCN video this morning about neck stretches, and the best one they showed was the chin tuck. At least, that's the one that registered simultaneous pain and relief for me. I obviously need that exercise more than the rest.

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Old 12-04-14, 12:43 PM
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One of my Friends is the person that writes the Obits In the Local Paper.
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Old 12-06-14, 06:35 AM
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I am no concerned with the guy with the Scythe, It's the girl with the bed pan that scares me! I'd rather die trying than die lying.
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Old 12-06-14, 07:13 AM
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I hear the guy with the scythe is thinking of upgrading to a brand new John Deere mower-conditioner. Watch out everybody.
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Old 12-06-14, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dadof7 View Post
I am no concerned with the guy with the Scythe, It's the girl with the bed pan that scares me! I'd rather die trying than die lying.
...and I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy

Originally Posted by The Quiet One View Post
I hear the guy with the scythe is thinking of upgrading to a brand new John Deere mower-conditioner. Watch out everybody.
He's been known to ride a BMX
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Old 12-06-14, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by The Quiet One View Post
I hear the guy with the scythe is thinking of upgrading to a brand new John Deere mower-conditioner. Watch out everybody.
He left the old one at my house....

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Old 12-06-14, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by dadof7 View Post
I am no concerned with the guy with the Scythe, It's the girl with the bed pan that scares me! I'd rather die trying than die lying.
↑↑↑ This ↑↑↑
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Old 12-06-14, 03:00 PM
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Great Prose Indeed

Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post

Well, all I gotta say is that when he catches you, it will be a loss for the rest of us. That was great prose!
+1!
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