(Thanks to Mike Dawson for the always amazing pictures)
Oh man that was a crazy week.
Big news is that I had my 6-month check-up and MD Anderson. I was super nervous as there is still no reasonable explanation for why my blood tumor marker went up in July of 2010, i.e. the marker went up but it didn't correlate with the detection of any new tumors. But since then, it has been very stable. Actually, exactly stable. When I go down there, I start the day at 7am with a blood draw, then head over to CT for a head/neck and chest scan. Then I go to ultrasound and have an ultrasound of my neck. Next, MRI for a T-spine and then L-spine magnetic resonance scan. The MRI sucks the most because you lie in a very small tube for about an hour and it is about the loudest, worst-sounding thing you can possibly imagine. If you're a physicist or know a physicist you should get to work or tell them to get to work making those things shorter and quieter. Everytime I go, when I fill out the paper work beforehand, they ask if I've had an MRI before, then "what was your experience". I usually say something annoying like "peachy". Then when asked if there is anything that could make it better, besides stating the obvious like shorter or less-loud, this time I said a waterbed and a massage.
After a full day of scans wednesday I see the doc on thursday morning after they've looked over all the data. Long-story short, there is no progression and the cancer in my neck, lungs, and vertebrae is all the same size. And my blood tumor marker is exactly the same.
Anyway, we got back really late thursday night and then spent friday getting some work done, cleaning up from Louisville, and hanging out with Cassidy (who was extremely attention starved).
Maggie has a shelf-exam for her family medicine clerkship this wednesday, so she wanted to spend the weekend studying. Daddy-daughter-time and racing cyclocross then proceeded to be a juggling act for saturday and sunday as there was a local race here in Columbia saturday and a bubba race in St Louis on sunday. I ended up making it to both and had really good times duking-it-out on both days. Josh is riding really well and with Schottler, we had battle-royale on saturday. The course was really fast and windy. I knew I needed to ride hard from the beginning and do some fitness damage as soon as possible. The plan was coming together pretty well. Then a crash happened and my bars got bent. Josh attacked and I found myself in chase-mode once again.
I don't understand how I have gone 3 season without a pit bike and only 1 DNF and this year, now that I have a pit bike, I think I've used it every race except maybe 3.
After a couple of bike changes, Josh and I battled until the last few feet of the race. I narrowly escaped with the win, but definitely had to work really hard and the legs let me know that last lap. Ouch.
Sunday was a very muddy Mt Pleasant. I was stoked to ride in the mud. And confident going into a hilly course.
Laps 1 and 2:
Unfortunately the quick release of my rear brake kept popping out. It happened 2x while I was off the front early. The second time I got caught soon after. Then it happened a third time and I ended up getting passed by most of the field while trying to get it back on. This time there was too much mud, so I grabbed my pit bike and started chasing. Immediately I started crashing, lost my cool, and subsequently my confidence. Luckily the guys from the Hub fixed my 'A' bike and had it back soon, but I felt totally different.
Not the bike, but riding. Pretty amazing what a lack of confidence does on a course like that.
I moved up some, but there was nothing to do on such a muddy off-camber, technical course, so mostly I just tried to have fun and not freeze. I finished the race without a rear brake as the quick release came out 2 more times. Holy shit was it scary going down one of those hills with only a front brake...but I rode the last 2 laps like that. Salvaged 3rd place, so not too shabby but I never even rode with Josh (winner) or Dwayne (2nd).
Anyway, gotta get some things adjusted before Jingle cross this weekend!