Winter of Our Discontent

2017 has been a wonderful year for rain and snow. Storms have found their way to California and dropped badly needed and much welcomed precipitation. Reservoirs are full or filling, snow is so deep in places that it covers the chair lifts at ski areas, and for at least one season the drought is no longer a concern.

Other than the weather, 2017 has not been the greatest year for Stoker and me. Stoker has a health issue. It is significant and serious but far from life threatening. The issue is likely to cause her some short term discomfort. It also has a high probability of being completely resolved with no long term consequences to her health. But both of us are stressed. We have appointments and are gathering information and weighing options.

2017: So Far Not So Happy

This health issue is always in the back of our minds and affects our mood. We are utterly lacking in joie de vivre. And no ’joie de velo tandem’ either. We rode on New Year’s Day for a frigid forty miles, but that is all for 2017. Between the weather and the stress and uncertainty Stoker is in hibernation, and I can’t blame her. She didn’t ride at all in December because it was cold and wet, so we are about as out of shape of a tandem team as we have ever been. And we are supposed to go to France to ride this May!

I’m dealing with a health issue of my own, though not nearly as dramatic. I have been taking medication for high blood pressure for almost 30 years. I started on an ACE inhibitor back in 1990 at a dose of 40 mg. This was before I was a cyclist. In 2001 I started riding seriously and lost weight (25 lbs.!) and was having dizziness from LOW blood pressure. I was able to cut the dose to 10 mg. And everything was fine until this November. I started getting blood pressure readings at home that were higher than they should be. My doctor advised increasing the dose to 20 mg, and then 40 mg. This didn’t help much, so he prescribed a very low dose of a beta blocker to add to my other medication.

I’ve been on the beta blocker 10 days, and it seems to be working. Unfortunately it also seems to be affecting my cycling. Beta Blockers can slow the heart, and on Tuesday’s ride I noticed that my heart rate was about 10 beats below where it usually is at every level of exertion. I don’t know what the long term consequences of this medication are going to be, but I suspect my cycling performance will suffer. I’m not thrilled about that.  More discontent.

I have a cold. It started last Sunday, got worse through Thursday, and seems like it might finally be through with me soon. But yesterday I got out on the bike, and I was awful. I didn’t come close to hitting my planned workout, and I felt dreadfully weak. Beta blockers? Effects of the cold? Stress? Out of shape? It was a very discouraging performance, or lack thereof. The cold is certainly contributing to the discontent level.

And what would an already dismal month be without a  major plumbing problem? On January 12 our septic system backed up. A call to RotoRooter brought a technician who used a ‘snake’ to clear the clog. Unfortunately the ‘snake’ also cracked the drain pipe in several places, which we discovered a few days later. We were able to get RotoRooter to do some emergency patches, but the entire line is going to have to be replaced. This is going to run to several thousands of dollars. And we are having trouble getting a plumber to even look at the job. We have one recommended to us, but he is busy and I am trying to balance calling and reminding him we can use his help with calling too often and being a pest.

The first 3 weeks of 2017 have not been the best for us. But at least there has been plenty of rain.


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  • Blog Author

    Rich Freggiaro

    Richard Freggiaro is a Stockton area native who grew up on his family’s farm. After an nine year detour to Davis for College, Washington DC for work, and Iowa for graduate school, he returned to San Joaquin County and spent the next quarter century farming with his father. He has been married to Diane for 31 years. He is (mostly) retired which leaves him plenty of time to ride each of his 4 bikes, and he is an enthusiastic and passionate cyclist. Read Full
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