Here is a chance to do something different. You ready? Okay you can do something different by supporting me on my crazy adventure. I’m going on a mountain bike race and would love for you to be a part of it.
So I’m trying to shoot a bicycle documentary about me, cancer boy, riding the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race.
I’m riding in the name of James Ragan and his organization Triumph Over Kids Cancer. I have my bike, I have my gear & I’m ready to tackle this monster of a bike race. Thanks for reading and come back here for more updates.
Derrick Perrin – Video Producer / mountain bike rider
It has been a while since I have stepped up on the body fat counter. I was suprised I had gotten back to 16% body fat. I’m guessing 30+ minutes everyday on the bike is a good thing. I have been working to increase protein intake and build up some muscle.
Since I have pulled away from most processed foods I have unloaded a few fatty pounds. I thank my wife Kendra for the great dinners that keep me on track. Thanks for all you do for me and our family. You are amazing.
Best put it is the combination of mountain bicycle riding into the wilderness loaded down with backpacking gear. Over the last few years the concept has infected many. There are now off-road races that are timed using month long calenders in place of a stop watch. These are races that don’t allow support. No wimpy Tour de France team racing next to you and handling you food and water. Nope, just a rider and the gear that rider is willing to carry.
And yes, this is something I’m wanting to do.
My rookie sEason -2016
I live near the coast and have a 3 hour drive to get into the Texas hill country. Training in a town at sea level and fat makes things difficult but not impossible. Part of training is knoladge and another is mental. I know you think I’might mental for being excited to ride into the mountains with no support. You have to train for bear attacks and lighting strikes and become a bicycle mechanic. Well one of 3 is something one must study. Getting deep in the woods on a bike is great. Having to hike that distance with a gimpy bike is not great.
The big goal is the Tour Divide race from Canada to Mexico. This is the race I wish to ride but need to build up to it. The beauty of the bike packing events is thee is no qualifying criteria and no burden to race with the best racers in the world.
When you hit the trail you are tracked by satellite. A rider can ride the day of the main race or can do an individual time trial (ITT). These satellite timed results are compared to other racers of the same year.
What races to ride
A few races have my attention right now.
The Arizona Trail 300 starts close to Mexico and runs close to Phoenix. It’s big brother is the AZT 750. Basically take the 300 and add 450 miles and a climb into and out of the Grand Canyon. Once you hit Utah you are done. Top contenders I’m these races complete the adventure in 2 and 8 days respectfully.
Next, the Colorado Trail. This is the 500 off road trail from Durango to Denver. You can also run it the other direction. Most races will alow you to do that.
There are some other day long races that look fun.
So my next thing to do is get the lungs in shape, upgrade the bike, and take a wilderness cpr class. I get to ride at San Angelo State Park often. If someone wants to go out and train let me know.
I’m very interested in hiking the Lone Star Trail. I’m only wanting to hike it because they have banned bikes from the trial. It runs for about 100 miles in the Big Thicket National Forest. Check it out in east Texas.
Some time between the time my aunt bought her house in Lamar and the time she moved in, I made it my little get away. It was not much at the time, and after ripping out the kitchen there was even less. It was great. One weekend my friend Jeff and I were crashing at Lamar for the weekend. After a few Mexican beers with key limes we broke the bikes out of the garage. With a bit of moon light we cruised over to Big Tree and along the coast of St. Charles Bay. I’m not sure who had the girls bike, but it really didn’t matter since no one could see us ride in the dark.
It had been years since I had been on a bicycle and it reminded me how much fun I had on one growing up.
Mom, can I cross the street?
The answer was always NO. I had to be 11 or 12 till my mother stopped watching me from the slim window in out living room.
We lived on Fair Oaks Drive in Corpus Christi. To get to the dirt hills it took 2 street crossings, one across Fair Oaks and the other crossing Stonewall. The dirt hills were not much of any hills. it was just an overgrown lot in the neighborhood. When all the other lots in the neighborhood were built on this one was left empty. It was overgrown and a perfect place for all the boys in the neighborhood to test their manhood. There was a storm drainage ditch that ran along a short dirt track with a jump. I’m guessing the one jump is how the lot was branded Dirt Hills. For me to get there legally I had to stay on the sidewalk and head up and around 2 cul-de-sac and back down around another before reaching the bicycle playground. This was a 7 minute trip that could have taken 1 if allowed to cross the street.
At the dirt hills you could take the storm-drainage down and around the homes it took you to the bamboo forest. Yea it was not much of a bamboo forest, but it was a place some bamboo grew and you could grab some poles and smack your friends bamboo pole till they cracked in martial arts excellence. By the time I was old enough to cross the road without someone holding my hand I had disassembled my BMX bike I had out outgrown. At this time I was into a 12 speed road bike. No one told me that my road bike was not was not as sturdy as my old BMX and it didn’t last quite as long. I road fast and hard on that Raleigh. After finding out how much fatigue would be too much for the bike I remember tacoing the tire and retiring the bicycle for good. I then took over my brothers bicycle and treated it much better than mine.
I was interested in the concept of a recumbent bicycle since my high-school buddy John Harrell’s dad built his own recumbent bike when we were still in high-school. They were odd and hard to ride, but the aerodynamics combined with the ridding position made the machine cool and unique. Years later my parents bought 2 recumbent bicycles. These were refined and easy to ride. My father paid the extra and had a bit of suspension and a fairing on the front end. The bench style seat was better than the typical ass crack saddle that are on standard bicycles. One day my mom asked me if I wanted to fill in and ride with here during a bicycle race. I had only been on the bicycle a few times but accepted the challenge of a 30 mile ride and the fact that my mom needed supervision was also on my mind. The ride started on the king ranch. It was a to and back route on the outskirts of Kingsville Texas. One bicycle group was doing the 60 mile ride and we were doing the 30. The start was epic as they ranch let the mustangs run alongside the fence as we were taking off on our 30 mile run. They were absolutely beautiful and the roar of the heard was impressive
After about 10 miles of babysitting my mom, she told me that if I wanted to ride on I could and she would meet me at the finish line. Much to her surprise I said yes and headed out finally joining the race. I buzzed along as a novice bike rider on a bike I had little to no experience on. My 2nd 10 miles were great but then my legs went to sleep. This happened due to the soft and pleasant bench seat that makes your crack feel good has a problem in the trade off. Your rump sits flat on it and your leg circulation is cut off.
I’m guessing my energy level dropped, or my inexperience started to show during the last 10 miles I was on and off the shoulder of the road. Someone pulled up asking if I needed help and I put it back together and road on.
I was in shape for basketball, but didn’t know what do do on a bicycle. I would watch folks on conventional bicycles and try to match cadence and speed. Boy, oh boy, I had no clue then. Not that I know a lot about bicycles now, but I know enough to know I was a complete bicycle dummy back there.
I was happy to finish the race and it was great to see my mom also completed the 30 mile trek.
On another day or I should say night, I got on popsy’s bikeE and started to ride. I started at our house at 3209 Fair Oaks Drive and made Odem Texas my goal. It didn’t take long and I was cruising out i37 and then across the Nueces river bridge. in my mid 20’s my mom would have kicked my ass if she knew I was cruising a bicycle over a bridge build for cars only. That night I made it to the convenience store bought a little drink and rode back home. It was a great feeling to get on a bicycle, ride to another town, and ride back. What would have been a 15 minute ride on a car took me over 40 minutes. This was my first bicycle trip that mirrored a road I had been on 100 times. When you travel on a bicycle you see things and have time to think about them. Like when I passed the odd shaped building that was built to validate its purpose and validity for the tax office, or the gymnasium I learned to play basketball in. There were so many thing that I had time to think about. When you are passing these things at 75 miles per hour you were are on to the next building or landmark and then back to the road and the other motorist and then further down the road. Sure you could walk it but then you have you work past things too slow and in place of thoughts of the building you then start to philosophize about the brick and mortar the building is made of, so for me the speed of a bicycle is king supreme.
Over the handle bars and onto the pavement chin first
Sure it wasn’t the first time I had used gravity to split open my face using a concrete sidewalk, but it was my first day on a PK Ripper.. It belonged to my uncle Damon. He was 4 years older and had spent his money on a BMX bicycle. I don’t remember what color it was when he bought it but I do remember it bare bone striped of all its components. It was stripped of all its paint down to its raw metal frame. Uncle Burner hung it in a tree by a piece of wire and preceded to put on a fresh coat of paint. Weeks or months had passed and Damon was staying the weekend with us. He had brought his bicycle and let me ride it. I don’t know wow old I was, but I do know this was the first bicycle I had been on that had 2 brake levers. In fact this bicycle was cool enough to have a brake system on the front that enabled you to twist the handle bars around and not twist any cables. I was fascinated by the engineering marvel. I should have been paying attention to the fact that the lft brake lever was connected to the front wheel and the right was in charge of the back. I was going, I was not sure how fast I was going, but I do know I was going fast enough to propel my skinny little ass over the front of the handlebars when I pulled on the left brake lever. From that moment on I never forgot what that brake lever was connected to. I’m not sure what PK Ripper stands for but if you would have asked me on that day I would have told you it was the cousin of the grim reaper. I’m not sure if a PK ripper is a great bicycle to have, but I held this bicycle in a very positive light even though bucks like a bronco. I’m not sure what eve came of the old PK Ripper. I know I rode it on Damon’s makeshift 1/2 pipe. This was the jalopy of all 1/2 pipes. build by high-school kids who stole plywood from signs, ditches, dumpsters and neighbors fences.
Back to the BEGINNING
Just push and learn was how I learned to ride my bicycle. There were a lot of weekends where uncle Damon would stay at our house. He was like a big brother to my big brother. Our childhood home had a wraparound drive at the top of the hill in our front yard. This hill was a source of a lot of childhood fun. We would race our matchbox cars down the hill to see hows car would go the furthest. There was a German made dump truck and a blue van that were the top contenders.
When were weren’t racing cars we were racing our Roller Racer 2000 down the hill and then upgraded to bicycles.
You would have someone at the bottom of the hill to spot you and then yell “GO!” Well let me take a step back, and note this was what they big boys would do. I had not made the plunge down the big hill on my bike yet.
The trip down the hill was a right of passage for the boys of Fair Oaks. It was fast. I was egged on and finally took the drive down the mountain and loved it. I had to build up the cohones to let gravity pull me down down down to the street and beyond. From there on it was not scary anymore but it was fun. What a great way to start a bicycle ride than a down a big hill.
Well that is enough bike rambling for now. I leave you with a movie from my friend Stephanie Myers.
March 14, 2015
I’m in the purgatory of the cancer world. They call it remission. So I’m in remission waiting to be declared cured.
Where does life take me from here on out?
Not really sure what today holds. To be honest I’m not sure what this life holds. In the last 12 months I have come down with cancer, fought cancer, and as I sit today my cancer is in remission. Sure it took 6 months of traveling back and forth to Houston and putting a lot on hold, but now looking back on the journey it seems too easy. Is this it? Is getting rid of cancer this easy? If that is how it works then what do I do now? A marathon race, triathlon, Everest? Feeling like superman but with the need to go out there and kick ass.
The folks who have supported me and my family during my cancer fight have propelled my ego into rock star status. When I would blog, or talk people instead. I feel like I need to continue on and provide more content about my life.
Cancer has jacked with my head. I find my self looking for the bigger purpose in life. Ridding my bicycle seems to take the mind off of my purpose. I have list upon list of things I need to do but I want to rip them up and go ride. I want to ride, and ride and ride. Ride from here to there where “there” is more than a few hundred miles away. I want nature and bare bones living more and more. Sure as I’m typing this up I’m 25,000 feet in the air riding to Florida on a trip to Costa Rica. I have headphones in listening to a book about 2 ladies and their journey from the West coast to the East coast. So I have a laptop and a phone running audibles talking about simplifying life. Does it make since to you? Yea me neither. I wish to be connected and disconnected at the same time. My work can’t be done without the tools of a digital camera and computer. How could I do work if I get rid of the digital devices? How could you read what I have to type if I give it up.
I have a dream:
Today my dream is tied up to a 300 mile bike ride from south Arizona to Phoenix. The concept of being able to traverse over a long distance while taking care of self and bike to reach a destination at the end of rough/beautiful territory. Sure some scratch their heads and say “I’ve been to Arizona and there is nothing beautiful about it!” but like west Texas’ Big Bend Country, you love it or hate it. The summer before my freshman year in High-school I spent a week in Tempe, AZ. I remember it as 100 plus degrees 100% of time. That was when the monsoons were not sweeping small cars into the flood channels. It could be the brutal weather, the rattlesnakes, or the prickly desert floor, but I think a 300 mile bike race in the rough back country would be perfect for me at this point in life.
So once I get things in order at home and at work I hope to be out on the trail beating life. The start will be the Arizona trail, then the Colorado 500, and then the biggie on the list will be the Tour Divide. That is the race from Banff Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. It runs for over 2,700 miles and would be 25+ days in the saddle.
I’m still working on this post cancer life of mine. I will let you know how it is going.
My little Sophie is getting big. She started walking this week.
We are just about done with chemotherapy round 5. Even though we have excellent child care available we are thankful we have the opportunity to have our little ones with us. Sure they can be a pain in the rear but they bring so much more joy into our world.
This morning Grason and I did some home school work before little monster Ben Ben woke up.
After breakfast the boys and I snuck out of the house and ran up to the donut shop on our bikes. Mama and Sophie took advantage of a quiet house and rested.
The boys took some time and figured out the gears on the bikes.
Benjamin has a style all his own.
So life on Chemotherapy sucks, but life one chemotherapy with loved ones around makes it all better. I get a constant reminder why I’m putting myself through this.
Now that my girl is walking I need to do everything in my power to be there when she is ready to walk down the isle. And a note to the guy at the end of the isle… If I’m not around there will be folks like Jeff Durrwachter and Kevin Hill that will put the hurt on you if you care to screw up.
We’ll back to work for now. I’m completing a big law firm video project today. Tonight after my chemotherapy disconnect I get a bag of Cyclophosphamide and hate life for 36 hours. Good news is the break before round 5 and 6 will be 5 days longer. I always start to feel really good 2 days before the next round. Looks like I will get a week of “really good” this break.
My first oncologist at MD Anderson was in the Orthopaedics department. Kendra looked at all the people there and then proclaimed,
“They all walk like you do”
Sure enough all the patients there had a limp just like I did. I could try like hell to not to limp and even on the days I thought I was walking good people would still ask me why I was limping. It seemed like there was no getting away from it. The original department put me on crutches and told me to stay off of it. Being that my first MRI, the one that caught the cancer, indicated I had a tear on my hip and a fracture of the bone I knew why I was walking funny. A few days of trekking around MD Anderson on my crutches helps lesson the inflammation in my hip. I also removed all refined food substances from my diet. That was the 1-2 punch to get me prepped and ready to pour chemotherapy on the fire.
After all the scans and test I was bounced from the Orthopaedics to the Lymphoma department. They we not so concerned about me being on crutches and so they went back to storage. Working out and pushing it was something okay-ed by my doctor here at MD Anderson. So I’m back on the bicycle and working out from time to time. On this break I will try harder to eat best and ride hard.
Today worked out great. I woke up in my own bed, I worked hard, ate right, worked out, played with kids, read books and admired the wife. Tonight I will go back and sleep in my bed. Good stuff.
I have been labeled a fall risk with my tumor issue. The doctor at MD Anderson wrote me a script for crutches. I’m guessing they have to do that for insurances purposes. They also said I could not go out and bicycle ride. Bicycling is a comfort. Aside from using an elliptical rider the bicycle does not hurt to use. I feel very natural on it and love the workout. So I had to bring the bike fun indoors.
So my new go anywhere bicycle is now locked down like a chained up dog. Its not the same as the freedom of the road but if you turn the ceiling fan on high you can imagine the wind in your hair is due to your pedaling speed. I setup in the home office and put on a Paleo YouTube channel.
So I was happy to get a workout in today. I cut off any calorie intake at 8pm and will be in bed by 12:00. This is new and it is working well.
Old rim needs new tube.
After a few weeks with my new bike I got interested in an old bike I left out at my folks house. The bike is a Trek 800 mountain bike. I bought it from a Corpus Christi pawn shop back in 2005. It was a bargain at $65. Well that was the case till I found out it needed a $35 tuneup and it had a slightly bent rim. The folks at The Pedal Bicycle Shop also laughed at me when I professed it was indeed my bike. I asked why and that started my first leson on bicycles frame size. I rode it for a few paychecks and then upgraded to a Specialized Hardrock Comp Disk 26er.
Kendra had a bike for a while and it hurt her knee to ride. After a size check it we determined it was a bad fit. So that bike was donated to the neighbor’s house. Years back Kendra rode the Trek and loved how it made her leg feel. We did nothing but store it at my folks lake house. With the kids starting their bike ridding adventure I pulled the Terk out of its dusty grave and will be tuning it up today. One major issue is a valve wont close on one of the tubes. This is no surprise. The tubes are 9 years old.
Well off to buy some new tubes and get Kendra out riding with me and the boys.