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.
Rookie Derrick Perrin here. I’m starting my first season of riding long distances on a mountain bike packed with wilderness camping gear. I’m going to short list my reasons for having a passion for bike-packing and then write you out a few run-on sentences with a lot of spelling/grammar errors.
Reasons to ride ultra marathon wilderness mountain bike races:
Watch Ride the Divide June 2014 and was excited to ride ultra races. Bought a bike 15 days later. Was diagnosed with cancer 2 months later.
Riding for James, Label bike TOKC
Figuring out what to do next – how is life post cancer work out?
What money goes for – Awareness & education
I have never set goals and now I am.
What if I fail? Pick up the pieces and keep moving in a positive direction
The bike broke me, the bike fix me. That is the book theme here.
Overnight I had so much attention I felt like I was a rock-star. Only I was a rock star without a band and a tour bus and groupies, no only thing I had was cancer.
Derrick Perrin at the observation deck at M.D. Anderson – Houston, Texas
September 2014 I’m sitting in a hospital bed at MD Anderson and my charge nurse pops in the room with “Oh is this your first time for Chemotherapy?”
Yes, I’m a rookie. Quickly ideas of never wanting to be a veteran here at 1515 Holcomb lane arrive. This is the first of 5 days of my first round of Lymphoma treatments.
I was treated great, but I felt like a rookie. Growing up playing youth sports the feeling of rookie had come and gone several times. Those times if you screwed up or didn’t get it right people laughed or teased you, but as I sit in a hospital with cancer there were was no time to mess things up. I was out to get it right.
I was diagnosed with cancer towards the end of August 2014. The 12 months before my right hip had been giving me troubles. Time and time again I shrugged it off and took more over the counter painkillers. They did the job and kept the pain under control. After long days on the job I would have extra pain, but thought it was muscular or a structural issues. I never thought for once it was cancer. Well, I take that back. After looking up my symptoms on doctor diagnosis website I read it might be cancer. This was supported by a friend of mine who had recently passed. She was younger than me and ran into some hip pain. She was crazy active and the owner of a Zumba fitness studio. That is the equivalent of salsa – yoga dancing for the uninformed. So after a few years fight she passed and then my hip pain set in. It was easy to blow off the cancer concept due to the fact I’m 10 foot tall and bulletproof… I had been up to this point.
My entire life I had been active and this hip thing was hurting my activities. I went to my general doctor only to get a pill that worked worse than I what I was already on. I iced, foam rolled, had professional massage appointments, multiple trips to the chiropractor over weeks and weeks. I never seemed to get any better. Things did get worse. After long shooting days I would crawl to bed or use the dirty clothes bin as an ole-lady walker. It was painful, but I didn’t have cancer. I figured it was just a muscle issue because that is what the orthopedic specialist said it would probably be. He made a list from most likely to not very likely and cancer was not on that list. The items listed where:
Torn Left Hip labrum
Muscular tear or strain
Like I mentioned before, no where did my orthopedic doctor mention cancer. He did want me to get a MRI with a cortisone shot. I put it off thinking a torn labium was the problem and I could not schedule a surgery for months and there is no use looking at my inner bits without the opportunity for surgery. I continued my life of massage therapy to remove my knotted up muscles. I also quit running and started looking for a bicycle. I found one on my wife’s birthday in June 2014. I got on it and rode for double digit miles the first day. I was so excited I had an activity that didn’t piss off my hip. The freedom of getting on and losing the pain that came with walking was great.
Two months passed and my hip was no better and no worse. I had really enjoyed my time on the bike. It had been years since some asshole took mine and rode off into the sunset. That had to look fun being most folks around my parts don’t fit on a XL bicycle frame. Yes, I’m still working on that forgiveness thing. I don’t have it down quite yet. So I was out riding at night and I found a cool little ditch to practice shifting gears quick and pulling myself out of a hole. I was super cool up to the tipping point. I came up the side at a diagonal and missed a gear shift sending me toppling right. If it would have been my left side I would have just stuck out my leg and rolled back a bit, but it was my right side. My right hip was the injured hip and made it hard to throw one leg over my bike frame to get on. I was babying it and didn’t know it till I landed on my hip and crash, boom, bang there was a crap load of pain. I was lying at the bottom of a ditch with my beloved bike frame on top of me. There is some sort of metaphor there but I just don’t know what to read of it.
I made it 3 days before I dug up my MRI orders. It was 93 days passed the prescription date and I had to call the orthopedic office to reschedule. I was ready for answers but wasn’t sure about the cortisone shot. After weighing the options I went with it. It was August 21, 2015 when I walked into my local radiologist shop. The shot and scan were easy going. This MRI would be my first ride in the big doughnut, but not my last. I tried to scan the screen right after my MRI and see if I could see a labium tear or anything else. I saw nothing out of the ordinary and figured I would be feeling better once the shot kicked in. I was right, the next few days brought me relief that had been on vacation for a while.
The weekend came and went and on my hip started to feel better but not perfect. I really wanted my radiology report so I called and dropped by for a copy. I ran out to the car to see what my problem was. I read it twice before falling into tears. Right acetabular fracture and also a mass” we some of the first things I gathered from the notes. I then came across this little gem of life changing information, “ Given the patient’s age and appearance, differential considerations would be led with multiple myeloma/plasmacytoma, lymphoma or sarcoma.” Well crap Lymphoma is what Zumba Christina had and I had just attended funeral services for my friend James Ragan who lost his fight with osteosarcoma. I knew the hill I was facing was huge when I looked up myeloma/plasmacytoma and it pretty much told me to go write up my will.
The next 72 hours were a train wreck at best. Sleepless nights, blog post, my self imposed Facebook prohibition was lifted and the prayers began. We drove to Wimberley Texas to visit one of my new doctors and while we were there James Ragan’s mom called and let me know my ass needed to be at MD Anderson by 6:30 the next morning. So we stopped off at picked up some clothing and a toothbrush between San Marcos and Houston. We arrived around 4 and I found a nice place to sleep before labs opened. From that day on I learned that cancer had more to do with hurdles tossed in your way than with simply taking some medication that might kill you if the cancer didn’t get you first.
If it would not have been for the Ragan family and their involvement with MD Anderson I would not have been in their care so fast. There is a reason God put them in my life.
As I went thru chemo treatment I kept riding my bike. My oncologist and mom would talk about my safety and ability to ride a bike. He said it was okay for me to go and push as hard as I can. So that is what I want to do. I did a lot of research on what it took mentally and physically. I also read a lot of trail reports on what gear is must have and what can be left behind. I don’t mind being a rookie on a bike. I’m looking forward to it. I figure I have been in and out of a lot fighting cancer. My mentally is stronger at a cost of leaving my physical weaker.
I was receiving chemotherapy at the same time I was trying to heal my fractured hip bone. My doctor had one concern and that was for me to not die from lymphoma. He didn’t really care if I could walk right or how well my hip healed. All subsequent MRI scans show a star style bone reconstruction. I have stuck with my bike and with yoga as my 2 main rehab activities. The yoga keeps me limber, the bike keeps me sane.
Sure I would love to go out in the wilderness and disappear for a few days in the back country, but there are a lot of things that have to be done for that to happen.
In between, and during many of my chemotherapy rounds I would get on my bike and ride. You don’t get to think about much but the bike when you are on a ride. The brain is functioning on balance and direction when the lungs and muscles are trying to reach a happy medium of converting oxygen to carbon dioxide. Its really a great feeling to ride a bike.
This is the trailer for the film that first perked my love of bike packing. One day I would love to have the chance to ride the Tour Divide. Between now and then I would love to start off my rookie season by riding the AZT 300, CTR 500, and then come back the next year for the AZT750. That would be a hell of a rookie season.
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.
We are on a little vacation so I have time to read the little red manual that came with my bicycle.
I found a few nuggets to laugh at: Standover height – “…and bounce vigorously on your heels. If your crotch touches the frams, the bike is too big for you.” Riding Safety “Remember that a bicycle always loses in a collision with a motor vehicle….” & “Never ride your bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs” Night Riding – Well this chapter ends up being about riding when the sun goes down and not about riding in a car with a cool computer personality. If your bicycle sustains an impact “First, check yourself for injuries, and take care of them as best you can. Next, check your bike for damage” – Really folks? Are there people who love their bike more than themselves?
Enjoy the ride – Derrick Perrin
I had a unique idea pop into my head after watching a bike documentary about riders tackling the great divide.
Corpus Christi to Valentine, TX. 571 miles on a bike.
I’m kicking around the concept of riding my bicycle from Corpus Christi to my land outside of Valentine, TX. The basic numbers make it a 7 day ride to get there. 2 days will be spent Lying dead on my property and then 7 days back.
wow, now that I have written that down and read it a few times it sounds crazy. My wife has been in support of this concept and said she will ride as my support team. I love her but think I could never repay her for the sacrifice.
So there you have it the basic idea of a bike-packing trip. For better or worse I still think it would be a great trip. America ByCycle is a resource that has been entertaining and informative. I would suggest you check them out.
Years ago my mountain bike went missing from my front porch. I miss that bike. It was a large frame bike for a big body boy.
Fast forward 5 years and I’m back on a bike. Friday Grason and I test road a few bikes at Corpus bike shops. It was great to be riding even if it was just around the parking lot. My hip doesn’t hurt while riding so this is a good thing.
We are in San Angelo right now and my father inlaw was nice enough to let me ride his new mountain bike. After 6 miles on the road I had a flat front tire.
I walked the bike to the auto part store and bought some slime and a pump. Next, I buzzed to china-mart and grabbed a new tube and a snickers bar.
Well after my tail bone was soar I kept riding and completed my 16.39 mile ride.
No one was riding with me, there were no time trials, but this was a victory. Since December my hip has been off and on. I was happy to discover my body was feeling great after a 16 mile ride. I hope to hit the trail soon. I’m also in the market for a new XL bicycle.
I will post about my bicycling companion app “Map My Ride” after a few rides.