Longevity and your Heart

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Okay, let’s just admit it, most of us are exercising addicts.  I am for sure.   I wrote a post a couple years ago about exercise and your heart.  I’ve already written a couple posts about this, but it needs to be common knowledge for all of us.

Long term and extreme exercise can be dangerous to our hearts.  We need to be cognizant of the potential issues this can involve.

Here is a link to an audio show on NPR last week, with Dr. James O’Keefe.  I went to see Dr. O’Keefe a couple years ago and he is a smart guy.  And what he is reporting here is not something that comes easy for him.  He would like to be telling us that the more hard, endurance exercise we all do is good for us.  But that isn’t the case, according to the studies he’s gathered.  It might not be what we all want to hear or how we plan to live our lives, but we need to understand the issues involved in “excessive” endurance exercise.

If you have some extra time this morning, you should listen to the audio show and make up your own mind.  Have a great Saturday morning.

heart

 

UCI to Suspend Astana’s Pro Tour License ???

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Finally is all I can say.  Finally the UCI is doing something, not even close to enough, but something to stop this blatant use of doping in the sport of cycling.  It is hard to fathom how a team such as Astana, could be still racing on the Pro Tour level after all the shit they’ve participated in.

And I’m just using the information of what they have been “caught” for.  5 doping violations, between the Pro Tour Team and Astana’s farm team,  in less than a year would seem like enough, in itself, to have this already in place.  But, I think, money speaks louder than words and Astana is a big amount of that, money.  Money coming out of a place that you wouldn’t normally think money in the sport of cycling would come from.  And that speaks a lot in nearly all aspects of sport, and in life.

I’m not a fan of Astana since it’s figure head is Alexander Nikolaevich Vinokourov.  Let’s just skip all those extra letters and just refer to him as Vino.  I’ve made my thoughts pretty clear on Vino here.   It is nearly unfathomable, to me, that he is our reigning Olympic Road Race Champion.  How can a guy that has so, so many ghosts in his closets, plus the all the laundry that he’s left all over the sport, still be involved in the sport at all?  It is more than mildly embarrassing.  I believe that he and Alexandr Kolobnev have been formally charged with bribery and are currently awaiting trial for that.  It is about fixing the Leige-Bastogne-Leige race in 2010.  Seems that 150,000 euros exchanged hands and the Belgians don’t like that type of cycling publicity to be public.

And look who has been involved with this team.  Johan Bruyneel ran the team from 2007-2009.  I’m sure he cleaned it up.  Then, after his departure, Vino and the crew must have just fallen off the wagon, since they’ve had so many doping positives since.  And Lance and the other US guys involved in the USADA investigation show us how often that the dope tests actually “catch” riders.  Like hardly ever.

The Padova Investigation in Italy stated that Astana had 17, yes 17 of its riders using Dr. Michele Ferrari, who was Lance’s guy and has been banned permanently from the sport of cycling.  He was Vino’s doctor too.  17 seems like a pretty huge number.  I don’t quite understand why all those guys are still racing bikes, but the system is flawed, obviously.    The investigation says that Astana used systematic doping on their team.

Our current Tour de France winner, Astana’s Vinenzo Nibali on the subject -

“The problems in this team are also in many others. I don’t think our team is the worst because in other teams there are worse people than there are here, I won’t name names.”

Then – “There’s Mafia in Sicily, as in the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean we’re all gangsters. As cyclists we’re always trying to show transparency. I’ve always practiced clean cycling and I will continue to do so.”

What sound bites, beautiful.

We could go on and on here, but it would take too long.  Enough.

I hope removing the Pro Tour status from Astana will make them go away.  But, of course, Vino is going to fight this tooth and nail.  But, like I stated above, money talks and our sport seems to have blinders on when that is the case.

Maybe, just maybe, Brian Cookson, is the guy, the right guy, to lead us into this new, completely new, era of the sport.  It has always been polluted, just how polluted, I think we’ll find out soon when the CIRC report is released within the next month.  Or so they say.

 

Our current Tour de France champion, with Vino.  A happy couple at the time.

Our current Tour de France champion, with Vino. A happy couple at the time.

 

Not quite the same, but close.

Not quite the same, but close.

Caught by the Weather

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You think in this day and age that the weather forecast would be way closer to correct than it is currently.  I often can’t believe how off the weather forecast is.  That was close to the case yesterday.

I was sort of beat from driving all day on Tuesday, but Brian was going to take the afternoon off and it was forecast to be in the mid 50’s.  Then it was/is supposed to be pretty horrible weather the next 10 days.  At least horrible for riding outside.  Right now it is 7 degrees and the windchill is -8.

Anyway, Bill, Kris, Trudi and I headed east to meet up with Brian, who was riding over from Lawrence.  We were going to ride all day on gravel.  It was sunny and in the mid to upper 50’s.  The forecast was for the wind switching after 7 pm, and then start raining, then snowing.

Everything went pretty good initially.  Nice ride, but windy.  We met up with Jason Knight and started riding new roads, at least new to me, out south.  We got back towards Lawrence around 4:30.  Riding into Lawrence, the wind started howling from the Northwest and it started spitting down rain.

Jason went home and Brian rode just Bill and I (Trudi and Kris had turned back) back to a Starbucks.  Brian went home and Bill and I had 30 miles to ride home.  Directly into a 35 mph headwind.  It wasn’t really raining, something more like the drizzle I experienced in Seattle a couple weeks ago.

We drank some coffee and headed out.  It was pretty ugly.  We were only going around 12 mph and I hate it, but I always divide the speed into the distance.  I was thinking about 2  1/2 hours, which would have put is back around 8 pm.  Sunset was 6:08.

When we got to the River Road, it was a bit sheltered and we were going better.  But the temperature was dropping.  My Garmin said it was in the lower 30’s, but with the wind, it was bone chilling cold.  I was only wearing long-fingered MTB biking gloves.  Bill had some a little better, but not good enough.

About 1/2 way back, the rain turned to sleet, then to snow.  It was dark by then.  We were riding gravel, so there was pretty much no chance of traffic.  Bill left his sunglasses on, saying the sleet was killing his eyes.  I took mine off and just looked down.

My knees, both of them, started hurting with about 15 miles to go.  On the inside, below the Medial meniscus.  They got so sore I had to keep standing to relieve the pain.  I worry when new pain starts, but since it was both knees, I was worried less.

It really wasn’t that bad, other than our hands.  Right on the outskirts of Topeka, I told Bill I had to stop to swing my arms.  I couldn’t shift anymore and braking was getting iffy.  Bill’s hands were bad too.

We got back around 7:15.  I felt pretty good about the mileage, but was a little hurt.  This morning my knees still ached.  I texted Stacie, in Louisville, and she Facetimed me just a little bit ago.  I’m using some Flexor patches and anti-inflammatories for a couple days.   I’m not too obsessed with the issue, yet.

Like I said, the forecast is pretty bad for the foreseeable future.  But, like I stated at the start of this post, I don’t put much credence in weather forecasts.

 

When the weather was still good.

When the weather was still good.

It got a little primitive every once in a while.

It got a little primitive every once in a while.

This was missing 6 miles.

This was missing 6 miles.

 

My knees this morning.

My knees this morning.

 

Anybody Sick of Winter Yet

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I know, I know.  Just a few days ago I wrote a post about not worrying about being behind the curve and that it was only February and the season is plenty long enough.  But, Winter has seemed to be dragging on just about everywhere.  I even looked at the weather in Austin Texas this morning and it was in the 30’s and raining.

We did the drive back from Denver to Topeka yesterday after going for a ride.  The roads along the foothills in Denver were pretty mucky.  Sloppy and wet low, snowy and slick higher.  Vincent and I, for some reason unknown to either of us, decided to ride up Lookout Mtn. once again.

Starting up Lookout, it was obvious that it was going to be challenging.  Challenging going up, but more challenging coming back down.  The road was borderline non-road bikeable  on the way up.  There were sections that the whole road was snow covered and we were both questioning the decision to climb the hill, but, neither of us blinked.

We had to pull off to the side a couple times for the snow plows coming by.  We probably should have ridden our MTB bikes, but we didn’t.  We got to the top okay.  Vincent wasn’t having a great day and I was happy riding whatever pace he wanted to go.  I was just content with riding outside on such a challenging day.

We got to the top alright, but were a little dreading come back down.  There were a few sections of solid snowpack where you were going to have to just let it run and not touch the brakes at all.  As it turned out, it was better than either of us thought.  I think the road cleared some as we climbed.  It wasn’t nearly as treacherous as the climbing was and we got down unscathed.

Bromont got a lot better yesterday.  He likes the hum of the diesel van, buts still pretty much slept in Trudi’s lap the whole way back.  He’s eaten twice and seems not to be in any pain.  He has 4 big incisions, but hasn’t really tried to lick them at all.  I’m not sure what that is all about.  Normally, he licks stitches until he gets them out.

Today it is supposed to be 50 degrees after noon.  Brian is taking the afternoon off and Bill and I are meeting up with him to do a long gravel ride.  I’m a bit worried it is going to be messy.  There are piles of snow by the driveways, so wherever the roads don’t get direct sun, I assume there will be ice and snow.

This might be the first time I’ve ridden with Brian this year.  Weird.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 19 degrees, with rain turning to snow later tonight.  Guess it is just that time of the year.

Vincent heading up Lookout yesterday.  It is Vincent's birthday today.  Happy Birthday Vincent!

Vincent heading up Lookout yesterday. It is Vincent’s birthday today. Happy Birthday Vincent!

Lots of snow at the top.

Lots of snow at the top.

Mucky and icy.

Mucky and icy.

Bromont had the full back seat, but came up to the front and did his lap dog thing instantly.  We got him a long sleeve t-shirt at a thrift store in Fort Collins to stop him from licking.

Bromont had the full back seat, but came up to the front and did his lap dog thing instantly. We got him a long sleeve t-shirt at a thrift store in Fort Collins to stop him from licking.

This is Bromont's shirt.  Funny it was at the thrift shop and the perfect size.

This is Bromont’s shirt. Funny it was at the thrift shop and the perfect size.

 

Price Questions

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I don’t shop much.  Well, I do shop, but usually only when I need something.  I like wandering around places, checking stuff out in different places, but I’m not sure I classify that as shopping.  More like looking.

While Bromont was at the Vet’s yesterday, we had all day to just mess around Fort Collins.  We went downtown and walked around.  Fort Collins has a nice downtown.  Viable.  We ate some soup at Spoons and then drove down to Sierra Trading Post.  I used to buy some stuff at Sierra Trading Post, but it didn’t seem like the magazine.  It seemed like an outlet store in an outlet mall.  Very unappealing.

Anyway, I have to admit, and I’ve done it before here, that I have no idea how much something should cost.  Some things seem way too cheap to me and many other things seem astronomically expensive.

In cycling, I don’t know why you can buy at cyclocross tire that costs the same amount as a tire for your car.   A car tire seems like it should cost a ton more.  It used to be the same way with lights.  A good set of lights cost up to $300, when you could buy a nice headlamp at a camping store for $25.

There are lots of examples everywhere, not just cycling.  Here are a few photos I took yesterday of prices out of wack.

$750 for a pair of hiking boots.  I'd ralther use my old boots and buy a plane ticket to Swizerland and hike in the Swiss Alps instead.

$750 for a pair of hiking boots. I’d ralther use my old boots and buy a plane ticket to Switzerland and hike in the Swiss Alps instead.

A $14 Snickers bar.  I don't know how many bags I could buy of mini Snickers around Halloween, but it would have to add up to more than this one big bar.

A $15 Snickers bar. I don’t know how many bags I could buy of mini Snickers around Halloween, but it would have to add up to more than this one big bar.

These ski gloves were on sale for $179 dollars.  I can't imagine them being any better than $75 Pearl Izumi gloves.

These ski gloves were on sale for $179 dollars. I can’t imagine them being any better than $75 Pearl Izumi gloves.

I don't even know what this is, but $21 is a joke.  But it is Whole Foods.

I don’t even know what this is, but $21 is a joke. But it is Whole Foods.

You can get twice as much here, in Whole Foods, for 3 bucks.  Maybe it's the difference between beef and pork lard?  Grass feed or grain feed?  Who knows?

You can get more here, also in Whole Foods, for 3 bucks. Maybe it’s the difference between beef and pork lard? Grass fed or grain fed? Who knows?