Monthly Archives: December 2012

It’s all about the Heart

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Okay, I usually don’t rehash the same subject two days in a row here, but the heart post from yesterday deserves a little more attention.

First, I’d like to offer my condolences to Patrick Avery’s family. I read here at that Patrick died Tuesday evening, during a criterium in New Zealand, from a possible heart heart attack. I raced against his brother, Clinton many times. He is a very good bicycle racer.

Second of all I’d like to thank everyone that personally contacted me and gave me some advice, or told me their story, etc. It is truly the best reward I get from doing this thing.

Third, no, I don’t think I have any serious, check into the cardiac ward, heart issue that I’m dealing with. That being said, most elite athletes, and probably more specifically cyclists, do tend to be somewhat of hypochondriacs, at least to the extent that they pay serious attention to how they feel and what the cause might be. I do fit into that category for sure.

Anyway, I didn’t ride yesterday. I spent most the day helping a friend hang drywall and build a shower basin for a bathroom remodel. I had such a bad ride on Monday, I thought that maybe I’d just see how the day went and if riding fit its way in, then it would. It didn’t. I didn’t have much time to check the comments here or at Facebook. (I think there is a way to get the comments from Facebook posted here, but that seems to be beyond my capabilities at this time.)

Anyway, I did get a call from Dr. O’Keefe. The cardiologist that “started” this whole thing. He took a fair amount of time talking to me about this whole issue. He said something about being the messenger of bad news. I agree. He is a very good endurance athlete, and by talking to him, I’m sure he would be much happier to tell us all that the more we all exercised, the healthier we would all be. But, that isn’t his belief. He had his assistant call me about making an appointment. I missed that call, so I’ll have to get back to her first thing this morning. Hopefully, I can go over to KC very soon and meet him. It will be very interesting.

I think one of the reasons this resonates with me is because I know of a whole lot of personal friends that have had some major heart issues. Way more proportionally than I should. And these guys didn’t get them at 40 or 50. They got them anywhere from 17 years old to the mid 30’s. And they have issues serious enough that they have pacemakers. This isn’t even counting the riders I know that have other major heart issues, but aren’t to the state of pacemaker yet. And, also, it isn’t counting the guys that are just plain dead. Died early, for no apparent reason other than their hearts were enlarged.

I am a bike racer. That is pretty much what I’ve done my whole life. It doesn’t necessarily define me, but it has molded me into who I am. I don’t plan on giving up this sport for anything. But, if someone could convince me that I might be in imminent danger, health-wise, if I keep competing, then I’d have to rethink the whole thing. I love the lifestyle, but without being alive you can’t have it either.

Okay, here’s an example of one of the emails I got yesterday. It’s very nice.


The point of this email is a selfish one. I read the blog every day and have earned some things from you through it and in emails. I would like that to continue. At some point i would like to be able to do a ride with you and the group. If you do not begin to take better care of yourself, those things will not happen. Here is a perfect example of what happens when we don’t listen to our bodies. The velo news article on Scott Nydam

I know that you are a independent, stubborn guy who can push through pain like a saw through lumber, but you need to go see a doctor. My Dad is a Doc, a physician, as well as a runner. He has been running for nearly 43 years. He was not world class, but fast. He ran a 2:32 marathon off 30 miles a week. The point is he was fast and has the mindset of a athlete. I was telling him of your issues and his words were, “He needs to go get checked out”.

Searching the internet for your health issues is not how to get healthy. If you are going to do that the only sites to trust are .gov

I hope you will take my advice and my dads and go get a physical and have them figure out what is going on. If you don’t have a Dr., call Shadd Smith, he can point you in the right direction.

Okay, if you have some extra time, check out Dr. O’keefe’s video below. It goes into the whole issue a little bit more than the one yesterday.

Whatever – Rick Crawford

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You know, nothing really surprises me much anymore concerning doping in the sport of bicycle racing. This Rick Crawford thing isn’t a surprise at all. It was so apparent. It stunk so long ago that it doesn’t smell all that bad now.

Rick Crawford isn’t a bad guy. Whenever I’ve run into him, he is super nice, super friendly, a real hard worker. But, that doesn’t offset the issue that he supplied drugs to guys to race bicycles. Plus, he sat on that information until he got busted, thru testimony, from USADA.

Racing bicycles and taking drugs to do so is one thing, but supplying drugs to the athletes that you train is something completely different. There are no peer pressures there. You’re just not trying to keep up with the other guys that are taking drugs. You’re in it for notoriety and money. Can’t be for any other reason. So, he’s a complete asshole, in my opinion, and shouldn’t be allowed to do anything in the sport ever again. Sorry, but there are plenty of knowledgeable people out there that can help our young riders progress, but Rick Crawford shouldn’t be one of them. He had his chance and threw his chip in. When it comes down to it, Rick Crawford is/was/whatever, a drug dealer.

I find it very hard to believe, nearly impossible, that Levi and Kirk O’bee are the only athletes that Rick supplied EPO to. Obviously, he didn’t have any problem or moral issues with supplying drugs to those athletes, so I don’t understand why it would stop at just two out of ?????, maybe 100’s? Isn’t it so convenient that Rick would “come out and volunteer” the names of two athletes that he helped dope. Levi, the guy that probably ratted him out to USADA, and Kirk O’bee, a rider that has already been suspended for life. He probably should have thrown in Phillip Zajicek, Nathan O’Neil, or even Dewey, to add credibility.

I personally know a lot of guys that Rick has coached. So now, even to me, their names and results seem much more suspect than they did before. They can all thank their “coach” for that. But, in reality, all our results are suspect. It is one of the very bad by-products of this whole doping issue.

I’ve already written about Tom Danielson. Rick was the guy at Fort Lewis when Tom rose to stardom. I know that Rick swears he had nothing to do with Tom. I know Tom confessed, and it is to no ones benefit here, to have Tom’s and Rick’s testimony to clash. Even USADA doesn’t want that. But, come on, seems pretty coincidental. Maybe it’s not related at all, but it seems screwy.

Anyway, Colorado Mesa U is sending a very bad message keeping Rick around. Hopefully, USAC will step in and give Rick a nudge towards the exit. Maybe, legally, the statue of limitations have expired for any sanction by our sport, or legally, but I’m sure that the head guys at our governing body have enough pull to help set a standard here of no tolerance. Especially by the guys/coaches supplying drugs to the athletes.

Here’s a post Rick made on Facebook a few days ago. It is such a shame he didn’t act previously like he is talking now.

Interesting that no one is talking about what happens to a young American rider going to Astana, a team rife with lots of sketchy history w/ Vino and Bruyneel etc. Do we want our young riders on this path… NO! Evan should be in college still, maturing, learning, developing a wisdom base, and racing. This fast track has been the doom of many a prodigy. And we need to examine the entire devo system. There is a fine collegiate cycling establishment… it’s clear to me this is the future. It’s more important to develop good educated citizens than to put our young people in lucrative contracts before they are mature enough to make good decisions with absolutely no safety net. I’m sure Evan is super ambitious, scared, and excited… he’s in the frying pan now. This development path needs to be more structured with the well-being of our youth in mind, rather than the tool of a corporation and/or corrupt gov sponsored team.

Rick hangin’ out.

Legs and Lungs out of Sync

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I rode to Lawrence yesterday with Bill, then met up with Brian, going over for the annual Sunflower Bike Shop holiday extravaganza. We rode on gravel, down by the river. I never feel too good starting out nowadays, but after a while, I felt better.

The weird thing was that my legs and lungs never seemed to be on the same page. It was as simple as this. I was pretty comfortable, breathing-wise, if I was over geared or under geared. But, as soon as I was riding the correct cadence for my legs, my normal cadence, it seemed like I was getting winded. I’ve never really experienced that before. It was pretty interesting to me, from that respect, but of course, mildly disturbing from a mental state.

We made it over to Lawrence fine, just when it got dark. Adam Mills and his wife, Alyson, drove up from Dallas to come back for a visit, which was nice. We ate with them, plus Brian’s wife, Michelle, Shadd Smith, Joseph Schmalz, plus Matt Gilhausen, our illustrious leader from TradeWind Energy. It was good see everyone.

The Sunflower Party was great as usual. Lots of good people, beer and wine, plus Dan’s famous prize giveaway. I don’t see these people nearly often enough, so it is always good catching up.

This afternoon, I’m making my way over to Kansas City to visit with Dr. O’Keefe. I really should write down everything I want to ask him, but I’ll probably just wing it. I’m looking forward to the whole thing.

I’m virtually positive I’m going to race on Saturday here in Topeka at the Kansas State Cyclo-X Championships. I haven’t raced for over a month, maybe longer, so it will be a reality check. I’ve hardly done an effort for a month and a half, so it might be more of a reality check that I imagine. But, you have to re-start somewhere, so this is a pretty good option.

Okay, I’ll let you know all I learn at the cardiologist.

The gang back together for dinner at Freestate.

Dan, master of ceremonies.

I try to stay out of the fray upstairs.

Sunflower Bike Shop is a great store. They have tons of camping stuff.

Plus, they sell boats and also climbing gear.

And it’s dog friendly.

Anyone drink any of this stuff? I had an ounce over at the Walberg’s house a couple nights ago. Man, is it hard to get down.

Mind at Ease

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How about the finish of that cross race that just ended? Sven is probably not very happy pulling his foot out of his pedal 50 meters from the line. Nothing pisses you off making those types of mistakes when it is crucial to ride clean.

I spent most of the day yesterday driving to Kansas City and seeing Dr. O’Keefe, the cardiologist. It was well worth it. Dr. O’Keefe is one of those guys that is doing what he was meant to do. He has super energy and is very interested and excited about anything involving the heart. He spent a good amount of time with me, which was very nice.

I did a heart scan and an EKG and everything was good. Maybe better than good. He said that I had no indication of any damage to my heart from exercise. And everything looked great. He looked at my blood tests and went over them. The man is super busy, takes cell calls from his staff while he is in the office.

So, that is that. I was thinking about the visit with him and was wondering if maybe he was a little depressed that I wasn’t showing any signs of his belief that an extreme amount of exercise might injure you heart? I know he doesn’t want me to be unhealthy, so that is sort of silly. But, I know he wants more data to support the information his already collected. I’m glad I’m not part of that data.

Anyway, I’m racing here in Topeka in 4 hours. I have to get going. It is going to be a very competitive race. All the guys around here have been racing a lot and are having stellar years. Lots of locals are training through the holidays, peaking for Madison. And most everyone older than 30 are going to Louisville for Master’s Worlds. I’m a little behind, but hope to catch up quickly. If I feel better and ride all right, I’m planning on driving to Jefferson City tomorrow for the Missouri State Cyclocross Championships. If not, I’m going to the Cirque Du Soleil show at the Kansas Expo center. Alright, better get a game face on.

Here I am with Dr. O’Keefe. He is writing a book and publishes a heart newsletter too.

I went by the Plaza in KC. Bromont likes it there, but the Starbucks has a Clover machine, which makes really great coffee.

The Clover Coffee Machine.

Bromont isn’t big on drinking water out of other bowls, but there are a ton of them at the Plaza for him to check out.

We went by Trader Joes and parked next to a 70’s LTD. Man, are those things huge.

It was chilly out yesterday morning, so I put on these Donkey Label socks. Donkey Label makes custom clothing, something on par with Ralpha and they are out of Minneapolis. Plus, they have embrocation for you legs, perfect for cross.