Monthly Archives: March 2015

Chest Cold or Something

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I started coming down with a chest cold or something last weekend.  I woke up Saturday, feeling sort of crummy and it only got worse from there.  I don’t get sick that often nowadays.  I know some of you think that isn’t correct, but compared to when I was younger, I’m sick just a fraction of when I was younger.

A big reason for the continual illness is that I had my spleen removed when I was 6 years old.  I fell out of a tree and it ruptured, so they had to do an emergency splenectomy   The spleen holds a ton of thick red blood cells, super high hematocrite,  plus it filters the blood to your lungs.  So, I’ve historically had a bunch of lung infections throughout my lifetime.  I’ve had to take preventive pneumonia vaccines all my life.

I though that maybe I could keep the dripping out of my lungs, just up in my head.  But, no, it got into my throat and then lungs.  After reading all the bad news about antibiotics, plus, my own personal experience, I think I’ll just try to ride this one out, even though I’m coughing brown stuff out of my lungs.

I’ve been pretty stressed out the last few days and maybe that is one of the reasons that I feel so rotten.  I try to avoid stress, but sometimes it just finds you.

It’s funny how sometime being sick is such a drag and other times I doesn’t seem to matter much. I’d say I’m kind of in the middle here.  Early season illness is always a big setback.  You just get to where the pedals are turning over pretty well and the weight is coming off, then you get sick and it’s back to square one.  Well, maybe not square one, but square two or three.

I try to ride through sickness, but when the air temperature is in the 30’s, it’s a little tough.  I did an hour and a half with Bill yesterday.  It didn’t feel too bad, but I was wiped last night and this morning.  Maybe it was  a half hour too far.

Okay, enough of the moping .  The weather is supposed to get nice here towards the end of the week and hopefully I’ll be less anxious by then.


I couldn't find any of these at the Walgreens.

I couldn’t find any of these at the Walgreens.


Bromont’s Pathology was Bad

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Okay, the reason I’ve been so stressed the last few days was because we got Bromont’s pathology back last week and it wasn’t good.  Two out of 4 of the masses he had removed were malignant.   It is called cutaneous hemangiosarcoma, HSA, which is pretty common in dogs, but is also very serious.

So, we took Bromont to K-State to see Dr. Harkin, a cyclist, that took care of our dog, George, and whom I trust implicitly.  Dr. Harkin did an ultrasound of Bromont’s abdomen, specifically his spleen, and again, the finding weren’t great.  He had a bunch of nodules on his spleen, which is usually where hemangiosarcoma would be.

It’s not a good thing.  It is a very aggressive cancer and the survival rate is virtually nonexistent.  So, that was it.  We scheduled Bromont to have his spleen removed tomorrow.  The only real way to know exactly what is going on is to do the pathology on the spleen.

I was pretty taken back by the discovery.  Trudi is in shock, I think.  She loves Bromont with all her soul.

I started doing some research about HSA and got questioning whether we were doing the correct thing.  If it is in his spleen, there is no survival.  His life expectancy is pretty short, weeks, maybe a couple months.  That is if you do chemotherapy after the splenectomy.  If not, it is statistically measured in days.

I wrote a few people asking for information on clinical studies on the disease.  It doesn’t have much traction in the academic world because the cancer isn’t one humans contract, so there is no money to do much research.

But yesterday I got a call from Trent, the veterinarian, also a cyclist, that removed the masses in Ft. Collins last week.  He said that he talked to an oncologist and that the mitotic index was 2 per 10 hpfs, meaning that there were very few cancer cells and that the hemangiosarcoma was considered low grade.  He thought that the ultrasound of the spleen was atypical for HSA.

There are other reasons that there could be nodules on Bromont’s spleen – old dogs have nodular spleens, other types of “curable” cancer, nodules related to a tick-borne disease, and more.

I sent Dr. Harkin an email and asked him a bunch of questions.  He too, had taken Bromont’s pathology to an oncologist.  His oncologist also said that with such a low mitotic index, she didn’t think it was metastatic hemangiosarcoma.  But they had looked at the records of some other dogs they had treated with cutaneous hemangiosarcomas, and that they had HSA in their spleens.

Anyway, long story short, we decided that the spleen needs to be removed.  Mainly to get a real good look at it to see exactly what is going on.  Ultrasound guided biopsies have too big a chance of false reading and would really be almost valueless in this situation.  At least there is a chance, I’m not sure what, but some chance that the cancer was only cutaneous (skin) and that is was completely removed.

I don’t have a spleen, so Bromont and I will match in that respect.  I guess mammals, maybe all animals, can get along okay without spleens.

I was thinking about not posting this, but it has pretty much consumed the last 5 days of my brain, so I thought I’d just put it out there.

Bromont hates going to the vet.  I’m worried about him being so stressed out.  We’re driving Bromont to Manhattan this morning and they are most likely doing the surgery tomorrow. He has to stay until Friday.  I’m not sure when we’ll get the pathology back, but is is going to be pretty stressful until then.

I hope we’re doing the right thing.  This is an incurable disease.  And either he has it or doesn’t.  I guess we can only do what we do.  It’s more for peace of mind, I guess.  Knowing is better.

Bromont likes riding around in the back of the Honda Insight.

Bromont likes riding around in the back of the Honda Insight.

Dr. Harkin, from the wall of the K-State Vet School.

Dr. Harkin, from the wall of the K-State Vet School.

He hates going in.

He hates going in.

He's been kind of just laying around the last few days.  He doesn't feel well.  This is Frankie next to him.

He’s been kind of just laying around the last few days. He doesn’t feel well. This is Frankie next to him.


Last night in a bed for a few days.  He is spoiled rotten.

Last night in a bed for a few days. He is very lovable.




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Yesterday went pretty badly.  Much worse than I’d anticipated.  We took Bromont over to K-State with the intention of leaving him there for 3 days, having a splenectomy, plus recovery.  We had our fingers crossed that maybe the hemangiosarcoma was isolated to his skin.  Looking back now, I should have realized that wouldn’t be the case.

We gave him a kiss and drove the hour home.  Just a couple hours later, the surgeon called me and told me that in the chest x-rays they found nodules, cancer nodules.  And he wanted to know what we wanted to do.  Of course we got back in the car and drove back and got him.

So, it’s a pretty done deal.  There is no treatment for this specific cancer in dogs.  He has slowed down so remarkable quick, it is disturbing.  Maybe he was just super worn out from the whole ordeal at K-State, but he only did about 100 meters on his evening walk.  Plus, he’s barely eating.

We’re going to take him up to Wisconsin this weekend for a last romp in the Northwoods.  It’s his favorite place in the world and he is super comfortable up there.  I’m not sure what we’ll do after that.

He’s been a very good friend the last 11 years.  I’m going to miss him like crazy.

He loves Northern Wisconsin.

He loves Northern Wisconsin.

And Dennis' couch.

And Dennis’ couch.

We got him a ice cream at DQ after we picked him up.  It's his favorite treat.

We got him a ice cream at DQ after we picked him up. It’s his favorite treat.



Bored with the Sport?

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People ask me all the time how I could possible be still interested in racing bikes after all this time.  They truly don’t understand how  I could not be bored and it could still be interesting after all these years.

Before needing to focus on Bromont now, I was in a quandary of what to do this week. If I didn’t have this chest cold thing going on, I would most likely have driven down to Austin and done the La Primavera Lago Vista.   The weekend consists of a very hard circuit race that sometimes changes my fitness a whole level.

Feeling iffy, I would have just stayed here and done a local criterium and road race here in Lawrence and Perry Kansas.  I can ride to both these races and end up with close to 100 miles each day, which is always welcome in March.

And last, the Handmade Bike Show is going on in Louisville, starting tomorrow.  Kent Eriksen, and Katie, are showing there, of course, plus, the show is a candy store for anyone interested in bicycles.  My friend Stacie lives there, so it would be such an no-brainer.

But, I’m driving up into the snow of the Northwoods.  The Fat BIke Birkie is being held on Saturday.  They closed the field a couple weeks ago at 750 riders. Compare that to the 18 starters in the Elite Men’s Nationals a couple weeks ago in Ogden, or the 4 women starters and it makes you wonder how USAC decided to promote its own Nationals and not just award the National Championships to this event?   It is 47 km,  going from Telemark to OO on the Birkie Trail and back North on The Classic Trail.  Ned is heading up there today, so it will be nice seeing him.

Anyway, I could list a dozen other options of things I could do this weekend related to cycling.  From just sitting on my ass to watch Strade Bianche on the internet, Saturday morning, to meeting up with a bunch of friends to ride trails off-road.

And this is only March.  As the season gets rolling, the choices multiply .  And this is just the physical stuff.  Mentally, cycling is even more vast.  If you’re bored with the sport mentally, then you have closed off your ability to absorb knowledge.

Losing interest is another story.  I can understand losing interest or changing focus, but being bored with the sport, if you are a true cyclist, couldn’t possibly occur.

Anyway, cycling is going to be on the back burner for a while.  I plan to spend as much time as I possibly can with Bromont.


Chris Froome Testifies to CIRC about What ???

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I saw an article that said that Chris Froome testified to the UCI doping investigation and said, to sum it up, that you didn’t have to choose to dope to excel at the sport now.   I don’t quite understand anything about this.

I don’t understand, if he doesn’t or doesn’t currently know anything about doping in the sport of cycling, why he would go and testify.  And two, if one is the case, why he should have any input or comments about it at all.  I was thinking that maybe I didn’t understand what the commission was all about.

From the UCI’s webpage-  Essentially, the CIRC’s mission is to investigate the problems that our sport has faced in recent years, notably the allegations – particularly damaging to our image – that the UCI was implicated in wrongdoing in the past. On this basis, the CIRC will make recommendations for change so that as far as possible those mistakes are not repeated. 

I sort of didn’t.  I thought the commission was mainly set up for doping eradication ideals.  But, whatever the reason, I hope Chris Froome has no knowledge of anything information the commission is looking for.

Since he has never participated in doping and never observed doping, I don’t think he has the credentials to testify.  Just because Chris is one of the best stage racers in the world isn’t enough to qualify him.

That being said, I wonder if he paid much attention to the all the doping positives recently or the whole Astana situation.  17 guys on that team visiting Dr. Ferrari.  I wonder if he read the interview with Smartstops new rider, Juan Pablo Villegas.  Here is a great interview with him.  In it, the question is

…..what percentage of the peloton would you say was doping at those races?
I can’t give you an exact number, but it would have to be very, very high.

And then he goes and names all the Colombian riders that he raced with that have “graduated” to the Pro Tour level by winnning races in Colombia.  He doesn’t name anyone specifically, but if he says that it is very common to dope in Columbia and the best Colombians are now racing, and winning Grand Tours, then you make the connection.

Even the current Tour de France champion, Vincenso Nibali said that Astana is no worse than anyone else in the regards to doping.  I wonder if Chris Froome pays any attention to what Vincenzo says?

Okay, let’s just say that Chris Froome is a genetic freak.  And he doesn’t have to dope to win the races he does.  Does that mean that his opinion that the peloton is relatively clean, or more accurately, riders don’t have to choose to dope to win races, means anything more than any other observer.

There are way too many things going on right now in the sport to say that the sport is clean.  Greg Van Avermaet ozone usage is just the tip of the iceberg.  Do you think if he was breaking the rules by using ozone to treat his blood that it would stop him from manipulating it in other ways.  When Bart Wellens just decided to quit cyclocross at the old age of 34, it shows that all the guys involved when Dr. Chris Mertens are going to have problems explaining themselves to the Belgian Federation.  I’m thinking most of these guys are going to have to “sit out” 2 years.

For Chris Froome to declare that the sport is fine and dandy, that all the drug cheats are being caught,  just rubs me the wrong way.  I don’t think that it does any good when someone of Chris Froomes stature, in the sport, says ignorate things like this.   He needs to check out the history of the guys he’s currently racing with.  And pay more attention to how many guys are turning up positive.  Guys that don’t even win consistently.

We still have a big problem.  In theory, CIRC is releasing their report today.  Or at least that is what was reported.  I guess they are going to redact the names of some riders in the report, or people in the report, for legal reasons.  I’m not sure why they do that, but they do.

We’ll see how ugly of a state the sport is according to the UCI.  I’d be very surprised if it is as hunky dory are Chris implies it is.


Maybe he can come over here more often to train with Levi.

Maybe he can come over here more often to train with Levi.  At least Levi thinks he might.

2015 Strade Bianche Live

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There are about 50 km left in the Strade Bianche.  It is pretty much a professional road race mixing it up with a gravel road race.  The finish is very epic, hard, steep with twists in the streets of Siena.  Here are some links at Cyclingfans.  The Eurosport links, in English, seem to be working pretty good today.