Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Long Days

Nope,   not now,  what with the daylight savings dark-fest bearing down on us.    I am speaking of the day (and Night..) spent helping put on the Cyclo-X Xilinx race on Saturday.  I seem to be able to block out the long days and just plain work that goes into doing a race.  (Might well be a post describing the process in the future here...)

Couple of the team put in a full day,  and a couple of hours the night before to help the WOL gang put on the race.  Couple of hours Friday night putting in stakes and some weed-whacking.  Then a nice sprightly start to that long day with a 5:30 AM tape-stringing session.

Fortunately for us,  They have this race setup thing down to a science,  and it's not too bad to put together.  With me not racing (Wah!),  I spent my day "patrolling" the course,  fixing tape and smashed posts,  while heckling and shooting some video with the Go-Pro.   Got to see a lot of good racing,  and just made me even MORE annoyed with not being able to flog myself into a drooling pile of putty.    Still,  good to be part (A small part) of one of the biggest and best races of the year.

That long day,  and no racing kept me away from what I knew would be the most interesting race of the year,  the Zombie cross from the Frites & Mayo guys.  From what I see,  it looks like I missed THE party race of the year.  Sigh.   Once again,  I raise my new mantra...  "Next Year!"

Not much of a surprise there.   Gotta say,  doing a cross race in roller skates is,  well,  pretty damn cool.

Once again,  I have some stand-in race video from Xilinx.  35+ Cat3 Rubbin & Racin From John D.   Have at it.   Enjoy the daylight savings time change!

CycloX Xilinx 2013 highlights 10-26-2013 from John Deibert on Vimeo.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Redneck Wednesday Worlds

Boulder has it's "famous" Wednesday Worlds Cyclocross Training ride.

Up here in NotBoulder,  we gots us "Redneck Wednesday Worlds".

Long may it live.  Join us for a lap.....

Redneck Wednesday Worlds from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Just plain Poop.  (the more polite version of what I really think....)

Wrapping my head around not being able to race...  Again... this season.  And it basically sucks.  Rocking new race bike hanging forlornly on a hook.  Me not wanting to ride at all.  yuk.

Course,  racing goes on,  and while I was out of town for the Boulder Cup weekend,  life,  and racing went on.  Even have a video from the Colorado Cross Classic,  kindly shared by my teammate John Deibert.

CO Cross Classic 10-12-2013. Highlights from SM35+3 race from John Deibert on Vimeo.

Decided to go ahead & let the Docs snake & zap my heart.  No other real choice,  unless I want to take up X-Box instead of Cross.  Was THINKING I'd run in,  get it done,  recover,  and maybe get in the last few weeks of cross season.  NOT.   Have to wait till December 3rd to get snaked.  That plus a month of recovery makes it official.  I'm done for the year.   Looks like my only cross outlet is designing fiendishly nasty courses for the "pleasure" of others on our Wednesday "Not Boulder" CX training races.  It's ALL I have (Said in a plaintive tone....and sad face)

I CAN ride (at lower heart rates..),  and COULD start lifting weights,  doing Core,  and all that "Off-Season" kind of stuff bike racers CAN do.  Might even do it .  Right now I seem to prefer whining & complaining over pro-active activities.  Sure that will change as I work thru my stages of grief.

Next weekend,  the team gets to help put on one of the "big" races of the year,  the Without Limits episode at Xilinx.   Working with the WOL guys is great,  and we have some nice upgrades to the course in the works.  These guys are always looking to improve,  and are open to all kinds of suggestions.  Will be a pleasure to help them put that race on again.  Hope you ALL come down & race.  Love to see you there.

For now,  I'm back to my old rallying cry...  "Next Year!"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Back to Broken

Denial is an amazing thing.  You can block almost anything out of your mind,  and take what you KNOW is going to happen,  and thru the magical power of denial,  block it out,  and all is good.     I can do this with the best of them,  and managed over the last few weeks to pull off an incredible denial act.   Like always,  that ugly bitch reality eventually shows up and kicks you squarely in the nuts.

Normally,  on a Monday,  I'd be uploading some video,  and trying to write some (Semi) clever race report.  I would have been up in Frisco,  playing out my carefully planned Cup Points whoreing strategy (And with only 16 guys in the beer-loving-grandpas league up there,  it would have worked like a charm,  I might add...).  Even getting over the pounding that racing both days will put on your hide.  Instead,  I'm having to write about having most,  or maybe ALL my Cross season taken away from me.  Again.

Maybe I'll just hang myself.  Hmmm,   maybe Course tape is not the best option for that.
Courtesy of Bo Bickerstaff -

Planned on racing Frisco,  and Primalpalooza.  Pre-registered,  room in Summit county friday night,  the works.  Instead,  a visit with one of my fleet of Doctors swept my denial out the window in one quick little consult.    Also might well have swept me racing this season out along with my denial.  Basically,  I'm broken.  Again.

All started back in February,  just as I was finishing up the Chemotherapy for my Hairy Cell Leukemia "outbreak".  As soon as I got on the bike,  and started to go hard,  I was feeling & seeing episodes of VERY high heart rates (More than 200 BPM) on some rides.  Quick jump,  then a recovery,  if I stopped the effort.  Usually happened if I was doing HARD efforts,  intervals or hill repeats and the like.  Tachycardia this kind of thing is called.  Sometimes can feel a bit funny when these start,  usually just see the high heart rates on the monitor.

Pretty unnerving.  Oncologist was not overly worried but thought a Cardiologist should give me a once over.   One "Stress" EKG and a Cardiac Ultrasound later,  I had no answers,  but did get my first warning that continuing to set these "events" off was "probably not good".  Hmm.  Denial Phase 1.  Was not just going to give up on training and racing after loosing last years cross season to the Hairy Cell,  and the opinion of a cardiologist who thought WALKING me on a tread mill would get my heart rate to his "Stress" target of 140 BPM (Mentioning that I WARM UP for efforts at higher rates than that had no effect...).  Was not impressed with his opinion,  so kept training and riding hard.

Sought out ANOTHER cardiologist,  and was able to find one who at least understood I was not a 75 Year old bon-bon-eating sloth.  He understood we would need to capture full EKG data DURING one of these events to figure out the problem.  Not all that easy to do when you need to be on a bike doing bleed-from-the-ear efforts.  Except that the medicos happen to have a cute,  portable,  recording 5 lead EKG,  kind of like your basic heart rate monitor on steroids.   Got one of these things,  and was able to catch a bunch of the Tachycaria events in the 24 hours they gave me the Holter Monitor for.   Nice,  svelte,  high tech packaging on this thing,  eh?  Maybe they should show Garmin how to package a heart rate monitor.

Cardiologist number 2 looks at my data,  kinda like downloading to Strava,  and basically lets me know that "yep,  your heart rate goes abnormally high"  and I have "some kind of Tachycardia/Arryhmia".    Wow.  Since that is why I went to Both First and Second Cardiologist,  THAT was some useful information.  Turns out there are 2 kinds of Cardiologists.  Mechanical/Plumber-type Cardiologists,  and the Electrical kind of Cardiologist.  Now Cardiologist number 2 (Mechanical) sends me to even MORE specialized Cardiologist (Pardon me,  Electrophisiologist...) Number 3,  the electrical malfunction guy.  Also Mentions it was "probably not a good idea" to ride hard or race.  (Where have I heard that?)

Meanwhile,  with my denial in FULL swing,  I continue to train and race.  Doing pretty well for me,  getting 6th place in Zero Gravel Cross,  WHILE having the Tachycardia events for a good chunk of the race.  Denial again,  including ignoring and/or telling my beeping "high Heart rate alarm" to F&%K off,  I'm in a race.

Pretty strange with the level-shift on that heart rate.  Did not really slow me down much.  Feeds the Denial.  Keep riding,  riding hard,  and racing.  Then I get to Number 3's office last Thursday.  He has at least a diagnosis.  Atrial Tachycardia.  The "better" kind,  originating in the upper chambers of the heart,  and NOT the kind that just randomly kills you.  So THAT'S good.    BUT (they always have a but...),  it will probably NOT go away,  and continuing to trigger these events (remember,  little things like RIDING MY BIKE) has a significant chance of leading to permanent Heart damage and or a Heart attack.

Well,   OK then.  NOW denial is having a bit of a problem.   Kinda well beyond the "Bad Idea" advice,  and right into the this is going to REALLY hurt you phase.    Denial comes crashing down.  Reality takes it's place.  Ouch.

Well.  So riding hard is pretty much out.  Can you treat this?  The now terminally depressed patient asks.    Three treatment options,  Number Three says.

1 - Stop doing what triggers it.  (NOT my favorite option)
2 - Drugs.  Ones that permanently limit your heart rate,  even with exercise,  AND make you feel like shit.  (Wow,  getting better & better here.....)
3 - Radiofrequency Ablation.  Threading a catheter from your thigh,  into your heart.  Triggering the event WHILE the sensor probes are in the heart,  then "Burning Out" the offending nerves,  etc. that cause the "misfire"  (neat...)

There is even a video on the Boulder Community Hospital website of my favorite Number Three talking about this stuff.

 Well Gee.  That all sounds GREAT.   Don't really want to quit riding & take up video games.  Not liking drugs that would make me suck MORE while riding AND feel like crap.  Not real thrilled with another "Invasive Procedure",  but sure not looking like a lot of choices.

For now,  It seems as if I am OUT of the cross season AGAIN.  At least for now.  Am off to LosAngeles for a wedding this week,  so that will be the time to think,  zero in & decide what to do.  Seems like I'll get snaked.  That leads to a month of "No High Heart Rate" recovery.  Yea.  Great.  Lovely.

I DID transition from denial to whining and heavy drinking.  Neither seemed to fix the issue either.  Damn.

Feel like I'm whining here,  but I really needed the venting.  It sucked ENOUGH to loose cross last year.  was JUST getting fully fired up for THIS season.  Thanks for listening,  and stay tuned.  This medical shit makes for GREAT stories.