Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



It’s easy. Clean it, rinse it, ride it. Repeat. There are few people who fully understand this concept, but in the midst of the chaos frequently he who endures is he who maintains focus and cohesion throughout.
I had thought that the darkness would withdraw, but after tests, tests, and more tests the final diagnosis was ulcerative colitis- the lesser of the two “disorders” that make up the family of inflammatory bowel disease. It is essentially chronic inflammation of the cells in the tissue of the large intestine. Fortunately the inflammation is microscopic in my case; normally the colon is literally tied up in knots, making digestion a very unpleasant and altogether unproductive process. In extreme cases the large intestine is surgically removed… however, at the moment this hasn’t been prescribed, I pushed for it… but the doc really wasn’t having it. Instead he prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory medication to take for the rest of my life; noting that his remedy should not only put the inflamed cells into remission but also make me profoundly better on the bike, as he gathered that the cells had possibly been inflamed for a year.
Since no one really knows anything about ulcerative colitis, there is no cure… only hopeful treatment. There are two main hypotheses in regard to the cause of the illness, the first of which is that it’s past down from kin. The second is that your digestive system never recovers from a particular bout with a digestive virus. As there is no family history and I’ve been battling viruses on a fairly regular basis, it seems the virus theory holds the most water, though of course with holes... as it doesn’t seem much funding is received by the crohne’s and colitis foundation.
What the doctor doesn’t tell you sometimes is the best remedy of all. After a bit of research and some chats with patients of the above, it seems that a diet strictly of macrobiotic ingredients leaves patients symptom free. It seems that something of this nature that cures an otherwise terminal illness would make it into the doctor’s manual of “what to say to patients.” But apparently not, since when I asked the doc about it he replied “I don’t recommend diet change to my clients.” It’s like being prescribed a diet is worse than the illness itself. For me, however, it’s more of a solution to perhaps a whole host of problems and a challenge that will probably leave me for the better regardless of the outcome.
In the meantime I’ve been to visit the physical therapist a few times, and each time with mixed feelings. Most of the stuff I could do myself, though we’ll see after the next visit. These guys seem to be all the same… like going to an auto shop: yes, you’ll need this, this and this done on your car and it’s really not safe to drive unless you get these repairs done. So that will come to 5x the value of your car. And they look at you like they really expect you to agree to the repairs.
And the preliminary prognosis for my immediate racing return is:
Tour of the Gila
Tour of Catalan
Some race in Portugal
Route of the south