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My short, passionate story...

1353 Views 15 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Mtn. Biker123
After a great ride of a local trail today, I felt compelled to post in this passion forum for the first time. Nothing too special about it, just wanted to post.

My "short" story begins several years ago, in my middle 30's. I was an enthusiastic rider, road, mountain, and I raced both when I could. I was riding everyday to some degree, whether hard or just an easy spin to relax and recover. I began to have problems during some of my rides. I'd feel tired and worn out, my gf would beat me to the top of hills, that never happened before ;) I got a heart rate monitor, and it would stay pegged at 240 during entire rides. "Throw it away" people said, it's just picking up interference. "Listen to your body instead". Well it turns out it was right, I went in at last feeling like I had bronchitis, or something.

Turns out I had atrial fibrillation and tachycardia, a rapid heart rate and a totally irregular heart rhythm. I went from being a supposedly healthy guy to being moved in a wheelchair and iv's stuck in both arms. There was talk of a "cardioversion" and "coumadin" and they had me watch a movie about living on blood thinners, what to eat and what to do etc. I was sent home on 4 different types of medication, with a follow-up echocardiogram the next day. During that the technician left the room, and came back with a doctor. Your echo looks bad they said, we want to move you to another building. My ejection fraction was under 10%, normal is 55-60%. (The percent blood your heart pumps with every beat)
I had had a heart failure, which can be worse than a heart attack so they said. My left ventricle was really dilated, they didn't know if it would ever recover. I was stuck in a bed, and only by *****ing could I get a pitcher and skooch myself to the side of the bed to pee in it, screw them catheters.

I was on amiodarone, which is toxic. I believe if you googled it back then it was the source of many lawsuits as it caused liver failure. Great. I went with pulmonary vein ablations, trying to get rid of it.

Anyway, to make a long story short, it is 4 years later. I have had numerous echocardiograms, transesophegael echocardiograms, cardioversions, two pulmonary vein ablations at the Mayo Clinic, and thousands of dollars in doctor bills. ($315,000 total over 3 years) I still get a-fib from time to time, but the cost of another ablation is too much right now. I simply pop an aspirin, the main worry is a greater chance of a stroke in a-fib.
Only last spring did I feel the urge to ride hard again. I gradually eased into it, even did a race last May and it felt good. I worried that it would go irregular during the race from any hard exertion. It held. I kept riding. Last fall I did the Chequamegon 40, and my time was right there with the ones I put up at 30, but I was now 40 with a known heart condition.

Today I am 41, and I guess what made me think of all this was the weather. I took off on a ride, with a line of thunderstorms moving in from the west. I came home from work, ate too much because I didn't think I'd get the chance to ride and I'd hit the couch.
But in the garage was a relatively new 29er, and I was feeling more or less healed from a crash 11 days ago that gave me wounds that are still weeping and healing. I looked outside, said heck, maybe it won't rain. Then I thought, heck, so what if it does rain? Who cares if it storms and winds hit 40-50 mph with hail like they were saying? I wanted to ride my bike so I went.
And the clouds moved in as I peddled up the hill, and I thought, if I'm struck by lightening, will it restart my heart? Huh. It never did rain, and as I listened to Tool "Vicarious" and some classic Faith No More (Epic) on the singletrack downhill, I knew I made the right choice by getting off the couch.
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f-n-a nooky, I guess if you can ride, ride. I don't pretend to understand everything you explained, but it sounds like it could be pretty serious. I think you did the right thing, you rode. I have WAY too many days where I would love to ride, seems like everything else comes first. Some day I will regret that. Ride while you can...

BTW - I see you are in Winona.....that line of thunderstorms rolled through here about 9:40 this morning (Sioux Falls). Looked really nasty, but all we got was some wind and very little rain. Glad it wasn't hard on you either....

Gary J.
Thanks for telling us this. And I'm glad you're feeling better and doing what moves you. Awesome.
Good for you, glad to hear that you can ride and want to ride.

You commented on my story, thanks. I hope it gives you inspiration, I'll think about you as I ride.
thanks for the inspirational story. I just wish Anthony had some sort of warning like you did...I wish dearly he was still with us.
Thanks for sharing, glad you're still riding
crd said:
thanks for the inspirational story. I just wish Anthony had some sort of warning like you did...I wish dearly he was still with us.
...always ride.
Glad your making the best of what life has thrown your way. Keep riding and stay strong :thumbsup:
Man...GREAT story. Just do...whatever it is! All power to you
My dad had the same issues and had some procedure recently that essentially repaired the "spark plug" timing of his heart. He's out and about even more now than he was in the past and he's 62.

More power to you, keep enjoying life.
A buddy of mine has this quote he uses all the time: "It's best to go up in a ball of flames".
Like in caddyshack when Bill Murray and the Priest go out in the rainstorm and the priest has the game of his life.... only yours ended a lot better, keep it up.
Thanks for sharing your story and the inspiration it provided me. It was much appreciated. :thumbsup:
I enjoy reading about others experiences. My own never seemed that great, but looking back it's nice to be worried about what type of tire to run instead of when my next blood draw to check my protime was.
We should be lucky that we can ride at all. But our memory is short when it comes to pain and adversity, thank God.
Some of my best rides have been when I didn't feel like going at all, or spur of the moment.
nOOky said:
Some of my best rides have been when I didn't feel like going at all, or spur of the moment.
I experience this a lot:thumbsup:
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