Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All Jacked Up for TBC

This weekend is the Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race. It's 3 races - Friday 5K TT, Saturday Road Race and Sunday Circuit Race. I've ridden it as a master and as a Cat 1.

In 2014 I didn't race it at all. I was registered, but the week preceding the race I became very sick. In fact I was passing blood in my urine and stools. Which is bad since those two systems aren't really connected or related.

Although I felt just fine, Friday morning before the TT I decided to visit the Emergency Clinic on Sunrise. Following a brief examination the ER doc left the room and returned shortly saying that he called ahead and had made an appointment at the local hospital and I was directed to go immediately there for more tests.

After a more thorough examination an appointment was made with a local gastroenterologist - Dr. Hudson.

It was recommended that I should refrain from any strenuous activity until the problem could be diagnosed and treated. I called my GST teammates with the news and received lots of supportive texts and emails hoping for a positive outcome.

Being a bachelor at the time, and also a very healthy eater, part of my daily routine was to make an afternoon trip to Whole Foods to select my dinner for the evening. I like the deli counter where they make some really great side dishes. One of my favorites is a recipe they call Nola Beets (beets, green pepper, feta cheese, organic spinach, tobacco sauce, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil). In fact I liked it so much that I bought it every day for about 3 weeks, coincidently around the same time that I was stricken with this mystery disease of my urinary and digestive tracts.

When I met with the gastro doc I came prepared with a detailed description of my symptoms along with half a dozen camera phone pictures of my commode, graphically documenting the situation.

Dr. Hudson sat quietly as I explained my symptoms in detail just nodding his head. Finally he responded that the samples collected at the emergency room showed no blood. I almost spit snot out of my nose as I immediately pulled up the bloody evidence on my smartphone.

Dr. Hudson patiently looked on as I thumbed through the graphic proof.

Finally he asked " Lou, tell me, do you eat a lot of beets?"

Mystery solved.

I've won individual stages at TBC but my best finish in the General Classification was in 2013 when I finished 2nd. A fresh new 45 year old upstart master named Gord Frazer won. If you read the results it looked close, but it really wasn't. Going into the last lap of the circuit race, I was in the virtual lead. Gord, me and another guy were in a break, far ahead of the peloton. Heading up the feed zone hill, Gord waited for me to take a long pull, then looked at us both, shifted a couple of gears, stood up and rode away, winning the stage and evaporating the few seconds of virtual lead that I had. It was an honor to race with a guy who's career I have followed for many years. 

For the 2016 Edition of TBC I am registered in the 55+ category. There are around 30 guys pre-registered. It doesn't matter what race you're doing at TBC, there will be excellent competition.

This year again, I'm all jacked up on Nola Beets and expecting a better outcome!

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