Rarely ride 92 to the coast, decided to today… forgot about Pumpkin Festivals!

Pumpkin time on the coast means busier roads than normal!
Pumpkin time on the coast means busier roads than normal!

Another late solo ride; Kevin had a bad cold and doesn’t share my opinion that you can ride a cold out of your system. I didn’t argue the point too much because I could only lose; if he still had the cold tomorrow, or if it got worse, then obviously it was riding with me that did it. And if he’s fine tomorrow, then even if he rode, it was because the cold was going away anyway.

As I headed over Jefferson I started to make the usual left turn onto Canada, heading towards any number of “normal” routes. I got a few feet before thinking, what the heck, I always ride south, maybe ride north today! So I turned around and took Canada up to Highway 92, thinking on a gloomy day like today, there wouldn’t be much traffic heading out to the coast. Right? Yeah, well, the various Pumpkin Festivals are now in full swing; by the time I got within a couple miles of Half Moon Bay, traffic was stopped, bumper-to-bumper, with me trying to thread my way along the very small shoulder.

This was probably my easiest ride in a very long time; heart rate never got above 156, power levels pretty low. Not a lot of motivation to go hard, plus mildly overdressed at times in leg warmers and base layer. However, I did see temps as low as 50, so they were definitely needed… and it did, actually, rain! Who knew? It wasn’t heavy, but I definitely hit light rain out on the coast, and wet roads were pretty common on the way back up 84.

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The uproar over Team Sky (especially Wiggins) and “legal cheating” via drug exemptions

According to many, Wiggins is being dragged to the finish in a race he eventually won, but was in some ways overshadowed by Chris Froome.

In a Facebook group devoted to doping in professional cycling, the latest hot topic is the release of data showing Bradley Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France, took a very powerful drug (Kenacort) prior to the race, to treat asthma. Kenacort is generally a drug of last resort due to various side effects, some of which, interestingly, are very beneficial to a cyclist (such as causing weight loss in a fairly short period of time, while preserving muscle mass). Did Wiggins actually need Kenacort, given no visible evidence that he suffered from Asthma? By the way, a “TUE” is a medical exemption that allows an athlete to use an otherwise-banned medication.  Below is my response, based on personal experience with lungs that don’t work as they should. –Mike

There are some of us who wonder if it wouldn’t be so bad if our breathing issues could be made better by something requiring a TUE. Singulair is permitted, but brings me up to only 29% normal lung function (25/75% exhale test). Adding Albuterol gets me to 50%. Both are allowed without a TUE. If something was available that could get my lungs to function closer to norm, say 75% (100% would seem unreachable, but I can always dream), you’re saying if I was racing at a high level, I shouldn’t be allowed a TUE?

For perspective, I have never, ever had a debilitating “attack.” Never had to use a “rescue” inhaler to function. I just sound like a steam engine when climbing. I can go all day at 80% but when the road tilts upward I am so friggin’ hosed. People like me don’t fit into any classic view of an asthma sufferer. I “hide” it because my overall level of conditioning is so much higher than a “normal” person. But I only have 18 seconds of max power to deal with before going everything catches up to me, and it takes a longer time than it should to recover.

So what’s my point? Just that Wiggins, and others, might suffer from Asthma which is *not* exercise-induced, *not* controllable by normal meds, and *not* obvious to the casual observer. The belief that TUEs should be outright banned is a position I might have supported a few years ago, but as I’ve learned more about my own condition, I’ve become more sympathetic to the need for exemptions in some cases.

TUEs shouldn’t be handed out like candy. There should be independent testing before and after of relevant criteria, and when you have something like Kenacort, with powerful and likely performance-enhancing side effects, perhaps an outright ban might be appropriate. But there may be more room for empathy and allowed practical use, in some cases, than evidenced by the present uprising.

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