This in today from the weekly www.roadbikerider.com
email. (quite interesting reading each week BTW)
Last week, we were among 400 people at the memorial
service for Ed Burke.
Many were his friends from the University of Colorado
at Colorado Springs, where Ed was a professor of biology.
Others represented cycling, where Ed was a world leader
in physiology and technology.
The service was moving but not tearfully melancholy.
After all, we were there to celebrate a remarkable life. Ed
Burke was a man of good nature and a positive outlook.
His personality brightened everyone he met.
Perhaps the most wrenching part for cyclists was seeing
Ed's red-white-and-blue GT road bike. It stood lonely at the
front of the room with his helmet and shoes, water bottle in
place and the chain still in low gear. It was on a climb
where Ed suffered his fatal heart attack on Nov. 7 at age 53.
As we chatted with other riders after the service, we
learned more about events leading to Ed's death.
How could a relatively young and apparently fit person
suddenly collapse and die during a ride? Should the rest of
us in his age range be worried, too? We think that Ed, who
wrote extensively about training and fitness, would want you
to have some answers.
Here's what we know:
--- Ed was physically inactive for at least 20 years after
racing in college.
--- In 1997 he decided to get back on the bike. Overweight
and nearing age 50, he admitted concern about his
family's history of heart disease and his own high cholesterol
and blood pressure.
--- He worked back into shape carefully. He routinely refused
to do rides that demanded more than he was ready for.
--- He became an enthusiastic long-distance cyclist,
completing Alaska's Iditabike and the Leadville 100-mile
mountain bike race, among other endurance events. On the road,
he favored tough challenges like Colorado's Triple Bypass.
--- In recent months, he admitted to poor performance on the
bike. In October, he told us he planned to stop riding extreme
events and scale back to "sane centuries."
--- On a ride two weeks before he died, Ed had to stop
several times because he felt so bad with indigestion. He
couldn't figure out what he'd eaten to cause it.
Inexplicable indigestion may be a precursor of heart attack.
We're sure Ed knew this, both academically and because a
friend, ex-pro Hugh Walton, had experienced the same symptom
before his own near-fatal coronary. In fact, Hugh told us
that he and Ed had a long talk about heart problems while
riding together last June.
But apparently Ed didn't heed his own warning signs. In
hindsight, it seems clear that his heart was beginning to
fail. The lesson for the rest of us is obvious: Be vigilant!
o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o
It's estimated that 59 million Americans are living with
some form of cardiovascular disease.
Many people who die from a heart attack have symptoms the
week before the fatal incident. These include chest pain,
increased fatigue, dizziness, ankle swelling and indigestion
Seek help immediately if you experience any of the following
symptoms of a possible heart attack:
--- Pain or pressure (squeezing sensation) in the middle of
the chest that lasts more than a few moments.
--- Pain that radiates down the arms or into the neck or jaw.
--- Chest discomfort accompanied by shortness of breath,
lightheadedness, sweating, nausea or fainting.
o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o
It's much smarter, of course, not to wait till your heart is
in trouble. To take the initiative on this issue:
--- Find out all you can about your family heart history.
--- Avoid the risk factors that produce coronary artery disease.
These include smoking, hypertension (blood pressure
should be under 140/90), and cholesterol (total should be
under 200 with HDL above 35, LDL under 100 and triglycerides
--- Get a CRP test. Inflammation, and its role in heart disease,
is a promising new research area. Ask your physician about
testing for c-reative protein (CRP), a substance the liver makes
in response to immune system signals that may disclose
inflamed heart arteries.
--- Cut back on saturated fats in your diet and increase
portions of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
--- Exercise aerobically at least four times per week for
30-60 minutes each time. In other words, ride your bike! But
avoid pushing yourself hard when you're dehydrated, bonking
--- Have an annual physical and take an exercise stress test
as often as your doc recommends. In some facilities, you can
get the test done on a bicycle ergometer and determine your
max heart rate, lactate threshold heart rate and power at LT,
as well as heart function -- all good things to know if you're
interested in performance.
Last Tuesday we talked about stress tests with Andy Pruitt, 52,
who directs the Boulder (CO) Center for Sports Medicine and
wrote Andy Pruitt's Medical Guide for Cyclists.
He told us, "My philosophy has been that anyone over 45 who
exercises intensely should have a 12-lead EKG, max stress test
every other year, and more often if there is any history of
"Personally, I've had three stress tests in the last six years.
Had Ed been on that test schedule, he most likely would still
be with us."