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Old 07-08-10, 09:42 AM   #1
DanRH
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Hey All - Update on my fatigue issues...

OK, OK, I took all of your recommendations except...staying off the bike. Which starts today. I'm off it totally for a month or two. It's going to kill me but I need to get this resolved.

So to recap what's been happening with the fatigue and what I've been doing;

I get fatigued on the bike since the beginning of the year. I do at least three doubles a year (on the single of which I've completed two so far) with up to 7-8,000 miles a year. I'm 56 and and 190 pounds. I know, I know, I should lose some weight but I've always ridden at this weight. Last year, we started riding the tandem and this year to date have ridden over 2,000 miles on it including 600 last month in a week down the coast from SF to LA on the AIS ride. Had a great time.

I do notice, if I take a week off before big rides, I get real fatigued (on climbs primarily) for the first 30-40 miles. On the AIDS ride, I suffered the first day, then did nicely the next six days.

I've had physical's (including stress tests), including blood work and everything shows I'm healthy as can be. A Natureopath did say my hormone levels are down and I've been doing supplements for the last month. Protein intake has been increased.

So...I'm still feeling it. I can suffer through it but it just ain't fun like it used to be, because I hate being a slug.

So, the only thing I didn't do was stay off the bike for more than a week. So, today, I'm done for a while.

Any comments are welcome.

Pics are of us on the AIDS ride.
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Old 07-08-10, 02:04 PM   #2
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What hormone levels are down?
You should see an Endocrinologist not a Natureopath, supplements are not likely to help hormone deficiencies only hormone replacement will do that.
I think you said your thyroid test was normal but what was your TSH and Free T4 levels?
The fact that you are doing doubles and 600 miles in week seems that it is not that serious.
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Old 07-08-10, 02:43 PM   #3
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When you did your stress test, what was your lactate threshold heart rate (where you move from aerobic to anaerobic)? When you ride, are you regularly exceeding that number? What is your max heart rate? Has your doc considered a coronary CTA (angiogram) to check for calcium blockages? You didn't mention your height, but what is your Body Mass Index (BMI). Probably anything over 15% is adding extra stress to your heart, especially given the kind of exercise you are doing. I am 5'10", 152 lbs and was blessed with bad genetics. Like you, I ride about 7-8k/yr, do three doubles a year. I have a cholesterol problem, so my doc is watching it really closely. I had a CTA done a couple of months ago and my Left Descending Anterior Artery was 50% blocked by calcium. Scared the crap out of me, because I feel nothing. Not much I can do, other than Crestor, Zetia, exercise and a very low fat diet (which I have been doing for years), but my internal medicine/cardiologist/radiologist suggested that I lower my max heart rate down by 10% to reduce the risk of a coronary rupture. My total cholesterol dropped from 220 to 139, LDL from 124 to 53 and HDL from 64/75. I am 64, and my max HR is 170, so I am now down to 153. When I had a stress test on my bike, my lactate threshold was 150 and Vo2Max was 49.8. So, now my max HR and my threshold are tied together. It is tough to keep my HR down, but the difference in riding longevity is considerably increased. Pretty easy to do a century and do it again two days later.
My recommendation...talk to your cardiologist and drop some weight. A lot less stress on your heart.
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Old 07-08-10, 02:54 PM   #4
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What hormone levels are down?
You should see an Endocrinologist not a Natureopath, supplements are not likely to help hormone deficiencies only hormone replacement will do that.
I think you said your thyroid test was normal but what was your TSH and Free T4 levels?
The fact that you are doing doubles and 600 miles in week seems that it is not that serious.
I left out a few details. I got a hormone test and am taking taking Adrecore and Balance D. TSH level was 2.12. Not sure on the Free T4 levels.
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Old 07-08-10, 03:01 PM   #5
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Total cholesterol is 176 and LDL is 106, HDL is 58.
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Old 07-08-10, 05:09 PM   #6
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Those are all pretty good numbers. I had a doctor who was into supplements and I probably had the same hormone tests you had and was told I should take Adrecore as well as D Ribose, L Carnitine, Magnesium
I spent $50 on a bottle and took it for a week and not sure it helped so i stopped taking it. It's basically Rhodalia and I think the science behind it is weak.
He told me it would take 6 weeks to start working but I couldn't help from feeling like he was pushing it and getting a kick back from the company who sells it.
I would be real interested to know if you find it helpful.
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Old 07-08-10, 05:36 PM   #7
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It's so strange that you feel fatigued early in a long ride, and then get better. That's the opposite of how you'd feel if you were overdoing it.

How about morning resting HR? Do you take it every morning? If it jumps up 6-8 beats, it means rest. Another good test is to get your orthostatic HR every morning. Find your resting HR, then stand up and record your maximum and your steady-state standing HR. I find the difference between resting and steady standing HR decreases when am training hard. A difference of 10 means rest. Some say that if the difference between your resting and maximum standing HR goes up, you need rest, but I have gotten mixed messages from that.

I've always felt that after 50 miles, it sort of didn't matter what I'd done the night before, like party or not get enough sleep. After 50, my training takes over. But the first 50 will vary a lot, depending on how I've been feeling.

If you take a week off between big rides, your HR should go nuts the first 50, you should feel great, but your performance late in the ride should suffer from a conditioning loss. So that's backwards of how you're feeling? I do better at holding conditioning if I ride a little bit every day between big rides. Even 1/2 hr.

Being able to run a high HR and feel good while doing it is a hormonal effect. I suppose it's possible that your glands are lagging behind your demand somehow. Never heard of that. Overtraining is mostly the loss of your glands' ability to respond to your demands, but that's not exactly what you are seeing.
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Old 07-08-10, 10:12 PM   #8
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You said you started riding a tandem last year - are you noticing the fatigue mostly when riding the tandem, or when riding your single as well?
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Old 07-09-10, 08:02 AM   #9
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Since most of our rides were on the tandem, yes. But no, I still feel it on the single.
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Old 07-09-10, 11:28 AM   #10
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Since most of our rides were on the tandem, yes. But no, I still feel it on the single.
I would continue to pursue checking all the medical issues discussed, but if you're cleared to resume riding you may want to get on your single and see if the symptoms reappear.

Assuming there's no underlying medical issue, my guess is that you may not be totally adjusted to riding a tandem. It appears you're a superbly experienced single rider, but as you know, tandem riding is quite different ... it requires you to spin a lot more (especially climbing), you probably don't stand as often (which allows you to use other muscles) and if you're not careful, you may not drink as much because you're busier up front. Unless you have a strong stoker, you also can't go into the red zone and recover as easily as you can on a single. These can all lead to unexpected fatigue, and especially if you start looking at the speed/odometer, comparing it to your well known single performances, and subconsciously think "gee why are we going so slow ... i'll push harder".

Anyhow, just a theory. If all your medical tests are clean and you feel OK when resuming on your single, then you may just need to hold back a bit and give time to adjust to the different demands of tandem riding.
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Old 07-09-10, 06:34 PM   #11
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I would agree tandem riding is different and can take more out of you than riding a single.
I consciously adjust my riding style on the tandem to ride slower at times and ride smaller gears and think more about just enjoying the ride and not what our speed is.
I also try to stand at regular intervals. In the end I do find riding tandem is more fun than the single.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:55 AM   #12
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Thanks to all. Spinning certainly isn't an issue since I ride fixie (only did one double on the fixie this year) 60% of the time when riding single.
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Old 07-19-10, 02:47 PM   #13
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A couple of things, First - what do you mean exactly by fatigued? Second - Has your performance been declining over the last few years? I ask because I'm 68 and somewhere around 61 or 62 hills started to get harder and my performance started tailing off. I was really fit at 60 and fairly fast, so I wonder if your just hitting an age barrier?

Frank
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