This Cyclist Ate MULTIPLE Pieces of Cake Last Week

Before I dive into today’s topic, I’d like to point out how much I absolutely despise click bait titles that use “This” as the first or second word. Examples:

1) “This couple totally shocked her parents with this adorable pregnancy announcement”
2) “Watch this man attempt to jump his bike off his roof. You’ll never guess what happens.”
3) “This terrifying fish, named Xiphactinus, used to reside in what is now Kansas”

That last one was Nova. Yes, what used to just be limited to Buzzfeed has now taken over Nova and other science-y, seemingly legitimate news sources. The sad thing is that it must actually be working, since so many business and media outlets are now using it. My theory is that it makes whatever title it’s used in seem more relevant, more timely, more more. It gives some notion of immediate action taking place by putting this man, this one right here directly in front of you, as opposed to letting him remain a 4×4-inch, pixilated image on a screen with a few lazy, sloppily written words describing his lame attempt to jump off his roof.

We, as humans, must be pretty dumb to get duped into clicking a link that we otherwise wouldn’t, solely because the author added in the word “this.” Also, I’m really beginning to hate numbered titles. Example “37 Alternative Rock Songs You Haven’t Thought About Since The Late ‘90s.” Okay, that’s enough rant for now. Onto more important things, marginally.

Winter Weight

“You know what the doctor said? Doctor said I was too healthy. You know? In too good of shape. Don’t even know how. Too good of shape.”

During my intensive investigation of the endocrine system over the last two months, I decided to self-diagnose myself with a disorder: too low body fat for too long. Sounds like the sort of thing someone who just wants to eat cake would say, right? Right!

While my weight used to fluctuate throughout the season, being highest in the fall and slowly creeping down over the winter and spring, for these past two seasons I’ve been at almost the same exact weight year-round: about 161-158, depending on how full of shit I am.

This year I got leaner than I’d ever been, tipping the scale at 156 a handful of times. Of course I didn’t have any power to propel me up the hills, but at least I was light, for a behemoth anyways.

I use a pair of body fat calipers to monitor my skin folds throughout the season as well. Just like my weight, the skin fold calipers have shown very little variability throughout the last two years. Throughout it all I was pretty stoked because I never really had to watch what I ate or starve myself very much since 2013. Up until (and during) 2013 I had to starve myself like crazy to stay under 168. But being able to see every vein in my stomach for two years seems to have taken its toll. Or so I’ve convinced myself. Could still just be the thyroid bullshit.

The internet says that being under 6% body fat for long spells at a time has many negatives, and there are plenty of stories of cyclists and other athletes getting too lean and losing power, stamina, and the will to continue training and racing. Assuming an athlete is not taking steroids, testosterone, and HGH, the endocrine system takes a huge hit from sustained ultra low body fat levels. Some of the messed up side effects include:

Severe fatigue
Low testosterone
Low to nonfunctional thyroid   (hmm…)
Poor recovery from training, due to lack of hormones
Getting sick all the time, also due to lack of hormones
Brain fog
Brittle bones
Shrunken organs (WTF?)
Muscle weakness
Heart Problems
Being hungry as shit all the damn time

Sounds a lot like my thyroid issue, as well as just being a cyclist in general, so I don’t really know if lacking body fat is an issue for me or if it’s just my thyroid problem.

Skin fold measurements only serve as a good personal baseline fatness level. Skin folds don’t give an accurate body fat percentage since the calculations are all based on population averages. I know they’re off for me and most other lean people since I’m fairly certain I’d be dead if I was really 2.5%.

I went in a DXA machine, which are accurate to within 2%, way back in 2007 when I first started riding and was 8% body fat, and thanks to years of dedication, I’m much hollower and gaunt now than I was then. I’ve never been able to lose as much muscle mass as I’ve wanted but I have gotten quite lean. While I don’t know my actual percentage, I do, however, have a detailed training log along with me weight every morning dating back 10 years, and skin fold measurements dating back three years. The best turnaround seasons (the biggest improvement from one year to the next) were when I was at my fattest during the fall/winter.

A few months ago I made a vow to forgo any mirror vanity and eat like a glutton. Not to be confused with a gluten, which I no longer consume.

Over the period of almost a month without training (about seven to eight hours of “light activity” per week) I gained one pound. One single pound, and I was eating as much as I wanted with zero thought of dieting. After all those years of eating dinners of jalapeno/serrano stir fries without meat or rice–just peppers, dinners of cabbage soup, pico de gallo without any chips, popcorn, chicken broth, or simply nothing at all and going to bed aching for food, sweating over the thought of sneaking a fucking peanut, after all those years of not eating past 7PM, now when I’m actually trying to gain a little weight I can’t?

I decided to tackle this problem like any other problem, with overtraining, I mean overeating. I vowed to get fat and for the past two weeks I’ve eaten till well past full almost every day.

One issue is that we don’t have any unhealthy food in the house, and despite my best efforts, I can’t bring myself to spend money on junk food. So far I’ve bought a few things of cheese, a six-pack of soda, and one box of Hot Tamales. It’s hard to get fat on rice, vegetables, nuts, and eggs, which account for 90% of my diet. But I managed, as evidenced below:


I swear, the scale says I’m only up five pounds.

Now that November is almost over and I’ll have rested for a full six weeks, I’m getting fairly antsy to start training again. Unfortunately December will primarily be swim workouts without many rides or runs. I promised myself that I wouldn’t start training in ernest until January. My hope is that with so many months of rest and just moderate training, I’ll beat my fatigue and be ready to train hard once and for all. By then I’ll probably be 270lbs and it’ll take me four years to get back down to race weight again. But you know what they say, “Once you have exercise anorexia, you don’t go back.”

How to make an apple crisp

I’m going to take a little break from discussing my training, racing, lack of results, and fitness. I’m also going to avoid topics such as my thyroid issue, depression, and the general downward spiral my life has taken. Instead I’m going to talk about dessert!

Okay, the first thing to keep in mind when making apple crisp is that it will in no way ever turn out as good as apple pie. That’s a known fact: pie > crisp. However, crisp is pretty dang good too. And a lot faster and easier to make. I put great emphasis on speed in the kitchen. It rarely takes me more than seventeen minutes to whip up a large stir fry dinner. A crisp takes like four minutes if done with good speed. That’s not including bake time. But you can speed that up too by baking it at a higher temperature. Duh. I don’t know why more baking books suggest this.

Step 1: Pick out the apples from your fruit/vegetable pile on your countertop. Make sure to only pick out apples. Onions make a poor crisp. This step only takes about seven seconds to the highly trained eye.


Step 2: Peel those stupid fucking piece of shit stickers off and throw them down the drain while you rinse the apples. I don’t care if it’s bad for the disposal; at this stage I’m usually so mad that these stickers even exist that I’m actually tearing off large chunks of apple along with the stickers.

Step 3: Cut the apples as fast as humanly possible. Use a large, extra sharp knife. This is the longest and most tedious step so it’s best to tackle it as fast as you can. My patience is usually 80% gone after this step.

Step 4: Take the pyrex cooking dish out of that god damn drawer that’s under the oven–the one that always gets jammed up and won’t open properly because you store too many pyrex dishes and baking pans in there and you never take the time to organize them. Remember, you’re in a hurry and growing hungry and angry, so don’t take the time to carefully adjust the cooking ware that’s jammed up. It’s a fact that it won’t come out easily so just yank it really hard and curse. Slice your finger open on the top of the drawer in the process.


Step 5: Go to the hospital to get six stitches. Have Adelaide take you. This step takes 4.5 hours, but it doesn’t count towards prep time because you aren’t actively making the crisp. You’re just sitting there in the ER waiting room, hour after hour, growing cold and hungry as your anger rises when others get to go in before you because their heart pain is more pressing than your finger injury. The most important part of this step is not touching anything because you’re a hypochondriac.

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Step 5: An a bowl, mix 1-4 tablespoons of cinnamon, a few hefty pinches of nutmeg, some salt, an egg, all the apples, and some GF baking mix if you so desire (note: adding this GF flour always makes the crisp too dry). Mix hard so everything gets incorporated, or whatever that means. Dump the pile into a baking dish. If you remembered, you’ll have already oiled the dish with coconut oil. Keep your bandages out of this mixture, because the stitches cannot get wet for the next 24 hours.

Step 6: In the same bowl you just used, the one that is now empty, pour in a bunch of oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and four or 12 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix thoroughly. Time and patience has run out so hurry the hell up.

Step 7: Put the oat mixture on top of the apple mixture and bake for 40 minutes. Then it’s done.



Prep time: four to six minutes

Hospital time: 4.5 hours

Bake time: 40 minutes.

The result: A fairly dry and somewhat tasteless apple crisp. Remove the stitches in seven days. Enjoy!


Los Cabos 70.3

In between eating tacos, body surfing, and strolling up and down palm-lined beaches, I did a race. It did not go well. After one margarita, I didn’t care.

Adelaide and I never had a honeymoon last winter, and the trip to Mexico we had planned for last fall was cancelled when Adelaide was hit. So last week’s race down in Los Cabos had purposes other than just being a race. But going back to that first paragraph, I actually did care when my race went to shit.

The swim was rough. Once again, I found myself alone for 99.9% of the time. A beach start meant we got to run and dive, which I’d been practicing for two days before the race and was eager to find out if my goggles would stay on my head for once. 82 degree water meant that no wetsuits were allowed, which, combined with wavy conditions, was a major disadvantage for the less skilled swimmers such as myself.

Within five seconds of entering the water, someone smartly used my face to propel themselves forward. I attempted retaliation by swimming on top of their back, but only managed to push him forward and myself backwards. A few moments later I was on my own, scanning left and right hoping to find a fellow straggler to follow. I spent the next half hour chocking on salt water and wondering where I was supposed to go, since one of the paddle borders freaked me out by frantically signaling to go right when I was pretty sure I was supposed to stay straight, which I was. Throughout it all I did take time to appreciate the fact that out of 2,000 people racing, I was most likely the only person lucky enough to get to swim all alone. There’s no fighting for position when you’re in a race of your own.

I passed over some colorful tropical fish as I approached the beach 35 minutes later. I by through the crowd at the start line and heard the announcer exclaim that the first age grouper was out of the water.

Nope. That’s just me. 10 minutes down already. But thanks.

I stumbled through the transition area to my bike and tried to collect my thoughts and breath. All the men’s bikes were gone and half of the women’s too. But I had heart left, hoping beyond hope that the previous two and a half weeks of no training would give me good legs for the ride and run. To combat the fatigue from a long season packed full of external stressors, not to mention my god damn piece of shit nonfunctional thyroid, I’d opted to simply not train between Silverman and Los Cabos. After Silverman I’d briefly attempted to ride and wasn’t able go any harder than recovery pace.

15 minutes in to the bike I realized that all that rest wasn’t the magical cure I’d yearned it to be. I failed to pass the lead woman, and by mile 40 I’d been re-passed by the 2nd place woman (remember, both had started out five minutes behind my group). Not only had I simply not been able to put out the power in the first hour, but now my back and glutes were cramping up so badly that I couldn’t pedal in the aero bars. So I just coasted the downhills and soft pedaled in the bull horns on the flats and climbs. Soon they were so cramped that I couldn’t even coast in the aero bars anymore. By that point it was mostly downhill to the finish.

Despite my complete lack of ability to pedal hard, I did enjoy the scenery. The course went out along the coast for about 30 miles of palm trees and short rollers, then it climbed up towards the cactus and tall green brush of Baja Sur’s mountains. I hoped that Adelaide was having a good race.

I gave up almost immediately during the run. I didn’t have it in me physically, and at that point I was well over half an hour behind the leaders. A few miles into it I became incredibly depressed, wondering if I’d ever be fast again. Or be able to train. I thought that taking almost three weeks off (aside from swimming, which I’d still been doing) would allow my hormones to balance. But nothing of the sort had occurred and here I was, jacked up on caffeine, sugar, and race adrenaline and still unable to ride over 250 watts or run below eight minute pace. All those feelings of panic, self-loathing, and hopelessness came rushing on as I crossed over a long bridge. I looked down and saw that it wasn’t nearly high enough to do the job, so I continued my slow, lonely jog/walk, unable to imagine ever being happy again if my thyroid wouldn’t return to normal.

I trotted that first lap at 11 minute pace, walking at times, stopping to shit in the porta potty, and even taking the time to wipe. The only thing that kept me from packing it in after the first lap was the realization that I was going to have to wait for about nine hours before Adelaide finished since she was doing the full and had also started an hour and a half behind me. I had some time to kill. So I started that second lap, now mixed in with age groupers for company, which was nice…to see other people suffering and going even slower than me. Misery loves company, because the human condition is an evil, fucked up thing.

I trotted along, walking through the aid stations to eat as many peanuts and drink as much coke as I could stomach, not necessarily because I needed it, but because it was free. After five hours and twenty two minutes I finally crossed the finish line. I was an IRONMAN©! But not really because it was only a half. A trivial detail.

I was in decent spirits during that second lap and had gotten over my depression, rationalizing that it might take longer than six weeks for my thyroid meds to return me to normal. But once I saw Adelaide half an hour later my heart sunk again. She was supposed to be out on the bike. If anyone was going to have a good race here it was her, since her training had for once gone perfectly leading up to the race. But her lazy fuck up of a bike mechanic (me) hadn’t taken the time to make sure her bike was in working order.

Instead of pre-riding the course, unpacking and dialing in the bikes after our flight, and doing all that important stuff the days leading up to the race, we’d spent our time swimming in the waves and having fun on the beach. During the race, her front brake had clamped down on her wheel due to damaged brake cable housing. She’d stopped to adjust it five times on the first lap 56 mile lap but couldn’t get it to unclamp. It would have taken a multi tool to get to her front brake, which she didn’t have. Thanks aero brake cover fairing! That’s progress!

Usually when people say their wheel was rubbing it’s just an excuse for bad legs, but when I tried to spin her wheel with my hand I could barely make it budge. We quickly righted all the wrongs of the day by downing a pair of large margaritas. Then we decided that the only reasonable thing to do next was to get back to our hotel and take the bus to the beach for a second, and possibly, third and fourth round.

I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years for races, but none of it was for vacation. And a lot of it has been to places like Arkansas and Minnesota–not bad places by any means but also not vacation destinations. All of my travel has been for races, and I always come back home way more worn out than when I left, which, from what I gather, is not how vacations are supposed to work. Although this trip did involve a race and a lot of stress the day before during all the equipment drop offs, this trip had a different vibe to it.

I’ve always wondered what people do on vacation. It weirds me out seeing everyone else at the airport without bike bags. What will they do when they get where they’re headed? Do they rent bikes at their destination? Do they go on runs or something? How is it that all of these people are runners? Or are they going on long backpack trips? How will they exercise? This incredibly bizarre thought process has followed me into my movie-watching mind as well. During a romantic comedy I’ll wonder how any of the characters can possibly train with all the relationship stress that’s going on. “I wouldn’t be able to do it, Adelaide! These people’s lives are horrible. How can they ride hard with all this crazy drama?!” Adelaide tells me to be quiet a lot.

Well, after last week I came to a realization. It turns out that, on vacation at least, you can kill the day just fine without even thinking about training.

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Dealing with a bully

In middle school it might have been the kid with the absentee parents. He took his aggression and feelings of inadequacy out on smaller, younger, or less popular kids. With boys it was a simple mindless taunt (fag, retard, fatty) often accompanied by some minor physical abuse. Girls were even meaner. They found real, or created imaginary, flaws in their victims to inflict psychological damage that dwarfed the physical bullying of boys. Almost everyone partook in a little taunting, teasing, and unfair treatment of others from time to time. To deny this is to deny that your farts stink. Humans are fallible and oftentimes horrible. Virtually all of us have been major pricks at least a few instances in our lives. I have been one on more than a few instances. But there were, and still are, people who took teasing and meanness to different levels.

As they grew older, the intelligent bully became much more subtle in their nastiness. Bullies either became smart or, more likely, a larger percentage of smart people became bullies. Instead of openly attacking another person, they connive, plot, and twist other people’s opinions of their victim into something that isn’t true. They put on a play of smiles to your face, then smear your name with shit when your back is turned. If their goal isn’t monetary it’s to gain a position of power or to boost their low self-confidence, which quite possibly was heavily trod upon all those years ago as a teenager.

Up until recently, I worked at Amante Coffee, Uptown. One of the employees had become renown for doing sloppy, lazy work; being rude to the customers; and for talking mad shit behind all of the other employees’ backs to the manager, who this employee smartly became better and better friends with. This two-faced facade was blatantly obvious to everyone but the manager and store owner. As a boss, you’ve got to realize that people treat you differently than they do everyone else, and that no matter how long you’ve been working with someone, they’re always walking on a bit of glass around you. In some cases, an employee becomes an entirely different person around their higher-up. Our manager, as well as the owner of Amante, didn’t seem to get this. They didn’t get that they’d been used. That, or they’d just been turning a set of blind eyes throughout all the years. Call it laziness or dishonesty, both were part of the problem.

With enough whispering in the manager’s ear, the employee not only kept their job, which to me is quite simply baffling given the quality of their work and attitude, but they were also given a raise and moved up to assistant manager. This all happened about a month ago by the way. Things did not look good for the future of Amante or the quality of life for its staff. The employee wasn’t just bad at their job, they had been out for vengeance over every slight to their person, real or imagined. Giving someone like this power, someone with ill-intent and downright hatred for half of their co-workers, was an incredibly poor and dishonest decision by the management, and something had to be done.

Complaints had been made for the past two years about the employee, but the manager had simply ignored them. As a last ditch effort, my brother’s girlfriend Joslynn took one last stand against the decision and attempted to rally the rest of us together in opposition of the employee being given the managing position. Joslynn was fired. My brother Galen was essentially fired as well, though he’d been given the “opportunity” to stay on. Joslynn was crushed from losing her job in that manner and you’d have to be a fool to think Galen wouldn’t stand in solidarity with her. Galen quit. Then I quit. Just like that, Amante lost its two best employees (Galen and Jos, not me).

To stand up against a bully, especially when they’ve conspired their way into a position of power, took a lot of courage on Jos’ behalf. It was only fair that I recognize that with my own resignation. I don’t want to work for an employer or company that’s dishonest, that doesn’t treat their employees equally. Life is too short to be around caustic people, and if you can’t change them, can’t bring their actions to justice, the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. That might be seen as losing. But the real loss is to remain silent and oppressed. Sometimes you just have to say fuck it and quit. If you can’t beat ’em, leave. Don’t join ’em. Jesus, the last thing you want to do is join ’em.

P.S. Spruce Confections, just a block north of Amante, makes a fine cup of coffee. Just so you know.

Last one out the door

Reality is just now setting in.

At first I saw my diagnosis as a blessing. Just finding out that I had Hashimoto’s felt like a cure, in and of itself. To have a reason for feeling so shitty was to have a way out, or so I assumed. It didn’t seem like a very serious disease, and it isn’t, compared to many. All it does is make me tired, grumpy, unable to get consistent nights of sleep, and it makes me really, really weak. It makes me a cat 5 on the bike. I’d take all the other symptoms times 10 if it meant I could still ride hard.

I assumed the pill I’d be taking would get me back to normal, or at least close enough to normal that I wouldn’t know the difference. Unfortunately, the more I research and the more I read first hand accounts, the more worried I get that this is something that could potentially end my athletic career. Not just my athletic ‘career,’ but something that could end my ability to work out in general. I’m not worried that I won’t be able to go on hikes and jogs. Those things will still be possible. I’m worried that I won’t be able to go out on a five hour ride in the mountains and climb 12,000 feet. I’m worried that I won’t even be able to compete in bike races or triathlons at the local, amateur level. I’m really worried that I simply won’t have the power to ride over 200 watts anymore.

This past week I’ve been going out for rides and averaging 170 watts, and feeling tired afterwards. That should not happen to me. It’s one thing to feel tired and crappy after a hard day or two of training. But that’s an entirely different feeling than what I’ve been struggling with. I go out on rides and don’t feel tired, per say; I go out and my legs just won’t push the pedals harder than recovery pace without catching on fire. I’ve felt lethargic in the pool too, and I cut my run short today because my entire body just felt weak, incapable, and out of breath.

Yesterday I went through my training journal and saw that I was more fit last November than I am now, or this August, or July, or June, or, May, or April. I was riding harder back in November with zero fitness, having just taken Adelaide home from the hospital, than I was at any other time of the year. I’d been off the bike for three months at that point and was dealing with more stress than I’d ever encountered in my life, yet I was still able to ride somewhat hard.

I find the majority of my joy in life, not to mention my identity, through training and being able to compete. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with working out since before I reached the double digits. I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly happy again if I’m not able to exercise. Hard exercise. While it’s true that even if the pills don’t kick in, I’ll almost certainly be able to go out on long easy rides once in a while when I find the motivation, I’ll never want to compete again if I’m this tired and weak.

But I still have hope that sooner or later the medicine will start working. It takes a long time to kick in, from what I’ve read. For now I refuse to leave the comforts of denial, like a dinner guest lounging on the living room sofa long into the night, seemingly unaware that the appropriate time to leave is well past. The grandfather clock over in the corner slowly ticking and tocking towards 11:00 fills long pauses in conversation, yet he continues on, dragging out the night into infinity. Everyone else has eaten, socialized, and said their thank you’s and goodnights. Except for this one guy, who has nowhere to go and apparently no one else to talk to. He continues on in animated bursts of dialogue, mostly speaking to hear himself heard while the two, fleetingly polite hosts try to conceal yawns with the backs of their hands, wishing and praying to whatever god will listen to just make this fucking guy go, vanish into thin air, clutch his heart in agony and cry out “goodbye, thanks for the chow” as a thin stand of spittle drips out the corner of his mouth and cardiac arrest finally silences him.

I’ll be that guy, clutching to the last few minutes of the night for as long as I can. Work you fucking thyroid pills. Just work.

Got my ass kicked at Silverman 70.3

Last week Adelaide and I fled the first taste of Boulder’s fall and retreated to Henderson, Nevada to race Silverman. Adelaide came to cheer me on and help out. It was hot, sunny, and I soaked up the good weather as much as I could. I’m an endless summer type of person. If it’s below 80 degrees, I’m grumbling. I’m usually grumbling if it’s over 80 degrees too, but that’s because I’m a jerk.

Our hosts, Ron and Julie, gave some tips about the course and also lived a convenient four blocks away from a 38-mile-long bike path that looped through the desert, which is where Adelaide and I headed the next morning. Here are some pictures of us before we parted and Adelaide got super lost and almost died of dehydration in a multitude of CVS parking lots.

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We went for a swim that afternoon after Adelaide straggled back in from the ride. I did a 100 in 1:11 without too much difficulty. A few days before I did 1:09, which for me is blazing fast. Previously, my fastest 100 yards was 1:18 going all out, and a 1:22 was usually all I could muster on a good day. You can probably tell where my brain was going after seeing such a big improvement—into super, ultra, over-confidence mode. Shit, I probably wouldn’t even have to try in the swim.

Side note: the fast guys can do two miles at a faster pace than I can sprint 100 yards. Also, this race probably had the deepest field that I’d competed in. I knew this, yet I still thought I’d do well in the swim and win the overall race.

Two days later at the crack of dawn, we started to a gun shot. And within two minutes I was dropped from all but one guy. There went my good swim. Despite having clear skies and clear water, it felt like swimming in the middle of a storm. Calling it “choppy” doesn’t do justice. The wind was tearing across Lake Mead from the south, creating one and a half foot tall waves.

The water was so rough that for a moment I began fearing for other people’s lives. I couldn’t imagine things going well for the 50+ age group women trying to swim through this and the chaos of 1,600 other people. I legitimately thought that someone would drown. Though to be fair, up until recently I was getting passed by 50+ year-old women at the rec center all the time, so maybe the fear should have been saved for myself.

I gasped for air in the chop, trying to stay on the feet of my buddy. My form went to complete shit. It was as if I’d forgotten everything I’d learned in the last six months. There was too much to concentrate on. I’d forget to kick, which meant my feet would begin to sink and drag. This was the first non-wetsuit race I’d done, which made kicking all that more important. I’d notice my feet dragging and correct that, but then lose sight of the guy’s bubbles in front of me and frantically try to chase back on to his draft. Then I’d miss a breath and gulp a mouthful of water. Then I’d realize that I was just bulldozing through the water without any body rotation or bend in my arms or wrists. For me it’s hard enough to focus on good form in a pool, let alone a lake with that kind of chop. About 10 minutes in, my lungs began cramping from breathing so hard.

By the half way point the lead woman passed us like we were standing still. Five minutes later a large pack of women blew by. I tried to get onto the back of them but they were way too fast for me. I did make sure to sprint around the other guy a hundred meters before the finish so I wasn’t last out of the water.

With a time of 35:55, I was 11 minutes slower than the first guy out of the water. Some spectator told me to “just calm down and take a few deep breaths” since I was gasping for air like a 12-year-old giving birth.

After crashing into some barriers coming out of T1, I finally got clipped in and began doing what I know how to do. Sort of. Actually, even riding didn’t feel good. I couldn’t get my power even close to what I’d hoped for and my weak glutes were soon destroyed. And that was just getting out of the parking lot.

Moments before crashing into those orange barriers.

As I neared the turn around, I began counting how many guys were in front of me. 26. There had been 30 starters. Things did not look good. The wind continued howling on the way back into town and I caught a few more guys with legs even more pitiful than mine. I passed the lead woman at mile 40, not having been aware that she was still ahead of me from the swim. Whatever. I chalked it up to a small victory since that meant I was now 24th on the road.

I came into T2 pretty destroyed. Despite only averaging 270 watts, I was hurting something fierce. The wind and 5,000+ feet of elevation gain had only prolonged the agony. I’d originally picked this race out as one that I’d do well in since the bike leg is one of the most challenging in North America, but some days you just don’t have it, and you can’t fake it in triathlon. My swim was awful and my ride was weak. The only thing left to redeem myself was the run.

I gave up about a mile into the run. I didn’t full on quit, per say, but I slowed down to a “comfortable” pace and held it there for the duration, averaging 6:13 per mile. This excellent decision came after I realized that I was 20 odd minutes behind the leader and 10 or so minutes behind 10th place. The race only paid eight deep, and I didn’t have the mental fortitude to continue killing myself for 13th or what have you. What I’m trying to say is that I’m weak-willed and only in it for the money.

Despite caving, I was happy with myself for not getting too upset about being so slow and throwing a temper tantrum. I had fun during the run, if that’s possible, and made faces at Adelaide whenever I saw her cheering me on from the side. Plus, look how color-coordinated I accidentally happened to be. I mean, come on. I looked goooood.

IMG_0861 IMG_0865
Only 22 minutes slower than 1st. That’s good, right?

I came in 17th and Adelaide and I both got a free massage and lunch. Plus, like every Ironman race, I got a sweet mesh backpack, hat, shirt, and a finisher’s medal that weighs 18 and a half pounds. None of that will go directly to GoodWill, I swear.

Next up is Los Cabos. Adelaide is doing the full and I’m doing the half. Redemption is just three weeks away. Time to remain utterly serious.




Dear Ironman, please send $10 to reimburse my entrance fee into Lake Mead so I that was able to get to the race start. I prefer paypal: Thanks for not being cheap,


An Athlete with Hypothyroidism

The diagnosis: there’s something terribly wrong with me. But we all suspected that a long time ago. HAHA GOOD JOKE KENNETT.

I just found out that I have hypothyroidism. It explains a lot. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious. It can’t be spread by a cough or anal. It’s genetic, just like herpes. Read along to find out what it is, why you should send me a get well soon care package filled with chocolate and smoked herring, and how the rest of my life will be ruined now that I have a disability other than being a white, upper-middle-class male of above average height.


Choke her out!
“How to remain incredibly calm while being choked out”

As the first image shows, your thyroid is a gland in your throat that has one purpose: to secrete thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones (the main ones being T3 and T4) control your basal metabolic rate, bone growth (in children), protein synthesis, metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, and how your body uses and reacts to other hormones. Basically, it does a lot of important shit. Mine, however, has fallen asleep on the job. Permanently.

Science talk

The hypothalamus, located up in your head, is the first in the chain of command when it comes to your endocrine system (hormones and stuff). When hormones need making, your hypothalamus gets called up and, like any good manager, delegates the work to other body parts–first the pituitary gland. Don’t bag on the hypothalamus too much. It’s got other, more important stuff to do anyways.

So, the hypothalamus releases TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone), which lets the pituitary know that it should start making TSH (thyroid-releasing hormone). TSH tells the thyroid gland to start pumping out thyroid hormone, which as I described above, tells the rest of your body how to use energy. There’s a lot of middle management in the endocrine system, which is why I believe there are so many problems with it.

Wikipedia, you so smart. Thanks for making me smart to.

Anywho, my thyroid no longer works. It might be that it’s been out of order for a long, long time. According to my doctor, my thyroid is essentially useless and has “shut down.” I discovered this when, a few weeks ago, I went in to get a prescription for sleeping meds. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, especially the past three or four months. My insomnia goes back at least a year but had been getting unbearable more recently.

The doctor decided to test my thyroid, with the initial inkling that it might be producing too much thyroid hormone, called hyperthyroidism with an E, which can lead to difficulty sleeping and an overly active metabolism. I ended up having hypothyroidism with an Ohhh–the opposite problem, but can also impair sleep.

To test your thyroid function, they suck out some blood and count how much T3, T4, and TSH is in it. TSH, as you may recall, acts as a signal for your thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. So the higher your TSH, the more thyroid hormones your body craves. The lower your TSH, the less thyroid it craves. The normal TSH range for a healthy person is 0.5 to 5 microunits per milliliter. With a TSH of 5 to 10, you’re considered to have subclinical hypothyroidism, which means you probably don’t need to be medicated unless you’re experiencing a lot of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, which I’ll get into in just a second. If your TSH is over 10, you have overt hypothyroidism, meaning you should definitely consider getting treatment since your thyroid is currently on a downward spiral to hell. If left untreated over the years, subclinical hypothyroidism may eventually become overt, and once it’s overt it’s likely that it will eventually shut down altogether. I think. Remember, I’m not a doctor so you should definitely take everything I say as fact.

My TSH was “greater than” 150. One hundred and fifty. What the fuck. Apparently that particular lab’s test only goes to 150, meaning I was off the charts. My doctor tested me again just to be sure, and the second test came back the same.

Hypothyroidism is almost always due to Hashimoto’s disease, which is a genetic disorder. As an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s confuses your body into attacking the thyroid gland until it’s dead. You can also have hypothyroidism if you’ve had thyroid surgery, thyroid cancer, not enough iodine in your diet, an inability to absorb iodine, or a few other equally rare scenarios. In my case, it’s almost certainly Hashimoto’s.


There are a lot of them. The blue ones are ones that I’ve noticed.

Muscle weakness
Inability to focus
Carpel Tunnel Syndrom
Decreased libido
Hearing loss
Dry skin
Hair loss/dry hair
Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
Night sweats or hot flashes during sleep 
Slow heart rate (mine is 28)
Weight gain
Trouble losing weight
Intolerance to the cold
Memory loss
Abnormal menstrual cycles (hypothyroidism is much more likely to strike women than men by the way)
Muscle cramps and aches
And even more. Basically it fucks you right up.

As you read through this list, you can see how I never thought anything was wrong with me, since these are all basically symptoms of training hard.

How did this happen? 

You can’t get Hashimoto’s without a genetic predisposition, which only a small percentage of the population has to worry about. 3.5% of the population has Hashimoto’s (and 5% total with hypothyroidism), with women being 8-10 times more likely to develop it than men. It’s also very rare in young people, with post-menopausal women being the main victims. So why do I have it?

There is a hypothesis that if you’re genetically predisposed to Hashimoto’s (my mom has it too) that hard endurance training or stress may bring it on earlier in life. So I got it when I was in my 20s instead of my 50s due to hard training, maybe. This has not been proven. Another way you can give yourself hypothyroidism is by taking a lot of testosterone or HGH.

Which brings me to the next chapter…


There is a growing number of elite runners that apparently have hypothyroidism. Galen Rupp is on that list, along with a bunch of other Nike runners. You may have come across this Wall Street Journal article that describes the unconventional approach that a certain doctor by the name of Jeff Brown uses when it comes to diagnosing elite athletes with hypothyroidism. Read: “doping doctor.”

At the time of the above article’s publication, Alberto Salazar had coached 30 elite Nike athletes, and 17% of those had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism by Dr. Brown. As you may recall, only 5% of the population actually has hypothyroidism, and most of those people are older women, not young males. My theory is that Brown is replacing thyroid that was originally lost due to testosterone and HGH doping (T and HGH both stunt the thyroid’s output). That, or there may be a small advantage for a healthy, non-hypothyroid person to microdose with synthetic thyroid. This is debatable, as google will tell you. In his rational, Dr. Brown believes that a TSH of 2.0 or higher requires medication. He is virtually alone in the medical world when it comes to this standard. Remember, 0.5 to 5 is considered healthy. My TSH is +150 and I’m still kicking, so I find it very hard to believe that someone with a value of 2.0 needs meds.

Note: synthetic thyroid isn’t even on WADA’s banned substance list since it hasn’t actually been shown to be a performance enhancer. That’s the part that leads me to question if Brown is covering up as well as fixing some of the health problems caused by HGH and testosterone doping.

So how do I deal with it?

Thank you baby jesus for the pharmaceutical industry and America, the land where taking a pill solves all your problems. As long as you have money for insurance. And your problems consist of restless leg syndrome and ED.

I have to take a pill every morning for the rest of my life called levothyroxine, which is synthetic thyroid. It’s the thyroid hormone T4, which the body converts to T3. It takes a few weeks to start kicking in, then a few months to dial in the correct dose. I’ll have to have my TSH values monitored two to three times a year for the rest of my life as well, to ensure I’m continuing to get the right dose. Taking too little levothyroxine will leave me fatigued and depressed. Too much and apparently it’ll be like I’m on crack, without any of the good feelings.

Training as an elite athlete who has hypothyroidism, even while medicated, is supposedly much more difficult than a healthy person’s training. I found some great info about hypothyroidism and endurance athletes from the smart words of world-renown running coach Steve Magness. Check out his website for the goods. His book The Science of Running is incredibly good too. Even if you’re just a cyclist you should still read it.

Anyways, as a runner who has had hypothyroidism since he was 14, Magness, claims that training is made extra difficult by this disease. One day you’re up, the next you’re down. There’s little consistency and it sometimes takes a lot longer to recover from hard workouts than it would for a normal athlete. Looking back, I’ve noticed this.

Since the hypothyroid sufferer’s body doesn’t get a natural, steady flow of thyroid hormones when it needs it, recovery becomes significantly impaired. I’ll take a pill every morning, but I won’t get that steady drip like a regular person, telling the body how to respond minute by minute throughout the day as it encounters stress and physical exertion.

But I’m optimistic. I think that this diagnosis means that I’ll be able to get back to where I was in 2013, and maybe even better. I’ve most likely had this going on for years now, since it’s a disease that develops over a long period of time. If I had to put a date on it, looking back I’d say that I really started noticing that something was a bit off in 2007. I had trained really hard that winter and could never kick the fatigue that came with it. I ended up taking most of the year off to recover, summing it up as just some severe overtraining. While I don’t doubt that I was severely overtrained, I think a part of the reason I wasn’t able to recover was due to my messed up thyroid.

While I continued getting stronger over the years, I’ve always struggled with going too hard and not being able to recover. One week I’d be great in training, then the following week I’d be dead by day two, even on the off chance when I decided to take adequate rest. I’d be shit for two months for some reason and then magically be fast again. This is a natural occurrence for any athlete, especially in a sport like cycling where the season is so long and the training and racing are so stressful. Again, that adds to the difficulty of self-diagnosis.

Things really didn’t start going downhill until 2014, which is when I believe my thyroid might have shit the bed altogether. After a really good season in 2013, I signed for a crappy little pro Swedish team that went belly up part way into 2014. I came home to the States half a year early and really depressed since my dream had been shattered, and I could never get my legs going again that year. I’m wiling to bet that a large part of that lingering depression and lack of fitness was due to my good for nothing thyroid, not just the team folding.

Then in the fall of 2014 my wife Adelaide was out training for an upcoming triathlon and was hit and almost killed by a reckless driver. She was put in a coma for five days and her face was literally torn off. The recovery process took months and months and is still ongoing. My training was essentially non existent that fall and winter, which resulted in even more depression on top of the huge emotional black whole caused by the crash. My complete lack of fitness when the cycling season began in March made me even more depressed. To make things worse, later in the season when I should have finally been able to train hard and consistently, I found that I didn’t have the mental, physical, or emotional energy to do so. I simply couldn’t go for more than a few weeks without cracking. That’s why I switched to an easy sport. Triathlon.

As you can see, from 2014 on it would have been very hard for me to distinguish between the depression/fatigue from all those external issues, and the depression/fatigue caused by something chemically imbalanced within me. Now it seems obvious, but even a few weeks ago, before I knew what the thyroid gland even was, I chalked all those symptoms (depression, fatigue, poor sleep, etc.) to just training or Adelaide getting hit. As I’ve said before, I’m sure there is quite a bit of cross over. But damn does it feel good to learn that there really is something wrong with me and it’s not just all in my head. It’s in my throat.

So to all the cyclist, triathletes, runners, and other sports enthusiasts, remember that sometimes things can actually go wrong in your body and what you’re experiencing might not be the normal side effects of hard training. We think that as athletes we’re more in tune with our bodies, but at the same time we’re deaf and blind to anything that we don’t perceive as training related. That feeling of constant fatigue might not just be from the big hours you put in the past month, and that enlarged testicle might not be caused by your worn out chamois.