Friday, July 31, 2015

Cycling and BFS/CFS

Seven years into my diagnosis of BFS/CFS my exercise intolerance continues to get worse. CFS/BFS are benign disorders because they will not kill you, but that is not entirely true. If a person can no longer exercise, they will waste away and die younger. And there is nothing benign about worsening symptoms that are debilitating. Many sports I performed a few years ago are becoming much more difficult to perform – hiking, rock climbing, wrestling (some things are considered too dangerous such as rock climbing with paresthesia symptoms in the hands) and so forth. Even walking is becoming exceedingly difficult – lots of pain and discomfort and longer recovery times.

Cycling is the one sport I am able to do with less pain and in fact I am able to do at a fairly high level. I am astonished as to what I have accomplished in the sport this year. Right now, cycling is saving my life. I do not know what I would do without it – I believe I would be becoming a burden on my family. I am not too sure how long I can keep it up, but right now I am living in the moment and trying not to worry about it. I have plenty of pain when I cycle but it is far more tolerable.

This past week I competed in the National Senior Games in Minneapolis Minnesota. I placed 10th and 14th in the two road races, but 3rd and 7th in the 10K time trial and 5 K time trial respectively. This exceeded my wildest expectations. My times have improved by nearly 2.5 minutes in the 10K time trial in just over the past year. Yes, I invested in better equipment, but I am still the only person competing in time trial events with a road bike and not a specialized time trial bike.

Each day is difficult, I wake up stiff and in a lot of pain. I force myself to cycle and usually feel better for doing it. My rankings in USA cycling continue to rise steadily. At the Colorado state time trial championships I won Category 5 (although not officially recognized) and broke 1 hour for the 25 mile time trial. That is a huge barrier, breaking 25 mph for one hour! On shorter events I am now breaking 26 mph. Even my training runs are a lot faster. I have taken 10 minutes off my time to do the 4000 feet climb and 18 miles to the summit of Cottonwood Pass. I am on a roll and rank 18th in the country for Category 5 Time Trials.

BFS and CFS changes lives, but it is not over. We have to work that much harder to succeed. I remind myself everyday how lucky I am because people have it so much worse than I do. This helps me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to push forward.

My USA cycling results can be found at (This does not include my results at the Arizona, Colorado, and National senior games):

No comments:

Post a Comment