It’s going to have to be brief tonight.
The data from today: 7 bottles, 4 water stops, 110 degrees and 2200+ calories. (Strava proof.) Needless to say, as I type, my legs are on the brink of locking up. My brain feels as if it’s shrunk down in my head. Even this Retina screen looks blurry. Alas, I might be inflamed.
Cycling and Cheating:
There was disappointment from the Tour de France. Another champion cyclist, Frank Schleck, who rides on the US-based RadioShack/Nissan/Trek team, failed a drug test. Mr. Schleck’s urine tested positive for a potent diuretic. Why would a Tour de France cyclist take a pill that promotes dehydration? It sure wasn’t for puffy ankles. Diuretics are taken to mask performance-enhancing drugs. Mr. Schleck has already started his defense: he was poisoned.
Gosh, this cheating, and then denying, gets so old. Can you just feel his inflammation swelling with the denials?
Speaking of inflammation, imagine the angst spared if a certain former Tour de France champion ended the grand charade. A friend’s suggestion: He could call up his old colleagues, Mr. Ulrich, Mr. Zulle, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Landis, among many others, and suggest that they band together, tell the truth and say they were starting a foundation to clean up cycling. The truth worked beautifully for British cyclist, David Millar; it could work for them too. I hate to see an American icon suffer so much inflammation.
I’m highly conflicted about the FDA’s approval of obesity drugs. Last month, locraserin, an activator of serotonin (a hormone important in mood) receptors in the brain, got the nod. This week, a combination of a stimulant and seizure drug, phentermine and topiramate, was approved. Both drugs failed on their first attempt at the FDA.
The reflex response from a health and fitness blogger is obvious: dismay and disdain. How could the FDA approve potent drugs, which affect brain chemistry and speed metabolism, to treat a problem best treated by very simple lifestyle choices? It seems so obvious, even to sportswriters, that Americans are over-medicated.
That’s the easy response. But obesity is such a baddie. Fatness is literally killing us. As I said yesterday, fat cells manufacture and proliferate inflammation. Inflammation leads to heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes and joint disease. Look around, you don’t need Harvard-level statistics, or cardiologists, to tell you there’s no end in sight. We are losing the battle. That’s why the FDA approved the free-lunch pills. It is true: the science reveals that obese patients who took these pills lost modestly more weight than patients who took placebo. This is important because in very obese patients, even modest weight loss might mean better outcomes. The thinking goes: from a public health standpoint, considering the millions of obese patients, the means justify the ends. Get the weight down, and there will be fewer cases of diabetes and heart attacks.
I understand this thesis. I need to ponder this one some more. Are stimulants and chemicals that mess with our brains good long-term solutions? Will mass-media promotion of the drugs directly to the consumer lead to even more over-medication of the populace? Will these drugs really be used to help obese people ‘over the hump’ and onto healthy living behaviors? When the drugs are unleashed to the masses, will adverse effects counter the benefits? Lots of doubt.
The Greatist—on Boosting Endurance:
Finally, It’s Cycling Wednesday; reviewing the topic of building endurance is always timely. I was pleased to participate—as an ‘expert’ (gasp)–on this nicely done review of ways to improve endurance. Greatist writer Laura Schwecherl does a nice job laying out both basic and nuanced principles for reaching personal bests. Who knew beet juice could make you faster? The smart and young people over at the Greatist continue to publish…well…really great stuff. Seriously folks, for useful health information, written in a refreshingly fun tone, I’d highly recommend following the Greatist. They are on to something.