For the first time since the inception of the CTS Endurance Bucket List in 2010, I failed to reach the finish line of an event. Thirty of the 32 CTS Athletes who traveled to Costa Rica for La Ruta de los Conquistadores completed the race – a finisher rate of 94%, compared to the race’s overall rate that’s closer to 60% – but I didn’t. If only I had read the directions on the package.
The root cause of my DNF can be traced to feeling a bit under the weather about a week before the race. I visited my doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. Normally this would be no problem but I neglected to mention that I was headed to the tropics to race in hot weather and bright sun for several hours a day over a three-day period.
Why, might you ask, would it be somewhat important to mention that fact to my doctor? Well, because photosensitivity is one potential side effect of antibiotics. This is why doctors and pharmacists and package inserts all do their best to advise you to refrain from prolonged sun exposure (ie. tanning) while you’re on antibiotics.
So… fast-forward a few days and I’m in Costa Rica for La Ruta. I felt OK on the pre-ride with the rest of Team CTS on the day before the race, the food and accommodations were great, my coaches and our support crew were totally dialed in. Everything was perfect.
During the first stage, though, I started out strong and then faded. I chalked it up to the heat, but figured I was just not acclimated to tropical temperatures and humidity and got a little overheated and dehydrated. All things I could fix with a good recovery strategy overnight and I’d be better for Stage 2.
With the help of ProBar Bites and plenty of fluids through the afternoon and a bottle of Osmo Preload in the evening, I felt good as we rolled out the next morning for Stage 2. That didn’t last long. After about an hour I started losing power. I struggled on, but toward the end of the stage on I felt nauseous, out of focus, and completely cooked. I was so overheated – despite consuming a ton of fluids – that I stopped by the side of a road to rest in the shade. I eventually reached the finish line but still hadn’t made the connection between the antibiotics and my struggles on the bike.
The night after Stage 2 I was wiped out. More wiped out than I should have been. But there was one more stage to ride and I don’t quit, so I focused on hydration and nutrition, used the Normatec Recovery boots on my legs, and went to bed early. One more stage. All I had to do was one more bike ride. In the morning I felt OK, not great, but good enough to start.
2015 CTS Spring Training Camps! Spring Training Camp spots are selling faster than ever before! Check the schedule and reserve your spot early!
Stage 3 ended unceremoniously when I fainted at the first aid station. I remember really struggling to make it to the aid station, which was at the top of a long, hot climb. Eventually I had to get off the bike and walk. As I’m told, I pretty much walked into the aid station and collapsed. One of the crew caught me as I went down, they all helped me cool off, and then later drove me to the second aid station. It was there that CTS Coach Adam Pulford helped make the connection between the antibiotics, photosensitivity, and overheating. I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the shade with icepacks, sipping on water and sports drink.
No finisher’s medal for me this year. I didn’t give my doctor enough information and didn’t read the warnings on the label, and I got sidelined by side effects. But I am so proud of the coaches, crew, and athletes that were part of Team CTS. I am used to leading by example, as an athlete, a coach, and a business owner. But as I felt worse and worse, it was my coaches and crew that had to take care of me.
2015 Bucket List: Join Team CTS for a 2015 Bucket List event! We’re taking reservations for the Trans Andes Challenge, Belgium Race Experience, Amgen Tour of California Race Experience, and more! Are you Bucket List Qualified yet? Apply here to find out!
I have long been proud of how professionally my coaches conduct themselves at camps and Bucket List events, particularly when situations change unpredictably and they have to handle it on the fly. This time I had to rely on my team to help me in ways I’m more accustomed to helping others. Although it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me physically it was extremely fulfilling to be on the receiving end of their care and expertise, and to experience first hand the support and service they provide to CTS Athletes.
The lessons I hope you learn from my experience are:
- Tell your doctor about any trips or events in the near future. Also inform your doctors – if they don’t already know – that you’re an athlete. Your activity level and environmental exposure can provide valuable context to their examinations and their treatment plan.
- Read the label! At the end of the day it’s your responsibility to be aware of the side effects of medications you’re taking.
- Have a great support crew. Not only does a great crew help you enjoy an event more and perform at your best, but they might also save your ass.
Here’s the full listing of CTS results at the 2014 La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Congratulations to the Elite Women’s Champion, Angela Parra! Great job to Elite Men’s runner up Luis Mejia and to Eddy Perez for finishing 8th in the Elite Men! And to Jordan Salman on 8th place in Elite Women. And congrats to Mary Dannelley on winning the Masters Women race, to Mike Dannelley on placing 3rd in the Masters 50-59 race, and to Tab Tollet for finishing 6th in the Masters 50-59 race! Click here for a photo gallery from the race.
|Angela Parra||1st||Elite Women|
|Jordan Salman||8th||Elite Women|
|Luis Mejia||2nd||Elite Men|
|Eddy Perez||8th||Elite Men|
|Mary Dannelley||1st||Masters Women|
|Alison Jones||8th||Masters Women|
|Angelo Brunacini||48th||Masters 40-49|
|Mike Dannelley||3rd||Masters 50-59|
|Tab Tollet||6th||Masters 50-59|
|Jimmy Railey||9th||Masters 50-59|
|Darrell Jones||10th||Masters 50-59|
|Rick D’Amico||11th||Masters 50-59|
|John Swift||16th||Open Men|
|Andrew Bennett||22nd||Open Men|
|David Swift||76th||Open Men|
|Randy Potter||91st||Open Men|
|Tom Bergman||116th||Open Men|
|Michael Talbert||119th||Open Men|
|Greg Carlisle||125th||Open Men|
|Bill Smith||184th||Open Men|
|Robin Wilkes||185th||Open Men|
|Steven Dochey||186th||Open Men|
|Ted Koutouzis||195th||Open Men|
|Alec Litowitz||199th||Open Men|
|Chris Foster||201st||Open Men|
|Michael Widmer||204th||Open Men|
|Patrick Lederer||206th||Open Men|
|Jay James||227th||Open Men|
|Mark Seaburg||231st||Open Men|
|Chris Carmichael||DNF||Open Men|
|Ross Stevens||DNF||Open Men|