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  • Johnny

    The paragraph on running hits the nail right on the head. :-D I am recovering from an irritation of my achilles tendon caused by a puny 10 km run… :-|

    And the rest of the column is just as classy and worth reading as always. Thank you for your insights.

  • David9482

    Shecret Pro – Regarding your health concerns, why not just discuss this with your family/personal doctor? You can’t use the excuse that your team didn’t have a doctor discuss this with you when you are free and able to consult your own doctor at any time.

    However, at the same time, your team should encourage you to discuss all side effects of extreme training with a physician and other health practitioners as you see fit!

    Another interesting article! Thanks to you and Cycling Tips

    • Cyco

      Most family/personal doctors have no clue about what happens to the bodies of full time athletes, and so will have a tendency to misdiagnose. Even amongst the sports doctors who work with elite female athletes there is limited long term data.

      The family/personal doctor is also probably on the other side of the world for many of these athletes, combined with there is no way most professional athletes would venture near the waiting room to see one as they are full of germ spreaders, and a compromised immune system would possibly get belted.

      • zosim

        They have doctors in Europe too. Quite good ones, believe it or not.

        • David9482

          Exactly, and if you’re resident of a country and don’t look for a potential doctor just in case… then it’s on you if something happens… So, of course in theory “all women’s and men/women’s amateur teams should have a sports doctor on staff” but how is that possible?!? Doctors make WAY more than an entry level rider, so how can a team that’s barely above water financially pay for a doctor? Maybe, get a doctor, and cut 6-7 riders??? One consult possible costs one rider’s weekly salary (or more!).

          Please, I love this blog and I agree these are important issues, but let’s use common sense people.

          • DaveRides

            Even in many sports that are far wealthier than cycling, team doctors are only employed by the team part-time. For a Continental team (men’s or women’s) with about ten riders, I would expect the doc to be retained for perhaps 12 hours per month.

            Many riders would also be able to access services through their national federation.

          • Steve S

            A call for common sense by the person who tells a pro athlete to see their family / personal doctor…

            For a start most family / personal doctors are completely frigging useless, secondly I’m pretty sure someone in the peloton would have thought of that if it was so easy.

            • David9482

              …. it’s still a start. You clearly don’t like doctors, so that’s your call. But, go through your general practitioner to get a referral to a sports doctor. GP’s are still more helpful than not seeking any advice at all.

              DaveRides – good point, these riders should consult their national team doctors, but they don’t usually.

              • nateking

                David, as a former continental pro, I can tell you that oftentimes a family GP will misdiagnose, completely misunderstand, and often make situations worse in a comedy of errors (and for us Americans, an expensive one).

                I once had a GP surmise that I had a tumor on my pituitary after she saw my hormone levels when I was cratering at 3% bodyfat. Finding the right medical professionals as an athlete is key.

                • David9482

                  Of course… I said it was a start…

                  If you get a ridiculous diagnosis ask for referral to sports doctor or for your doctor to rediagnose.

                  GP’s are best for starting the process and monitoring health history through keeping track of your blood markers (via annual physical). It’s your own problem if you listen to a ridiculous diagnosis without understanding the doctor has limited experience with it.

                  The issue was that Shecret Pro said teams should enlist a team doctor which is really expensive. Nate, could your Continental Pro team afford a team doctor? My suggestion was that it gets the ball rolling for you to be in touch with your own doctor and it’s up to you to have a health strategy if your team doesn’t have the resources.

            • David9482

              Steve S – also, athletes usually try to avoid seeing doctors… so they really wouldn’t think of getting a general practitioner if it wasn’t spoonfed to them…

              • Steve S

                Lol dude, your comment wss dumb as, move on.

      • Jessy Vee

        Speaking as a female, and certainly NOT a professional athlete, the majority of family/personal doctors that I’ve been to have no clue about the female body when mixed with exercise, so heavy help professional athletes. When I was riding (only) 100km a week, which is not much by most standards, I had a lot of doctors shrug and tell me to rest/wait and see/would I like another blood test/it’s probably ‘normal for you’/you’ll grow into it/get more iron etc etc. It took 8 years and multiple GPs to diagnose any issue.

    • Shazsh9

      I totally agree with Cyco. At age 21 I was told by a doctor that I had premature ovarian failure because I wasn’t getting my normal cycles. I was training full-time and at peak performance, the news was so heart breaking meaning I could never have a child.

      5 years later, it’s come back yet I’m still training and add full-time work on top of that. I consulted with a different doctor who looked after athletes and was told that what happened was totally normal, and what to do to stay healthy whilst do what I love. A doctor that understands the conditions and circumstances makes a huge difference in the outcome.

      • David9482

        Oh of course, I didn’t mean a GP with no sports background, but you can still consult on your own to be informed… or even get checked by general doctor, then question their diagnosis…

    • plain__bagel

      If the SHEcret Pro is an American, it’s a mistake to assume they have access to healthcare.

      • Ingeborg Sophie Ribu

        To find a regular medical doctor that could help with fertility issues for full time athletes would be a miracle! And probably just as hard as finding a sports doctor who knows enough about fertility… A lot of research on athletes is done with only males, as women’s hormone levels is difficult to account for when running statistical models on the results. This is a known fact in sport science. So good luck on finding that one doctor with research based knowledge about and solutions to female athletes’ difficulties of getting pregnant (not saying it’s impossible, only very difficult).

  • Spider

    Thanks for sharing about the effects of the female body, very interesting. After the first paragraph I thought the hormones we’re going going to self-correct in the off season….

    Netflix comment was great too…imagine the commentators….’slower day in the peloton today, lots of tired bodies and minds on this the 3rd day of the tour and Stranger Things II was released last night so the fatigue has really started to accumulate’.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • CB

    Regarding the comments on ASO running a race that is more than just one day, I remember as a kid watching CBS’ coverage of the 1988 Tour Feminin, and the American Betsy King talking about petitioning the race organisers to make the race longer, harder and tougher. Suffice to say the petition was largely ignored and the race itself did not last much longer. Not much has changed it seems, at least in the eyes of ASO.

  • Daniel

    Womens Sun Tour? When are the details of this getting released? Same days and roads as the mens race or own version?

    • jonowee

      The only information I could find was it will be two day event, starting as the same days as the mens race. All information I could find are outdated from 2017 men’s event, so no idea if there will be for the women a prologue, or which start and finish towns will be. Yes, annoying no proper info two months from event start.

      • We’re still waiting for information too, but my guess would be that it will be a prologue and a road stage, both of which would be held before the men’s race, on the same course.

  • Peter

    Immediate DOMS, wouldn’t that be IOMS?

  • Eric Blair

    “Some of us start cross training at this point, and Twitter feeds fill up with us cyclists all making the same mistake: attempting to run.”

    Having just recovered from a week of barely being able to bend over and tie my shoes after a 5-mile run, all I can say is “yes.”

  • It is quite disturbing that major health issues get lightly brushed away as normal. When it comes to health, unfortunately the fact that something is widespread and common does NOT mean it is normal. Not getting your period for a woman is pretty bad especially if said woman *ever* (far/near future) wants to have children; in most cases it takes a LOT of work to reverse it. Children aside, we are talking some serious hormonal disbalances or in short being unhealthy which again is considered ‘normal’ and not part of top-performance. Osteoporosis and other is no joke and while at 20 something we all felt invicible, it is this same body that you have to carry in your 40s, 50s, etc. Athletes must realise that being in the public sphere carries certain responsibility since to a lesser or greater degree you might be somebodys role model. You want to be a positive force rather than a (health) detriment, we have plenty of the latter as it is, so no need to add more to it. =)

    • Anon N + 1

      First a disclaimer: I am male and not a doctor. But I believe your remarks are somewhat sensational. This website
      https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/menstruation-athletic-amenorrhoea
      provides the following comments:
      The long-term complications of untreated athletic amenorrhoea include the following:

      Reduced fertility – a woman is less likely to get pregnant if she does not menstruate regularly, but athletic amenorrhoea has no effect on long-term fertility once regular menstruation returns.

      High levels of blood cholesterol – are caused by an oestrogen-related fall in the ratio of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) to bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL).

      Loss of bone density – this may cause brittle bones that break easily.

      Premature ageing – the skin loses its flexibility because of low levels of oestrogen.

      • Sensational is not a correct description- as you point out the effects are well known and described (though in much politically correct lawyer speak) by your local government.

        “but athletic amenorrhoea has no effect on long-term fertility ONCE regular menstruation returns.” – that is the key here. That takes sometimes years.
        A little overlooked fact (boy am i going to get banned for this hahaha) we are basically monkeys alive to f*** and reproduce. It should not take years to do so (get pregnant etc.). Low fertility and/or low testosterone in males is widespread. Widespread =/= normal.

        “loss of bone density” is huge problem for *male* cyclists as well since cycling is not an impact sport and no huge surprise – cyclists usually do not frequent gyms. Osteoporosis is already a problem in women so adding to that extra is not a good thing. To put it in perspective: decreased bone density means breaking ribs if you do a heavy sneeze, funny i know, though broken major joints (hips, pelvis, etc) due to a minor fall is definitely no picnic. That is before we get that cycling is somewhat crash heavy activity at the pro level. We are not 20 something years old forever. Risk is one thing, unhealthy is a whole another dimension.

    • David9482

      Nikola Banishki – You’re telling a woman who bombs down a mountain at 100kpm wearing nothing but lycra and a bucket on her head that missing her period is unhealthy….

      Sport is unhealthy. There are risks that these athletes take, that’s obvious. But at the same time, I’d bet that the vast majority of athletes are MUCH healthier in their 40’s and 50’s than regular people are, even if there are some adverse side effects from their competition days.

      • There lies the problem. Risky is not the same as unhealthy.=) Ie to use your example going down a mountain at 100kph is not unhealthy in itself. *Crashing* is the problem. I am not going to try and dispell the erroneous status quo that health cannot be part of high performance. If you do a simple google search of ‘fit but unhealthy,’ there is mounting eveidence that athletes are even *less* healthy than your average Joe/Josephine. Especially endurance athletes and heart problems comes to mind.

        In addition what is ‘regular people’? The fact that the majority of people take a handful of pills and are overfat in their mid 30s (it is worse the older you go) and such does not mean it is normal. This is the point I am trying to make. Widespread is not normal. Being not healthy is never ok long term.

        • David9482

          haha, i know, I was just being sarcastic. I agree, there does need to me more monitoring of athletes’ health. However, as with most things in life, it is up to the individual to take care of themselves. It may not sound fair, but that’s how it goes.

          Shecret Pro is joking about this, which means likely they have never considered this… but it’s her life, not her team’s, and it is up to her to seek help.

          • 110% agree with you.=) “it is up to the individual to take care of themselves”

          • DaveRides

            Athletes in their 20s ignoring the long-term impacts on their health is certainly not restricted to women’s cycling, cycling in general or women’s sport in general.

            Sports governing bodies have a role to play in taking the pressure off athletes to come back to training/competition too quickly after injury/illness. The lowest-hanging fruit is a good concussion protocol, an area where the UCI has absolutely nothing.

  • Scott

    I’m sure it has been raised before, but why don’t ASO run the women on the same course on the same day as the last 7 or so stages, but lop 100km off each stage. They could start at the same time even, so when it is as biring as bat shit in the men’s race, we get the final 10km of the women’s race. Infrastructure is in place, police paid for, the same sponsors get more exposure. Wouldn’t that benefit everyone?

    • Mike

      Listen young man, and listen good. You will never, ever get anywhere in the world of cycling if you continue to spout unrestrained common sense at every opportunity. Now straighten up and fly right.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      It definitely would, and I think many fans would rather watch the women race than see the caravan come through. ASO, however, would retort with something along the lines of ‘logistical nightmare’ and ‘show me the money/interest’.

      • DaveRides

        Really? A mate of mine went there and said that the caravan is the highlight of the day and a large chunk of the crowd won’t bother sticking around for the race! Unless you’re a very dedicated cycling fan (= niche market) then road cycling really presents an extremely poor spectator experience compared to just about any other sport in the world.

        Without the caravan, the Tour would run a loss and there would be no Tour profits available for ASO to use in cross-subsidising other races (including La Flèche Wallonne Feminine, Liege-Bastogne-Liege Femmes, Women’s Tour of Yorkshire, Tour of California Women’s Race, La Course, Madrid Challenge).

        Results for the women’s peloton would get worse with the elimination of the caravan, not better.

        • jules

          you could run the caravan in between bunches I reckon

          the problem is it would add to costs as spectator control task is different for caravan vs peloton

    • jules

      I like that idea

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