Author Topic: Touring and Heart Disease  (Read 4744 times)

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Offline jinx

Touring and Heart Disease
« on: June 26, 2007, 01:31:48 am »
I'm 59, new to cycling and my long-term goal is to do a long-distance cross-country tour.

Two years ago I had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. I told the cardiologist I'm cycling and would like to make a long-distance tour in the future. He said, '...ok, but don't kill yourself.'

Has anybody had a heart attack or heart disease, recovered and went on to make a long-distance tour? Am I fooling myself into believing I could even do such a thing at my age and with my medical history?

I have no other pressing medical problems, I feel good, better than I have in over 20 years. But it would be great to hear from someone who has actually survived a heart attack or heart disease and went on to make a long-distance tour.

Any heads-up or pointers you could give me would be deeply appreciated.

This message was edited by jinx on 6-25-07 @ 9:37 PM


  • Guest
Touring and Heart Disease
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2007, 08:56:00 am »
Hi Jinx (that's a great moniker),

Yes, many have done it. See the thread "training over 50 yrs of age" starting last May 29 here. Google finds thousands more, including a lot of suspect advice. The best thing to do IMO is to find a sports medicine physician and plan a rehab/training program leading up to the big ride.


Offline jinx

Touring and Heart Disease
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2007, 01:21:18 am »
Thanks FredHiltz. Sorry, I did do a search for 'Heart Disease' but it didn't come back with anything. I'm embarrassed. I need to look closer for things that are right under my nose. :)

I'll checkout the "Training Over 50 Years of Age" thread. You can probably kill this thread since it's redundant.

Thanks again.

This message was edited by jinx on 6-26-07 @ 9:22 PM

Offline BobG

Touring and Heart Disease
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2007, 09:22:37 pm »

Here's my short history. Im now 58. In 1994 I led the Adventure Cycling Trans Am Tour from VA to OR. In 1995 I had a major heart attack at home that resulted in permanent heart damage due to a mis-diagnosis. The next few seasons I got involved with staffing some of the AC supported tours such as Cycle MT and Cycle VT. These involved some strenuous riding days at elevation and I started getting my confidence back. I also did a few short tours independently.

In 1999 I again sucessfully led the Trans Am tour to OR. In 2000 I led the trip once more but.......dang! This time in the middle of Kansas I had to drop out due to chest pain. Had to fly home and have angioplasty.

Last summer I felt good and offered to lead the trip for a fourth time on very short notice when another leader had to cancel. I decided to call my cardiologist to get his clearance. He didn't say no, but suggested a stress test which I did not have time to do to be ready for the trip just a week away from departure, so I withdrew my offer.

To summarize, I have found that Coronary Artery Disease is something that you are never cured of but something you learn to control. If you have been treated and have recovered from a blockage and feel good, you can bike tour as much as ever. If you feel bad (as I did before the ill fated Trans Am 2000) take it as a hint that you should stay home. It could mean that another blockage is about to occur.

Hmmmmmmmm..........Trans Am tours and heart attacks? Maybe it's all that peanut butter and ice cream!!?

Offline jinx

Touring and Heart Disease
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2007, 02:35:56 am »
Thanks BobG,

that's very encouraging. Yes, you do have to watch out for that peanut butter and ice cream, I know. :)

I've never done much exercising. Never played high school or college sports. Consequently, my body, although out of shape with a patched heart, is not in too bad of shape. Hips, knees, ankles/feet are all ok. However, I am about 30-35lbs over-weight.

When I started cycling (almost) daily four months ago, I was about 50lbs over-weight. I'm now, on what I'm calling, my 50/50 challenge; to lose 50lbs and to be able to do 50 miles a day in 2 years, for a cross-country tour.

If can replace 40lbs of flab with 40lbs of gear, do 50 miles a day, day in and day out, I think I'll be able to do some serious traveling.

In the past, I've been on 1-2 month vacations through Canada and Alaska, so I do have some experience camping and being out on the road for a period of time. But never on a bicycle.

Right now, I'm doing a dependable 20 miles a day with 25 being my max. I need to get deeper into cycling and it's equipment and to think about setting-up a better bike. Being able to make a long-distance tour on my bike, just keeps tickling my fancy.

I can't get it out of my mind.

This message was edited by jinx on 6-27-07 @ 10:41 PM