The End of the Trail

Two and a half years ago, my wife Janet said to me,” You have all these stories in your head, why don’t you write them down?” ” You should start a blog.” I thought that was a good idea and on January 1st, 2013, I started what became ” The Chronicles of McCloskey- the Zany Stories and Adventures of the 58 year old kid.”photo I wanted to chronicle my outdoor adventures over the years with skiing, cycling, hiking, and some other blended adventures. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from writing the blog. I learned not only the mechanics of writing and publishing the blog, but I learned about what was important to me in my past life. In fact,there is a company in Rochester, NY that publishes blogs into a nice coffee table book which I proudly have displayed in my living room. They did a great job and it is amazing to see 176 posts all collected – pictures and all, sitting on my coffee table. I wanted it for posterity and also hoping that my son Jack would read it someday. He is not really interested in the great outdoors and has not read much of the Chronicles, if at all. But someday, he might take a look and be entertained by the mishaps and adventures of his old man. I hope so.
But now, it is time to close the book on the Chronicles of McCloskey. After posting twice per week the first year and once per week in the remaining year and a half, I really have told most of my stories and collected most of my thoughts with regards to exercise and outdoor activities. Frankly, I am out of gas and anything posted beyond this point would be repetitive or perhaps sub standard in my own definition. These 176 posts will be out in cyber space forever and the hope is that some of them might inspire someone to try something new, continue with their current exercise program, or have a laugh at my expense. I enjoyed the writing, but my ulterior motive was that if I can do it, most people can also do it. I have not climbed Everest, kiteboarded in the Indian Ocean, ridden a motorcycle on most of the roads in Alaska, or anything like that. But I have had some interesting adventures and my main motive was to inspire someone to get off the couch and get into the great outdoors with some really great pastimes.
Finally, as the 60 year old kid continues on in life, I will still pursue my passions with a fire in my belly for powder turns, fast groomer turns, fun rides on great trails, and more adventures with my wonderful wife and son. My good friend Eric and our pals will be in on the mix, but the important thing to me is now that I have chronicled the past, I move on to the future. I am in the fourth quarter of life, but most games are won or lost in the fourth quarter. Age is irrelevant if you can avoid catastrophic illness and keep in shape and just continue to do what you love to do. I want to thank all of the 668 folks who so nicely followed my blog either on Facebook, email, or WordPress. I would also like to thank Word Press for their support over these last two and half years. Who knows, maybe I will write something else someday? But thank you all for indulging what has been a wonderful hobby and I wish you God’s continued blessings in your lives. 70019150-SLD-001-0028 Thanks for reading.

” Shredding the Gnar” – in the city.

Don’t you just love that hilarious term- “shredding the gnar?” Originally it was an expression of the ski, snowboard, mountain bike set when they set out of some radical run where peril and intimidation were around every corner. Now it is a term that is used in tongue and cheek when we all do something radical or radical in our minds. ” Yea man- we were shredding the gnar today, dude.” Hilarious and everybody laughs. Well this is a story of “shredding” in the city.
Most mountain bike adventures are, well, in the mountains. Adventures out west, in far away places in the mags, and our own personal adventures in remote locations. But mountain biking can be enjoyed wherever there is a trail and many city/county locations have some pretty interesting trail systems managed by city and county government. Several come to mind in my experience. http://www.o.c.parks.com describes the Orange County, California managed trails in the Laguna Coast Wilderness just above Laguna Beach, CA.IMG00159 Great trail system which I described in my post from May 19, 2013 in the archives. Check it out.IMG00214-20100708-1448 Tiger Mountain is part of the Issaquah, Washington managed system described in http://www.singletracks.com. Great trails within easy driving distance from Seattle. Golden, Colorado manages an extensive hiking and mountain biking system- http://www.cityofgolden.net. A lot of these trails are in fairly remote locations but within city and county governance. But most people would not know that there are some really enjoyable trails right within the limits of some major cities.
Wissahickon Park is part of the famous Fairmont Park in Philadelphia.images (5) It has an extensive trail network with some pretty technical riding.cdv_photo_001-23 The amazing thing about this park is that when you are “shredding” the technical there, you would think that you are in a tropical forest. The only clue that you are near a major city is the traffic noise that you hear from the Schuykill Expressway. ( Surekill Expressway). . Ride this extensive system and peddle out to the Fairmont section and run up the art museum steps like Rocky. Or better yet- try to ride the steps. :) Moving west to my neck of the woods are the parks managed by the city of Pittsburgh. http://www.pittsburghparks.org Most of the riding is in two of the more famous parks. Riverview Park for one, is one of the older parks but has an extensive trail system which curiously drains really well. It is the park to ride in the winter and after a rain storm. Most of the trails are on a shale bed which aids in the drainage and can be enjoyed at all times of the season. The picture you see here is of my Saturday morning group with the famous Allegheny Observatory in the background.IMG_0180 This facility was founded in 1859 and still serves as a major research facility for the University of Pittsburgh in the Astronomy curriculum. Lots of well maintained gardens line the trails and walkways and again, you would never know that you were well within the city limits of Pittsburgh.
Frick Park- the largest park in Pittsburgh has a rich history with the Frick family who donated the land.images (3) Very technical riding in this park especially in wet weather. If you can survive some of the downhills and sidehill off camber riding – you have definitely “shredded the gnar” in one of the more centralized parks in the city limits. Interestingly, this is also a favorite park for night riding in the winter because the trails tend to be well used by city mountain bikers, hikers, dog walkers, so the snow tend to be packed rather quickly and the trails are rideable most of the winter despite the snowy conditions that may exist in the suburbs. night ride october (2 of 1)
In the old days, we used to do night rides and connect some of the city parks. ” Shredding the Gnar” might include some railroad crossings within city limits, busways( we almost got arrested one night for trespassing on the busway- (another story another time), or perhaps some large culverts under the parkways and city streets which tended to be, well, gnarly. Urban riding includes streets, tunnels, busways, railroad tracks with missing wooden boards on the riding surface next to the tracks- gnarly to say the least when your front wheel drops in. All of these features interconnecting to the city parks trail systems lead to a rather enjoyable riding experience that most people would not think is available to “mountain bikers.”
So, the next time you are in a major city, do some investigating and see if there are trail systems managed by the city or county. Chances are there is some real “gnar” that can be enjoyed and an exciting time can be had riding well within an urban setting. Mountain bikes are not just for mountains. Thanks for reading.

What to do with “old things”?

I was thinking the other day about my favorite pair of Topsiders that I had since high school. Now that is a long time ago and just for fun, I tried to keep those shoes functional as long as possible. I am a big believer in duct tape for all things and that is what kept those shoes together. They were great ” go out of the garage” shoes to get mail, the paper, take the garbage out, etc. But sadly, they disappeared several years ago. I lost track of them and all of a sudden they were gone.
I had some t-shirts that suffered the same fate. Favorite t shirts that all of a sudden were gone. Didn’t even make the duster bin. Gone. Interesting how old things can be a part of your life. Take my backpack from college.IMG_0139 I have used it ever since as a ski boot carrier. Now most people would ask why I have not purchased a new one for the ski boots, but really, there is nothing wrong with the pack. I just have used it and realized that it is 43 years old. Still functional. In ski season, I put it in the corner of the particular lodge where I am skiing and it patiently waits for me until the end of the day.
Look at my hiking boots. photo Vasque Hiker IIs from college. They have been everywhere. They still have the original Vibram soles. A testament to quality manufacturing and although I still use them on rugged hikes, they mostly serve as boots to mow my unusually steep hillside. I need the traction and the sturdiness to make the cutting easier.
This is my old road bike.IMG_0140 It served me for 25 years and logged miles all over the US, Europe, climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, battled in criteriums, road races, and time trials. It finally became a little dangerous to ride because of all the miles. I was afraid of the fork or the frame cracking so I retired it to a place of honor in the garage. Look at those original Look pedals and the downtube Shimano shifters. The 3Rensho- a classic frame and bike that will not be forgotten. I look at it every day when I exit the garage. My old Merlin mountain bike- lots of fun with the Greenlees crew back in the day in races in West Virginia and weekly rides. photo I finally retired that as well after 16 years of use. Went to new technology but fixed it up for my son to ride but he was not interested. It also hangs in the garage as a reminder of the old days. Retired, on the hook, in a place of honor in the garage. :)
How about my old North Face sleeping bag?IMG_0023 Many nights in the lean to shelters at Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire keeping me warm on those snowy, windy nights. It served me well in my tent on charity cycling events where I camped out. It even was my bed when I crammed into a hotel room with friends at the Ski Industries of America show in Las Vegas. I was the odd man out with no bed, but no problem. I slept in my trusty bag on the floor of the MGM Grand.
My ski poles are 30 years old. Taken out of Craig Morris’ locker and used ever since as ski and hiking poles. No reason to buy new ones. These are fine. I try to keep up with ski technology but as far as poles go, if they feel right – why not use them?
I have a lot of new technology in sporting equipment but I have a lot of old stuff too. Still works. But thinking about it reminds me of people who come into and out of your life. There are the faithful friends like the backpack. Always there for you for years without complaining. They are a little worn like the backpack but still are there when you need them. Always faithful, always friends. There are the folks like the retired bikes. Memories of all the fun years but maybe they are gone now from this earth. You think of them often when you look at pictures of them, or you put memories of them in a place of honor where you can always look at them and be reminded.
There are the people like the Topsiders and the t-shirts that disappear over the years. For some reason, you lose track of them and they are gone. Sometimes a sad thing, sometimes just a slip of friendship on both sides and POOF- they are gone. There are the hiking boot people who are abused and beaten but still are your friends. They know you. They love you and no matter how many times you put them in tough spots, they always support you and get you through. True friends those hiking boot people.
Old things. Sometimes things to be cherished, kept, sometimes lost, sometimes still a faithful part of your life. Do you have some old things that have the same circumstances? Think about them. Thanks for reading.

What constitutes World Class?

I have probably had the same experience that many of you have when I have encountered what we call world class athletes or individuals. I categorize the experience in one of four ways. First- I am sure we have all met world class individuals whose reputation precedes them. For instance, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting people like Arnold Palmer, Art Rooney Sr., Olympian Frank Shorter, childhood heroes like Roberto Clemente, Vernon Law, Bill Virdon, and other Pittsburgh Pirates of a bygone era. They were larger than life and when I met them, I was a bit in awe because of their reputations. golf_e_arnold_576
The second type of encounter is what I would call seeing the world class athlete in action. We have all seen pro football and baseball games and marvel at the athleticism of these individuals from the seats in stadiums. I have been fortunate enough to see Tiger Woods on the practice tee at PGA events. I have seen World Cup skiers like the Crazy Canucks at the Hahnenkamm downhill ski race in Austria.Erik Guay - Race - Atomic USA I have seen the women and men at the World Cups. I will never forget seeing Perine Pelen of the French National team take a slalom section unlike anything that I would have ever imagined. So fast and fluid. I had the pleasure of caddying for Ben Crenshaw at the US Open Qualifier at Shannopin Country Club when he was a student at the University of Texas. To see him hit a golf ball and tote his bag while witnessing intense focus on the golf course was enlightening. I was a marshall at the US Open when an extremely focused Johnny Miller won and set the course record at Oakmont.14d7c856-bf4a-4b95-ada5-4359dd6b415c I have witnessed Lance Armstrong ride up Sycamore Street in the Thrift Drug Classic here in Pittsburgh several years ago before his cancer. My brother in law who said to me,” I thought you quit riding bikes when you were 14″ marveled at the athleticism and conditioning of the world class cyclists at this event. It opened his eyes for sure seeing that he only thought athletes put on pads and hit people.
Ratchet up the experience one more notch and I have been fortunate enough to participate in an event or a venue where I have witnessed a world class athlete perform with me alongside. I had the pleasure of riding with Greg LeMond at charity cycling events.DSC00468 80 miles a day with the 3 time Tour de France champion. He was not in TDF shape at all and older, but you could still see the strength in his thighs on the flats and the speed at which he took turns on the road. I have skied behind Phil Mahre the ex World Cup ski race champion and Olympic gold medalist. It was amazing to me to see his really strong turns skiing right behind him. No skidding, just pure carved turns leaving trenches in the snow behind him. His strength was amazing. Riding the chairlift with him was enjoyable as he told tales of the World Cup and the U.S. Ski Team.hqdefault I have raced in club road cycling criterium races where people like Matt Eaton ( former US National Champion and Britain’s Milk Race champion) come flying by me on the inside giving me pointers and instructions as he led the pack. The club races often combined classes and it gave us normal racers a chance to ride with the good guys. It was amazing to witness the speed and technical ability in which they took the turns in the race with a tight pack of riders all around.
So what actually makes an athlete world class? Like “epic” and “extreme”, “world class”, is often overused but a truly world class athlete is an individual that has devoted his or her life to their sport. They are often singularly focused and have been willing to make personal sacrifices in order to achieve their goals. Oftentimes, their focus has caused them to be selfish or self serving but in order to achieve, sometimes you have to have that “take no prisoners” attitude in order to be successful. But in my mind, a truly world class athlete or individual is one who can encompass all the attributes of athleticism but has a perspective on the world around them which supports their efforts. Take Joan Benoit Samuelson- the 1984 Olympic Marathon Women’s gold medalist.maine-joan-benoit-samuelson I had the good fortune of meeting her at the Boston Marathon Nike Expo. She had been in the booth a long time and when I finally made it through the line to meet her, I told her that her former ski racing coach Jace Pasquale said hello. Joan stopped whatever she was doing and was truly interested in how Jace was doing. We chatted for what seemed an eternity only about Jace. Joan was not focused on her reputation or accomplishments, only what was going on in the life of her old ski coach. She was so pleasant and unassuming that I walked away thinking to myself,” what a nice, non- self centered person.”
There are a lot of world class athletes like Joan Benoit Samuelson who use their talents and reputations to serve others. Joan is involved in many charitable causes in New England. There are also those athletes who do not focus on life outside of their sport. The impressive thing to me is to meet or see in action those that do care and think about life outside their athletic box. We may not have the talent, time, or willingness to be a world class athlete. But in my mind, we can be a world class person by caring for someone in need, being a friend to someone who is down in the dumps, sharing our knowledge about our favorite sport or hobby with someone who is just starting out. To me, we can be world class by caring. That is a trait that is not limited to athletes but can be applied to all of us who have a world class attitude towards others with whom we come in contact. Be world class!! Thanks for reading.

The Earth Awakens

Still waiting for the trails to dry, but we are getting close in this neck of the woods. In the mean time, I am watching the world awaken from the seat of my road bike.IMG_0154 It is interesting when you go on solo rides through the country roads this time of year, that you can take the time to appreciate spring and how the word awakens to a new season. The sun splashed hillsides yield new floral growth similar to a newborn baby smiling when it is fed after a nap.IMG_0152 If you take it in, you can almost feel the frozen ground melting and draining and enjoying the benefit of longer days and warmer sunshine. The grass grows greener instantly, the air smells fragrant with the scent of blooming plants and blossoming trees. I have to say that for many years, I did not notice. I was always working hard to stay on the wheel of the guy in front of me in a pace line on a road bike. Like the saying goes,” if you aren’t the lead dog, the view is always the same.” I did not take in the signs and the scents of spring in my early days of road riding and road racing. Now I do and it is a very pleasant experience. IMG_0150
My fascination with spring growth was fostered, I suppose, by my dad. He loved flowers. When I was young, he grew marigolds, geraniums, alyssum, and other plants in the basement under artificial light. When he built his new house, he purchased and built a Lord and Burnham greenhouse and spent many a winter night meticulously planting seeds in his plant trays and carefully watering them with the appropriate nozzles and sprays. Miracle Grow was his “go to” plant food and the result was gardens full of thick, colorful growing flowers and planters and hanging baskets groaning under the weight of the thick lush flora.IMG_0124 Whenever I see flower beds or go to the spring flower show at Phipps Conservatory here in Pittsburgh( a National Historic Landmark- built by Lord and Burnham), I think of my dad. IMG_0126 When the plants came out of the greenhouse and were ready to be planted, my dad the engineer, devised a quick way to plant them. He had a drill with an over-sized auger and would drill the hole and yours truly would plant literally hundreds and hundreds of flowers in the beds every year. It was amazing how spring came to life at my dad’s house in Wexford and also our old house on Siebert Road.
My current road riding routine includes stops to enjoy the sights of the back roads of Sewickley, Pa. I will climb to Allegheny Country Club and sit on the bench and watch the golfers approach the holes on the back nine.IMG_0145 The lush green fairways, and the manicured greens remind me of my old caddie days and I take the time to drink it all in on sunny days. I pass horse farms and stop again to visit the horses grazing in the field. Sometimes they make their way over to the fence where I am standing wondering if I have an apple for them? Power Bars and Cliff Bars are not to their liking but maybe I might start bringing an apple or two for their enjoyment? Climbs up out of Sewickley back home are steep but I don’t ride them the way I used to, suffering to keep up with my group. I drop the gearing down and spin my way to the top without taxing myself too much. It is a much more enjoyable way to ride as the 60 year old kid. I enjoy the back roads and even though I can’t wait to get back in the woods on my mountain bike, I do enjoy the road with the sights and scents of spring- including the horse manure. :)
Forsythia is another blooming bush that is verdant in the spring. My mom used to bring in sprigs from our bush on snowy spring days and ” force” the blooms in a vase of water.IMG_0167 It was her way to welcome spring although Pennsylvania spring weather was not always cooperative. My dad never planted anything before Memorial Day but we were in high gear on those following weekends. It cut into my riding routine a little bit, but I enjoyed the time with my dad and always managed to get my rides in somehow.
As we age, we tend to appreciate things a little more. I am enjoying the spring and enjoying the growth and scents of an awakening earth. It is great to do it from the seat of a bicycle. You can enjoy life and “stop and smell the roses.” Thanks for reading and enjoy the spring. IMG_0134

Enjoy the Ride

It is mud season now. April showers bring May flowers but for mountain bikers, it is a time for us to wait until the trails are dry so we don’t trash them for the rest of the summer. I bring out my road bike and begin the long process of trying to get in shape after a winter of maintenance trail running, snowshoeing and skiing. I can always ride in the rain on the road bike because I am used to the drill. If you don’t ride in the rain in Pittsburgh, you don’t ride much in the spring. Trust me, as I get older, the process gets a little harder but I am dealing with it in a more mature way which I will discuss in a short. Suffice to say, I don’t blast out of the parking lot these days. I ease on down the road.
As I meander on the country roads north of my house, I think back to the painful rides at this time of the year when I raced a road bike. It was always a chore to try to get in shape so that you didn’t get dropped on a training ride or in a race. You had to scramble just to be able to ride with your friends. As I daydream on my current rides, I think back to when I used to meet Art Bonavoglia, Frank Habay, and George Sagan up on Saxonburg Boulevard waiting for a crew to come up out of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. I slowly dragged my sorry butt out of bed and made my way to the meeting point where George, Art, Frank and I waited for the freight train that was coming. Scott Dismukes, a former track cyclist- strong as hell, Bob Gottlieb- Cat 2 rider of local fame, Barb Katzenburg-national class road racer, and Mike Alex- PHD candidate in Electrical Engineering at CMU riding a mountain bike with slick tires. These guys(and gal), could ride and when they came roaring up the road, you better be warmed up and ready to jump on the pace line or you were history. I would see them in the distance and sigh to my friends,” Here they come.” The pain began. photo
The destination was always Lake Arthur up in Butler County. These are beautiful country roads here in Pennsylvania but all I saw on those rides was the backside of someone faster than me in the paceline. As we exchanged pulls, ( mine were always the shortest), we made our way through pastoral fields and dairy farms. Virtually no traffic which made the ride as pleasant as it could be but the pace increased with each country mile. By the time I got to Prospect, Pa with a stop at the country store to reload on food, I was exhausted. I can remember laying on the sidewalk jamming Fig Newtons in my face and washing it down with Gatorade as fast as I could swallow. I looked at Mike Alex and said,” How the hell do you ride that fast on a mountain bike?” He said the slick tires helped but he was only being humble. I looked at Art, Frank and George and said, ” How am I going to make it back?” But I always managed it somehow. Fig Newtons and bananas were the Cliff Bars and Power Bars of the day. That type of energy food was not available yet. The Newtons and the bananas generally did the trick but when I pulled into my townhouse I was totally gassed. The killer crew left me and roared back to Shadyside logging in excess of 100 miles. photo

As I come back from my daydream on my road rides now, I am usually alone. I think back to that far away time in a galaxy far, far away. Painful spring rides, wool jerseys, leather hair nets, toe clips and cleats, downtube shifters, and steel road frames. Today I ease into my spring road rides. The equipment is lighter, smoother shifting, and carbon fiber rides a lot more comfortable than Reynolds tubing, although there is something to be said for the classic steel frame. I don’t stress myself. I don’t need to train. If a hill comes, I shift down and noodle up until I reach the top. I don’t have to do what Mac Martin used to tell me. ” Take it out of park McCloskey, and when you reach the top of the hill, don’t just coast- put the hammer down because your competition will be coasting behind you.” I don’t need that pain anymore as the 60 year old kid. My road rides now are enjoyable. I can look at the spring blossoms, ride in the softly falling rain, and really……enjoy the ride. home02
I mostly mountain bike these days but I must admit that I look forward to bringing out the road bike in the spring. It reminds me of my past and I definitely don’t have the pain that I used to go through at this time of year. Like life- I am now enjoying the ride. I see flowers, trees, farms, and sights other than the back of some guys lycra shorts. Haul that road bike out guys and gals, let the trails dry out. Thanks for reading.

Rat Poison- keeps me in the game!

As I make my last ski turns for the year and prepare to put the boards away and get myself into riding shape for another spring season, I think about a prescription that has kept me in the game for 25 years. Did you know that a component of the chemical makeup of blood thinners is the same component that is in rat poison? It is funny, when I go to the pharmacy, I always ask them for my monthly dose of rat poison. They laugh because they know, as pharmacists, what I am talking about. What I am about to tell you is my experience only. My disclaimer here is that I am not a doctor. What I say here in the post is my experience and in no way a recommendation or any type of suggestion. You may make your own conclusions but “blood thinners” have kept me in the game. IMG_0136
It all started before I was married and I returned to the U.S. from a cycling trip to Ireland. I had crashed over there and then had a long plane trip back to the US. Nothing serious because I had crashed many times on a bike and thought nothing of it. But thinking back on this, I am sure that this series of events caused my initial DVT( Deep Vein Thrombosis.) I was at a party at Frank and Jan Habay’s house when I noticed that my calf was swelling and I had a dull pain that went from my calf all the way up my leg. Long story short, I went to my doctor and he said that although I was an extremely active person, he thought I had a blood clot in my calf. Sure enough after a simple dye test in my leg, it was determined that I had a DVT and that I had to be in the hospital on Heparin drip to “thin my blood” and then onto Coumadin therapy for a couple of months. I walked all around the hospital with the IV to keep my sanity and even wanted to take it over to Shadyside to get a corned beef sandwich, but they discouraged that. :) They told me all about what my diet should be and not to eat too many foods that would interfere with Coumadin. Foods like green leafy vegetables that had lots of Vitamin K which would interfere. I watched my diet and swam for three months before I was off the therapy and the doctor gave me the green light to continue cycling. photo
Fast forward- 8 years later I was in a mountain bike race and when I came home that night, I had a stabbing pain in my back that would not stop. Janet was out of town and I drove myself to the hospital where my friend was working in the ER. Mike Mihok, a fellow cyclist, had a series of tests run and finally I had a angiogram which determined that I had a pulmonary embolism in my lung. Interesting side note is that the procedure was done by Doctor Wholey who invented the equipment for the modern angiogram. Very serious! I was back in the hospital on the Heparin drip and eventually Coumadin therapy again. Forever. My doctor at the time said that this was the ” gold standard” of treatment and he didn’t want me to throw any more clots. He liked my activities and as long as I didn’t take the big hit with some blunt force trauma, he said my skiing and bicycling were ok activities as long as I was careful. I still take a generic form of Coumadin today which has been no problem for me at all. I get my monthly tests to determine that my current dosage is satisfactory. But my lifestyle has not been compromised one bit except for the fact that I wear a compression sock when I am sitting or standing because when I am not active, my calf still swells a little bit. Alcohol is not recommended but my current doctor says as long as the beer is cold, I can have one or two. I always say ” One and done. Or Two and through” Although I usually drink one beer with a meal and at most a beer and a half. I eat a balanced diet and don’t concern myself with any food issues. Enough of the details and the background. Now for the point of all of this.
I am a very active person as I believe my blog testifies.IMG00375-20110730-0915 I take a generic prescription which prevents my blood from clotting too easily. Yes, I have cut myself shaving. Yes I have crashed on my bike. Yes I have crashed while skiing. Being careful is a relative term. But I have been no worse for the wear. My doc recently suggested a new drug which requires no monthly testing. But it takes 48 hours for the INR( clotting measurement) to return to normal. With Coumadin, a shot of Vitamin K will bring me back instantly. I have had no issues for 25 years with Coumadin or the generic equivalent. I am staying with it. My point which again, has no medical background, suggests that if you have an issue like mine which is becoming more prevalent in athletes, your life is not over. IMG_0178.JPG Several friends have inquired about this after their episodes and I tell them frankly that it has not been an issue with me. I am a good designated driver. I cycle, run, ski, hike with no issues. I was fortunate that both episodes for me were caught in time. God is good.photo This post may be a little dark but if any of you who have an issue or any of you who know of someone who has an issue, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to chat and relate my story and how my life is better through chemistry, with…………rat poison.photo Thanks for reading.