Personality Disorder

28 03 2011

Al Pacino - Scarface

I’ve seen a lot of drug dealers lately. I’ve never met one in my personal life, but I have met plenty as a doctor. I must be on some list somewhere, because in the last week, I’ve seen three of them. In the process of doing my assessments I have seen an interesting trend.

3 out of three were diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder with narcissistic traits.

I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic when it comes to personality disorders. It always seems to me like a bit of a diagnostic cop-out.

It just so happens that in psychiatric circles, it’s pretty much a known fact that there is no treatment for personality disorders. That’s very handy.  If we don’t like you, and there is no treatment, then we have no duty to care for you. It’s the perfect ‘out’. So, if we don’t know what is wrong with you and we don’t like you, and we’d just as soon wash our hands of you, guess what… You have a personality disorder.

That’s why it struck me as odd that three of the last three patients I saw last week who had been diagnosed with personality disorders had recently had a psychiatric assessment on their way out of jail.

I know, you’re probably thinking… ‘They are the scum of the earth, let’s be done with them’! OK, I get that. It’s hard to have empathy for someone who has no empathy.

But what struck me was that each of these fellows was actually relatively likeable. I don’t mean ‘take them home for dinner’, likeable, but not as bad as you would think. They have a number of things in common that might explain why they are often tagged with the diagnosis, “personality disorder”

  1. They all grew up with mother’s who were either not around, or were pre-occupied, or just didn’t ‘get’ them. They did not have strong attachment to their primary caregiver. In fact, many were bullied, neglected or abused as children, so they often have little attachment to anyone.
  2. They are reward deficient. Meaning they have a tendency to be easily bored, are risk takers, defiant, irritable and sensitive to criticism.
    The first trait, ‘attachment disorder’ means they do not feel the misfortune of others. This allows them to lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, defraud, assault or even kill people, without losing sleep. If no one ever cared about you, why should you care about anyone else.
The second trait, ‘reward deficiency’ means that earning a living the legal way is too boring. It means you don’t sweat it too much when you are on a ‘most wanted’ list, because risk is part of the allure. It means you are oppositional; you don’t bow down to authority (because that’s no fun). It also means that you are quick to anger and you’d just as soon kill someone who disrespects you, than look at them. Remember Pacino in Scarface or Brando in The Godfather?
    Reward deficiency also ties into narcissism. Narcissism is a moral not a biological construct. In the animal kingdom you don’t call the alpha male a narcissist. He’s just looking out for number one, that’s how he got to be the alpha male. In our society we consider that being selfish. When I get to know these guys, I don’t see selfish. I see self preservation. I see a person who feels so bad, that he can’t tolerate things getting any worse. That manifests as not liking: being told what to do; being criticized; or not having things your way.
    In other words, he’s reward deficient. That pretty much explains it. If your like that, and you have attachment disorder, people consider you a narcissistic asshole. But is it really their fault? It’s not their fault that they inherited genes that disrupted their dopaminergic reward circuit. And, it’s not their fault that their mother and other’s did not teach them the language of empathy. That’s why when you talk to them, even though they just got out of jail for some pretty nasty business, they seem a lot less horrible than you would think, relatively likeable actually.
    However, I’m not saying it’s OK to be a drug dealer. But if you hear the whole story, like I do, you are less likely to ascribe blame. As one of my psyche teachers said. It’s maybe not their fault, but it is there responsibility and as such, even though I get where they are coming from, I still think they should pay for their crimes. However, while they are in jail, paying for their crimes, maybe they can get some therapy to help them understand themselves, or maybe they might get some medication to increased the voltage in their dopamine circuits. Maybe that might help them turn around more than just being in jail and then being diagnosed with an untreatable personality disorder.
Anthony Ocana MD
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BC Bike Race: The Day(s) After

5 07 2010

The Thrill of Victory

Mother Hubbard went to the Cupboard: Sunday morning: It was great to finish the BC Bike Race yesterday, and the banquet afterwards was a blast. But somewhere that evening, my body checked out. You’re on your own now, I’m done.” And so began a slow spiral of deteriorating health.

Sunday afternoon: Basically, I feel like crap. I haven’t felt this bad since, well, I can’t remember. I think this is what they call ‘viremia’: I have a headache, a backache… I have no energy; I am dizzy. I could fall asleep at any moment. I have no appetite and frankly, I don’t give a damn. I have done everything I can think of. I’m hydrating, taking vitamins, took a hot-tub, had a massage, went to bed early….I guess mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and the cupboard was bare. I’m going to take it easy for the rest of the week, and hope for the best.

Goodbye to good friends: Sunday evening, Lobby of the Chateau Whistler: Seven days and at least seven good friends. I’ve got phone numbers, business cards, emails, home addresses too. We have a lot in common. It will be sad to part ways with these troopers. And, I’m actually going to follow up this time. Who knows? I might even make a road-trip to Dawson Creek

Back to the real world (really?) Monday morning: Feeling slightly better, had good sweat last night, napped in the car on the way down from Whistler. Actually made it to work today and I’m on task.

Tuesday afternoon: I’m so tired that I had to take time off work today. It’s a rare occurrence for me, but, I still feel like I have been hit by a truck…  I have to get back in the game.

Tuesday evening: I still have a headache but I must be getting better now because I did watch a bit of the soccer and I did check to see if that beer in the corner of the fridge was still cold…So, I must be starting to turn the corner.

Wednesday: I seemto have a bit more spring in my step. I got the kids off to school without a hitch. I even remembered their hats and sunscreen. That’s progress. Today, as I walked down I took the first deep breath in a long time…. (just after crossing the finish line, I started hacking up a lung) … and that was 4 days ago.

Why do we do it? Today after a healthy lunch of grilled mackerel and spinach, I wondered…”Why do we do these things? Why do we use up our precious vacation time only to return to the office, scraped, bruised, twisted and visibly ill? To whom would this seem normal?

After a little while, looking across Ambleside and out over the Lion’s Gate Bridge to Stanley Park, it came to me…

We do this to bolster what psychologists call ‘self-efficacy’. (our confidence in our ability to get things done)

We do this to support our ‘world view’ that we are strong, capable and competent.

We do it because it strengthens our belief that…”I can do it!”

And we do it so that…

at some other time, in some other place…

when the sky is dark and the wind is biting,

we will have the confidence

to follow the star of our desire

across that barren plain,

however far and however wide

to hold the one hand that belongs in ours….

and know that

WE WILL SUCCEED!

That’s why we do it.

Anthony M. Ocana MD





BC Bike Race-Day 6: Squamish

3 07 2010

In the Groove on Half Nelson

Laughter in Tent City: I woke up this morning to the sound of laughter with a European accent. I’m not sure it’s something about Belgians or Belgian cyclists or maybe it’s the same ethos that makes them the worlds greatest brew-masters. In any case, the mood was contagious and I found myself looking for the lighter side of things and not dwelling on the negative.

Home court advantage: How nice it was cycling in my own backyard, knowing, not just submitting to the lanndscape. It allows you to give’r on some sections because you know it’s going to be easier up ahead.

Big deep belly breaths: It started after second aid station in Sechelt. I remembered to breathe, right down into my diaphragm. It’s not an accident that it helps you relax. A deep belly breath expands your lungs, pushing out your belly, stretching your diaphragm and stimulating the 10th cranial nerve,  which is the key to the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is essential to keep engaged in long physical efforts. It stimulates the smooth muscle in the stomach to relax, allowing the gut to empty, which allows your body to access the food, water and electrolytes that you have been diligently taking in, which fuels your cooling system, which allows you to perform what you are actually capable of. That’s the key: breathe and think nice thoughts.

Beware the Bonk: You know the PNS is not engaged when you can hear the sloshing in your stomach long after you last took in any liquid. So, in the absence of  a relaxed stomach, things rapidly deteriorate into a vicious negative spiral known as the Bonk. Similarly, any factor that impedes the chain of performance, such as not sleeping well, not eating enough, not hydrating, getting too hot, or over exerting yourself because of excess enthusiasm hastens the bonk. There are so many moving parts, so many ways to screw up. This is what makes having a good day, especially later in the race, such a triumph. It’s also very unlike me, so it’s especially sweet. Now you’ll have to excuse me. I have to relax.

The play by play
I made a real conscious effort to apportion my enthusiasm on the uphill section leading into the trails and to relax on the scary downhill bits. I started pretty far back on the line, but that was just as well. After the nasty single track climb and flowly downhill bit under the powerline, I caught a ride behind a guy on the road out. This probably frustrated him to no end, since I drafted him on all the flat sections, but it really helped me. Drafting makes sense any time you are going at least 12km/h. It decreases the effort to maintain speed by 35%. That’s not chump change, just ask any roadie.

The Comforts of Home

I’m also starting to optimize my position on the bike. I noticed that when I pull back slightly on the bars using core vs arm muscles, and slightly extend my back, it put weight on the seat and optimizes power transfer to the back wheel. If I then concentrate on making big full circles with my pedals, I can save energy for the short bursts needed to get up and over rocks or nasty steep bits.

Using my new technique I made it comfortably up to the new, hyper groomed, $60000 trail known as to Half Nelson, while lots of other riders had to get off their bikes and walk. I love watching them get off their bikes, pretending they have to fix something or take a pee, when really, we all know what’s going on.

I rode Half Nelson competently if a little cautiously and Tsuga, Tsuga the same. I made down all the big drops and over the bridge ok. I did dismount at the real steep loosey goosey part, but so did everyone else. Then I manhandled the last choppy rooty section and dumped down onto the road no worse for wear and still maintaining position. I took my time and ate well that aid #1, but did not dilly-dally and I climbed comfortably and descended competently down the plunge, my erstwhile nemesis, but now an old pal. I took pains again at aid #2 to fill the tank because I knew the killer Crumpet Woods lay ahead and I was not going to be a victim. Sure enough, I held my own through the woods and down the other side and I fairly hammered it home to a big hug and a 4:35 finish. Not too bad for Day 6.

The Comforts of Home: Tonight I did take a hot shower, have an hour long massage, eat real food, sleep in a real bed, wake up rested. Who could ask for anything more? See you tomorrow in Whistler.





BC Bike Race-Day 7: Whistler

3 07 2010

Day 7: Crank Me Up

It’s ALMOST Over: We’re on the bus on the way from Squamish to Whistler. We spent two nights in Squamish, so there was some repreive of the usual ‘hurry up and wait’, but now, it down to the crunch… One more ride and it’s over. You can almost feel the relief in the air.  This has been a gureulling week. We have put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into this race… and now we can smell… the end is near.

Laughing Before Crying: There are a few nasty climbs and a few wicked pieces of BC single-track to be had, and then… we will be saying good bye. So, there are mixed emotions in my heart. I feel like I am laughing before crying, because in a way, I never want this experience to end.

Blue Collar Cyclist – There are nearly 500 of us. We’re off the line in groups of 50…I was in the 300 group which means I was not first, not last, but where I expected I would be… with the working class. I call it that because we have to work harder to get to the line every day. There are no mid afternoon naps for us because by the time we gety in from the days racing we only have  few hours to do all of our chores.

The Play by Play: Off the line and up the hill, then down…. then a long grinding up to the first chairlift. Then down Crank me up which is a bike park trail with huge berms and table tops and kickers, the kind of things that scare the hell out of me, because i have no idea how to position myself or my bike in order to make it safe or fun. So I tried to stay in the groove, roll with the berms and keep the rubber down. We did one more climb and then down A line which was much of the same but more chattery. Down through the crowd of adoring fans, I caught my loved one out of the corner of my eye. ‘Giddy-up little cowboy’ was the look in her eye… so I straightened up, pulled in the reins and locked in for the torrent of stoney single track that is the Lost Lake Loop. It looks easy enough on the map. No great elevation changes, no nasty descents, but those trails are nerve wracking. Just when you get a head of steam up, there is a nasty uphill curve, or a narrow off-camber bridge or a rocky bench to step up to, or a boulder patch that seems to have no clear line through it. You can’t cherry pick your way, you just have to plow your way through it. Big gear, Big power. And man, on day 7 it can be completely exhausting. Luckily, I ate well and slept well.

Los Conquistadores

Tolerance of Ambiguity – One of the things that occurred to me sitting at the post-race BCBR banquet on Saturday night was that no-one came into this race having it all figured out. Every one at our table told a story of setting out on a journey, assessing the challenges, struggling and finally getting to a point where they felt, “hey, I can do this.” In my business, that is what we call tolerance of ambiguity. It’s the opposite of need for certainty. Have you ever been on a ride and the rider next to you says, “How much further do we need to go?” What they are looking for is information, certainty, safety. That is pretty normal. But it takes a special person to put themselves in a position of uncertainty and not to panic.

That’s What it Takes That’s what you see at BC BIKE RACE, 500 people who can handle the heat and are not looking for the door to the kitchen. They are calm, cool and collected even under extreme conditions. They have the drive, the energy, the skill and the emotional stability to keep the wheels turning and the sticky side down. That’s what it takes to conquer 7 super-sized days of ass-kicking single-track. Yah Baby. AND, WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!





BC Bike Race – Day 5: Sechelt to Langdale

2 07 2010

Girl Power: You can’t help but notice that amongst the massive, ripped, pit-bull like warriors are some pretty fresh-faced, lithe, bike chix. This should not surprise anyone, but it is worth noting, that despite their smaller frames and muscles, they are just as strong, just as fast, and just as courageous as any of the men. And frankly, if you got in their way, they would not hesitate to eat you for breakfast. You go, Girls!

Duelling Doctors: Is it a co-incidence or is there a reason that I have now met about 15 other doctors on this trail? Type A, check. Over-acheiver, check. Reward Seeking Personality, check. Get distracted by shiny things, check. No, it’s no co-0incidence. This race was made for us.

The play-by play – The day started relatively well, breakfast was a bit late, so felt a little bloated to start. I had good legs up the first climb as usual, but started to weaken as the insulin surge of breakfast hit me early into the first single track.

I did not panic, took my time, ate and drank diligently and did the water-down-the pants-thing at the first aid station. The cold water lowered my core body temperature quickly and my energy returned. I headed back into the woods with conviction, but got stuck in traffic with some less experienced riders and could not get any momentum. Every time I had the juice to get ahead,  I had to brake to avoid a collision at the next climb or obstacle. The I had to use precious resources to wind it up again. With all the stops and starts, my legs eventually turned to mush and by the second aid station, I was circling the drain, again.

Auto-rescuscitation: By the time I reached the second aid station, things were looking pretty grim. As I got off my bike, I could barely see straight. My knees were weak and my gait was wobbly. I reached out to grab the handle on the back of the Aid Station truck like an air sick passenger reaches for the bathroom door. Then, I lost control of my bladder. I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but physiology can often trump even the best manners, so I let it go, much to the horror of the aid-crew who were watching me like hawks, but in a good way. Again, I did not panic, because I had read about this in a cycling magazine recently and I knew what I needed to do. So, I calmly took one bottle after another and slowly poured them over my head, down my neck, down my pants and I was quite amazed by how quickly I felt better.

Rain Forest Romp

Then I slowly drank and ate my way back into fighting shape in what seemed like a half hour but was probably only 29 minutes… and set off for the last 400 m climb through the forest, before the sweet descent to the Ferry terminal in Langdale. This all went relatively well, although I did have to walk a significant amount, but I had the nerve and the guts to ride most of the slippery bridges and ladders that surely would have been my nemesis had I not taken the time to refocus and refuel.

Finding the Groove Again: The final descent was a spectacular series of buffed berms and bends and I felt that I rode it competently. As the trail snaked down the hillside, and the Red Bull shot seared through my circuits I found the groove again. Like driving a car, I sent the front wheel wide, visualized the apex, and squared my shoulders to the exit and down the next straightaway. Someday, I will do this automatically and effortlessly, but right now it’s still a series of mechanical tasks that need to be strung together consciously. I avoided any major heroics as I was not feeling like falling 10 feet into a creek. Moreover, I was getting bounced around quite a bit towards the bottom as my two year old shocks were starting to fail. Never the less, I arrived safely at the bottom in 5:35.






BC Bike Race – Day 4: Earls Cove to Sechelt

30 06 2010

Technical Challenges on Day 4

Trauma on the Trail: Touch wood. I have not had any major crashes. OK, my body is covered with scrapes and bruises of every size and colour of the rainbow. I have crushed both pinky fingers on passing tree trunks; I have had a handful of endos (short, for end over handle bars). And, I had a couple of good high-speed tumbles… but so far, all my injuries are “dermatological”. Crashes in cycling fall into four categories: dermatological vascular, orthopedic or neurosurgical. As I walk around our campsite every night, I see more and more people who had serious crashes, so I consider myself lucky. To be fair though, I’m also careful. I don’t go charging down the trail. I leave that to the thrill-seekers: I have kids and a mortgage. It never ceases to amaze me how fast some of these guys (and gals) go… it’s frightening, really. Having said that, these are not the guys who crash. It’s the tentative ones. In mountain-biking commitment is everything.  I’m not quite there yet, but I certainly had a lot of practice on Day 4. Off camber obstacles have often been the bane of my day. Today, I learned to power up and float, using my body positioning and leaning the bike into the turn to optimize traction… most importantly, I learned to keep my hands off the brakes, take on speed as necessary and look down the trail, sometimes looking around the corner, for a flatter, grippier section, where braking would not send me into a skid.

The Tyranny of Tenting: During the past 4 days we have been living in tents. In the evening, base camp becomes a veritable tent city with portable bathrooms and showers, etc. At night, we retitre to our small nylon homes which we share with a tent-mate. This is not necessarily bad. You get to meet an interesting person from another part of the world with whom you have a great deal in common, mostly biking, but often other interests and traits as well. It’s actually one of the best parts of this whole adventure. So far I have had two roomies, Frank from Sydney, Australia and Dirk, a South African psychiatrist who now lives in Dawson Creek, BC. The downside is that now that you have someone to talk to, you do, often late into the night. This cuts down on precious sleep time. You also sleep on the floor, which does not lend itslf well to recovery. It’s damp and depending on body chemistry and the digestive patterns of your roomie, it can also be a bit smelly.

The Play by Play – I pushed up into the ranks of the elites today on a long hilly stage. That worked for quite a while, but energy is not endless and enthusiasm has its perils. My mantra all day was, maintain position, maintain position. That worked for a while too, but all those burly descenders were soon upon me and the descents were tricky if not ominous, so I had to concede positions to my chagrin. At the second aid station my back was hurting… when I went to visit the bushes I saw my urine was dark yellow… I remebered what we were told in orientation, “every good mountaineer pees clear… so I drank about 2 l and poured another 2 L over my head and down my pants, even though we’re not supposed to do that. I figured it was better to pour that water on my head than to need it intravenously later. It sure helped. It gave me the energy to push up that nasty little climb and as I crested the next hill the cool breeze felt fantastic as it billowed through my soaking jersey. And then I felt my energy coming back. As the food and water from the last aid station started to enter by blood-stream, I felt my energy and confidence return.

The kindness of strangers:Minutes later, just after the aforementioned cool breeze, as I careened down the double track, the guy ahead of me hit the breaks and a cloud of dust obscured the apex of the turn. Suddenly a rock the size of a baby’s head appeared directly in front of me. With a flick of the wrist and a spring of the legs, I took to the air and over I went… however, this baby had a rather pointy head so as my back tire slammed into it, it caused my tire to ‘burp’. This, I am told is what happens when you hit a tubeless tire with great impact, breaking the seal of the tire with the rim, and letting out the aforementioned low pitched ‘burp’ sound. Luckily, I came to a safe stop and lost not too much time as another rider who could see I was a newbie, (I didn’t know how to put the tube into a tubeless tire, I didn’t even have a tube because I was assured I could not get a flat, and my Co2 inflator did not work) This fellow, from Endless Biking kindly stopped to lend a hand..and got me on my way. Thank God for the Good Samaritan..

Finding Flow on the Sunshine Coast

In Flow: We’re  going down. While it is certainly not my strength my descending skills have been improving all week. In the past, having always ridden a hard tail my tendency has been to find the path between big rocks and around the edges of deep grooves. That works sometimes. But sometimes the best line is the one over the rocks and into the groove. That’s where weight distribution and good shocks make the work into a game.  That is of course easier said than done. When you are scared, you lean forward, your back tire loses grip and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand-basket pretty quickly. It’s hard to believe that those rocky, dusty, steep and twisty bits are actually rideable. But they are… and it feels so amazing when you finally get it right.

This is what Mihalyi i (CHICK-zent-mi-high) calls flow. In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990) he described the flow state as one in which an athlete performs seemingly without effort, but with total concentration, feeling totally in control without thinking about it. Self-consciousness recedes into the background as total focus is upon present activity, such that someone might call you to dinner and you would not hear a thing.

To paraphrase Czikszentmihaly’s work, you get into flow when you find the sweet spot between challenge and reward. That means that the activity has to be difficult enough to engage all of one’s senses, yet easy enough that one can succeed and experience the reward of mastery.

I finished the rest of that day, thanks to the Good Samaritan, competently and in flow and arrived safely at base camp in Sechelt in 5:32.





BC Bike Race – Day 3: Powell River

29 06 2010

Finesse in the Forest

Day 3 – Fun in the Forest: OK I am caught up now and feel much better both physically and mentally… could it be a good night’s sleep?… All the great people, anti-inflammatories, Red Bull energy shot, a doule bowl of oatmeal… All of the above?

Race Relations… I’m not fond of people who bend the rules, in my business we call them boundary crossers…but… I guess I often find myself in that position where I would like someone to bend the rules for me. Anyway, here at BC bike Race, Michelle from Race Relations has made my day. We are only allowed one bag, our skookum new Dakine bag to be exact. I don’t really want to cram my new 17″ MacBook Pro into my race bag, so Michelle has been kind enough to carry my laptop with her, so I can blog while on the ferry. This precious time, usually in the morning, is the only time have energy and cognitive function to write anything, so I am very thankful.

Tent Mafia: It takes a special kind of person to yell at someone, first thing in the morning. I am not saying they are bad people… But only a special person can yell at the top of their lungs a t 6 am, “Anyone who is not out of their tent in 20 minutes does not get any coffee.” I don’t even drink coffee, but they sure had my attention. I suppose the ability to yell at people must have some surviuval value, because you find these special people everywhere: police officers, airport security people, nurses. I guess they are put on earth to help all us ADD survivors to get our shit together and stop procrastinating. Maybe their parents yelled at them. My parents never really did that, so I always find it somewhat abrasive (maybe I was just grumpy after having two shitty days). But, I guess that’s why it works.

Different Strokes: This is a long race.. 7 days and, to the trail designers credit, they have thrown in a wide variety of  geographical and technical elements to test both our fitness and bike handling skills. The first day was 67km and arduous. The second day was shorter but more brutish with a 10 km climb in the middle of the day and another nasty climb towards the end of the day. Today will shorter, only 53k, but it looks very choppy.

The Play by Play: We start the day with a long outbound double-track and I’m feeling strong…the local school kids have lined the trail and are cheering madly making me feel, for a minute, like I am Fabian Cancellara in the Tour de France. I am passing on the flat with confidence. I feel steady in the single track today… maintaining position behind my new friends, also riding under the Different Bikes banner, the husband and wife team of Marty and Frannie. It’s endearing listening to them chatter back and forth, supporting each other, making sure they are in sync. Now that’s attachment.

Physics Power: Meanwhile, I am adapting to the geometry of my new bike. It’s actually an old bike, but since I had my bike re-fit by my cycling coach, the indomitable, Larry Zimich, things are a bit different and I’m still getting used to it. Larry measured and tweaked my position in climbing, time trial and sprinting positions. He shortened my stem, trimmed my handle-bars, lowered my seat and moved it forward a smidge. The goal here is to be able to get as aerodynamic as possible, maintain power and optimize traction. The principle is that as you lower your torso, you decrease angle between you chest and your quad. That decreases wind resistance, which is 95% of what you are pushing against, but it also decreases power. So, by moving the seat a bit forward you open the angle and restore the power. Now, it’s time to use all this science to optimize energy transfer from mitochondria to pedal to where the rubber hits the loam. Sit back, pull back and scrape mud.

I also dropped the psi in my back tire to 30 from 45 and switched from Schwalbe Racing Rons to Nobby Nicks, which increases traction and allows me to roll over wet roots rather than spinning out or getting bounced around.

Colin Kerr of Bowen Island

There were Lots of stops and starts today, so I was trying to focus on consistency… Winding up my wheels, rather than pounding away at them. There’s more to this than meets the eye. After wind resistance and rolling resistance, there is rotational resistance. That is the force required to push the rotating parts through one revolution. As it turns out, the force is proportional to the weight of the rotating parts. So that is why weight weenies first obsession is the heft of their hoops. The lighter the wheels, tires, pedals and cranks, the less force required to push them around. The next factor is the friction at the level of the hub. The smoother the bearings, the less force it takes to push them around. So, as the sweetness of light wheels meets the blessing of smooth bearings you have a dream which gets better with each  revolution. Now, if you can increase the force on the cranks slow and smoothly, rather than fast and furiously, you expend less energy; And, if you can optimize your pedal stroke to deliver power evenly over the entire 360 revolution, you’re even more efficient. And, if you can maximize the transfer of power from your body to the bike by stabilizing your bum on the seat; And, if you can distribute the power output to a broader selection of fast twitch muscles by pulling back on the handle bars while pulling forward with your core; And you can optimize the oxygen transfer to your muscles by taking slow deep breaths; And you can make sure there is enough glucose going to your muscles to fuel aerobic metabolism… then you can really fly.

Very few open climbs today so just trying to maintain my position in the forest and pass on the double track. The open descent with wide turns and long straightaways played to my strength. So whenever I could, I tucked into TT position and cheated the wind… I had my best day yet. I took another 15 spots: 4:05 today, WOW… Now I’m 51st, vs.84th yesterday in Solo Masters Men . Beware the tortoise!