16 Feb 19

I love Trek bikes, I’ve written of my adoration of the 2019 Madone and I could quite happily give up sex if it meant owning that bike. You might think that’s a bit much but I’m a single 45 year old lesbian with two cats, it’s not like there’s a queue of women round the […]

15 Feb 19
A Brit On Thin Ice

Doping in Cycling I love cycling, and was hooked from the moment I first saw it and American Greg LeMond beat French Laurent Fignon by 9 seconds in 1989. I’ve watched every Tour De France since then except between 1994-2000 when music took over as my main interest instead of sport. “How clear can it […]

14 Feb 19
What Ally Eats

I’ve been using this recipe for a few years now – I can’t remember where I’ve found it but I adapted it for gluten free, dairy free baking. I found that using extra eggs really helps when baking with gluten free flour – stops the driness that you often find in gluten free confectonary. This […]

13 Feb 19
A Worthy Woman

New Zealand Soroptimists treasure their Korowai (Cloak) as a symbol of their commitment to the Soroptimist mission. The cloak has a name: “Te Amo Oranganui Ki Te Ao”, which means “The Bearer of Wellbeing to the World.” The background story: Small town New Zealand is safe. That’s why we live there. Tragedy is keenly felt […]

11 Feb 19

IMAGEN Brands has kicked off the new year strong winning 2 prestigious awards announced at this year’s trade shows. Vitronic won the Counselor Distributor Choice Award at the ASI Show in Orlando for Toys, Games and Stuffed Animals for the 5th consecutive time. Crown then won the Gold Pyramid Award for Supplier Star at PPAI […]

11 Feb 19
Butter Together Kitchen

Perfect Keto Launches NEW Keto Bars flavors! Lemond Poppyseed and Salted Caramel – these bars are literally the cleanest bar on the planet!  Okay, BIG News in the Keto World! 🎉 This week Perfect Keto launched two NEW Keto Bars and I’m so excited about it because these bars truly stand out from other brands out there! The […]

10 Feb 19
Twin Cities
Kadie Neuharth was in a cardiac intensive care unit almost 2,000 miles away from home last summer when the doctor walked into her room. This time, the news was good. “When you have a minute,” she remembers the doctor saying, “why don’t you go to the next room over and meet your new best friend?” Kadie didn’t know it then, but her new best friend, Laura Lee Jensen, was also almost 2,000 miles away from home. The women were both in their 30s, both from Minnesota and both at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for heart transplants. “I felt confident,” said Dr. Lisa LeMond, “that they would be friends.” LAURA LEE’S HEART Just 321 days earlier, Laura Lee had been a patient not in an intensive care unit in Arizona, but a maternity ward in Minnesota. This time, the news was bad. “I was diagnosed the day my daughter was born,” says Laura Lee. The first-time mom had begun feeling like something was terribly wrong about four weeks before her due date. “I started having heart failure symptoms, but the doctors said it was anxiety,” says Laura Lee, now 38, of Shoreview. “I had trouble breathing. I had no energy — I used to walk every day, I couldn’t walk. I’d go up stairs and I’d have to sit down for five minutes to catch my breath. I couldn’t lay flat, I had to sit up and because of that, I coudn’t sleep, so I stopped sleeping. I had severe swelling — but (the symptoms) aligned with normal symptoms of pregnancy .. They did a bunch of testing on the baby and said, ‘Well, the baby is fine, so you just have to get through this. You’ll be fine.’ They said I just needed to relax.” Laura Lee Jensen, pictured here, and Kadie Neuharth share a deep bond as both are heart transplant recipients who met at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. while waiting for their hearts, photographed in Minneapolis Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press) Laura Lee wasn’t fine, though. This became clear when her water broke and she was finally admitted to the hospital in St. Paul. “All of a sudden, the baby’s heart rate started going down, so they did an emergency C-section,” Laura Lee says. “And it was right afterward, when they wheeled me in a separate room, I was laying down and they put her on my chest for skin-to-skin contact. I said, ‘I can’t breathe — take her off, take her off.’ So they rearranged her, but I kept saying, ‘Take her off! I can’t breathe!’ And then all of a sudden, my husband grabbed her and said, ‘Help her, something’s wrong!’ I remember all of a sudden there were a bunch of doctors, then I don’t really remember what happened next. I woke up with a breathing mask on.” As her husband held her hand, the doctors gathered around her bed. “They said something was wrong with my heart,” she says. “I thought, ‘What? My heart?’ I was very active — I had no issues or concerns ever with my heart. I just thought that maybe I had asthma and needed an inhaler.” It wasn’t asthma. Initially, it was thought that Laura Lee was experiencing peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare type of heart failure. Ultimately, though, Laura Lee learned at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester that her medical situation predated her pregnancy. “They think I had previously had a heart condition that I didn’t know about,” says Laura Lee, “and that my pregnancy induced it, exacerbated it and brought it to light.” Laura Lee’s heart was enlarged, filled with fluid and leaking. She had a type of dilated cardiomyopathy — a condition of the heart muscle that, in her case, was so severe that she would need a heart transplant. She was 36 years old. KADIE’S HEART Kadie Neuharth, pictured here, and Laura Lee Jensen share a deep bond as both are heart transplant recipients who met at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. while waiting for their hearts, photographed in Minneapolis Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press) Kadie was in her late 20s when her symptoms started. “I was having headaches and just really weird symptoms,” says Kadie, now 32 and living in Minneapolis. She went to see her doctor, but didn’t get any answers. At a follow-up visit, Kadie mentioned that she had also started to get lightheaded at the gym. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” Kadie remembers her doctor saying, “but let’s do an EKG just to rule things out.” Unfortunately, the EKG — a recording of the heart’s electrical signals — didn’t rule out anything. “It came back as abnormal,” says Kadie. She was referred to a cardiologist. “I kept having more and more testing,” Kadie says, “and all of the tests were coming back abnormal. After about a year, my family said, ‘Let’s just go to Mayo.'” In Rochester, she finally got her diagnosis: Restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition which makes the heart rigid and, eventually, unable to function. She was 27 years old. “They didn’t even bring up transplant at first,” Kadie says. “They wondered if maybe this would progress really slowly. They were going to try to manage it medically.” She learned that her particular form of cardiomyopathy usually reveals itself much earlier; she found herself looking back on her childhood. “I played sports and I was competitive,” she says, “but cardio has always been hard for me. I could never run a full mile — but I just attributed it to not liking running. It felt normal to me, though. It just progressed so slowly.” At first, life went on as normal. “I didn’t develop heart failure symptoms until about two years ago,” Kadie says. Slowly, her world contracted. “Exercising became difficult — even walking up steps was hard,” she says. “I started retaining fluid in my abdomen, and I lost my appetite. I turned gray.” SECOND CHANCES The Mayo Clinic performs heart transplants at their campuses in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida — and both Kadie and Laura Lee ended up waiting in Arizona for their second chances. “Wait times for heart transplant vary around the country,” says LeMond, a transplant cardiologist at the Arizona campus. “Historically, wait times in our region have been shorter, which has prompted some patients to seek transplant at our center.” Kadie and Laura Lee stood out to LeMond, but not because of their geography. “Heart failure is more common as people age, so there are fewer young people with heart failure,” LeMond says. “To have two young people waiting for heart transplants in the hospital at the same time is relatively uncommon, even for us.” The patients were both hospitalized last August. “I was changing medications and had to be in the ICU,” Kadie remembers, “and Laura Lee was in the hospital because she had just gotten her heart.” “I remember Dr. LeMond coming in and saying, ‘Hey, there’s a Minnesota girl next door. She’s waiting for a heart. Can I introduce you?'” says Laura Lee. “And I said, ‘Sure!’” Kadie was more nervous about the meet-up. “Although I’m sure I have met people who have had a heart transplant, I hadn’t ever seen anybody fresh out of surgery with a heart transplant,” she recalls. “I was scared and nervous, but the doctor thought it was important that I go over there.” It’s not the only instance when a friendship was suggested here:  “The number of people who go through this is so small,” LeMond says. “Young people often don’t have anyone in their life they can relate to, they feel like they are the only ones this has ever happened to.” Sometimes, the gift of friendship is just as powerful as the science of medicine: “It’s good for their hearts and their souls,” LeMond says. In fact, it did help Kadie to walk into Laura Lee’s hospital room. “I was expecting Frankenstein,” Kadie says. “Obviously, she was on a lot of medication after surgery, but it looked like she had just gotten her tonsils out. She was sitting up and happy. She said, ‘Hi, I’m Laura Lee!'” Laura Lee’s recollection is fuzzier but unforgettable. “I have this blurry vision of her hand, holding onto my bed,” she says. “I remember her standing there, talking to me as I was holding onto my heart pillow.” “From then on,” says Kadie, “we stayed in contact and became really good friends.” Fourteen days after Laura Lee received the gift of an unknown donor’s heart, Kadie received her own gift of life from a stranger. HEART SISTERS Kadie Neuharth’s pillboxes will be filled with one week’s worth of medication, required after receiving a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. photographed in Minneapolis Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press) Six months later, the friends met up at Kadie’s place on a Sunday afternoon. They found themselves bonding like true heart sisters. “These are such cute pill boxes!” said Laura Lee as she spotted the rainbow-colored containers on Kadie’s counter. Over decaffeinated coffee, they pondered their friendship. Laura Lee, a project manager, lives in the suburbs and is married and has a stepson, age 8, and a daughter, now 16 months. Kadie, who works in the insurance industry, is single and lives in an apartment in the city with her dog. Their lives are different, but they are united in their efforts to let women know that they should pay attention to their hearts. This is one reason that they’re highlighting their story through the Minnesota division of the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women campaign — an initiative to empower women to take charge of their heart health, to dispel the myths and to raise awareness that heart disease and stroke is the number one killer of women. “The experience of both of these young women highlights the importance of being an advocate with doctors for your own health,” said Jackie Londo, senior director of Go Red for Women in an email. “The American Heart Association established the Go Red for Women campaign 15 years ago to raise awareness that one in three women are impacted by heart disease. Both women and doctors need to be more aware that it can affect women of all ages and backgrounds. Women can be proactive by knowing their entire family history, knowing their numbers, including blood pressure and cholesterol, and asking questions. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it.” Sometimes, the heart truly is mysterious. “I call it a hidden disease,” Laura Lee says of heart health, “because, from the outside, people don’t understand how much you might be struggling inside. Because you look fine.” THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP [related_articles location=”right” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]A friend can protect the heart in other ways, as these heart sisters also know. “I get really sentimental about this,” says Laura Lee as she sits on Kadie’s couch and hugs her friend’s heart pillow, the one that matches her own. “I tell people that having a friend …” Laura Lee pauses, the tears coming. Kadie, sitting just a heartbeat away, reaches out to comfort her friend. “I tell people to have a friend know exactly what you’re going through in the most difficult time of your life is truly a gift from God,” Laura Lee says. “I mean, it’s amazing that we have each other.” FYI Go Red for Women, an initiative of the American Heart Association, wants women to know: No. 1 killer: “Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease is the cause of one out of every three deaths. That’s roughly one death each minute.” It can happen at any age: “Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. And while the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. But even if you lead a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.” It’s not just about chest pain: “Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.” Even if you’re fit, your heart might not be: “Even if you’re a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. And while you’re at it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up.” Family history is not necessarily destiny: “Although women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there’s plenty you can do to dramatically reduce it. Simply create an action plan to keep your heart healthy.” For more information: Goredforwomen.org
09 Feb 19

“Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time.”                                                                                                                                                                 Greg LeMond Our This unicorn has been one of the toughest one so far. Informations were very very few. Called STAGE III till 2001, […]

06 Feb 19
RNNR by Chris Abraham

Most indoor cycling spin classes like my home studio CYCLEBAR on Columbia Pike are a spoon full of sugar. They help the medicine go down. If you don’t get the workout you need, you aren’t pushing herself hard enough. Most athletic mortals don’t respond well to dry, scientific, workouts where they treat the bike like an […]

06 Feb 19
In The Know Cycling

Socks inspired by the legends of the sport. Merckx, Lemond, De Vlaeminck, Museeuw, Pantani and Simpson.Defeet have collaborated with author, illustrator and animator Richard Mitchelson to create the Ritch Mitch series of the Aireator sock. ‘Rich Mitch’ has previously worked with many of the sport’s biggest names including Team Sky, Rouleur Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, GCN, […]

03 Feb 19
Jake LeMond

Thanks for joining me! Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

03 Feb 19
Dr. Shawn Vestal

U.S. kids are eating healthier these days, but their daily diet is usually still nowhere near perfect, a new study reports. Kids today are eating more food that’s good for them: whole grains, whole fruits, dairy, and protein from seafood and plants. And, just as important, they are more likely to avoid sugar-laden foods and […]

02 Feb 19
Twin Cities
If 2017 was the year of the Instant Pot, 2018 was the year to gift or get a weighted blanket — a duvetlike bed cover weighing from 5 to 25 pounds. Never heard of one? Neither had I, until I got this assignment. But they are a hot commodity. For example, the Gravity Blanket, which began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017, reports $16.5 million in sales for 2018. The theory is that a heavier-than-normal blanket hugs a sleeper, and may prevent tossing and turning. As a result, the sleeper feels more secure, and sleeps longer and more soundly. The concept isn’t new. Heavy wraps have been used as a calming mechanism for children with autism, ADHD and other sensory disorders for more than a decade. Parents have swaddled their newborns for centuries. And the idea isn’t limited to humans: Pet owners can outfit their dogs and cats with “ThunderShirts” (weighted vests) to keep them from going bonkers during thunderstorms and fireworks. With a few exceptions, weighted blankets are composed of 6-by-6-inch stitched squares (some brands are 4-by-4-inch) filled with tiny glass or plastic beads. The only real distinguishing feature is the exterior, which comes in an array of colors, patterns and fabrics such as cotton, flannel, microfiber and polyester. How did weighted blankets morph from a therapeutic tool to the hottest must-have? Word-of-mouth, says Bill Fish, co-founder of Tuck.com, a sleep resource website. “An acquaintance posted about one on Facebook and received 100 comments in the first 24 hours. People swear by their blankets. It’s astounding,” says Fish, who sleeps with one and has tested more than a dozen weighted blankets. In the past year, interest in weighted blankets soared. In November 2018, Tuck.com recorded 1 million visitors, with the blanket page being the most visited. Sales of Mosaic Weighted Blankets doubled from 2017 to 2018, and SensaCalm has doubled its sales almost every year since launching in 2008. Mike Grillo, president of Gravity Products, tells me his company was totally sold out of blankets by Dec. 10. “The holidays overwhelmed our expectations,” he says. Medical science is just starting to, ahem, weigh in. There is little data on the efficacy of weighted blankets. As Raj Dasgupta, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, points out, it’s tough to do a randomized double-blind trial on these products because they’re weighted blankets. But Dasgupta is open to the use of weighted blankets. He sees sleep as a puzzle made up of pieces including sound, light, temperature and comfort; restless sleepers and those dealing with insomnia need to figure out their missing piece. For some, the answer is a white noise machine, blackout curtains, the perfect pillow or blue-light blockers. “For others, it’s the sensation of being hugged and cuddled — improved comfort,” Dasgupta says. “I truly believe people with sleep issues don’t want to be on prescription drugs for their lifetime. If a weighted blanket helps, I’m all for it.” Blankets have another advantage over prescription sleep aids, the success of which may take days to determine. “With a weighted blanket, you can tell in one night,” Fish says. That was the case with Kellsie Rees. Leg pain from being on her feet all day interrupted Rees’s sleep nightly. The discomfort, and the stress of running her woodworking company in Hadley, Massachusetts, motivated her to buy a 20-pound weighted blanket last September. “As soon as I tried it, I knew I would use it every night. Not only did I stop waking up in the middle of the night, but I fall asleep almost instantly,” she says. Rees was so impressed that she bought one as a birthday gift for a friend with sleep issues. Her only complaint? “I travel a lot and can’t take it with me. I wish the hotels had loaners.” If you’re thinking about adding a weighted blanket to your sleep routine, here’s what you need to know. There is no “must-buy” brand. Although well-known companies such as Sleep Number are getting into the weighted blanket game, there is no industry leader, Fish says. You’ll find weighted blankets at department stores, mass merchandisers, bedding shops and online on both shopping sites and sites for people with special needs. Some companies will produce a custom blanket on demand. Weight matters. Most blankets are sold in 5-pound increments from 5 to 25 pounds. A general rule of thumb is to choose a blanket roughly 10 percent of your ideal body weight, recommends Laura LeMond, owner of Mosaic Weighted Blankets. But, you may need a heavier or lighter version, depending on personal preference. Young children under the age of 3 or weighing less than 50 pounds should not use a weighted blanket because of the risk of suffocation — there have been at least two child deaths involving the blankets. If you’re buying one for a child, err on the side of caution and get a blanket that’s less than 10 percent of their weight. They aren’t cheap. Weighted blankets sell for $70 to $300. The heavier the blanket, the larger the size and the higher quality the materials, the greater the cost. Make sure you can wash it. Whether the blanket is a one-piece or slips into a cover, it is going to get dirty at some point. You want one that is machine-washable, says Donna Chambers, founder of SensaCalm. This is a solo act. Though weighted blankets come in various lengths, most are 48 inches wide, a bit narrower than a twin bed. “I do wish they were wider. When I roll, I end up half under and half outside the blanket,” Fish says. “It’s also an odd feeling having two different blankets on a bed and not sharing the covers with your partner.” You may get hot. No matter how cool you keep your bedroom, many people feel warm or even hot in bed because of their own body temperature and the composition of their mattress (foam and latex are hotter than springs). A heavy blanket may exacerbate the problem. If you “sleep warm,” look for a natural fiber cover or one designed to wick moisture. A return or exchange policy is a must. Some sellers offer trial periods so you can return the blanket for a refund or exchange for a different weight. A weighted blanket isn’t for everyone. Some people feel claustrophobic or uncomfortable. [related_articles location=”right” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Dasgupta says watching what you eat and drink and creating good sleep habits such as setting specific sleep/wake times and sticking to them can often help as much as external sleep aids. Even more important, put away the technology. He implores, “Don’t be under a weighted blanket looking at your smartphone.”
02 Feb 19
Cycling in the South Bay

I glanced at this magazine cover on the coffee table, and it struck me. Oh, yeah. The Super Bowl is coming up. Then I looked at it a little harder and realized that I had no idea who was playing. Ignorance sure was bliss, but I puzzled over the headline for a second. The Rams? […]

01 Feb 19
Piper's Piping

Thanks for joining me on my first blog post! Today as I was spinning my wheels through the perfect snow at Castlewood State Park on my mountain bike, I marveled that I was the only person on the trails. Sure, it was lunch time on a Thursday in 16 degree weather, but wasn’t anyone else […]