Frater Eric Broadwell Changes Cycling Focus in Reponse to Diagnosis

EBroadwell“It is hard to write this update on my heart situation.  I have been diagnosed with a rare potentially genetic heart disorder called ARVC.  This past Monday I visited a national research center for the condition at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.  The condition is an enlarged and thinned right side of the heart (the part that pumps to the lungs).  When the right side thins it also scars causing electrical issues that cause fast heart rates in the range of 250 to 300.  This is how we began the investigation.  The research center confirmed the diagnosis. This is the part when you wish your cardiologist wasn’t so good!

“The current underfunded research shows that when you exercise you increase the pressure in the right side of the heart by 3 times.  For a rare few this pressure stretches  the heart wall and this stretching results in the formation of the problematic scars and the heart doesn’t return to normal size and prolonged exercise with this condition makes it worse.  The current registry follows 1500 families of which I am now one.  The study has shown that those that chose to continue to train at a vigorous level continue to worsen the condition resulting in more life threatening fast heart rate events and those that stopped exercising halted the deterioration of the heart muscle and lived a long healthy life.  So I had a choice to stop exercising/training and live longer (to bug you more) or continue riding next to you with what I have grown to know as my extended family and shorten that time.

“As you can imagine taking a person’s passion away is a hard emotional decision.  But as I look at where I have been and how I got here I owe all of you a thank you.  I plan to continue to coach, lead and support all of the cycling community.  This won’t stop me from riding in communities to help evaluate commuting experiences and I can hike, walk, etc. It is the long periods of stretching at a higher heart rate that I must avoid like spin class and century rides.

“You noticed that I said under funded research.  Because the condition isn’t a career money maker (like bypass surgery is) it doesn’t get the financial support to develop the understanding of the disorder.  Another point to understand is that there is a real known genetic aspect of this condition and it is one of the leading causes in sudden heart death in young athletes.  So yes you can expect a century charity ride to support this research in the near future organized by yours truly.

“If you know anyone that is interested in a Specialized Tarmac size 56 that weighs in at 15.2 lbs let me know. I am keeping my cross bike with beach tires on it though.

See you at the start and at the finish, but not on the ride.”