With 15 weeks to go until Ironman Arizona, my husband and I did a 55+ mile bike ride in Thurmont, MD, in the area of Catoctin Mountain Park this weekend. His distance was slightly longer since he was looping around waiting for me some of the time. The views were stunning, and the climbs were challenging. We did a loop two times where the first five miles are nothing but climbing switchbacks. And, throughout this part of both loops, I couldn’t help thinking, “How do those cyclists do this day after day in the Tour?” I guess some people would say that those riders are doping, and I guess that has been true in many cases.
I can tell you that for my recent, mini-epic climbs in Thurmont, I was not only not doping, I was only using half of the natural EPO that the body normally produces. It turns out that natural EPO is produced by – you guessed it – the kidneys. So, only-one-kidney-girl gets an extra gold star for her climbs (that’s what I say 🙂 ).
Here is what Wikipedia says about it:
“EPO, is a glycoprotein hormone that controls erythropoiesis, or red blood cell production. It is a cytokine (protein signaling molecule) for erythrocyte (red blood cell) precursors in the bone marrow. Human EPO has a molecular weight of 34 kDa…” “… Also called hematopoietin or hemopoietin, it is produced by interstitial fibroblasts in the kidney in close association with peritubular capillary and tubular epithelial cells. It is also produced in perisinusoidal cells in the liver. While liver production predominates in the fetal and perinatal period, renal production is predominant during adulthood.”
Wikipedia also says that the kidney will produce more EPO under hypoxic conditions. So, I believe this bolsters my case for us to someday move to Colorado, right? Wikipedia is unwittingly giving me gold stars and good arguments. Thank you, Wikipedia 🙂
Anyway, none of this matters as much as the great fun we had on this ride. The next two weekends promise more climbing and kick-ass downhills in beautiful settings. While we don’t need the hill training for Arizona, it’s nice to have a break from the flats for a while.
Until next time… Ookgirl out.