15. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Cycling · Tags:


Feeling good at Battenkill


When I lined up with the Masters 50+ field at Battenkill this Saturday, I knew it would be hard . . .for everyone.  Without excessive details, and after a good night’s sleep and a gentle recovery ride today, here are some thoughts:

  • This is the second time that I’ve done the race.  And yes, it is a sufferfest, but a great one.  A well-organized, well-marshalled affair and certainly a hard distance that if nothing else is a good start to spring…or summer.
  • Even on hard nights at the NHIS with NHCC and other folks, and even on hard group rides, it is not often that I can replicate the effort at Battenkill or these longer races.  The thing is just too hard to imitate elsewhere.  That’s why this event is great, actually.
  • I raced my race – hanging in with a big group and then a smaller group, and then racing and trading off with another rider.  I knew the strongest (and there were many) would be far off the front once we crested Juniper Swamp Road, and my goal was to ride with a group – any group – and hang with them.  The goal was somewhat met even though it would have been better to have been with more than one other rider in the field at mile 48.
  • I wanted to be near the front for the first covered bridge, and I was, probably about 30 to 40 places back, so that felt like an accomplishment.
  • Battenkill is a race of “self-selection.”  [My wife kiddingly says “self-delusion.”]  Simply put, over 150 of us sat by our computers at 7 pm on December 21 waiting to register.  Ergo, this Cat 1 to Cat 4 group of 50+ came ready to ride and race hard.
  • I made a major mistake not taking the water for the field at the first feed zone in mile 22.  I was feeling inside out and was almost out of my Gatorade-water combo by the next feed zone in mile 48.  There was no water “at the moment,” someone said to me (was I supposed to wait a moment?).  I always feel better when I eat and drink and I knew then that I was totally approaching the dehydration zone.  Something I should have thought about in advance, but mercifully…
  • Just at mile 50 on a downhill dirt section my front tire pinched and, bingo, “pssst,” here was the flat I had wanted to avoid.  But I was spent at that point, so I took my sweet time changing the tube -  I admit –  about 20 minutes, and then took my time revving up again where I joined another in my field and we rode to the finish.

Total ride time: 3:24 – a shade over 18 mph, but it took me 3:44 to do the course.  About 4000 ft. of climbing. 62 miles.  A lot of good dirt sections that were deep in places.

Inside out at Battenkill

11. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Health Law · Tags: , ,

CMS announced yesterday its picks in the first round of the 2012 ACO draft.  CMS has picked 27 ACOs in 18 states, covering more than 10,000 physicians, 10 hospitals, and 13 smaller physician-led entities and serving an estimated 375,000 beneficiaries.  While the Pioneer program has started, this is the first time that CMS has chosen “plain vanilla” ACOs.

In terms of corporate structure, it appears that the bulk of the ACOs chosen are LLCs, with a few corporations and partnerships in the mix as well.  CMS says that 5 of the new chosen will participate in the ACO advanced payment shared savings program.

It will be really interesting to see how these new payers perform in game situations.  Stay tuned!

I’ve decided to spare readers yet another article and/or opinion about the argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on health care reform and the manner in which certain members of the Supreme Court addressed the issues.  I am digesting the arguments and the media’s handling of them.  For now, I have two points. 1. Whether the ACA survives constitutional scrutiny or not, payment reform is happening.  2.  Health care reform is not like forcing folks to eat broccoli.  Sheesh……

Speaking of broccoli, the Concord Monitor today featured an interview with Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, professor of integrative medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr. Lorenzo will give a free lecture this week on lowering “the risk of cancer and improving outcomes for those touched by cancer, through choices in diet, exercise and stress management.”

In the interview, Dr. Cohen, to his credit, spoke of the usual suspects  – diet and exercise.  I did not realize, however, that his research also focuses on stress and stress management.  His work as a research psychologist has led him from the psychological underpinnings of stress to its effects on the immune system.

As a layman, I find this interesting.  What is one way to get stress under control?  Breathing.  What is one way to become a better breather?  Being taught and taking the time to be taught.  What does that require?  Time away from other so-called productive pursuits.  Oh sure, I suppose you could rent a DVD on yoga or breathing techniques, but my sense is that participation in a full “classroom setting” with other motivated participants allows a more focused, and ultimately for those of you keeping count, efficient approach.

Dr. Lorenzo also spoke of the “western lifestyle” in the interview.  Decades ago, I doubt that a “western lifestyle” conjured images of – in Dr. Cohen’s words – “sedentary jobs, weight gain, and exposure to environmental toxins.”  But now in 2012 it does, at least in the international medical community.  In fact, the good doctor stated in the interview that an “anticancer lifestyle” has to with achieving a balance, and doing everything you can to decrease your exposure to the [Editor’s note: “now”] traditional western lifestyle.”

I hope that one take-away from his up-coming lecture will be how to allow us to re-engineer the western lifestyle so all in our society get to partake in the new benefits.