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BikeRider, January 14,  2020  3:41pm EST

I really Do not like this...

I am a 55 year old Mountain Biker that rode in a 40 mile race on September the 8th. (I have been doing about 8-10 of these a year for 25 years) I felt my heart racing during the race and after it would not level out. The next day I went to see my Family Doctor. He is a biking friend and looked at me with surprise in his eyes and said, “You’re in AFib"! After several trips to the Cardio Doctor, I have no heart disease. Mostly everything was good.  Now I feel every heartbeat. I feel it rev up from time to time and then I can’t stop waiting for the next event. Each time I ride, I get that flutter in my chest if I push my legs to keep up. I know this is probably the end of competitive riding. I know it is the end of some of the epic long rides…. I am not sure what will happen next. I do know that this Paroxysmal AFib is both scary and burdensome. Seeing that there are many of you with worse versions is not relieving, it only adds to the anxiety.

Thanks for listening, L


  • Spencer
    Spencer, January 14,  2020  4:58pm EST

    Sorry to hear about your AFib.  I was the same but an ultra-distance trail runner (50 miles a race) and a similar story to yours.  My endurance was falling off and I couldn't seem to run more than 6-8 miles.  Come to find out that I was in AFib and probably had been in AFib for some time.   It was a life-changing diagnosis.  I know about feeling your heartbeat and looking for the next heartbeat.

    Stress, depression, and anxiety all contribute to AFib so making sure these are reduced in your life will help out a great deal

    Have you seen an EP?  And what is the next step for you?

  • patrickg
    patrickg, January 14,  2020  5:07pm EST


    I suggest you check out "The Haywire Heart: How Too Much Exercise Can Kill You, and what You Can Do to Protect Your Heart" by Dr.John Mandrola, an EP and avid cyclist. He provides a unique perspective on AFib and cycling.

    On my first visit with my EP after I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AFib in January 2018, he advised me that many of his patients are endurance athletes. Too much of anything can hurt you, including exercise.

    FWIW, I am also an avid cyclist and continue to ride 25-30 miles every day, even in Florida's heat. This is a manageable medical condition, not a death sentence. Get a good EP and breathe easy.


  • Neanderthal
    Neanderthal, January 14,  2020  6:21pm EST

    I'm a 56 yr old former competitive bike racer/rider, tennis player, surfer, runner etc.  I never expected to have a heart problem at all.  I was always much stronger than my friends from a cardiovascular perspective.  I've been in constant Afib for I don't know how long.  Even in Afib I'm stronger than most 56 yr old men.  I didn't even know I was in it.  That said, 2 hrs. after my first dose of metroprolol, I felt like a new man and even wanted to go jogging.  Consider what you have going for you.  You most likely have good blood pressure, low cholesterol, healthy heart valves, good blood sugar etc.  I spoke with my cardiologist today and he seemed optimistic that we could get this under control.  If I/you guys can get this under control we're healthy persons and can continue to live a fulfilling life.  I know this completely sucks.  In fact a few days after hearing about it, I broke down crying.  That said, I did get to live 56 healthy years and if I crap out now, I don't think it's a tragedy.

    I'm currently on 50 mg of metroprolol 1X per day, Eloquis 2X daily and 100 mg of flecainide 2X daily.  I just started the flecainide today.

    Let's keep ourselves posted because I think that we share similar stories in that we're healthy people except for the Afib.


  • Neanderthal
    Neanderthal, January 14,  2020  6:23pm EST

    Also, I'm doing a lot more speed walking rather than cycling.  If for some reason I were to feel dizzy or need a break, it's a lot easier to sit down than potentially fall off a bike.  Moderate/light exercise still provides a lot of benefits.  I still hike 3 mi. in the mountains every night after work.

  • Neanderthal
    Neanderthal, January 14,  2020  6:25pm EST

    It's really hard when a big part of my self pride and self worth was wrapped up in being "healthier and stronger than most" and now that's not true anymore.  I'm now a wimp.

    And my wife recently walked out on me too, knowing I had a heart problem.

  • Canada
    Canada, January 15,  2020  9:00am EST

    I really do not like it either.  Diagnosed over the past year, I'm finding AF has a mind of its own and is no respecter of persons.  A word of caution from my experience - be careful of shortness of breath.  I didn't pay attention and it kept getting worse with each episode.  Now I have to take a few hours with no activity with each episode - along with my pill in pocket.  Mine is definitely stress related.  I am grateful I made it through the past few weeks without an episode - during a death in the family.

    My GP tells me is it life-altering but not life-threatening.  It's helped me to be attentive but not obsessive.


  • BikeRider
    BikeRider, January 15,  2020  3:57pm EST

    Thank you for the words of encouragement.

    I have a few odd questions... What is an EP?

    How bad is it to have an episode if it goes away in a few hours?

    Neanderthal, Spencer, Patrick and Canada, I had a few episodes before and they went undiagnosed. I thought it was all due to poor training and just getting older. It is good to not feel like I am on an island alone. Still on an Island, just more people here than I ever imagined. Going to begin a gym exercise routine and continue to ride the bike as much as I can. Thanks again! L

  • Spencer
    Spencer, January 15,  2020  6:14pm EST

    An EP is an electrophysiologist.   Think of them as the electrician to your heart.  Your problem is electrical and that makes it difficult to fix.  AFib can last from minutes to days to continuous.  Many times you will self convert (back into rhythm).  What you need to worry about is the increased risk for stroke which is where blood thinners come in.  Yeah the island is populated with a lot of folks that have gone this way before which is good as you have lots of folks to help with your journey.  

  • Neanderthal
    Neanderthal, January 16,  2020  11:28am EST


    Hang in there and remember that you can get a lot of health benefits from "moderate" exercise too.  I don't recommend pushing yourself too hard.  Most likely the drugs you're going to be on attempt to keep your heart rate low which isn't conducive to exercise.  In my case it eventually comes up but it takes awhile and you may feel lightheaded until it comes up.  Like you, I thought I was just getting older and weaker but now we know that it was more than that.  Eat right and I mean really right, get your rest, stay hydrated and work with you doctors to see if you an get this under control.


  • DkinAA
    DkinAA, January 16,  2020  8:00pm EST

    Hi, BikeRider - I'm not an athlete like you (and the other guys in this thread), but I'm copying this from another posting I did following up on Spencer's response to your question about EP. Hopefully your cardiologist can refer you, but:

    A common recommendation on this site (especially from Mellanie, our Fearless Leader) is to go the the Heart Rhythm Society and use their find a specialist page:

    This is the main professional organization of cardiac electrophysiologists. If you find somebody who is an F.H.R.S. (Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society) is a good sign that they are highly experienced.

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