Monday, February 23, 2009


I try not to get too political in this blog but feel strongly enough about this that I figured I'd take the chance and post it. I sent this letter to the president. (What do you think the chances are he'll ever get it?)

Dear President Obama or whoever will be screening his millions of emails;

I have just finished reading your book, The Audacity of Hope and was very uplifted by your thoughts and ideas and am behind you all the way. BUT there is one topic you did not touch on that I feel is a fundamental problem with the way the US functions and specifically, a problem in the health care system. I am a physician (as is my wife) and we both voted for you and are in favor of health care reform (even nationalization) and your tax policies even as they are surely going to hurt our bottom line. What concerns us is the problem of frivolous lawsuits. I truly believe that the cost of health care is at least 60% higher because of concerns of lawsuits. This begins at the health industry supply level and extends to direct patient care which I experience every day. On a personal level, as much as I attempt to resist it, many of my tests and workups are geared to protecting my _ _ _ from potential malpractice or at least being able to defend my actions. Many of these tests are expensive and not completely benign to the patient, but they have become the 'standard of care'. Physicians in the US are not bad and primarily have the best in mind for the patient but the culture of indiscriminate lawsuits is rampant and literally drives our practices. The aggressive nature of lawyers to find business is despicable. Cases taken on contingency allow any individual to file frivolous lawsuits without consequence to their actions. For instance, I am involved in a lawsuit currently where I withheld a very dangerous treatment to a patient. It would have been criminal to have given it. The patient and his family feel that I was negligent in not giving it and brought suit. In their filings there have been three lawyer changes so far who obviously realize there is no defensible case. A fourth has taken it. I am not worried that I will lose this case but it is extremely irritating that there has been so much time and money spent on such a frivolous case. I don't mind being held accountable for my bad actions but there has to be some consequence to lawyers and individuals that literally harass others just because they can. My wife has left clinical practice because of this cloud of lawsuits and unfortunately she is the more compassionate one of us.

Now the reason I am writing this, even in the knowledge that the likelihood you will ever lay eyes on my words is minuscule, is that I do believe you are a man that can see the reality of what I am saying and maybe I too have the audacity of hope. The hope that despite your law background and the government being run by lawyers you might see the health care workers' perspective in your plans to fix our health care system. I am willing to take a cut in pay, but your friends, the lawyers, must as well, in order to achieve TRUE health care reform.
Thank you for listening.
Karl Vizmeg MD

Saturday, February 21, 2009


OK, Here are the disclaimers for this blog: I got permission from the wife to post this AND DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

So Dot and I were headed back to the resort with our rental bikes after a great day of riding the trails of Mazatlan (see post below). We were headed through town and riding mostly on the sidewalks to be "safer". I was ahead and pointed out a few obstacles to avoid along the way. They were the same each time so after the third one I assumed she knew to look out for them. Plus I am sure she was thinking, "Duh! I can see those!". Well I am riding along and this gal in a white sports car honks at me. For a minute I thought as usual it was because of my cool ARANTIX bike but immediately realized I wasn't riding it. So I looked back and there was my wife sprawled on the ground straddling the obstacle!

So what does a husband say in a situation like this? UH, dear, there were three of those before this one that you missed? What were you thinking? No, I said, "Are you all right dear?" Although, I saw she was getting up and new she at least didn't need 'emergency' treatment.

She wasn't happy. She luckily had seen the hole at the last minute as she looked up from her sight-seeing and had swerved just in time. She dove off her bike and across the womanhole.

She had bruises and scrapes on her left arm and shoulder and left thigh and both knees. She also had hit her left jaw and chin. Luckily, she had her helmet on!


She also had a small but deep cut under her chin. I figured it probably needed to be fixed. So normally I carry a suture kit with me. I had packed it in my suitcase before we came but then I thought Dot would be annoyed at me for using up so much space so I only brought a few bandaids. She didn't think that was a smart move.

So there we are back at the resort trying to figure out what two doctors should do. It wasn't a huge cut and would likely heal OK but I didn't want it to scar too much. I could fix it but needed sutures or even Dermabond (the skin glue would likely work) We had the conceirge call a local pharmacy figuring everything in Mexico was over the counter. NOPE. They said we have to go to a doctor. So we heard there was a doctor at the resort. Well she said on the phone that a room consult would be $50 and in her office it would be $40. I know; for most of you that would be a deal relative to an ER visit in the US. Well we wanted to do it ourselves. So what if we go into town and check out a few other pharmacies? Dot, agreed and we headed in leaving he boys with the grandparents. By this time Dot had ingested some "anesthesia" and was feeling "better".

So in town, we hit two more pharmacies and non of them had sutures or skin glue. Where could we get some glue? We went back to Kelly's bike shop to lament about her injuries. Fernando noted that next door there was a Paper supply store. Well wouldn't you know it, they had some Krazy Kola Loka! Well that name sure seemed to fit the situation!
I have patients come in all the time saying they tried gluing their cuts together with super glue and I tell them it's probably not a good idea. Well, in reality under the right circumstances (which of course this was) it can work. You see Dermabond is nearly the same formulation as Super glue. It just dries harder and is not as soft and pliable. Also, even to use Dermabond the wound has to be clean, small, not bleeding and the edges able to be approximated while the glue sets. Well wouldn't you know it, she met all the above criteria! Problem solved! Thanks to Krazy Kola Loka, we fixed the cut and she looks pretty as ever! Well except maybe for the the huge black and blue bruises on her thigh.


So Dot and I show up at Kelly's bike shop as "arranged" through an online tour company. We had "paid" for an "8 hour" ride. We got there and the owner/operator looked at us kind of funny. He had never had anyone sign up for that ride and hadn't been told we had signed up for that. Nevertheless he got us bikes, closed up shop and we headed out. Below is the bike I was fitted with. It did the trick. The pick as at the top of the 2000 world cup course.

Fernando Kelly was our guide. He first took us to "his course" where we came to find out he had run the first local race of the season the day before! How cool would it have been to come to town and do a local race! It was an intermediate level 7 km course that included short climbs, with mostly packed sand, and washes intermixed with some scrub forested sections. A good warm up for the day. (Below are Dot and Fernando heading out from the shop)
Next we headed over a few barbed wire fences to his second course (where next months race will be). This was a fast non-technical packed red dirt course through thicker forested trails. It seems Fernando and a few local grass-roots riders work pretty hard on opening new trails, keeping the courses clean and setting up the races. (Below, Dot and I headed to race course #2)
So at this point we were about 2 hours into the ride and having a blast having experienced a lot more single track than we expected. We then headed to the 2000 World cup course on the south side of town. (Below; Dot cruising the 2000 World cup course)

It was pretty cool when I realized it was right off the road about 1/2 mile from the resort we were staying at. We jumped another fence- we were told it was OK since it was on the land of a relative of Fernando's- as were the other courses. Anyway, This course had the most climbing and started up right away. It again was a nice trail with some rollers and moderate switch backs up to the top of the "mountain". This was perhaps a couple hundred feet high. (Below is the view from the top looking at our resort)

Off the top was the drop called Tequila Shot which was the most technical section where apparently there was just a mass of cheering onlookers during the 2000 World cup race. This was the only section we walked. (Below; Dot on the trail just after the Tequila Shot)

We were exhilirated at what we had ridden so far! It was afternoon and getting hot so we headed back along some back dirt roads to the Kelly's Bike shop. We were out for about 4.5 hrs and had done what Fernando estimated to be about 45 km. He is planning on tying together these courses into an epic race later this year and promised to keep us posted when it was going to be.

We ended up renting the bikes for the next 3 days. I got to ride the next 3 mornings and Dot joined me for the 4th day for another long ride. All that riding made the trip for us!

We want to thank Fernando Kelly for the tour, the great rentals and all the work he has put into the local trails! We recommend this trip to anyone interested in a MTB vacation in Mexico. Hook up with him and he'll treat you right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


OK So this is the best Mexican vacation I´ve had AND it´s because I´m mountain biking almost every day! I can´t down load pics so Í´ll have to post them later when we get back. But too much has happened to hold off any longer.

So I found on the net that the 2000 world CUP was held here so obviously there was mountain biking in the area. We signed up for an 8 hour ride for monday (So we found out later that no one ever reall had signed up for such a ride) So we got to Kelly´s bike shop early to find the owner Fernando Copolla Kelly opening up surprised to hear that we wanted an 8 hour ride. The booking company never advised him of that. But he set us up with bikes, closed up the shop (literally) and we headed out. Me on a NORCO something or other (NOT THE SAME AS AN ARANTIX) and Dot with an Alpa specialized. We went out for from 9 am to about 1:30 pm of basicly continuous riding. We hit ALL three race courses that were just outside of town. We rode from the shop and got to ride all kinds of terrain. Í`ll post details and pick later. We cut the ride short since it was getting hot and we had exhausted what seemed to be the best single track. It was a great ride! Plus we rented the bikes for the rest of the week and I´ve been out each morning since then mainly hitting the world cup course several times.
that`s it in a nut shell but you´`ve got to stay tuned for the Krazy Kola story involving my poor wife. By the way she kicked butt keeping up with us for her first 45+ K ride UNTIL THE WIFE EATING MAN(WOMAN)HOLE!!!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009


The Leadville Trail 100 boasts a 43% finishing rate..... was the news after my last experience with the Leadville 100 in 2000.

That was my first race ever....

So here is what I put on my application this year where it asked for prior race history- The last Leadville 100 I did I got snowed on, spit and bolted on me and I just about died of hypothermia. I swore I'd do it again. YOU owe me.

Do you think that did it?

So I've been thinking about that race the last couple of days and figured I'd jot it down for anyone interested. What was I thinking? (sorry no pics. I didn't get a digital camera until the following year)

So I was talking to a co worker of Dot's just about the time we found our she was pregnant with our first. He is an AF family doc- Doug Mower. He told me about this great race he did the year before that was all above 10000 feet and 100 miles of dirt. I didn't believe it. You must be crazy to do something like that! (shows how clueless I was about biking) So anyway, that was the year I was planning on getting into it and the more he talked and I dreamed, it sounded doable. He even said he would help provide support. It was a good excuse to get a new bike. So I got my piss yellow 2000 Specialized Stumpy and we began to ride. Then I found out I got in!

That's when the fear hit. I swear I trained for the next 5 months with fear driving me! I was scared I couldn't do it. I had no clue what it entailed. So I rode and rode and rode. I must say it did help that Dot was pregnant and not very interested in me being around. I had served my purpose. So I rode some more. Doug was an incredible source of information and training and I actually started feeling strong. I even got a buddy to fly me into Leadville (the highest airport in the US) a month before the race and I did about 60 miles of it. I was scared again.

Well the race started out cold but actually warmed up a bit during the morning before the Columbine climb. I was feeling good at that point and the race was uneventful as I began the climb and I felt I was on track to do sub 9hrs. Then I noticed my big ring was wobbling and the chain fell off! What the... ?! I got off found out that all the bolts holding the front gear set had fallen out. Luckily I went back down the hill and found two of the bolts. I put them on and prayed they would stay on for the rest of that climb. I had lost about 20 minutes. I got to the top with my spirits improved but it was getting really cold. Then just as I passed the breakdown point and the terrain started to flatten out I flatted. Crap! I lost another 10 minutes or so.

I got to the next check point and took two more bolts off a spare bike I brought and headed off disheartened but still feeling strong. Then the rain came, Then as I started up the Powerline trail the lightening came. I literally felt like I was going to get blasted. That whole climb I was trying to figure out if it was good to be next to powerlines because they would draw the lightening bolts to them and away from me or whether they would repel them towards me. Luckily I never found out. I hiked up the steepest part of the climb since at that point it was literally a river.

I got to the top alive to realize that my hands were too frozen to shift luckily it was downhill and I didn't have to shift too much. But unluckily it was a pretty technical down hill that was extremely slick. And then it started snowing! If I stopped I'd freeze! I kept going and finally came out onto the road. I noticed people were dropping like flies but I couldn't quit. Finally the rain/snow eased up but what was left for the last 1/4 of the race as 3 inches of mud. What a slow slog that was. That was the worst part. Well I slid through the finish in 10 hr and 7 minutes shivering for the next hour. I swore I'd do it again.
God I hope this one goes better for me.

I'm 9 years older but hopefully stronger and more experienced with an awesome light new bike. I just wont have the fear to drive me to train harder.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


So who all is going?
Would it be too crazy to do Leadville and then the American Mountain Classic in Brianhead August 20-23? Anyone else nuts enough to try both with me?