Former professional triathlete and bicycle racer – Coach and Dad – has FaMIly history and multiple stents

Before Rick Crawford became one of the most recognizable names in elite cycling, before he coached Levi Leipheimer and Tom Danielson, before he redesigned the way training was done for coaching, Rick watched his father slump to the driveway in front of their house and suffer a heart-attack. That was almost 40 years ago.
“My Dad has fought against heart disease ever since. I consider him a living, breathing miracle of science. He’s had a couple more by-pass surgeries, and numerous stents since the day the MI brought him to his knees.”
Witnessing these things impacted Crawford. He made decisions about my his future with the fear that he might follow in his father’s footsteps not far behind. Crawford pursued athletics with all of his heart. A star athlete all the way through college, Crawford became a professional cyclist having never missed a day of vigorous physical activity.
All the training plans, best intentions and forewarning didn’t keep Rick MIaware, however.
“I felt a strange pressure in my chest, like a thumb was being pushed into the back side of my heart. Athletes have strange pains, and I was not overly concerned, as it seemed to pass quickly. As I lay in bed that night, the sensations returned, and they persisted until the morning. It was at that moment that I decided to go to the hospital to know what the problem was. I was suddenly aware of my genetics, and knew that I needed to take these signs seriously.”
Rick suffered two more small MI episodes after the first, believing it was over and without cause or worry.
“I didn’t change my lifestyle at all. I thought I could beat it naturally. I was arrogant.”

Further episodes required stents installed. The man responsible for the cardiovascular depth of the largest hearts in sport was suffering failure in his own. He decided to change it, to take MIawareness to a higher level.
Today, Rick Crawford has tightened up absolutely everything he can tighten up, “The meds, the diet, the stress (or lack of it)… everything with no room for error. I’ve researched the latest publications on reigning in coronary heart disease. I’m doing everything I can to control.”
Control and awareness: they are the bookends of Rick’s business as a coach. They are the markers of a great cyclist. Perhaps most importantly for Rick, they are the foundation for his own MIawareness. Rick Crawford is MIaware. Are you?