Stradalli Cycle Wishing World Champ Grant Potter a Speedy Recovery!

Professional Cyclist Grant Potter, 45 will be out an extended period of time as he recovers from a surgery to remove scar tissue from his heart. (Ventricular Tacycardia)  In Grant’s case, the condition may have been caused from years of training and competing at high levels while being sick.

“My doctor said something as simple as training heavily while having the common cold could cause this to happen. I’ve only done that about 100 times in my career.” Potter said jokingly with a smile

The exact cause and time of the injury cannot be determined but Grant started feeling effects of it last year during the racing season. It was actually while riding in a race that he experienced his first symptoms. “I was in a race and started to get dizzy. I figured it was dehydration so I backed off a little, drank some water and felt fine so continued on and finished the race. Then it happened at other races but I honestly thought it was dehydration as well as the 1 race in Colorado being because of the high altitude. I own a landscaping company and my typical day is train, work in the sun and then train, so dehydration is not exactly a rare thing for me.”

The dizziness only occurred when Grant was pushing himself to the limit but it was enough to make him see his doctor who quickly referred him to a cardiologist. He had an abnormal EKG so was sent to a specialist to do every test. When no problems were found Grant returned to racing.

At the beginning of this season Grant felt great during training and competed in several races, winning one early on. Then at the Austin Rattler 100 Leadville qualifying he got really dizzy about an hour in and backed off. He finished and qualified for the race, again thinking it was a dehydration problem. He finished the race without a problem and returned to Florida for the Florida State Championship Criterium. During the race there was a big crash and Grant was separated from the leaders. As he was attempting to catch the leaders he got dizzy once again and decided enough was enough and pulled out of the race for the safety of himself and the other cyclists.

“The last thing you want to do is get hurt or get someone else hurt so and I knew there was something wrong and it was time to get more tests done. I wasn’t sure what other tests there were but I was going to take anything to get to the bottom of this once and for all.”

The doctor suspected the problem may be electrical and he put Grant on a heart monitor for 24 hours. Grant knew the dizziness only occurred when he was going max effort in races so the next morning he went on a Fast Group Ride with a Garmin on. He pushed himself hard going solo and got his heart rate up to 236 beats for over 1 minute and felt a little dizzy again. He took the monitor to the doctor who sent him for an MRI in Miami.

The results and source of his dizziness came in. Scar tissue at the bottom of the heart which could have been caused from strenuous physical activity while having a virus. It could have been a common cold, shingles or any number of things throughout Grants life. The doctor is a triathlete who knew Grant and the type of physical stress he puts on his own body. He referred Grant to Dr. William Stevenson MD; Cardiac Electrophysiology. BWH in Boston who has scheduled Grant to have surgery on June 22nd. Grant will be heading up to Boston on the 20th.

The time it will take for Grant to recover is not yet known and he may not return for the rest of the 2015 pro cycling season.

“I was very worried when I heard the news. Grant is such a laidback guy and he was trying to make it seem like it wasn’t a big deal but anything that would keep him out of competitive racing has to be something serious. He’s a veteran on this team, he’s a guy the younger guys can go to for support and guidance but he is also a great friend and I don’t care when he is ready to get back on a bike, I just want this taken care of and for him to be healthy. I know he is stubborn and will want to get back on a bike as soon as he can but we have told him repeatedly he is going to follow the doctor’s orders to a T,” no racing till the doctor says its 110% ok.” Stradalli Cycle CEO Tom Steinbacher.

Despite the time away from the racing and needed surgery Grant remains in high spirits.

“I have to be honest I am looking forward to the downtime. I’m still doing light exercising and working out in the sun everyday for my lawn company, my employees are a little sick of me because I got all this extra energy. But I’m taking it easy, doing a lot of stretching, meditation and my wife and I are preparing for the trip up to Boston.”

If all goes well Grant will have to stay in Boston for a week before being allowed to return home. Despite all that has happened he feels lucky, not only for this to be nearly over with but his career in its entirety. Grant is in good hands. The surgery will take place at Brigham & Woman's Hospital Boston Mass with Dr. Daniel Weiz MD /Cardiac Electrophysiology from Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale traveling to Boston to assist.

“If I couldn’t race in Pro races anymore it would be a shame but I also know I’ve been very lucky. First, this Ventricular Tacycardia can do serious damage and cause massive heart attacks. The fact that I am in shape may have been what saved my life. I am one of the luckiest people on earth, I have a beautiful family, a successful business, my health and I have been able to turn my favorite hobby into a career. How many people can say that? If this is it, that’s fine but I say that now, knowing me I will be trying to take a bike up there to the hospital with me so I can ride the week I’m recovering.”

The Stradalli Cycle crew wishes Grant all the best and a speedy recovery and will keep everyone posted on how Grant is doing!