I just got blood work back from my annual physical and everything is in range except hematocrit, which is just barely out of range at 50.3% (50% is the upper limit for normal). The Dr. said it’s nothing to worry about from a health perspective as everything else looks great and it’s just barely outside of range. My hematocrit has always been on the higher end, typically 48-49%, but this is the first time it’s tested over 50.
My concern - I understand that anything over 50% is a potential problem for cycling drug tests (indicative of possible blood doping, EPO, etc.). Based on some quick web research, I found that some cyclists do have natural levels over 50 and I assume they compete without issue, but I have no idea whether they have to proactively register for an exception or how it’s handled.
I’m a fairly competitive 50+ age group guy and I know the chances of me ever being drug tested are very, very small. I’ve also only tested over 50% Hematocrit this one time, so it might just be a one-off thing. That said, it would be crushing (and potentially life altering) to “fail” a test at a race and be seen as that guy.
Does anyone know if the 50% thing even applies to amateurs and whether there is something I should do to get in front of this? I have several USAC events I’ll be doing this year and it’s stressing me out a bit. I was thinking about just reaching out to USAC to get their take, but figured I’d ask here first to see if anyone has dealt with it before.