Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Strikes and Gutters

Some mostly crappy weather followed the race weekend. I had to drive to the Front Range on Tuesday the 10th and I had weather in South Park that'll turn your hair white. At one point I found myself driving 30 mph in 4wd on solid ice with white outs making zero visibility beyond my hood. Driving utterly blind on a US highway, waiting for the grim reaper in the form of a big rig to appear out of the white cloud of swirling snow. Sure, I lived through it, but oh baby, what a way to celebrate spring!

No riding during that week. When Saturday came and I had a chance to get out, I took a four hour ride on my road bike. The last hour was done in grimacing pain. My left knee felt like it was coming unglued. The rest of the day I limped around feeling depressed. So much for my endurance race season. Time to go find a physical terrorist and start trying to work out a tendinitis problem.

The Angel of Mercy came to me in the form of my good friend Chuck. He loaned me a book about cycling medecine which had a good stretch for the IT Band. It also had a page or two dedicated to discussing the causes of IT Band tendinitis. Cleat disalignment. Pedals too narrow. Saddle too high or too low.

I've been having trouble with some of my SPD pedals. The right pedal on my best pair of 959s has been releasing too easily. The left side of my brand-new A520 road pedals floated around on every pedal revolution. So I turned over my shoes and really looked at the cleats. They were way worn. And I had mounted them as far outboard as possible since I was concerned about the wide the Q-Factor of the XT 760 cranks I got last summer. I pulled those cleats and replaced them with fresh new ones, and I mounted them in a more neutral position. I tried them on my mtb pedals and the release problem was gone. I tried them on the road pedals and the engagement was solid with no odd float.

Then I measured the Q-Factor of the new road bike cranks. Wow, they are about 17mm narrower per side than the XT 760s! The shop just got in some 20mm pedal extenders for setting the pedals farther apart. I installed them and went for an easy ride. Ah! Comfort.

Monday I rode for 3 hours. I climbed Poncha Pass, then rode north to the 285-291 intersection where I turned east and rode into a heinous head wind trying to beat a storm into Salida. It was a pretty big effort. My knee felt fine, like there had never been a problem.

Oh, sweet resurrection! I'm back, baby! I'm not mortal! I just suffered from a bit of improper bike fit! I will live forever, riding like the wind. Looking good, smelling good, fighting off the ladies!

Well, maybe it's not that great. I better really start stretching better, I better get myself back onto Glucosamine/Chondroitin, I should do a better job of working my abs and upper body--basically I should behave more like a 43-year-old who hopes to ride like a 32-year-old. But at least I'm not off the bike! Woo hoo!

And as if that's not enough, today I get to go to a party and benefit for my friend Dave Nice. Dave is an endurance racer who suffers from the affliction of thinking that fixies are a good idea. He is also the guy who gained fame within the cycling community last summer through the unlikely event of having a fixed gear bicycle stolen from right next to him as he napped in the Wilds of northern Montana in the early days of the 2006 Great Divide Race.

It will be a good time for sure. Nice chance to connect with some old friends and maybe make some new ones. See you there!


FixieDave said...

Can't wait... should be a good one!

Dave said...

Get one of those goofy rubber exercise bands: just holding your legs apart while sitting on the coach, as well as walking around with it around your ankles while making dinner, is good resistance development and helps rectify the muscle imbalance cyclists often bring upon themselves.

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