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May
31

Sucking Wind

Today I did my first ride since last October when my knee went out on me. I’ve seen three doctors about my knee problem and all three say “surgery,” although none can tell me exactly what’s wrong with it. So, eschewing Western medicine, I sought out Eastern help through acupuncture, tensiology and whatever other voodoo I could find someone to throw at me (I know, bad attitudes don’t help, but some of this stuff really requires a huge leap faith – bigger than I can make sometimes . . . ). Nothing. Nada. I still can’t descend a set of stairs without pain. Totally sucks.

Having sat on my ass for seven long months, I thought I’d give the knee a try. Thankfully, I’m not compelled to take a hacksaw to my lower thigh at this point. There was some pain, but it is manageable with ice and a few dozen Advil. The three margaritas before and during dinner are helping a lot as well.

While focusing on my knee, I completely forgot how my body would deal with my prolonged absence from the saddle. It wasn’t pretty. I huffed and puffed up hills and my speed . . . well let’s just say I was able to move fast enough to avoid falling over. Thank God the ride was flat.

Ride-5-31-10 

I was giving it everything I had to average 16.2 mph for the measly 12 mile ride today. Usually by this time of year, I would have 1,000 miles or so under my belt and my average ride would be about 35 miles. This year it’s now 12.2. The ride I look forward to the most all year, the Pan-Mass Challenge, is in eight short weeks. If my knee holds out, I might be able to get enough training in to do reasonably well. We’ll see. In the mean time, I’m gonna keep trying until I can’t ride any more. That may be tomorrow, but I hope not.

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 May 31st, 2010  
 Will  
 Cycling  
   
 7 Comments

7 Responses to Sucking Wind

  1. Hi Will,

    Keep up the recovery rides, and your body will get back in shape faster than you know!

    When was the last time you had a bike fitting done or any change in your position? Did you change anything on your bike before the knee problem started?

    Many years ago, I replaced my saddle and within a few weeks, I started having knee pain. It was long enough after the change that I didn't immediately think “Oh, it must be related to the saddle!”. After doing some research – in books in those days 🙂 – I checked the saddle tilt and it was slightly nose-down and causing extra pressure on my knee. I corrected it, and very soon, my knee started going back to normal.

    Assuming you can continue to increase mileage while remaining pain-free, make sure to adopt the mantra “less is more” as you do so. I started working with a coach and an official training plan earlier this year, and it has been a big surprise for me at how much rest, days off the bike and slow 1 hour rides have been in the plan, and yet, I feel much more fit than I was when I was racing in my 20s and 30s.

    I have also rediscovered the indoor trainer as a viable workout option, especially for recovery rides and training units that require specific types of intervals or technique drills. I think they're also useful in this situation if you want to reduce the number of possibly-irritating external factors like hills, bumps, wind, etc.

    Hope that helps and keep me posted,
    Greg

  2. Thanks for the pointers Greg. I really appreciate them.

    I'm relatively sure it's not bike fit. The problem actually has been a nagging one for a few years – through various bikes and fits. I had a fit at the beginning of last season and my bike has a fixed seat post. I check the angle of my seat frequently, having had problems before, and there has been no variation. So, nothings move and as far as I know, I haven't changed anatomically 🙂

    Your guidance on the slow isn't bad thing is a very good one for me. I tend to push things too hard (thus, 2-Speed – fast and stop). I'm trying to think of my rides as recovery rides, like you suggest.

    I'm an avid user of an indoor trainer. Sometimes I find though that the lack of movement on the trainer tightens me up and creates more problems. Of course, that's probably me just grasping at straws.

  3. What are you using to track your ride (gather the data you cite above)? I want to upgrade my own tracking system. Hope your knee comes along, riding keeps me sane. If you are interested there is a ride from Vancouver to Whistler this year, they are closing the highway. 130 km with some good climbs, it will be a blast!

  4. Steven,

    I use a Garmin 705 (http://www.2-speed.com/2008/08/gadget-review-ga…) to collect the data. I use a variety of tools to store and analyze it. I'm not in love with any of them. The clip I have in the post is from Garmin Connect (http://connect.garmin.com/). It's OK, but doesn't allow me to do anything with power data. Training Peaks is better, but it's complex. I keep saying that I'm gonna write one myself, but I never get around to it.

    Is that the RBC GranFondo? I didn't know about it. It looks like a great ride. Lots of climbing but not much over 5%. Looks like it's sold out already. I question whether or not I'll be able to do it anyway. I'm figuring my knee will be completely trashed by then 🙁

    Thanks.

  5. Thanks for the pointers Greg. I really appreciate them.

    I'm relatively sure it's not bike fit. The problem actually has been a
    nagging one for a few years – through various bikes and fits. I had a fit at
    the beginning of last season and my bike has a fixed seat post. I check the
    angle of my seat frequently, having had problems before, and there has been
    no variation. So, nothings move and as far as I know, I haven't changed
    anatomically 🙂

    Your guidance on the slow isn't bad thing is a very good one for me. I tend
    to push things too hard (thus, 2-Speed – fast and stop). I'm trying to think
    of my rides as recovery rides, like you suggest.

    I'm an avid user of an indoor trainer. Sometimes I find though that the lack
    of movement on the trainer tightens me up and creates more problems. Of
    course, that's probably me just grasping at straws.

    Thanks again.

  6. This is a long shot; have you had a hip x-ray ? I had several years of increasing knee pain, and the same 'we can't find anything wrong with it, but we'd like to do exploratory surgery' reaction from assorted medics. Turned out I had hip dysplasia, eventually leading to no hip cartilage and resurfacing. Knee pain vanished immediately after hip surgery and never recurred.

  7. Anne,

    Wow, that's terrifically helpful. While I have no hip pain or other issues
    at all, I've certainly had problems before where one joint or movement has
    effected connecting tissue and associated joints. I'll check it out. Thanks
    so much.