#28: Pain v2: Annoying, or is it?

NothingWorse

So freaking annoying. I’ve been off the bike for a month now with the same nerve issue I had with my foot in January (Morton’s Neuroma). I feel like I have gone back 9 months in time and so has my riding.

[As I write this I have been tweeting with Jonathan Lovelock (@Jono_L) and if you read his crash story, you will understand that my pain is zero. Get over it Stu!]

Whilst travelling a little for work two months ago, I ate too much, didn’t ride, didn’t exercise, rode a bit, then got the injury, continued eating and didn’t exercise. Now I’ve started to put weight back on. It’s a vicious cycle when you continue to eat like you do when you burn calories.

But the thing that is so frustrating is I haven’t resolved the issue. Is it the tightness, or hardness of the shoes, or the angle I peddle in them, or even walking in them to the bike.

So I’ve decided to go back to what works and doesn’t put stress on the foot, and that is the more flexible loose fitting MTB shoes that I started with and never had any issues with. I’ll try them for a while and see how the foot settles and if all good, maybe I try the new shoes again, maybe I just cruise on and accept the MTB’s are for me.

Yet there is a question that plagues my mind and I have no idea how to answer.  Have I damaged my body for so long (smoking, drinking, no exercise) that it’s never going to be good and I just have to manage what is?  Any thoughts?

Anyhow it’s so good to be riding again, even if a bit gingerly but better than not because I hate other exercises (unless I try surfing again). My legs feel good and get stronger as I ride but I have really noticed how my lungs have gone downhill so quickly as it now only takes a little effort to get to high bpm on the heart rate monitor.

Time to work on my fitness again. Spring is coming and I have some rides to do!
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#25: To pay or to tinker, that is the question.

Finally

I created this meme for one reason and that is because after many times of trying I finally was able to adjust my gears for a better result.  For an IT person, mechanics is not my thing so any achievement is big for me which I will explain.

As a new cyclist that bought a device that is mechanically based, I soon learned that it’s going to need maintenance and maybe adjustment to keep it tuned, and if you’re a person like me who hates even the littlest noise and rides 4-5 times a week, it’s not a maybe, it’s a definite.

As mentioned in an early post How I Buy a Bike, buying from a quality dealer has major advantages and in the early days a key one was they are happy that I would take my new bike back to the shop for some adjustments, in addition to the regular services.

But you can’t always keep taking it to the shop and for whatever reason, you are going to have to get your hands dirty either because you get inquisitive, or maintenance is required when the shop is closed, or you want to reduce costs.

The obvious place to start is the tyres.  Adjusting pressure is easy and changing a tube is fairly easy and will get easier with practice. I got a lot of practice with this before I bought some kevlar tyres.

The next maintenance challenge for me was the chain because it was noisy. I found out I had to clean the chain after every 60kms or so with a rag (or after a rainy ride), and re-oil it with a “dry” lubricant (the “wet” lubricant seemed to get to much sticking to it for me) to keep it happy.

Adjusting brakes starts to get a bit harder and can be worked out. Turn the adjusting screws to adjust them inwards because of rubber wear (sped up by riding in the rain) or to offset cable slack. After that, the next step was to learn how to tighten the brake cables.

But gears, these guys are my nemesis. Continue reading

#21: Managing the pain…

Feeling-It
As a motivated rider who wants to go faster and further, I have found that pain is something I am going to have to deal with regularly, especially since I am approaching 50 and didn’t exercise for around 15 years.

Pain. We all hate it because our bodies have been designed to use it as a warning system that can’t be ignored.

Achievement. The opposite to pain because getting results is going to require pain before, during and after the event.

Injury. This is the type of pain that no one wants. It’s the pain that stops us going forward, that affects fitness, that interrupts plans, and worst of all could be career ending.

Pain is what I am feeling now. I was having a good week. Rode some hills, got some PR’s on Strava and was ready for a long distance week, but my foot and lower leg are sore. So sore I grounded myself for the weekend and possibly longer.

Maybe I twisted it in the cleat Continue reading

#15: What the idiot driver did today…

After riding suburbia for 8 months, I have learnt to classify three types of risky drivers.
1. The Taxi. They get close but my hope is they are professional enough not to hit me.
2. The ‘P’ plater: Provisional drivers have no concept of how close they are, it worries me.
3. The Soccer Mums car: Do you have a car shaped like this or bigger and higher?

Car

To me they don’t belong in the city. Many drivers of these type of vehicles think they are invincible, they think they own the road, they are always in a hurry, they often come too close and they rarely show patience. These drivers are by far the worst on the roads (in my opinion) and are my biggest risk.

Anyhow, that’s enough venting. Overall, I think drivers are pretty good and I am usually treated with respect as I ride.

But they will never be perfect so sometimes it’s up to us to fill the gaps of their mistakes.

Today, I realised a safety tip about being in traffic that I felt compelled to share. Check the animation below. It may be the 1% difference between being on a bike or in an ambulance….

The 1%, it’s a theme I will talk about another day but today, it’s not about an idiot driver, it’s about what’s not in the front of a driver’s mind, and that is you.  By thinking ahead, riding defensively and being prepared, the result is if they make a mistake (and they will), you are ready to react and move on.

The road, it takes you places – just make sure you do your best to get there safely.
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#14: You have to learn to love hills!

Do Them
I look back now after 6 months hard riding and realise that hills don’t scare me like they used too.  I have put in the work, got over the hills, the worst is behind me and the future is now not that far ahead.

When I began riding and started to go distances greater than 50kms (30 miles) I discovered that whichever direction I rode from home, I was going to face hills. So I hit the forums looking for suggestions to avoid some of the bigger hills and basically was told…

 

“If you want to ride anywhere, you have to learn to love hills.”
and that has been my mantra every since.

After recent ventures out on a couple of my solo rides and some organized spring rides, distances of 100kms with many hills now don’t seem to be a problem. Sure, they hurt a bit and I puff and pant a lot but after completing one, I am soon thinking about the next one.

But there are a couple of hills Continue reading

#12: Burn Calories, Eat Chocolate!

Cadbury's ChocolateI have to admit, one of the most fantastic benefits from cycling is the calorie burn because I ride in the morning and I can eat what I want at night.

For example, last Sunday I rode a 100kms (60miles) and burned approximately 2,680 calories which is around 11,200 kilojoules and 50% more than my suggested average intake of 7,000Kj a day.

This is why I have lost 10kg with only a slight change to my diet (I eat less strawberry iced donuts now).

To give up smoking I had to put something in it’s place at night and for me, its a coffee (homemade latte) after dinner around 9pm and around 8-10 pieces of chocolate around 10:30pm; an hour or so before sleep, every night, even if I am not riding the next day.

Eating chocolate is a sacrifice I am willing to take in order for me to be healthier, breath properly and live longer and for me, there is only one brand and type of chocolate and that’s Cadbury Dairymilk! Yummmmm!

Ride and Burn!

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#4: Technology motivates the cyclist

TechApps

As a person who has been in IT and computers for more than 25 years, technology has been one of the biggest motivators for me to continue cycling. Even if you are not into technology, for self-motivation you have to try it!

It’s rare that you will ride without your phone on you so why not use it for your advantage. After hearing about a few options, I downloaded a couple of apps and tried the first one – Runtastic Road Bike.

HeartRate

When you start your ride, you open the app, click “start” or “ride”, put your phone in your pocket and off you go. You can “pause” it if you stop midway or just “stop” when you are done. The key thing is these apps use features on the phone such as GPS to record your time, distance, average speed, top speed, elevation up (meaning how much you rode up hills) and elevation down, plus you can see the whole route and track it on a map.

For those who want to get fitter, many also calculate calories that you have burnt which means if you know you have burnt 500 calories in the morning, you can eat the yummy stuff at night without feeling guilty (and you’ll probably be way ahead of everyone else).
Continue reading