Rode my first 50!! Super excited, but ouchy!

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by YosemiteGirl, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    My husband and I did the LA River Bike Ride yesterday, and felt pretty good when we got there so decided to leave with the 50 mile pack instead of the 36 pack.

    Everything was good up until about mile 35, when my neck (which had been a little sore and crampy before, but I was making it work) totally started spasming and freezing up, to the point where my hand went numb! Then the other side of my neck started, and both hands went numb.

    So the last 10 miles or so were awful and miserable, but I still finished. I have a feeling the neck problem is just going to have to be solved with fitness, because I just had a great fitting and everything is proper now. It is just me :(
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Great job YosemiteGirl!
    if you managed an hour or more in comfort your position is probably just fine and your fitness just needs to catch up to your ambition /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  3. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    Thanks danfoz! It was about 2 hours in before it got really bad. I have a really awesome licensed physical therapist that specializes in sports (I ride horses so that is how I found her!) that I am going to have work with me on this again, and she said it is mostly concentrated in my right upper trapezius.

    I'll ask her, but I'll throw it out to the forum community too since you guys have so much experience - are there any exercises I can do to make the fitness come faster? It is irritating since my legs aren't even really that tight/sore after the right, but my neck/upper trap area is a mess!
     
  4. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Don't assume the fit is right - lots of times those fitters haven't a clue.

    If your neck is hurting, then raise your handlebars a little. After you adapt to the position you can try lowering them again.
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    @ Yojimbo >> I definitely agree that many fitters want to see you how they want you and not how you best belong.

    I can hammer in drops turning the big ring for a couple of hours with zero soreness after the ride or the days following. If I go out and hammer for 3 hours and wind up a little stiff do I need to re-adjust my position or just get used to hammering for longer?

    Making an assumption from op's post that she started to ache after 35 miles... for lots of folks that's 2 hours on the bike. Kick it up to 50+, and that's the longest ride some folks do all year.

    Yosemite, good old fashioned push-ups on a regular basis are a good start for the upper body and if done with a flat back and rather slowly while contracting the abdominal muscles they are also a great core strengthener. Worry less about how many and more about quality (unlike one of my Marine buddies who bangs out 100 at a time, I only do 25 of these things every other day). Upping the stem a tad may ultimately be neccessary. If you feel you are in the ballpark of your correct position when you do make adjustments, make them incrementally, in the order of 5mm at a time.
     
  6. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by YosemiteGirl .

    I'll ask her, but I'll throw it out to the forum community too since you guys have so much experience - are there any exercises I can do to make the fitness come faster? It is irritating since my legs aren't even really that tight/sore after the right, but my neck/upper trap area is a mess!


    Just do hours in the saddle. You don't need to go all out. Do 1.5-2hrs at least four times per week and pretty soon 50 miles will feel like nothing -- even your neck will adjust.

    BTW one way to help your neck is to make sure you ride with a slight bend in your arms. If your arms are straight then every bump you hit goes straight to your neck. If they are bent then there is better bump absorption and your neck won't hurt as much. Some other things that will help: get as light a helmet as you can find, remove the visor off the helmet if it has one (so you don't have to crane your neck to see), and just plain more riding to strengthen your neck.
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Hey, at least you seem to have the business end of the bike setup (saddle) all sorted... ;)

    For me setting up the front end of the bike is somewhat counter intuative. For years I always thought that raising the bars and bringing them closer was the way to go to mid to upper back and neck woes. After listening to the likes of John Cobb (ace aerodynamicist and bike fitter) the opposite seems to be true and after trying it, it seems to work. It's almost like your looking to "balance the back" between the effort of your legs as you push down with the rest being done by your arms.

    The changes don't have to be all that big to make a difference and sometimes you can even try them out without having to make a physical change to the bike. If you normally ride on top of the brake hoods with the thumb/first finger either side of the lever then something as simple as resting the bottom of your hand in the same place and grabbing hold of the "nub" ontop of the brake lever with your bottom few fingers will move your hands out an inch or so and give you a temporary stretch. Go for a ride and when you're cruising get in that position and see how it goes. Likewise, if you currently spend most of the time with your hands on the bar tops then move them to the regular position on the brake hoods.

    Of course, women are built a little differently than guys and not just in the obvious ways. Most bike fitters are used to fitting guys who tend to have longer torso's and arms - womens specific bikes tend to be shorter for this reason. Your bike fitter may not take this into account. If you try the things I pointed out above and they get worse then this is likely the case but it somewhat highlights the sometimes haphazzard nature of "bike fitting" Everyone is different and sometimes is a game of trial and error.

    One thing to avoid is locking out your elbows. Sure, we all do it at some point especially when we're toast but it's not good for the upper body especially if the roads are a little bumpy.

    Another little thing that might make a difference. If you're pretty small and fairly light then running a little less pressure in the front tires might help. 110psi might work fine and dandy for 160lb guys but that might be a little much for the lighter weight folk around here. Of course a gentleman would never ask a womans weight but this is something that you might want to look into. The late, great Sheldon Brown had lots to say on the matter:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html

    The section "pressure recommendation" has a handy dandy little chart. This references the weight (load) on the wheel, not the total weight on the bike. Make use of the LA yellow pages and stuff it under your back wheel and you put the front on your bathroom scales. Sit on the bike and see what it says...
     
  8. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Your first 50! Congratulations! That is quite a milestone, even if you are in pain. The best thing for you to do right now is listen to your Physical Therapist. She will know best what you should do, after all, she went to school for this and that is what you pay her the big bucks for. As far as the fit goes, it may be worth your while to take your bike back to the fitter and let him know about your neck problem. He may be able to tweak the fit a little to help you out until your back strength increases.
     
  9. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    Thanks guys! I'll try everything to see what works. I was down at my Dr.'s today too for my regular yearly bloodwork check (I'm good, but weird stuff runs in my family so he keeps me on a tight leash! He has never found anything :) which is good!) and asked him about it. He printed me out a handy dandy chart of neck exercises that I am supposed to do 3x a day for 2-3 weeks, which he says should fix it. So that along with the advice should help!!

    I did a quick 14 miles with my cycling buddy yesterday, and while it was a little twinge-y I was better about stretching and changing hand position so I didn't freeze up.
     
  10. bronson

    bronson New Member

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    woah... salute! hands down ma'am.... you are one tough rider...
     
  11. Ecdycis

    Ecdycis New Member

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    Working on getting there my self my problem is more in the shoulder blade area though

    Good job Inspiration for all us newbs
     
  12. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    I've got my sights set for another one, but I'm not sure when since a stupid summer cold/sinus infection has knocked me on my butt. The one thing it has done is keep me off the bike to let my neck heal.

    I also train 4-5x a week riding a horse (2x no jumping, 2x jumping, usually) so it is pretty special trying to work the bike training in between. At least riding the horse doesn't give me any neck/upper back pain at all! Lower back pain, yes, but that is from riding in hyperextension (have to look pretty with the arched back!), the exact opposite of road cycling position so it is pretty interesting to go from one to the other.

    Now this cold just needs to GO AWAY! Doc always says "if it isn't better in 10 days come see me" - and this is just the end of day 2 so I probably have 8 days left :(
     
  13. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I'll be the fly in the ointment and say that you shouldn't be experiencing pain at all.

    Even if it is your first 50, you shouldn't be in pain as such. Yes, your legs are bound to feel a bit heavier after having cycled your first long distance but you shouldn't be experiencing pain
    as such.

    It's very important to get the set up on your bike correct.
    Ideally you should ensure that the frame that you're riding is the correct size for your physique.
    I would also experiment with the saddle height and handlebar height in order to get your optimum position on the bike.

    Well done on riding your first 50 though!
     
  14. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    Limerickman - I think I agree with you, and you are totally right if there is no preexisting injury. I didn't realize I had never fixed the neck/shoulder pain I started/created way back when I was still a musician playing for hours upon end, and the bike riding just made it really angry and made it worse. I had my bike fit done by a coach/bike fitter who only does that (he does not work for a shop and has been doing this since the early 90s) and he said I did a good job choosing a frame. He said it is as good a fit I am going to get without going custom, so that is good to know. My dimensions are a little funky - I'm 5' tall with an inseam of only 26", so normal torso short legs makes it interesting. I'll have to post pics of me on a trainer at some point.

    If you can believe it I am JUST getting over this sinus infection/cold thing. Almost 2 weeks! Say away from these summer colds...they just drag on. I'm hoping to be back on the bike by the end of this week.
     
  15. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    What instrument causes neck /shoulder pain? Violin?
     
  16. BHOFM

    BHOFM Active Member

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    I thought it was a guilty conscience! Always looking over your shoulder.

    YG, I do a fifty every morning before breakfast. I do the last twenty five
    standing on my head, pedaling with my hands, so the seat is not a big factor.
    You might try this.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. YosemiteGirl

    YosemiteGirl New Member

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    Hahaha you guys crack me up!

    Clarinet - pretty much the entire weight of the instrument rests on your right thumb. It is fine for about the first hour, but when you are doing the honor band and weeklong workshop stuff where it is a whole 8 hour day of playing, you can really do some good nerve damage! Of course, when you are 15 you have no concept of "damage" and your body, so that explains a lot of it /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
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