I mentioned several days ago I found the 118 mile ride on day 11 particularly arduous. That was also the day that I stepped into the mud and had a great deal of trouble clipping in and out. My right leg started to freeze up after the second SAG stop; this is the leg that has suffered a few bad injuries over the years — broken femur, broken patella, etc. It wasn’t joint pain, but the muscles on the right side of the knee just grew very stiff.
The problem did not go away after the one day break in Salt Lake City — I found myself having to stretch more, take ibuprofen, and go slower. It was getting better very slowly, but at the end of each ride I could barely walk. People in my group were concerned. On Day 15 my Left/Right balance on my wattage meters was 61/39 — it shows how little my right leg was contributing. And we’re now in Colorado; the big hills are coming.
In addition, despite all of the efforts, the saddle sore was not getting better. The zinc oxide seemed to contribute more friction — it’s more of a paste than a gel.
Yesterday I tried double shorting. It’s a simple thing — wear two pairs of bike shorts, you get extra padding but more heat and it can be a bit tight. It worked a charm. As day 16 wore on, my right leg gradually loosened up a bit. Today I did it again — it is even better; I even felt comfortable walking about 2 miles from the grocery store to the hotel. So there seems to be some connection between the saddle sore on my left leg and the tightness in my right leg. I must have been doing some shift in my body weight to try to keep the saddle sore less painful that was creating problems in my knee. Ankle bone connected to the leg bone, ….
My main lesson from all of this is you have to keep trying new things. The second lesson is that people who are experienced in biking often have much better advise than very smart people who are not familiar with biking. They just don’t understand what stresses we are putting our bodies through. I spin the pedals about 70x / minute x 7 hours a day equals 29,400 revolutions a day. That’s a lot of friction on a place that is already sore.
Tomorrow, at Tony May’s suggestion, I’m going to put on one of these expensive rubbery “blister pack” Band-Aids that should provide some additional cushioning. We are now in the big assault on the Rockies — we’ll get close to 9,000 feet tomorrow, and 11,200 feet on Thursday (the Continental Divide). These are the days I have been most worried about since I began training for the trip. They say the oxygen problems start at about 8,000 feet. Heck, I felt them at 2,000 feet.
Ride Summaries. Day 16 was 89.2 miles; 3867 feet of climbing. Day 17 was 73.8 miles, 2942 feet of climbing. Day 16 was almost a “perfect day” except that between Carl, Julia and I (my riding buddies that day) we had 5 flats. So we were the last group into the hotel, and I just didn’t have enough time to blog. My hierarchy of 12 “factors for a perfect ride” held nicely as we had a terrific tail wind all day. So even with all of the flat tires we felt good about the day. During the day our group of 21 suffered 19 flat tires. Glad we are off of I-70.
Picture: Carl, Julia and I waiting in the shade under a highway overpass while the bike mechanic Scott worked on our tires.
Song of the Day: From Easy Rider, Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf, 1968). Road by a motorcycle shop that had an Easy Rider like chopper mounted on a pole.
Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way