Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's all starting to come together

Been a week since I've been on the bike and it's killing me. My physio is going pretty good, after just one session my knee felt alot better and today it's feeling really well. Had a bike fitting appointment this morning and here are a couple things wrong:

1) Crankarms are too long; 175mm crankarms when I need 172.5mm. Ended up getting a pretty sweet deal on some new ones that will fit, that was the only size they had in stock and they should be here by the end of the week.

2) Stem is too long; nothing major, 100mm when I need a 90mm. The 90mm I have doesn't fit my bar though so there's another purchase to be made.

My tentative training plan for the next two weeks to keep some sort of level of fitness is going to be:
Monday - Easy spin on the hardtail (if there is no pain)
Tuesday - Swim (1h)
Wednesday - OFF
Thursday - Swim/Speedwork (1:30)
Friday - Swim (1h)
Saturday -Easy spin on the hardtail (if there is no pain)
Sunday - Hockey

Going to hold off on the weights. Next fitting appointment is in two weeks and hopefully everything is all good by then and I can get on with preparing for the upcoming season.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Starting Physiotherapy

After 5 days of rest, ice, heat, and rub-A535... nothing. My knee feels exactly the same, checked out the anatomy of the knee in my syllabus, the symptoms and the pain situation confirms patellofemoral syndrome. This is the most common 'overuse' injury among cyclist (25% are affected at some point). Different articles all have a different point of vue, but physio is always highly recommended. Surgery is not an option for me that is why I gave up running, this is not going to happen with cycling.

Another thing that confirms it is that I have done/do most of the main causes:

1) Too much too fast early in the training program; I was trying to get in 4-6h rides 5-6x a week. I was told by my second set of parents (Nat and JF) that injury would come of this. Of course, I didn't listen.

2) Excess side to side swinging of the knee during downstroke; Noticed this a few times on rides but didn't think much of it. "In more than 80% of cyclists with patellofemoral pain had excess side-to-side swinging of the knee during downstroke" (Owen Anderson 1979). An old source, but still relevant.

3) Bike Fit; bought the bike and never got it fitted

4) No stretching; I never stretch before or after a bike ride. Stretching is said to help prevent this from happening.

I am going to make an appointment with a registered chiro/physio, but until then I'm going to try the stretches and strengthening plan I made. Starting a self-made physiotherapy program is probably another one of those great ideas I have, but it won't hurt... I hope.

I think that the Firemen's Park CX race this weekend is out of the question, but should be a fun event to help out with. Never thought I would be helping out at a bike race that I could be racing myself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Self Diagnosis

I'm going to rest today and tomorow and see if I'm up for a mountain bike ride on wednesday. The pain is getting pretty bad, I did some research and think that I have patellofemoral syndrome (this is completely unofficial) due to a combination of improper cleet positionning, seat height, and saddle placement. A couple days rest and a good bike fit and I should be good to go.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's try and look on the bright side here...

Ride started off today like it did the past few days; cold, windy, and a sharp pain in my right knee. Started off with a 40km/h tempo on Cataract which wasn't too hard to hold with a nice tailwind. Got into St. Catharines, rode another 15 minutes before meeting up with the Short Hills Cycling Club. The ride was good and organised today and there were some pretty good climbs.

On to the bright side stuff... my Dura-Ace front derailleur was feeling a little heavy so when it suddenly broke in half, I thought hhhmmm, I just saved myself a few grams FOR FREE! Right on. Being stuck in small in the front wasn't so bad, made the mistake of trying to put 'er in the big ring. On to Saylor's Hill which seemed alot shorter and easier than usual today which is always sweet. After 65km the pain in my right knee kicked in, this time it was bad. I broke off from the group and started heading home. Another 6km in my smallest gear and that was it for the right leg, time for some one legged pedalling. Even with my right leg suspended in the air the pain was really sharp in that position. With only 5km to go til I'm home I called it quits and my dad came and got me. It turned out to be such a nice day that my 72km total pissed me right off. Today could have been an easy 120km. No bright side here... well, I do have more time to study now.

I'm going to get my road bike fitted tomorow. Maybe the pain is from my cleet position, seat height, saddle placement. I hope it's the bike fit thats doing it and not another sport-ending injury like my compartment syndrome for running.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Man vs. The Elements... and Directions

I was planning on doing the NOTL loop that I had planned to do yesterday today. Left the house with no spare tube, co2, money, extra bottles or riding partners. Maybe not the best idea I've had but I was determined to ride even though the clouds made it seem like there was a storm coming in I wasn't going to rest today. I only had two water bottles for the ~100km route so I had to be like a camel, the crappy weather helped alot for this. 25km in my right knee started bothering me again, I convinced my self I can ride through it and I did. When I was almost in Niagara-On-The-Lake I realised that the street signs weren't matching my plan. A stop for directions and I was back on my way, made another wrong turn and climbed up to where the Brock monument is but I figured this out on my own. One more stop for directions confirmed I was heading for Lakeshore road and from there I knew where I had to go.

Heading out I had a good tailwind, after 45 minutes this shifted to a massive crosswind and the wind never stopped shifting after that, but never in my favour. I almost got hit in NOTL twice! People don't know how to drive there, they think that no matter what cars always have the right of way. One lady tried to make a left hand turn across my lane because there were no CARS coming from either direction, nice. Fall brings all the leaves down from the trees and the big winds bring them straight in my face really really fast haha. With 95k done I was out of water and still had roughly 10k to go, not bad. When I got home and felt like I had just accomplished something pretty sweet, still a little pain in my right knee. Hopefully it passes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Forced Indoors

On my way home from class I had a route into Niagara-On-The-Lake mapped out that I was determined to ride. It was pouring outside but that wasn't enough to stop me, realising that the 4h planned route would have brought me home at roughly 7:30 (well into the dark) did. So the trainer it was. Had an awesome set up, maybe a little overkill for 4 hours but I hate being interrupted. Spun through "Observe and Report" with Seth Rogen which was just a funnier version of "Mall Cop". Afterwards I wanted to make a little seat-height adjustment and the clamp broke. Got the new one on and onto "Year One" it was. Started off perfectly until the right knee started killing me, took a little break, lowered the seat a little and after 30min it started up again. It could have been from the seat height or the leg workout I did earlier, whatever it was I called it quits at around 3h, hopefully tomorow's ride goes a little better.

Food before the ride, Ketchup goes on EVERYTHING!

8 bottles (4 cytomax, 4 water); 2 bananas; trailmix and a turkey sandwich

Low quality pictures... I know

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Love Fall Riding

70k of mtb yesterday; 40k with DeCal at a nice pace that he set. Got into some trails that I haven't ridden more than twice this year and I forgot how awesome they were. The short hills loop that we did has to be my favorite trail in the region now. 14 degrees with a cool breeze makes you feel like you can ride forever. I didn't want the ride to end, but unfortunately I've got a mid-term in 15 hours so studying it is...

Monday, October 19, 2009

That guy doesn't feel pain

Woke up this morning knowing that the ride that was to come was going to hurt... BAD. I was about to go on a ~120km ride with the unofficial winner of Paul's Dirty Enduro (he ended up getting second because when he got to the finish and he had made a wrong turn and had to go back) Andrew DeCal. The plan was to ride out to Grimsby and descend/climb Woolverton then ride a bit further into Hamilton and descend/climb Fifty and McNeilly. We had a tempo going on agaisnt a crazy strong wind, we were holding in the 32-36 range. 32 when I pulled and 36 when he pulled. Woolverton was super-tough and after skiding off the road while descending McNeilly I realised that this was probably going to be the hardest climb of the day, that and Andrew told me it was. The view was so sick at the top of the climbs, you can see Toronto perfectly across Lake Ontatio.

By the top of McNeilly I was dead, we headed to Woolverton and went back down to stop at a convenience store to fill up our bottles. We switched bikes for a bit so I can try out his new Q-rings and they are pretty neat, almost tempted to get a set myself. On the way back he was ready to do some tempo again, I wasn't haha. He had so much left in the tank while I was running on fumes.

When I got home I realised that this guy is going to be the guy to watch out for on the road and the trails because... he feels no pain.

Monday, October 12, 2009

9h weekend

This weekend was sick. Saturday was a 4h day in the saddle, the roads were super-slick because it had poured earlier but I had good tires for it. Rode around for 1:30 before meeting up with a group to do a hilly 2:30 hour ride. Went hard on the climbs and super-easy on the descents. We rode on some roads more suitable for a cross bike and most had them, a few even had hardtails. Would have made for a longer ride because I still had to make it home but my tire blew out my sidewall while leaving Tim Horton's and I wasn't even riding ! Oh well, better it happened there then descending one of the hills on Cataract and a forced walk home. Managed to get a ride from Rob W, thanks man !

Sunday was a 5h day with a freezing (I believe it was 3 degres) and windy 1h ride into St. Catharines to meet relatively the same group (Shorthills Cycling Club) for a 3h pretty much flat course then a 1h ride back home. Climbing the locks in thorold at the end with a super-strong headwind was fun. Got home at 1:45pm just in time to take off for my 2 oclock hockey game. First time out on the ice this year and man can you ever tell. My first shift was about 25sec, in a pick-up league that is pretty embarassing. Got home and ate back all the calories I had burned both days and then some, it was awesome.

Woke up this morning after a 14h sleep feeling pretty good minus the saddle sores, I feel fine now. All in all, off-season training is going great so far.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody !

Friday, October 9, 2009

It came close...

I took off for the same 4k run that I did in my previous post feeling like a million bucks. The pace of 5min/km felt way too slow. I told myself I would stay at that pace for a good month before doing anything else, but it was too tempting to go a little faster. So I picked it up and by the 2k mark the stiffness started to creap up from the top of my ankle which is how it all begins. I backed off to a 6min/km pace to get home and it is still tight a couple hours later.

I'm going to take a good week off running for now and start some weight training that I havent done since april. Going to also be doing some yoga and swimming.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Painless Jog ?

After 6h of studying nothing was sticking anymore so I figured the best way to clear things up there was some fresh air and exercise. By the time I would have gotten on the bike and got some momentum it would have started to get dark. The joggers were sitting right there so I figured "what the hell". I don't have to worry too much about compartment syndrome kicking in because there are no races to be ready for.

My goal was +/- 5min/km. To give some perspective on what that is for me, exactly 2 years ago (while being coached by JF) I was able to hold 3:35/km for 7k. A textbook 5min/k it was, crossing the black line on my street (where I start all my measurements from) the watch read 20:00 and the distance was 4k. Perfect, but the best part: NO COMPARTMENT SYNDROME !!! I'm not saying it's gone because one speedwork session and I would be unable to walk. This, however, tells me that there had been improvement and a full recovery without surgery is not impossible. So no surgery for me, for now, and I'm going to start this distance 3-4x a week and see how things go:)

Back to the books for another 3-4h it is.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

University Cup #4 Ganaraska Forest

Time: 1:33:52 (+13:47) Pos: 17 (Mens A)

After another bikeless week rest was not what I was in need of at the starting line, more like a water bottle. Of course for my last race of this season I had to forget my water bottles at home just like at the Marathon Challenge Champs. No big deal these are only 7k laps so if I just grab a good swig of an oversized bottle my dad had everytime I came around I should be pretty good... Then I found out that these were 11k loops, but what I thought was only a 2 lap race was announced to be a 3 lap race at the starting line.

The start was pretty relaxed at the start and I was sitting comfortably in the middle of the pack and I started to feel week as the lap went on. By the end of the first lap I was pretty tired but I was trying to stay on the wheels of an SSer that I had passed on an earlier climb so I kept pushing. I guess he dropped out of the race after a lap because he rode straight into the parking lot from the course. I got my first swig at the beginning of lap 2 and another one (along with a piece of banana) on lap 3. I was getting stronger and much smoother on the course as the race went on so I thought it would be a matter of time before I picked off one or two in front of me, but for the last 22k I was by myself. I never found myself in need of a drink which is weird for a 33k race, I guess it was the nice cool air. Defenitely happy with my performance although the final results is somewhat disapointing.

What a great series, so laid-back and some very good riders. Thanks again Dave and everyone who organized it !

This was definitely a great season for me and my goal at the start of the year was to move up in the field of competitors and possibly move up in O-Cup. Next year I'll be racing Senior Ex and this off-season I will be preparing the best I can for it, trying to follow Joe Friel's Traning Bible that I failed at following this year. I've got a set of goals and objectives that I will post up later once they are finalized. Next week will be pretty relaxed and the week after I start my "preparation" phase.