Friday, November 03, 2006

bike fit & knees

Mountain biking punishes your body. Riding a singlespeed increases said punishment. Riding a singlespeed with poor body posture makes things far more worse. That pretty much sums up the past couple of years for me.

My left knee pain brought me to High Gear for a professional bike fit. I was sick of knee pain and a significant loss of strength in my races and rides. Thought optimizing my body positioning/posture on the bike will help these problems. Turns out I was right.. partially.

The Bike Fit: Well, I've been riding my bikes all wrong. Saddle way too high. Saddle way too far back. My back hunched over rather than reasonably straight. Feet too far forward on the pedals. Eric helped correct these things and bring me more into the optium riding position. This entails angle between thigh and calf = 30deg when pedal is at the bottom of the crank rotation. Knees are directly ontop of the pedals when pedals are horizontal and 2nd metadorsal(sp?) head of the feet in-line with the pedal spindle. The end result felt really wierd but I trusted Eric and tried with all my might to forget my old habits. The end result? No more loss of strength and little to no knee pain!

The Knees: My left knee has been plaguing me for now two seasons. I've been talking to a few people. Even saw a sports medicine doctor last year (they claimed I was okay). Jason said a long time ago I might have tendinitis in my knee. I shrugged it off because at the time "I'm 26. I can't have anything like this. I'm really fit.". Hmm. I think that is ignorance coupled with being scared to face reality that "I am getting older and these things can happen" talking. From what I have read and heard from people I think I might have some form of pateller tendinitis in my left knee. Ouch! This is a lot to take in. I'm almost 28 now and things are only going to get worse as the days go on.

I've set some good benchmarks this season for the future and want to be a faster, stronger rider next year (while having a fun time doing it). The key in achieving this in the off-season is 1)good stretching (actually, carry that all the time) B)winter strength program and 3)lots of base miles. First off is getting myself a bit more flexible to help out the knee and then ease into strengthing my lower body, core and arms. The base miles shouldn't be too difficult. I just have to force myself to ride the stationary trainer in the basement. Figure if I can get on that for 30-60minutes a few times a week I should be okay. Nothing crazy. Just nice easy spinning. This will all be eased into so as to not aggravate my knee any more than it is. The object is to help my knee.

So, I'm starting to wake up and realize I need to be more diligent and accept reality. This has been a long time coming... I'm smart enough to realize this but have been ignorant about it even though people have been telling me this for quite a while.

It all starts now..........


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