Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Relief?

For those of you who missed it, my last post outlined a relatively embarrassing issue that I seem to be having with my bike. Although this issue is somewhat common in the cycling world it is no less frustrating. If you missed that post you can catch it here.

This post is going to be considerably shorter in length as I start the process of elimination to see what may be causing my ‘numbness.’

Although there were many comments, suggestions, tips and tricks offered to me through various sources. The most common response was to try a new saddle.

So, we will start there.

I did some research on the brands that different people were recommending and could pretty much bank on spending a couple hundred dollars on a new seat. Since I don’t have a couple hundred of dollars to spare I needed to get creative… or lucky.

A few weeks ago I made a visit down to Coach Joe to drop off a wetsuit that he had let me borrow. In our conversation I asked him if he knew of a place to get good used bike stuff for cheap. He asked me what I was looking to get and I basically explained to him my entire last post about how my ‘nether-regions’ go numb while riding and how my wife gets some kind of pleasure out of laughing at the situation. After a brief self-esteem related counseling session he walked over to the corner of his garage and grabbed a cardboard box full of old bike seats!

He pulled out a couple different types and styles and told me to try them out to see if it helps with the issue. I got home and realized one of the seats he had let me borrow was an Adamo, which was one of the brands that different people had recommended to me!

Later that night I installed the new seat on the bike. Almost immediately after that I took my old seat outside and set it on fire, then urinated on the ashes, then set it on fire again just to be safe.

With the new seat installed I was ready to give it a whirl. Although the seat is considerably harder than my old seat, it looks as if it would give ‘relief’ to the proper areas.





I rode for 45 minutes with close to no numbing! Close although only counts in ‘horseshoes and hand grenades.’

I went back to the ‘experts’ at Slowtwitch with a picture of myself on the bike asking for suggestions. One fellow responded with a video link on how to properly install an Adamo saddle. The video is approximately 10 minutes in length and requires a degree in engineering to fully comprehend.

In actuality, I had no idea that each seat had its own installation process. With that said I am still in the process of dialing this seat in to be positioned correctly under my rump. I do think this may be the path to cycling nirvana but as of right now only time will tell.

So that's all for now on that situation.

The next detailed post will probably be a review of the Columbus Marathon, which was a viewing experience unlike any other. My brother Dave ran his first marathon and I was there to watch nearly every minute… literally. So most likely I will be providing you with a ‘retro diary’ style post. Should be highly entertaining… but anytime two grown men embrace in a hug as if they were long lost lovers, there is sure to be a laugh or two…. So stay tuned.

(Disclaimer: My posts are about as random as… I don’t know, something really random. In addition to this, my wife is 8.94 months pregnant so she could pop at anytime. If you don’t hear from me it probably means I'm changing a diaper, or hallucinating from a lack of sleep... So say a prayer for my soul. I will try my darndest to keep you all updated on the progression of the family as my Wolf pack grows by 1 )

Until next time…

Move forward

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adventures with the bike trainer

I detailed a few posts ago about how finagled my way into a free bike. One would conclude that since then, I have ‘literally’ ridden off into the sunset with my new found love to the tune of ‘happily ever after.”

Well… not so much.

Here is the thing. In addition to the bike, I purchased a bike trainer which is a nifty contraption that attaches to my rear tire allowing me to ride the bike indoors. It creates resistance on the back tire through magic allowing me simulate what it would feel like riding the bike outdoors, without actually having to be on the road.

You can see it in this picture...



There are numerous benefits to these indoor trainers. One of these benefits is the ability to target specific heart rate zones much easier since I don’t have to deal with things like stop signs or uphill and downhill sections of the road. Another benefit is that I don’t have to worry about being hit by a car, being rained or snowed on, or being ‘somethings’ dinner. But the best thing about the indoor trainer is the ability to park it in front of the TV and crank out the miles, all while being mentally distracted by whatever is on the tube.




There are a few downfalls though.

Actually, only one to name of so far, but it’s a big one.

and there is no real easy or elequent way to say this so…

I'll just say it…

After riding for about 20 minutes or so on the trainer, I lose feeling in the baby maker.

Let me reiterate. I go completely numb. No feeling. At all.

It is the exact feeling you get after you sit on your foot for like 45 minutes, then you get up and try to walk and you can’t because it doesn’t feel like you have a foot anymore? Then for the next 5 minutes you slowly regain feeling through a painful process that feels like thousands of needles endlessly poking you?

That’s what happens to me… except, I only wish it happened in my foot instead of in my… (sigh).

This is now the second 'baby maker' scenario-issue in the last year. You all remember this post don't you?

Now I've had the bike for almost 4 months and never really noticed anything even remotely close to this while riding on the road. I assume this is because when riding outside, I often stand up to pedal uphill which I assume, promotes blood flow throughout the body negating the possibility of numbness.

When I ride on the trainer, it is strictly in the aero position in an effort to train my body to be able to handle that position for multiple hour rides. As a result, I'm not standing to go uphill or adjusting my body position throughout a ride like I would outside. I'm sitting the entire time.

And unfortunately, all feeling is lost.

This worries me a little… actually, a lot.

So much so that it led me ask about it on hugely popular triathlon specific website called Slowtwitch. They have a “forum” section where people can ask questions, start discussions, etc.

Being relatively new to the sport I thought who better to ask than the people that have been riding their bikes for years.

Here is the question I posed to the Slowtwitch world and a few of the responses:

mattreg3
Sep 27, 10 6:14
Post #1 of 14 (414 views)

Hello all...
My crotch is going completely numb after riding on the bike trainer for at least 30 minutes. Generally happens while I’m in the aero position. Anyone else ever have this issue?


rbuike
Sep 27, 10 6:25
Post #2 of 14 (407 views)

Try a different saddle like an Adamo or Cobb. Pretty common issue usually resolved with a better saddle.

Hearing the words “common issue” brought some relief!

Then, there was David’s response…

david
Sep 27, 10 6:29
Post #4 of 14 (402 views)

Well, you need to be set up and fit properly. Also, the trainer can accentuate any problems because you usually don't move around, stand, etc, as much as you do on the road. Here is how I set up my saddle, based on a little help I got from Tinley 22 years or so ago when this aero thing 1st started: 1st, make sure you have a decent overall position and your seat is the right height - you are then 90% of the way to comfort. I rode a regular old Flite saddle, and had since they 1st came out ( recently switched to Arione). Take a level and measure from the nose about 5 inches back - this is the part of the saddle that you want level. Now, skew the saddle about .5 cm or 1/2 the width of the nose to the side away from your "hang." Now, when riding in the aero position, your "taint" lays to the side of the saddle instead of right on it. Rotate your hips a little forward and make sure your arms aren't too far stretched out. This has worked for me and I hope it helps you.

Wow… thanks David. Although that was a little gross, I could see the point he was trying to make. I have to be sitting on a nerve that is cutting off blood flow and I need to adjust the seat to un-restrict that flow.

(Also, side note… I've learned in the last 2 months that cyclists are the most brutally honest people on the face of the earth.)


Then 'lwood' wraps up our discussion by scaring the buh-jeezus out of me again.

lwood
Sep 27, 10 9:25
Post #9 of 14 (294 views)

You've gotten some good advice. I'll only add: Don't live with it. Find a solution. It could lead to a serious problem.

I didn’t post every response because most of them were telling me that I need to get a new saddle (seat) which would damage the wallet to the tune of $100-$200… (which I guess is better than a damaged… never mind)

Now, this whole time I had kept the wife in the dark about my “issue” fearing she would respond with some type of confused look, followed by laughter, followed by name calling, followed by mass-texting my family and friends, followed by me crying.

When I finally did bring it up, I tried to do it casually, trying to skirt the issue, hoping she wouldn’t probe and dig for the real problem. That conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey honey, I'm thinking about getting a new seat for my bike.
Wife: Why do you need a new seat?
Me: Ummm, they have some really cool ones out there.
Wife: How much are they?
Me: $100-$200
Wife: You want to spend $200 on a cool seat?
Me: Yes
Wife: Why?

Long Pause...

Me: Ummm… I kind of go numb ‘down there’ when I ride it.
Wife: (Confused look) You what?
Me: I go numb down there when I ride my bike longer than 20-30 minutes.
Wife: (Processing and pondering response)
Wife: (Holding back laughter)
Me: (Dropping my head in shame)
Wife: (Literally laughing out loud) Can I call you ‘numb nuts’?
Me: (Walking out of the room) No.

So, with the special little exchange out of the way I was back to figuring out how fix my bike… or fix me… or both, so I could actually ride it for longer than 20 minutes.

That resolution I will cover in the next post… this one is getting too long and it's time for me to go cry.

Until next time…

Move Forward

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Motivation Compilation

Sometimes along our journeys of life and training we wear down, lose the fire and struggle to find the motivation to keep going. This post is here to help. I'm calling it the “Motivation Compilation.” We all run or bike, swim or play tennis or walk or play basketball for different reasons. Some of us merely do it for fitness, others are running from something, but whatever the reason, whatever the story, it is encouraging to share in the journeys of others.

None of the quotes or videos are mine, but they have all inspired and encouraged me somewhere along the way.


So without further ado:


"At 5:00am, when it's dark and cold and the rest of the world is still asleep, you start to question what the hell you are doing. There is no clear cut path to an end, no right and wrong steps to get there. Only a blind faith that if you do everything right, and get very lucky, it somehow, might turn out right in the end.-
-The thing is, and I don't think you know this yet, but you've already made it. You're living the dream, doing something you love. How far you go from here doesn't matter, as long as you are moving forward. You could fail now, or keep pushing on, but in the end you'll realize, in a day, a month, a year down the road, that you did all you could. You gave it a shot, and left nothing up to chance.-
-Regardless of where it ends, you'll know that was all you could do. And in the end that's all you can ask for, the chance to chase a dream, and to learn just a little bit more about yourself. - Author Unknown

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit." -George Sheehan

"Perhaps the genius of distance running is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being -- a call that asks who they are ..."
-Kevin Tiller, Sydney Australia

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian







"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." -Emil Zatopek




"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible." — Doug Lawson.



"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." -Henry Ford



"If what you did yesterday still looks big to you today, then you must not have done anything today."-Unknown



The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough."-Randy Pausch





"We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start" - Anonymous


Until next time...

Move Forward