I love riding bicycles. I can count the things I like better on one hand's fingers. Sometimes I don't want to ride, sure, but when I do and can't, shit hits the fan. This has been the case since the middle of January, as knee troubles have resulted in nonexistent or short and inconsistent riding. Being the dork of human anatomy and physiology that I am, my inability to diagnose and remedy this situation frustrated me to a further extent. Bike fits, countless foam roller sessions, massage, self-massage, ice, heat, ice, heat, biofreeze, voltaren, ice, heat. Feel better. Try to ride. Feel worse. It seemed I was no good at the things I enjoy. (Euro english:) "Oyyyyuggghhh Amateur."
Then I saw Chappy Wood. This is not a euphemism. Chappy is a real person. And he's actually good at what he does. Really good. Within a few minutes of observation and tests, he diagnosed gluteus medius and minimus weakness and hip flexor (tensor fascia latae) weakness and tightness. Then he whipped out the laser gun. This is not a euphemism.
With the help of electrode stimulus, a pneumatic super-pulverizing massage gun, a laser gun, targeted muscle release, and chiropractic expertise, I walked out of his office with a spring in my step. My pedal stroke felt more fluid than ever. My neuromuscular connection was reinvigorated, and I felt efficient and smoooooooth on the bike. I loved riding bicycles again! He sent me home with some specific stretching and strengthening exercises, and things have continued to get better on the bike. My hips are now pulling on my knees in the correct directions and proportions, and I'm on the road to recovery.
My advice is two-fold:
- Don't ignore any inklings of pain. Injuries begin with microtraumas, which most often do not cause pain. When pain begins in the slightest, you are already part way to a real, debilitating injury.
- If you want to get faster on the bike, go see Chappy, if only just for one visit. Even if you have no pain or injury. Training hard is but one aspect of becoming a successful bike racer; others include (but are not limited to): neuromuscular connection, biomechanical efficiency, mental game, equipment and support, and proper nourishment. Fortunately, just about all of these are easier than killing yourself with 2x20s every week. Go see Chappy at Marin Spine & Wellness Center and have him optimize your human machine. It's easy. (Except for the pulverizing super gun, that part hurts).