Saturday, March 28, 2015

Training Roadblocks Part II (Phycial Therapy Techniques)

This is the 2nd installment of my "Training Roadblocks Series". If you have not read my "Beginning my cycling journey" I would recommend you start there as this story will make more sense. You can find my Training Roadblocks Part I here

About a month after I had been fitted with the Sports Science Doctor, I started training pretty hard again. My knee had been feeling better and I felt that I was on my way to recovery. I started increasing my distance, as well as commuting to work again. My knee still felt a little weird, but it was manageable. I woke up one morning and decided that I was going to go on a 10 mile ride that had some pretty big hills..... This may have not of been one of my best ideas.

About 5 miles in, I started to feel the burn in my knee. I have always been taught to push through the burn as that means its working... So I did.. Finally I made it up the entire hill without getting off my bike!! YES! I thought to myself... This bike fit has really made a difference. I felt like I had so much more power, and that my knees were stronger. I rode the rest of the way home, which included going down that nice descend that I had just climbed. I reached speeds over 30 miles an hour and was excited about the ride that I had just put down UNTIL.... I woke up the next morning with the worst case of tendonitis I have ever had. My wife and I live in a one bedroom loft. Climbing up and down the stairs was EXTREMELY painful. It was only June and I had already been sidelined...

I of course like most people started "googling" how to get rid of knee pain and quickly realized that I had Patellar Tendinitis aka Jumpers Knee. The two most common causes for cyclists were due to not being fitted, or from increasing miles or climbing to quickly. Well, I had just been fitted by a doctor, so I knew that it couldn't be the bike fit, so I assumed that it was because I had been being to aggressive with my training.

A friend of mine had blown out her Patella as well as her IT Band while riding a century a few years back. She opted out of surgery and started doing physical therapy aggressively. She is now able to ride even stronger than she did before and is one of the strongest athletes that I know, so I went to her for advise. She of course told me that the key was to build miles slowly and to start building all of the muscles around my knee, so that the stress would be taken off my patella. She showed me a few of the exercises that she does. I was able to find some YOUTUBE video's of those to share with you. Let me tell you. These steps really work and helped relieve my Patellar Tendinitis very quickly (3-4 weeks).

The most important step is to STOP RIDING YOUR BIKE! Since this is what is causing your issue in the first place, it makes perfect sense to cease the activity. I know.. I know... that is not what you want to hear.. I didnt either.. I didnt stop riding completely.. I would ride a mile or less each night after these work outs. Only around the block with a 0 ft climb to keep my muscles moving. This helped relieve the stiffness. The exercises are as follows:

The first set of exercises are from a chiropractor. These REALLY helped me overcome my tendinitis. You will need an exercise ball for one of them, the others are just with your body weight, which is why I love these ones so much. You can do them anywhere you have some floor space. There is a total of 4 exercises. I usually do 3 reps of 10 of these every other day so your knee has time to recover.

This is the 2nd video that I like to watch. It is done by a Physical Therapist. Most of these can by done with little to no equipment as well. I usually do this video after the one above. I dedicate one whole day to PT. I also include a little bit of PT each day either before or after my workout. Before has worked best for me.  Those are the two PT videos that I have found the most relief from.

 I also have loved the HASFIT video's. They are great for coming right off an injury, or if you're just new to working out. It helps you ease back into it. The good think about the HASFIT channel. is that they have so many videos that you can progress into as you get stronger. The video above is the one that I liked the most for strengthening the knee.

 This video does require some light dumbbells. You cant get some for cheap at Wal-Mart or you're local sporting goods store from $5-$12 each, You will need two 5-8lb dumbbells.

 STRETCHING- Is probably one of the most important things. I do this EVERY day. It helps keep you limber and is a really good stretching video. 

 I do all three of these videos on my "Leg Day". These videos are great if you're too busy to make it to the gym or are tight on money. I work really long hours so these worked great for me. 

Comment Below to let me know if any of these video's help you out, or if you have been able to overcome Pattellar Tendinitis another way.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Training Roadblocks Part I (Bike Fitting with a Sports Science DR.)

This is going to be the starting of my "Training Roadblocks Series". If you have not read my "Beginning my cycling journey" yet, start there, it will make more sense if you have read that story prior to reading my training roadblock series.

Bike Fitting with a Sports Science DR.

I had been riding for a little under a year and was starting to develop some knee pain in my left knee. It was time to get fitted to see if I could curb this obnoxious knee pain.

I was disappointed that my local bike shop did not include a fitting with the purchase of my new bike. However I was excited that I was about to get fitted by a Sports Science Doctor that was a part of a Tour de France team. I had found out that my insurance company would cover the bike fitting and appointment, but I was going to have to pay $100 dollars out of pocket for the Lactic Acid Test. I was totally fine with this as a fitting at the local bike shop would run anywhere from $80-$200 dollars depending on what I wanted included. I made an appointment for the wifey and I and we got started.

First off, let's talk about what is all included in this fitting. The Cycling Lab would include the following skills below and claimed to help you become a better cyclist in less time with less injuries (something I was for sure interested in). In just a few hours in the cycling lab, they would show you how you can:

  • Get faster
  • Improve power
  • Prevent injuries
  • Train more efficiently
  • Be properly fit to your bike
  • Enjoy cycling more


 What you get at the Cycling Lab:

Musculoskeletal Functional Analysis- an in-depth physical exam of your body’s strength and joint flexibility. They look at leg length differences, muscle imbalances, joint condition and other physical conditions to assess your injuries and possible risk for future injuries.


This part was pretty cool. The Doctor, weighted me and took me back into an exam room. I laid down on the exam bed, and the Dr. began to stretch my legs and knees around in different positions to see if it would trigger pain. He checked my knee for damage and water on the knee. There was not any, however he said that i had minor tendonitis. He checked my balance and the length of my legs. My left leg was slightly longer than my right. 


Bike Fitting  

They specialize in medical bike fitting that not only puts you in a comfortable, ergonomic position, but one that will help with your specific injury or medical condition.  They also conduct a dynamic bike fitting using video analysis. They examine joint angles and body position during the peddle stroke to optimize efficiency and power output. Based on your measurements and biomechanics They adjust:

  • Saddle height and set back
  • Handlebar height and reach
  • Cleat position and alignment

 So i have to say, this is kind of where I started to become a little disappointed in the appointment. Above it says that they conduct a "Dynamic bike fitting using video analysis". This never happened. Since my insurance was paying for this, it was still an easy pill to swallow.

If you ride a bike longer than just a stroll through the park, or down to the gas station for a treat.. You will want to be fitted. A properly fit bike will help you avoid low back pain and neck pain from being in the wrong position. It also helps prevents injuries that may develop in the hips and the knees. Hand and Feet numbness that many cyclists complain about can also be corrected with a properly fit bike.

Performance Testing

The next part was the Performance testing. This is the part that the insurance did not cover and would cost $100 dollars out of pocket. You got to pick between a Lactate Assessment or a VO2 Max test.


The VO2 Max tests an athletes maximal oxygen consumption. A VO2max test can determine the endurance and cardiovascular fitness of an athlete during exercise. The results of a VO2max test helps to determine an athlete’s target training zones, which will help to guide your training and improve athletic performance. Find out more about VO2 Max here.


The second option is the Lactate Threshold Test. As you advance in your training it is important to periodically monitor your body’s fitness level.  Determining an athlete’s lactate threshold is one of the best methods for monitoring fitness changes due to training.

A lactate threshold test helps you:
  • Estimate your fitness level
  • Establish your training zone
  • Adjust your training schedule
  • Train your body to clear lactate more effectively
  • Improve your endurance and overall performance. 

A lactate threshold test is performed by taking a small sample of blood at various stages of a work out. This is usually preformed by taking small blood samples from your ear at various stages of your workout. They measure the lactate levels in your blood and compare them to your power output and heart rate. Lean more about Lactate Thresholds here.

I chose to do the Lactate Threshold Test....This is where I become even more frustrated with this process. This was the part that my insurance didn't cover and the part that I had to pay $100 dollars out of pocked for.. They never preformed this testing...Some might ask why I didn't say anything? Well im not the type that likes to make a scene in public. Looking back... I wish that I would have made a bigger deal about it so I could have received my money back.. This whole test would have been free to me if I would have done that... Should've, Could've, Would've...Right?

The Performance tests also included:

  • Optimize training zones for more efficient training
  • Get faster
  • Improve power
  • Improve endurance

This part was probably my favorite part of the test. They hook your bike up to a trainer and have you ride on it (also how the bike fit is done). This takes place after you have been fitted. You start to ride at a fast paced cadence on a low gear. They ask you to keep a level 3 of effort (Lvl 1 being sitting on the couch and lvl 10 being your about to black out and cant hold a conversation).

They keep increasing the levels and resistance. This is how they come up with your heart rate training zones which to me is very important and other than the fitting, was the most important thing that I took away from the Cycling Lab.

So in the end was it worth it? I'm still pondering that question myself and I'm still a little biter about the Lactate Threshold testing. All and all it was a good test and the main reason that I went was to get my bike fit and that had been accomplished. I was now one again with my bike. I started to train hard working on my heart rates, climbing and just over all millage.

I would love to say that this solved my problem... However it did not. Within a month I would Develop the worst case of Patella Tendonitis I have ever had..

Comment below and tell me about your bike fit. Have you had any training setbacks?

Stay tuned to my "Training Roadblock Series" to find out what I try next. Follow me on Bloglovin or Google +. The quick clicks can be located on right side.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

5th Annual FRONT RUNNER® Century Ride

From time to time I will be posting races/rides that are in my area. My goal is to of course ride in the rides that I post, so I can give you guys a play by play on what it takes to train for these kind of rides and what I do to get prepared. Of course I wont be able to participate in all of these rides due to training, time and financial constraints. However I would still like to share up and coming rides and hear about how you all trained for this ride or rides with similar distance.

The 5th Annual Front Runner® Century will be held on April 25th 2015. This is a 100km (62 mile) bicycle ride from Salt Lake City to Ogden Utah. It is a fully supported ride with aid stations every 20 miles and they will provide a catered meal at the finish line (YUM).

This ride starts downtown Salt Lake City and will end in Ogden's Historic railroad depot. The ride varies on prices depending on when you sign up for the race as well as if you pick other options such as the jersey and/or meal options. Of course the earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is. The frustrating thing that I have found when registering for rides, is that they don't tell you how much anything is besides the race price until you get to the end.  I think that the reason they do this is so they have your email address in case you don't finish the registration process, then they can still email you asking if you need assistance (HA HA).

So to ease your frustration, I will give you all the info that you need to know here.
Prices and Dates:

  • $35 - 12/25/14-12/25/14 - First 100 registrations only
  • $45 - 12/25/2014 - 2/15/2015
  • $55 - 2/16/2015 - 3/31/2015
  • $ 65- 4/1/2015 - 4/22/2015
  • $75 at packet pickup and day of event - 4/24/2015 - 4/25/2015*
  • *Sign-up closes 7:30 am 4/25/2015

  • Currently at the time that this post was written (3/19/2015), the fee is $55.


    Once you get a little more than half way through the process you can add a meal option. They are catering through "Jason's Deli" and have the following options.

    Garden Wrap - Front Runner Century

    Organic wheat wrap with organic field greens, guacamole, red and yellow bell peppers, asiago, served with balsamic vinaigrette, baked chips, pickle, and a piece of season whole fruit. $6.55

    Turkey Sandwich - Front Runner Century

    Oven roasted turkey breast big sandwich on whole grain wheat bread with leafy lettuce and tomatoes, chips, pickle, and chocolate chip cookie. $6.55

     Front Runner Jersey

     The Front Runner Jersey is pretty sweet looking. They are $55 each in advance or $65 dollars at the time of packet pick-up, but don't guarantee that they will have any available at that time. As you can tell, as with every race... the sooner you register, the cheaper it will be.

    They have a special going on right now. If you go to their Facebook Page there post that was sent out on March 12th that has a button that says "Get Offer" it will give you a promo code for 20% off the registration fee.

    The really cool thing that I like about this race/ride as well as most cycling rides, is that a portion of the ride seems to always to towards a charity. So I can feel good about spending these sometimes "High Prices". I get to ride, train and do some charity work... What's better than that?

    This year a portion of the proceeds benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

    I'm not sure that I will be able to attend this ride, as I have had some training setbacks. Follow my Training Roadblocks series to learn more about my set backs as well as some of your own, and what you did to overcome or tolerate your issue.

    Are you riding this ride? If so, let me know how you prepared for this ride, and any obstacles you came into. If you're not planning on riding this ride, please share an experience that you have had with a similar distance.

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

    Beginning My Cycling Journey

    Almost two years ago I started REALLY getting into cycling. It started out as a means to cut down on gas and the wear and tear on the car, as I have about a 45 minuet commute to work. We have a high speed train here called the "Front Runner" that goes about 90MPH and only stops in each city along the way. The only problem is that the connection to the bus would arrive to late for me to be able to make it to work on time, so that would mean that I was going to have to ride my bike 3 miles each way to cut out on the waiting time for the bus transfer. I figured, ahh what the hell... I will be getting some exercise in as well which of course I needed having a desk job.. So win win right?

    Maybe not so much... My wife works in the same building as I do, so we are lucky enough to be able to commute together and ride together. Well we started out with some cheap Wal-Mart bikes knowing NOTHING about bikes. They were ok bikes to be fair, they were only about $100 dollars each. Mine even had disk breaks.  I road this bike to and from work for about 6-9 months. My climb was only about 100ft, but each day I was like... "Man that climb seems harder than it should be!".. That is because IT WAS!!! Let me tell you, climbing on a regular bike that is even less than entry level makes a HUGE difference as far as weight, gear ratio, and of course since you usually would not be fitted for a $100 bike, wear and tear on your body.

    During my commutes to work I started to realize that not only was I doing this out of necessity, I actually ENJOYED riding. It was great exercise, good anxiety relief and was something to do outdoors which I love.  I use to be a skater/snowboarder as an adolescence, so you can only imagine the abuse my body endured, especially my knee's. I never had a knee injury by any means, but it of course was banged around quite a bit, as those are both high impact sports. I started riding longer distances on the weekends. I was now riding about anywhere from 20-40 miles a week. I figured that I was building up my miles slowly so i was not really at risk of injury.....

    MY KNEE HURTS!!! All of a sudden my knee started hurting. Nothing severe, but enough to cause a little concern as well as limit my cycling activities. I was still riding my 5 miles a day for my commute, but had to pass on my weekend rides. This was really upsetting to me as I had become very fond of cycling. In fact, I would even go so far to say that it was now a passion of mine. After talking to a friend that had been cycling for over 15 years, he said "If you like cycling so much, maybe its time to invest into an entry level bike". He told me about how I would be able to climb better and that the bike would be lighter, have better and smother gear ratio's and I could get fitted for my bike which would in turn probably help on my knee pain.

    I agreed and took my friends advise. I found myself at our local bike shop looking at bikes. I finally found one that I liked and one that fit my style. It was on sale so I took it home that day. I could immediately feel the difference of my new bike and was very excited to start my cycling career (not that i will ever be pro). I quickly started looking at where I wanted to get my bike fitted since my bike shop did not include the fitting with my purchase. I had heard that it was just about the same amount of money to be fitted by a Sports Science Doctor as it was a bike shop technician.

    I found a Sports Science Doctor in my area and it was in fact the same price and my insurance would even cover most of the bill. Not only would I be fitted, but I would also find out my Lactic Acid Thresholds as well as my Heart Rate Zones (I will share more about this office visit in a future post) and the Dr. would even make sure that my joints were OK.

    I've Been Fitted so now what!? The fitting actually helped a lot. It gave me more power, and took pressure off my knees. I was now at one with my bike, and it felt good to ride. I started building back up my miles on my weekend rides and changed my route to work which turned my 3 mile-ish ride each way into a 5 mile ride each way. I was now riding about 10 miles a day and getting in some bigger 15-25 mile rides in on the weekends for a total of 65-80 miles a week. That was a big jump.. and maybe it was too soon because MY KNEE HURTS!!... but now pretty bad. I had full blown Patella  Tendinitis. Not only could I not ride my long weekend rides that I had became attached to, but I was not even able to ride to work. Completely sidelined.

    If your an athlete, you know the awful feeling that comes over you when your sidelined especially at the starting of the season. I was so frustrated and confused! I wanted answers.

    Stay tuned for my Training Roadblock Series, to learn how I overcome this knee issue. Let me know how you overcame your knee issues or training roadblocks in the comments below.

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    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Starting a Blog

    I first off just want to thank everyone that has given me the support to create this blog (mostly the Wifey). :)   I have never been a huge reader by any means, pretty much only read out of necessity or to gain knowledge. One of my favorite quotes is "Knowledge is Power". With that being said, I have never been into reading blogs, let alone wanting to create one.

    However, during the course of the last year, I have found a few good blogs that I LOVE, and have really changed my perspective on blogging and reading in general. I have found comfort, knowledge, idea's and enlightenment while reading these blogs, and I would even go so far to say that some have actually changed my life.

    Blogging has also always been a passion and something that my Wife had always wanted to pursue. She just never felt that she could make a blog that fit her style. I happened to have attended college for graphic design and minored in web design. Now.. with that being said, I graduated in 2006 and did not end up pursuing a career in it. We all know how fast technology moves and most of my skills are outdated, but I can still design like no ones business LOL. While helping the Wifey set up her blog, the idea grew on me even more. I felt that maybe; Just maybe, I could pay it forward and actually impact someone's life through my blog as others have mine.

    I am pretty well rounded, and have lots of interests, so hopefully most of you will be able to relate to one of my stories and can gain some insight on some of my reviews. This is going to be a lifestyle blog that is going to entail subjects such as Cycling, Health and Anxiety, Food, Real Estate, Politics, Entrepreneurship and pretty much everything in between. Thanks for stopping by.

    Please Subscribe/follow my blog for updates.

    If you're looking for a Fashion/Beauty lifestyle blog, Check out my Wifey's Blog. She posts everyday and is OBSSESED with fashion.

    What is you're favorite blog? Please comment below.