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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  1. i am lucky and have pretty strong knees but stretching definitely helps!

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