Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weenie Ring Adventures (aka Hill Climbing)

I use to rarely need my small chainring on any hill in this area with very few exceptions (only 3 that I can think of). Now with such a wimpy left leg I need and use the small ring much more often. For example I use to ride up George Creek (Meyers Ridge Grade) in my middle ring without any issues - there is no way I can do that today, so I happly spin up in the weenie ring.

I am truly amazed at how much I've taken my fitness for granted until now. And I can see this rebuilding process taking the better part of a year or more to regain what I had this past summer.

It's great though, since I have nicely defined goals now, whereas before I was just riding along in a slump it seems.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finally Back to One Gear

Until today I have not been able to pedal on a single-speed (SS) while standing to pedal (which is a necessity while pedalling hills unless you want to walk, which I don't).

My left leg would just stall at the top of the pedal stroke, which made for a very strange, jerky pedal stroke. Over the past few weeks I've really been working on my getting my left leg built back up and smoothing out the pedal circle. So today I thought I might try my SS again to gage my progress. The result was good enough for a ride, so off I went into some rather nice, cool fall winds on the Think Pink Gunnar.

I rode it set up as a 69er (29er wheel in front and the standard 26" wheel on the back). This bike frame was originally a 69er, I just like it better with a 650b wheel up front. But I loaned my 650b wheel to a curious friend (who reports enjoying it).

My ride was pure painful fun and it was just another continuation to rebuilding my left leg (which is still very much smaller than my right). I'm happy to be seeing some progress (slow, but it's progress).

The wind today was nice for some forced resistance training, I really enjoyed the workout. The trip home was nearly effortless as you can see...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rebuilding...Weaker, Slower, Happier

The rebuild has begun...of my weak, slow legs after being off the bike for about 2-months due to a rather large extruded disc in my left, lower back. The real damage is in my left leg which lost 3.5cm of muscle mass (circumference) from traumatic cramps and decreased nerve function (that resulted in decreased muscle tone then muscular atrophy).

All the science aside, the bottom line is that my right leg is huge compared to my left and that affects every pedal stroke on a bike not to mention walking and normal posture. I've been cautiously doing short rides on the bike after my doc thought it would be fine as long as I did not experience any pain or increase in other symptoms (like increased numbness in the left lower leg...I still have numbness there that comes and goes).

I do a pile of Egoscue exercise everyday (that my doc has me doing). The exercises have helped put my back into alignment so I can walk straight in the world and of course ride a bike a bit better.

So where am I at now on the bike? Ummm...well I have progressed from 5-miles of pure agony up to very slow 25-30 mile rides of painful smiles. The pain is good pain since it is coming from my ultra weak left leg screaming in agony from having to work so hard and once again pull its share of the load. The right leg is very happy about that too! All I know is that the I'm happy and smiling (inside) with every muscle-burning-painful pedal stroke.

Now's the time for anyone and everyone to come ride with me and ride me into the dirt (just as you've always dreamed of doing). Please, I beg you come ride with me so that you can shamelessly and effortlessly kick my A$$ on the dirt!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Baloo No. 2

For those that don't know, Baloo was the name of my first blue colored Lenz Sport Leviathan 29er full-suspension bike that I owned about 3-yrs ago (Baloo means bear and is also the name of a bear in Disney's animation, The Jungle Book). I loved that bike in every way except the short top tube of the medium sized frame was a little cramped for my riding style and the short TT made the front end a bit light going up very steep terain. So I reluctantly sold it and have since been on the look-out for a large frame which just so happens to have my preferred top tube lenth of around 23.75 inches.

Lenz Sport bikes are all handmade in Colorado by Devin Lenz who has been way ahead of the bike industry for years with respect to FS 29er design and overall frame design. The larger names in the bike industy have just started making frames with lighter formed tubing - something Lenz has been doing for 10-years now.

So...while doing almost nothing trying to heal a nasty back injury I happened across a lightly used, large sized Lenz frame. To top it off it was the coloring that I wanted if I were to order one (which I have been seriously thinking of doing since it is extremely rare to find a used Lenz frame - which says something about owner satisfaction). I guess that even when you're down the stars can align. So I took a chance that I would actually be able to ride more than a few miles again and bought the frame. I finished building it up to a rideable bike yesterday, then I did what I typically do to - take pictures and go for a ride (short, but still a ride).

I still can not ride much with a healing extruded disc in my back (15-mile rides on easy terrain is about it at this time), but it helps that I have the Lenz set up more upright and the full-suspension is rather helpful also. As much as I like my Ellsworth I just can not ride it at this time because it puts too much strain/stress on my lower back due to it's racey geometry - something that is hard to change. So for now the Ells is collecting dust while the Lenz takes the lead as my go to mtb along with my trustly old 2002 Fisher SuperCal 29er.

For those interested I will be having a RIDE ERIC INTO THE DIRT mtb ride sometime in the not too distant future...this is everyone's chance to come out and ride me into the it while I'm weak and still have a huge muscle loss in my left leg. And yes it will be a dirt ride (yet to be determined when and where)...and yes I am weak at this time (can barely ride 15-miles) so a 30-mile ride should be pure agony for me...and yes I will be happy about having everyone kick my butt (I'm just happy to be riding at this time). I'm sure the ride will be ultra fun and not too techincal considering my situation.