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Minor Injuries Feel Like Major Setbacks

Terrible weather in March and April, though today feels like spring, finally.


About two weeks ago, and after the Solvang Spring Double, I went to see a skilled bike fitter for a look at my riding setup.

We made some adjustments to seat height and position that turned out to be a welcome improvement.

I was also thrilled at his immediate insight into a right-side foot alignment issue which meant I could not transfer power properly with my right leg. For the past several years I had been thinking it was a foot problem (alone) and/or a shoe problem. That was only partially so!

In a week, by knowing what was needed and doing some exercises, I had improvement to the tune of another ~10 watts, as per what my power meter tells me. That’s huge!

And injury

A week after that, I went back, and this time we adjusted the cleats forward by about 3mm (mine were unusually far back), along with a slight change in angle.

A day later, I went for a 2 hour ride that included a 400-500 watt effort up a steep hill for ~5 minutes.

Bad news— that “small” adjustment gave me the worst patella and hamstring pain I’ve had in years, as well as a touchy right foot arch. 3mm! A real injury. Even adjusting the cleats back remained uncomfortable, not that cleats can be put back exactly the same way every time, and everything hyper sensitive, all sense of what’s right or not right is all out of whack, so it’s very frustrating in every possible way.

Cutting my training time down to 1/2 of usual and with some days off and alternate shoes, things are recovering gradually, but this stuff is scary! I am very glad to have my cyclocross bike as an alternative, with its MTB shoes. Even so, even it was not feeling that great with unhappy body parts.

And advice

Some advice for anyone already used to a heavy training load when making equipment changes:

  • When adjusting cleats, consider buying a new pair of shoes. Don’t mess with any existing pair or shoes that has proven itself to work with long hard rides. That way, you can always revert to what is proven to work.
  • For seat and saddle, note the prior locations precisely, so that the bike can be reverted to the original setup.
  • Adjust in very small increments, and ride for one week between adjustments, e.g., 1mm at a time, and 1° of angle at a a time.
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