I promised a discourse on pain, and now seems like a good time to deliver it. The thing about riding a bike 600+ miles in a week is that there is going to be some pain. What I’m doing is finding ways to vary the sort of pain.

1) Muscle pain. This actually hasn’t been much of a problem; I just keep revising my speed goals downward. If I use a gear that allows me to keep a pedaling cadence around 80 or more, my legs, etc. feel fine. If I get tired, I slow down.

2) Hand pain. In my standard position on the bike, my hands are carrying a fair amount of my weight, especially when my hydration backpack has the full 3 liters of water in it. I can vary hand positions on the bars, but to really give them a rest, I have to use the aero bar and rest the weight on my forearms instead. This fully tucked position, though, tends to lead to

3) Lower back cramping. This can be alleviated by sitting up, but that causes hand pain (see above). It actually can be best alleviated by sitting up completely straight and riding no hands. This is only a good idea on really smooth, straight roads with no traffic or wind. Also, when you sit up like that, it puts all your weight on your butt, leading to

4) Butt pain. In part there’s not much to do about this except lean forward and take weight on your hands. That is, for the deep tissue pain. I’ve also had some trouble on this trip with skin abrasion on my butt, i.e. saddle sores. I finally did come up with a solution for these, which is to put moleskins on my butt. The only serious drawback to that is that later you have to pull them off, which leads to

5) Brazilian Butt Wax pain. It’s brief if you pull them off fast.

Lastly, the main thing that actually helps all of these for me is taking breaks. Early in the day I can ride for a few hours straight without one, but by midday, I need to stop every 30 minutes, get off, walk around a bit, stretch, etc.

Of course, not pulling a 50+ pound trailer would ameliorate all of these sorts of pain. As I find when I leave it in the hotel room and ride to the library to post.

5 Responses to “Pain”

  1. Reno says:

    Okay, I laughed out loud (literally, not some silly internet LOL) when I read 5.

    Thanks for all these great posts. I can’t wait until you start posting pictures too.

  2. Erin says:

    i audibly laughed too…i know the pain of which you speak. i only did a 75 mile bike hike and my ass and hands traded cursing at me.
    i think we have the same bike camelbak — hawg?

  3. Allen says:

    Glad you all enjoyed my suffering.

    BTW my camelback is a Mule. It has various pockets, etc. so you can stow other gear in it.

  4. K says:

    The hand pain is something I’m dreading this next month – I’m planning to use August to get back into regular cycling: I’d like it to become my default mode of transport the way it is for J.

    I do have rather gammy wrists, though. They’re double-jointed (like much of my body) and they tend to settle into postures which just aren’t comfy or healthy longterm…

    What to do? Try to strengthen the wrists? Wear supports all the time (I hate wearing them, though)? Decide to run everywhere instead? I don’t know!

  5. Allen says:

    Aero bars really help me with that. Like these.

Leave a Reply