October 24, 2006

Tejas Wrap Up - Part Two

Ok, more ramblings from the road...

A few more days have passed, and the ankle is getting better - at least I can walk on it now, and not have sharp shooting pain - the pain is more dull now, and there is a general tightness to it, but it's serviceable. I can walk longer distances now, etc. Not sure if my doctor needs to see this or not - I think if it's getting better, that should be good enough - but that's me in a nutshell: unless it's bleeding or has been seperated from my body, my doctor doesn't get to see me. This isn't life-threatening - so I'm gonna deal with it.

The REAL test will come this weekend, more than likely, when I plan on putting the C'Dale back on the road for a short recovery-style ride, with moderate climbing to see if the thing will flare up again. I suppose if THAT ride makes it WORSE, then I'll probably go have it looked at. It's a long winter, and hopefully there will be enough time for a rapid recovery. I remember a few situations during the ride where I was walking back from/to the tent, and I side-stepped a rock or something and might have twisted my ankle. I'm hoping THAT was the case, and not something on the bike that caused it.
Time will tell.

To confirm that suspicion I've taken the tape measure to the bikes again, and have made direct comparisons between the training bike and the racing bike.

Step #1 was to change out the pedals. Purchased in 2002, the Shimano PD-M959 pedals I've been running have worn a little and there is noticable play in the bearings - while they still spin smooth, I am able to physically manipulate the pedal body over the axles and introduce deflection of about 1mm - which isn't much, but when amplified to the ankle it might have at least exascerbated the injury. I swapped the pedals out because of this finding, to newer - but heavier - PD-M520 models that were previously on the fixed gear. They only have about 300 miles on them. The main differences are in the pedal axles, and seals, but they are generally pretty good. This might be a good opportunity to eyeball some pricier, lighter, beefier pedals from Crank Brothers, but not sure yet. These 520's will get me thru the winter and spring brevets for sure. That solves the pedal deflection issue!

The other fit issue I discovered was that the seatpost on the C'dale was about 2mm taller than the seatpost on the training bike. While this is not a huge margin, it IS a difference, and might also have exacerbated the injury in the guise of possible over-extension of the achilles and ankle. I'm now convinced, with this discovery, that the initial injury occured OFF the bike, because the seat height hasn't changed between the training bike and the race bike at any time, even for Tinbutt in July. After 12-hours in the saddle at Tinbutt, there were no injuries, no knee issues, etc, and certainly no ankle issues. That solidifes something I had read once about knee issues and tolerances between bicyclists running multiple bicycles; The training bike and the race bike should be within 3mm of each other to avoid any fit issues when transitioning from one bike to the other. So, having said that, I can drop the saddle 2mm and not experience any fit issues with knees or other joints, but may in the process improve recovery of the ankle by avoiding further over-extension. We'll see if that comes true or not, but it makes sense, and with that 2mm drop, the two bikes are nearly identical in fit now.

So, that takes care of the bicycle - I'm not changing anything else at this point.

The rest of the package HAS to change, however - 20-lbs. makes a huge difference, and so my personal weight-loss struggles continue. It's my winter project, for sure, and I should be able to come back in the spring lighter and stronger. That should make the brevets easier and make speed training more productive. No more t-shirt rides - just a few CommuterDude rides here and there to break things up, but other than that it's fast centuries starting in the late spring. The first 200K will be strictly for base-building, and after that I start the speed runs. Assuming I can get back to the 18 MPH average (with stops) centuries I used to be able to turn out, the first couple hundred miles at Tejas NEXT year should be easier to click off, which will buy me more off-bike time if I need it.

Of course, the ultimate off-bike time goal would be sleeping a full night AFTER I polish off 400 miles, so we'll be working towards that goal as well, likely with a 600K attempt without sleep next May. We'll see how that goes, too!

So, my personal best mileage still sits at 290 miles from MV24, but last weekend was the closest I've been in a LONG time.

I'm ready to get past this injury, and get on with getting ready for next year
already! That, and getting past the nearly 20 black-fly and mosquito bites I got while changing my only flat tire near sundown on Friday night. And that was WITH bug-spray applied. I think that stuff had expired or something. Bug bites are a pain. Literally. Oh well! At least it didn't rain!

Jinx for next year! ;)

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