Go big or go home.
That's advice for playing Euchre but it works for other things too. I'd had a brief ride around my neighbourhood after my bike fit, and it felt pretty good. The weather is perfect today for a bike ride, and I'd been wondering where to go, how far, how hard, to find out how my bike fit changed things.
Before (A summary of complaints)
After a few hours my feet would feel hot and sensitive. Usually about 4 hours and they'd feel like they were on fire.
Consistent knee and inner thigh muscle niggles and soreness.
Tired calves by the end of a ride.
Low back ache and pain along with numb butt.
Dead spots in spin.
Generally I was a weak and feeble reed going up hills.
After (A happy burble)
The ride today was 2.5 hours down to the end of Road to Nepal and back. Ismoothrun thinks it's 51 K, my bike thinks it's 51.5. If you don't know this ride, it's all hills, all the time. I figured the easy ride felt good, so I might as well try a hard one.
My feet felt great! It's like I have new shoes. All it took was some inserts. The right inserts. No niggles to speak of. My calves were not tired at all. I feel stronger and more stable on the bike. It's easier to spin smoothly and I can put more effort into it going up hills. For the first few hills I was several gears harder and going correspondingly faster. I could feel all of my thigh muscles working, not just one isolated muscle across the top. Even at harder and slower rpm where my stroke typically degenerates to a plunger pump style, I was able to keep my feet going around. Not fast, but around. That's a step forward.
My seat dropped a whole inch, which is huge in the bike fit world. None the less, it was the right thing to do. Perhaps it could be fine tuned up or down a mm or 2, but I'm not going to sweat that just now. I'm pretty sure there are thigh muscles working which typically have not been, and it's no surprised they got tired. Generally coming back is quicker, but I could feel that I was more tired going up the hills, and slower. What was a nice surprise is that they recovered at least a bit on the downhills and easy spin.
Towards the end of the ride I could start to feel my back, but this was different. The tiredness was spread out from mid-back to hips, and evenly from side to side. Again, I think this was muscles getting used to a new way of working together.
I wasn't pushing hard, I just wanted to do the out and back and see how I felt. There were a few other people on the road, and I think one called to me by name, but by the time I tuned in they were gone. The fastest I've ever done this ride is just a hair under 2 hours, but a more typical time is about 2 hrs and 15 or 20 minutes, so I'm not far off. I'm hoping a few more rides will help my muscles get with the new program, and I'll be doing better than ever.
If you've been reading a while, you know I generally don't do advertising here. But I'm impressed and happy enough to say that if you're not as comfortable on the bike as you'd like to be, you may need your fit checked. I can recommend Gary Alexander, and you can find his web page here.
I stretched and ate when I got home, and settled into my current office to write.
A little later I added a big glass of juice. The wine is later, with BBQ bison burgers, salad, and a yummy dessert. My legs and lungs are feeling like they've had a good strong workout, but not overdoing it. This is perfect.