Spinning through the pain

Back on the Ride to Austin, my team rode through a tropical storm. We were on the bike from mid-night to shortly before 6AM. The wind was swirling the rain around and for the last hour the temperature dropped drastically. We pushed on to reach our destination and made it, but not without cost.

Since that time I have been battling some knee pain. Recently it got bad enough to get me to set up an appointment with my doctor. No way did I want to have this knee take me out of my training plan right when I’m getting started!

I was focusing on that one night as the cause of the pain. It made sense to me that I was over exerting the knee while pulling on the front into the various cross and head winds. The cold temperatures certainly would help in that case. This caused me to put all my focus on the knee.

Well, I’m starting to realize that the root of the problem probably isn’t the knee at all. The issue starts with my hip and an accident that happened back in September. I’m pretty sure I am correct because I have done some things that have helped and the knee pain has lessened.

Back in the South Carolina Road Race Championships I was taken out from behind. It put me in the dirt along the side of the road, broke my frame, and left me with a VERY sore body along with some gnarly road rash. I’m still feeling the affects of the crash in my neck and it turns out in my right hip as well.

The pain in my hip has subsided. However, as I began to do the various exercises associated with my training routine, I discovered that my right hip was not nearly as flexible as my left. On top of that, when I went to get re-fitted to my bike as part of my plan, we discovered that I was dropping my right hip. That is odd because while I may have some weaknesses as a rider, I have always had a pretty perfect symmetry on the bike.

The doctor will give me more insight I am sure, but what I think is happening here is that the right hip is not free enough to carry through with the normal range of motion. It is causing me to drop my right leg when I am riding which is throwing my knee in an awkward position. That in turn is causing the pain.

I started aggressively stretching my hip when I began to suspect this. I am already starting to tell a difference. Not only is my knee not hurting as badly, but I’m starting to notice my right hip is not as tight when I am on the bike. It is as though I didn’t notice just how tight I was until I loosened up a bit.

So, my plan is to go to my doctor who will probably refer me to someone in the physical therapy field. I also plan to check out a chiropractor (something I have never done) and check on the alignment of my pelvic bone. Until I can learn more, I’m just going to keep stretching out that hip and trying to keep the pressure off the knee as much as possible.

It seems that getting a coach and starting this training program is going to be good for me. Not only do I think it will make me a better rider. I also realize it is causing me to take more seriously the messages my body is sending me. Rather than just stopping and waiting for the pain to go away — which could end up causing long term issues — I am now facing the issues and trying to find the solution.

Ultimately, this bit of pain could lead to me feeling better than I have in a long, long time.