Saturday, May 14, 2011


The SERC XC series is at the Whitewater Center this weekend ... my home stomping grounds.  But I won't be racing.  I am currently nursing an IT band injury that I caused, not by overuse, not by lack of stretching, but by my own stupidity and carelessness.  You see, this happened 2 1/2 years ago.  The cause:  worn out cleats.  Back then, I changed my cleats upon my Coach's advice and voila!  The IT band issue went away in 3 days.  The worn out cleats caused a considerable amount of play in the pedal/shoe interface and this placed a large amount of stress upon my knees and surrounding tissues.

I am invoking this day as National Check Your Cleats Day!

Fast forward to my PMBAR recon on April 22-23.  Wearing the same shoes as two years ago and more than likely having not changed the cleats since then (I have no records to prove otherwise), after 6 hours in the saddle, my IT bands flared up.  I rode through it the next day, raced SS on May 1, and the following week felt not pain, but a considerable amount of tightness along the outside of my knee close to where the kneecap tracks in the femoral groove.  Not being painful, more like a "pebble under your foot" kind of nuisance, I raced PMBAR on May 7.  I was surprised that after 68 miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing, my knees felt no worse, but no better.

After talking to Coach, we agreed that I needed to look at the bigger picture (Lumberjack 100 and TNGA) and ditch the SERC at Tanasi.  I think I shed a tear, or two.  I needed to remind myself that I was not doing this race for me, but for us (Carly and I).  The goal of this series was to have fun, not to chase a championship.  So I will be fully supporting Carly's efforts tomorrow morning, bright and early at 8:30am.

A couple more things I have learned from this misadventure.  The two times I have had this IT band issue, I was also riding my '08 S-Works FS Stumpjumper.  And I have never been "fitted" on this bike; I have just transferred measurements.  So, I think it wise that I hook up with 55nine Performance and get Wobble-naught fitted to "Stumpy."  Afterall, this is the bike I am racing on for TNGA.

Secondly, I have been using the Shimano XTR 970 pedals on Stumpy and the 980's on my Era.  There is quite a noticeable difference in float between the two, the 980's having less.  As my knees don't like lateral movement, I will be upgrading Stumpy's pedals to the 980's as well as my single speed.

Shimano 970

The 980's also have more shoe to pedal contact which provides more stablity.

Shimano 980

Thirdly, I have now made a "cleat changing" chart, so that I will know when I need to put new ones on.

And finally, I have learned a lot of new stretches from my physical therapist.  I thought I had a good stretching program, but Celeste has showed me how to stretch in a lateral plane as opposed to the front/back type of stretches that I had been doing.  She calls it her 3D stretching program.

If any of you have any more suggestions for IT Band treatment, I am all ears.

So I will be on the sidelines this weekend.  A few days ago, when I was wallowing in my own misery, I actually thought of eating a whole loaf of French bread.  At least if I was "glutened," I would not feel like riding.  That is the hard part.  I really wanna RACE!  If all goes well, I will be on the Start line at Dauset!

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