Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Piriformis - huh?

Piriformis is the name of the little sucker that as caused the pain in my butt and my old nemesis "sciatica" to rear it's ugly head. Unlike my last bout with sciatica which was a spinal issue that was corrected by a skilled surgeon (as opposed to a butcher) this latest little problem is under my control.

Through my research and reading the BROL forums I have discovered the secrets of the Piriformis. It's a muscle that makes up the group of muscles called the Gluteus Maximus. A small percentage of us are unfortunate enough to have the sciatic nerve run through this small muscle.

Riding a recumbent cycle not only strengthens the piriformis along with the other muscles taking up residence in the butt region but it can also cause irritation and down right pain. For the few of us "lucky ones" when this muscle is sore and irritated it can cause pinching of the sciatic nerve sending pain down the leg. Bad news is that both of my muscles are sore. Good news is that the piriformis is only messing with my sciatic nerve on my right side. Yippee!

But wait...there is more good news...really ...there is!  The problem is not beyond being managed.
The remedy:
1. Stretch before and after riding.
2. Stretch everyday even if not riding.
3. Strengthen core muscles (alot of fun).
4. Take easier rides for awhile. For me this means pulling less weight and leave Betzi and her trailer at home or find rides with less elevation gain.
5. More stretching.
6. Take Ibuprofen cause I'm getting too old to suffer.
7. Patience.

UPDATE 3/30/11: Left side pain turned out to be torn cartilage in my hip. Slice and dice time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Ride of Spring

It was raining on the first day of Spring
so I took a ride on the second day of Spring.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review of Grandpa's Granny Gear

Cruising in Low Gear

I’ve now been riding my Catrike Expedition with the 24T granny gear since I installed it back in February of 2010 Granny Gear for Grandpa. It replaced the stock 30T small chainwheel. I also have a 26T chainwheel that I bought at the same time as the 24T. It was my intent to try the 26T after messing around with the 24T. I never did bother testing the 26T. I’ve become comfortable with the temperamental shifting of the 24T and we finally understand each other.

The 24T gives me the ease of climbing hills while towing Betzi’s trailer and in return I give it the patience needed when shifting from the middle 39T chainwheel down to the 24T and back again to the 39T. In particular the drop down to the 24T from 39T takes a little care and faithful fine tuning of the derailleur to avoid the chain dropping when making the plunge. No speed shifting allowed.

The Granny gear makes it easy to go as slow as 2 miles per up one of our steep California hills and still maintain a comfortable cadence.

The low gear on my Expedition is in sharp contrast to the lowest gear on my Catrike 700. The Expedition’s low gear is 19 gear inches and the 700 with its compact double is 35 gear inches. The weight difference between the two machines makes up for the lack of a super low gear on the 700

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Time to Ride Again

6 Days Later

The pull in my butt muscle or more appropriately gluteus maximus is 80% better. I didn't want to wait any longer to get back out on the road so I hooked Betzi's trailer up to the "beast" (my Catrike Expedition) and away we went. My hind end was still a little sore when I got back from my ride but nothing to cry about. Old muscles just take a little longer to heal.

Byron giving me a hand getting Betzi in her trailer.

I did a slow 17 mile ride with a little more then 1,400 feet of elevation gain. If it wasn't for the 1,400+ elevation gain and 115 pounds of trike, trailer and dog a 17 mile ride would feel like a walk in the park.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pain in the Butt

Yep, Just a Pain in the Butt

I'll have to stay off the trike for the rest of this week. I pulled a muscle in the ole gluteus maximus. Lesson learned...even when there is only twenty feet of very steep hill to climb riding a recumbent is all about gearing and planning ahead to be in the right gear when the elevation takes a quick turn for the worse. I can't just stand up and use my weight to move the crank. It's especially important to choose the right gears when you're cranking 115 pounds of trike, trailer and dog. Since backing up a trailer is difficult at best, Next time I'll just get off my butt and change the gears by hand.
Because of my semi-advanced age, 57 to be exact, it will probably take about 3 to 4 days to get "bent up" again.

Sorry Betzi but I'll probably take a ride over the weekend without you and your 45 pounds worth of dog and 30 pounds of trailer. You'll have to find another way to occupy your time. How about the piano?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ride Through Suburban Wasteland

Into the Waste Land

The words waste land will generally cause a person to envision our beautiful Southwest deserts. So wrong...the waste land is just a few miles from my home. I cycled a different route today with Betzi in tow and encountered the waste land. It was a disturbing vision of human waste...(see by Family Journal for my Rant)

This is one of many large homes with very very large lawns. Slowing cycling through this area gave me plenty of time to take in the overwhelming waste. For a lack of better words it gave me the "creeps" to see how our limited resources are being wasted to water lawns, very large lawns!!

I had the chance to clear my head by taking my usual short cut through the open space area.

Cycling gives us the opportunity to truly know the world
around us.