Cycling Camp: Part 2

 April 18th: Day 3

Sunday morning, my back felt ok. What’s complex is that my condition changes every hour. Not only do I have the back and hip to deal with (right side, cycling related), but also the left arm and leg and of course, the neck, which are totally different issues. A big, big puzzle not yet solved. Knowing that, I’ve got to have very few expectations…And lots of back up plans! Focusing on what I CAN do as my priority, trying not to think about what I miss or wish I could achieve. Easier said than done, especially when surrounded by so many cyclists here at the Massanutten resort.

Anyhow, Pat wanted to discover new potential cycling routes around the city of Luray, about 40 minutes from here. He knows tons of loops around the resort but he’s got a special gift for finding those quiet countryside roads. Unfortunately, we spent more time in the car than I thought we would and by the time we got to our starting destination, my back was hurting really bad. At that point, I decided not to focus on the pain and told myself that getting up and spinning the legs would feel much better than sitting in the car (to be honest, Pat told me so!)

(Pat is my human Garmin!!)

(Cold and very windy, a little bit like home!)

 Well, guess what: he was right! We did an hour long loop around Luray (which is well-known for its caverns). An ideal ride for a girl trying to adjust to a new position: flats, roller terrain, short steep hills, false flats. Awkward in the beginning, not used to being that low on my saddle, I felt like I couldn’t extend my legs at all. Did not feel right. In reality, it just did not feel like before, which was actually gonna be a good thing since before was linked to pain! Pat, as patient as ever (he’s a coach after all!), told me to give it a try.

At first, I was laughing at my position, goofing around, until I really gave it a chance. Focusing on one thing: getting my heels down, my way of finding my smooth pedaling stroke, my lethal weapon I would say! When I saw that steep hill coming up, my instincts took over;  I slightly slid forward on my saddle, kept my head and chest up so I could easily breathe, moved my hands on my handlebars, kept my elbows close to me (easier for the heart, my energy saving mode) and got those heels down.

Suddenly, it was all so easy, effortless, as only my quads were working, giving my back and gluteus a well-deserved break. In within a few seconds, I was able to reach Pat. Le petit lapin was back! So happy to have found my sensations again and that graceful power that I’ve been craving for.   

 So, even though it was cold (low 40), the setting was perfect. I don’t know why but somehow, the grass looks greener around here! Surrounded by those huge mountains, following the river, waving to dozens of horses, I felt fantastic! The old Mari-jo may be making a comeback. That short but intense ride gave me confidence and faith, two major concepts that I had forgotten about over the last few years.

 April 19th: Day 4

  1. Ice on sacrum for 10 minutes, lying flat on my back.
  2. Heated lower back brace for 1 hour.
  3. Walk as little as possible.
  4. Repeat.

That homemade treatment seems to be doing the trick this week!

When I got on my bike yesterday, it felt just right. I was me again. Even though the headwind was tough, I was able to find my efficient pedaling stroke, hiding behind Pat’s wheel (of course!) sitting a bit further back as usual on my saddle. What seemed to be awkward the day before was now more than comfy. Flying downhill like if I was driving a powerful race car. In and out of the saddle going uphill. Hands in the drops going down, which I can’t dare to do when my bone spurs in my neck are acting up.

3 words to describe my ride: fun, fun, fun! 

(We even got a taste of Provence with that old house!)

(Very hard for me to say no to a double fudge chocolate cookie! I think Pat is trying to slow me down any way he can!)

(Here he is, flying awayyyy)

Now, after 4 years of aches and pains with my Felt, I finally find the perfect fitting. Pretty amusing since I’m getting a new bike in 1 week! So you’re thinking, what about that new Italian bike you’ve been talking about? Well, my friends, we found out yesterday that my Wilier (or Izzy, if you prefer) has arrived in Montreal. Christian, from Le Yéti, will bring her to me here at Massanutten resort, next Saturday. Phew!

Hopefully, I won’t go through the same journey to gain that ideal fit. I think I’ve done my share of suffering on a bike, don’t you think?

Have a great day everyone,


( Quick’s new friends at the house: Benji and that cute Eskimo…that keeps crying all night long!)


7 Responses to “Cycling Camp: Part 2”

  1. 1 Peter M
    20 avril 2010 à 11:31

    So glad your pain is beginning to ease…. just in time for the New Italian Stallion 🙂 Keep the updates coming….

  2. 20 avril 2010 à 11:41

    Glad to hear your pain is starting to subside.

  3. 20 avril 2010 à 12:08

    So happy to hear you are rediscovering your faith and confidence, my friend. Bravo!!!

    Every time you believe, every time you face your fears and/or your pain and still keep going, that is powerful. That is hope in action. That is faith!!!

    RideON petit lapin!!! RideON!!!

  4. 4 Rickie Rainwater
    20 avril 2010 à 7:42

    Marijo, Great read. Having been just fitted for Nemo, Tom the builder of Nemo and my future bike was able to take some of the money I have put down on the SRAM parts for Swedie and send me a new non set back seatpost, FSA, and a shorter stem as close as we could come to my final measurement. I highly suggest you write down the measurements you now have dialed in on the Felt, and apply them as closely to Izzy when she arrives. Hopefully you are close to start with. I have ridden 7000 miles on Nemo being overly extended by 2 inches. After the fitting I was able to ride in the drops easily and feel relaxed, and my left leg forefoot varance was really cleaned up to allow my left leg to track more correctly. The bike fit took 3 hours and was well worth the time. Now I am waiting on the parts to dial in my bike correctly and put my investment into action. I’m so glad your having a good time. That Pat is something special! It might take a little longer to get Swedie built, but the Joe Martin Stage race is in about 2 weeks and I don’t want to suffer any more than I have to.

  5. 20 avril 2010 à 9:33

    So glad to hear you have found the routine that works. It’s so nice that you can settle in and enjoy the ride without thinking too much about the pain you had before. Stay focused on that smooth, powerful feelings in your legs.
    I’m glad to hear Izzy is finding her way to you soon. Enjoy your time and smile!

  6. 21 avril 2010 à 11:11

    It’s good when a bike feels right. I hope the new one feels just as good!

  7. 24 avril 2010 à 9:33

    Marijo…..I have been super busy so I had to catch up on your last few entries. Great to hear your conquering that pain. Your story reminds me of the end of last year when I was battling knee pain something fierce. I remember starting rides feeling fine and within 15 minutes, I would start to think that my knee was going to explode. It was so discouraging. I finally got my bike professionally fitted and I haven’t had problems ever since. Its so amazing how slight modifications can mean so much. Keep the posts coming, I am really enjoying the read!!!!!

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