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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rehab Ride #4: 20km to Daya and Back

For those of you who have been following my slow recovery from my leg injury, I am pleased to report that I have made great improvements over the past two weeks. Even since Sunday's ride I am feeling a lot better. I hope my ordeal can be helpful to others who may be suffering the same thing, or who don't want to suffer the physical pain and the pain of having to sit out while everyone else has all the fun.

My treatment regimen has been as follows:

1. Rest: I have spent very little time on the bike, concentrating on short, slow rides that simply get the muscles warmed up and balanced. I have been focusing on my pedal stroke and technique.

2. Stretching: Every day, several times a day, I find an opportunity to stretch my leg muscles. Anything from using the side of a desk or a wall to stretch my calves, or doing some standing IT band stretches.

3. Massage: A couple weeks ago I bought a tennis ball to help me with some massage. The tennis ball is hard enough to provide appropriate resistance, and the roundness can really concentrate on a smaller point on the muscle. The ball can be used as a roller along the IT band, or I can simply roll it up and down my muscles. I worked out a lot of the pain in my calf with this method.

4. Ice: Every day after the tennis ball massage, I have been icing my calf and knee. I will wrap the ice bags tightly around the trouble spots for 20 min. at a time under pressure while elevating the leg. Usually before bed, so I can avoid standing.

Last night I went for a short 20km ride out to Daya without pain. I was spinning on the small ring, but I was able to work between 40-70% of my potential power. For the first time I was able to really generate some speed and work out of the saddle, which is the hardest on my calves. My wife joined me on this ride to push me along the route.

It will still be a little while before I can start planning more ambitious projects beyond my backyard, but things are looking up.


Here is one more Paris-Roubaix video that really shows why this is such a brutal race. Many of the riders use cyclocross bikes to better handle the conditions.


  1. Awesome post! My knee has been acting up again over the past few weeks, its been about a year and a half since I last suffered. I have been doing similar treatments minus the ice. I should get a ice pack and start asap.

    What kind of standing stretches do you do? I do the one where I cross one foot in front of the other and point my hands toward my straight legged foot like I'm trying to reach for it. I've been using a thick jam jar to do the floor roller IT thing, but will try a tennis ball.

    I've been doing easy flat rides this last week and the pain slowly amps up after about an hour until eventually I'm accelerating from red lights using mostly one leg.

    Your posts give me hope!

  2. That is the stretch I am doing.

    I'll also lay on my back, cross my legs and pull/push my leg toward the floor.

    Use the tennis ball on all parts of your leg. I thought my pain was from one place until I used the tennis ball and found it was from another place. My calf muscles were really inflamed and pulling around the knee.

    I should reiterate that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV... everyone is different, but this is what is working for me.

    Good luck and don't skimp on the rest ,even if it means a few weeks off the bike.

    Heal up and heal well!


  3. What's the penalty for going off onto the grass?

  4. You save your ass 10 minutes per mile.