Thursday, May 1, 2008

Meniscus Pain and Mashing

I have done it again. This time no illness though. I have some somewhat serious pain that is located on the left side of my knee cap. It was fairly painful while riding today. In fact it is why my ride was only for 1 hour and 45 minutes instead of my planned 2.5 hour ride. I had been out for around 45 minutes when I noticed some discomfort in my right knee. Then it got progressively worse. I had to back way off my power and sat in my small ring on the Lapierre most of the time. Spinning at a higher cadence without much stress was better, but not perfect. Hills were no fun at all.

My personal PT (who happens to be my mother-in-law) says it is probably just a strain of the Meniscus in the knee. If it were an actual tear it would be much more painful. Right now the only time it hurts is when I am riding. Walking or running so far hasn't aggravated it. The pain is from the swelling she says. For now I am supposed to take it easy and not overload it. Running is OK if it does not involve any hills or turning (which means that I am limited to the treadmill since there is not a single stretch of flat and straight roads within 10 miles of here). For the bike, I need to move away from my normal Jan Ulrich Style of riding. I am not sure that my mashing of the pedals is what caused the injury, but it won't make it better.

Speaking of the Jan Ulrich style of riding--which is basically pedal mashing with a low cadence--I just had a flashback. I remember a day when Fish and I first started riding together. I was fat and out of shape still (we were riding mountain bikes up the Alpine Loop and my granny gear was hardly low enough for me to climb it back then) and he asked if I was a spinner or a masher. Frankly, at that point I was just trying to be a survivor, but I think I answered "spinner." I reasoned that since I was stuck in the granny gear at the moment and the cranks were indeed spinning that this was the appropriate answer. I was in no shape to mash anything with those legs back then. I felt like a "Poseur" even answering that question then.

Then came my single speeding days--which I am still in--and I have grown way too comfortable just mashing in whatever gear to get up a hill. This has become a habit for road as well. I consistently pedal around 80 to 85 revolution per minute. Sometimes less. Joel at work spins at over a 100 and sometimes 120. But he is light enough that a strong wind would blow him off his bike probably. Pedalling that fast just feels spastic.

Anyway, perhaps this is a sign of things to come? Are my mashing days over? Will I have to give up the my precious singlespeed? Please no. P-l-e-a-s-e!

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