By Rick Schultz
My daughter is finishing up her degree in Kinesiology and applying for graduate school to earn her doctorate in physical therapy. She is also a hard-core athlete. She runs cross-country, does triathlons, races crits, time trials and road races and, like the rest of us, she definitely gets sore muscles and overuse injuries.
Even though she stretches multiple times a day, she can’t always get rid of all of her trigger points (knots in muscles). One problem area for her is having tight IT bands.
Solution! For her last birthday, I bought her “The Stick” muscle therapy bar. She uses this religiously and recently let me borrow it when my calves were tight and sore. She showed me some stretches to do as well. This really helped me – that is, until she asked for her Stick back.
Thinking that this might be something good to test, I started searching the Internet for muscle therapy solutions. What I found is that there are actually 2 solutions that work hand-in-hand: muscle therapy bars, and foam rollers.
The basic idea of these recovery aids is to provide deep tissue self-massage before and after exercising. Used correctly, these work the same way as professional physical therapy sessions; you need to apply enough pressure so that it hurts. This will massage the deep tissue, allowing you to recovery more quickly, as well as minimizing injuries.
Other benefits include decreased muscle tension and pain, stimulation of circulation and elimination of trigger points (knots) in muscles. The other important point is to continue stretching.
While on a recent vacation, I had no access to a bicycle (my main sport), so I decided to cross-train instead. I started by jogging 5 miles a day. Normally, after 3 days of cross-training off the bike, I would be so sore that I could barely move my legs. So I thought this would be the perfect scenario to test out these muscle massage bars and foam rollers.
During my light warmup stretch, I would use one of the massage bars for 60 seconds on my calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. After each jog, I would stretch these muscle groups again, followed by 60 seconds of deep tissue massage, pressing firmly until it hurt. The results amazed me: I was never sore!
Read the full review with photos at: http://www.roadbikerider.com/product-reviews/recovery/massage-bar-rollers
Richmond 2015, the organizing committee of the UCI Road World Championships, last week announced the courses for the 12 World Championship races, which expect to attract 450,000 on-site spectators from the United States and around the world.
All of the races will end at the Greater Richmond (Virginia) Convention Center on Broad Street in downtown Richmond; individual events will start in the City of Richmond and surrounding counties. The 9-day event will be held from Sept. 19-27, 2015.
Two of the courses, the time trial and road race circuits, will be used during the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals May 2-4, 2014, which will serve as a test event for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. An additional criterium course also will be used for the Collegiate championships.
Here’s a link to the event schedules and course list, including detailed maps of each course: http://richmond2015.com/about/courses/.
For U.S. cycling fans, this is a unique opportunity to see the Road Championships, which have not been held in the U.S. since 1986, when Colorado Springs hosted the races.
Coach John Hughes is finishing up Part 2 of his Cycling Past 60 eArticles, which answers these and other questions RBR readers have asked Coach Hughes to touch on:
Part 2 will be published on either March 13 or March 20 (we’ll keep you posted). What else would you like Coach Hughes to cover? Post any additional suggestions or questions on the RBR Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/RoadBikeRider, or on our Community Comments page on the site.
Part 2 will contain sample weeks for riders in the upper ranges of Athletic Maturity, as defined in Cycling Past 60, Part 1: For Health, and also sample weeks for the Off, Base and Main seasons of your cycling year.
A couple of you had follow-on comments to last week’s Ask Coach Fred column about dealing with a chronic saddle sore.
Both suggested making sure of the diagnosis as part of the process of dealing with what you believe to be a saddle sore.
First, from Clifford Feldheim: “When I talked to my GP about chronic saddle sores, he just gave me an antibiotic cream. He did not even look at me. A couple of months later I went to my dermatologist for a regular check-up. I asked him about chronic saddle sores. He was immediately concerned. He had a patient recently with this complaint, and it turned out to be CANCER. Please make sure of the diagnosis.”
And this, from Stan Purdum: “It’s possible the chronic saddle sore that Greg R. describes in Issue 612 is not a cyst, as Fred suggests, but an infection caused by sitting on a public toilet seat. Apparently, even when the previous user does not dirty the seat, the flushing process causes a invisible “bloom” arising from the bowl that settles on the seat.
“That can cause ‘lumps’ on one’s bottom that are essentially boils without heads, and they don’t go away on their own. The fix is an antibiotic cream called Bactroban (mupirocin calcium cream 2%). It’s available by prescription only. The prevention is to carry some kind of sanitizer spray or wipe clean the toilet seat before using.”
The love we share for talking about our bikes continues to manifest itself in our fun run of reader polls about our trusty steeds. The previous two weeks covered frame materials, while last week’s Question of the Week asked: What is the Drivetrain on Your Main Bike?
Well over 1,000 of you voted last week! Fantastic! Now, the results:
8-Speed. -- 3%
9-Speed. -- 21%
10-Speed. -- 59%
11-Speed. -- 14%
Something less than 8. -- 3%
Total votes (through Tuesday): 1032
I don’t see any big surprises in this poll, but the numbers of 9- and 10-speed bikes do beg the question: Are we holding onto our older bikes longer, opting for 10-speed drivetrains on new bikes, or delaying purchasing a new bike (possibly with an 11-speed drivetrain)?
Which leads perfectly to our Question for this week: When Did You Buy Your Last New Road Bike?
Answer at http://www.roadbikerider.com/question-of-week, where you can also find an archive of previous poll results.