Question: Last year I increased my mileage to200-250 miles a week and developed serious upper-back pain between my shoulder blades. It still bothers me. My position on the bike is good. I didn’t have this pain until I increased mileage and probably didn’t recover well between rides. Any suggestions? — Mike G.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Usually back pain in the area you describe it is caused by a faulty riding position. Namely, a handlebar that is too low and too far from the saddle, causing excessive reach.
It sounds like your fit is probably okay because pain wasn’t present before higher mileage. So I suspect insufficient strength and flexibility. A physical therapist who’s familiar with the demands of cycling could show you exercises that address the problem.
Another possibility is that as you ride longer, you hunch your shoulders and tense related muscles.
That may not cause problems on a 30-mile ride but will definitely create stress and pain over 60 or 70 miles. Relieve tension by changing hand position often, standing occasionally and stretching while riding or during off-bike breaks.