Friday, March 24, 2006

Tune-Up Week

Back in New York this week, I went out for just one very short ride. I was not really trying to train, per se, but mostly just testing my bike fit and equipment for Route 66. At this point, everything is adjusted fairly well so I'm planning on a longish Sunday ride, maybe 90 miles or so, on the Route 66 bike. In addition to tuning and tweaking the bike, I visited a few doctors to make sure that I was also properly tweaked and tuned.

Today I went to see an orthopedic surgeon. I wanted to chat with him about various issues, but mostly I was there to get my legs measured. Very few people have perfect musculoskeletal symmetry. In fact, most people have a measurable difference in the length of their legs, although they rarely notice. Luckily, human biomechanics are quite adaptable. The body can easily compensate for minor asymmetries through a variety of muscular adjustments. Had I not taken up cycling I may never have noticed mine, but 25,000 to 50,000 daily knee flexion- extension cycles tends to uncover subtle discrepancies.

As is turns out, I have a 1 centimeter discrepancy, mostly in the femur, and probably as a result of the broken leg that I suffered as an infant. According to Andy Pruitt, anything less than 6mm can be ignored or addressed by cleat position. 6mm or more, however, needs to be addressed with a lift. Andy Pruitt, by the way, is the Director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, and is the defacto expert on cycling orthopedics.

I have not had the opportunity to have a bike-fit session with Andy, but he has written a lot on the topic. In addition reading Andy's books and papers, I recently had the opportunity to discuss my leg length issue with Fred Matheny. Fred, who is the co-author of Andy's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclist, was coaching and training this year at the PACTour desert training camp. Fred, as it turns out, has a similar issue and uses a lift between his cleat and shoe. Andy recommends that the lift only compensate for half of the length discrepancy, so I need a 5mm spacer between my cleat and shoe. Such lifts are not commercially available for cycling shoes, so I have to build my own.

Tuesday Ride Summary:

Route: Neighborhood Ramble
Distance: 10 miles
Speed (avg/max): ?? mph / ?? mph
Riding Time: 0 hours 50 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 50 minutes
Power (avg/max) ??? watts / ??? watts
Calories Measured at Wheel: ???
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

Miles this Year: 1668