Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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If your brain wants to do it, your body will follow

Ridin' in Iowa

I had just picked my Dad up from the Oakland airport.  It was the day before Thanksgiving 2008 and we were en route to Redding some 3 hours away.  As my Dad squirmed uncomfortably in the passenger seat of my Mini Cooper he said to me, “I’d like to ride my bike across Iowa. I heard about this organized ride that goes from the west side of the state to the east. It’s only 500 miles. I think it would be a nice thing to do. What better way to see Iowa, and it’s flat all the way. How hard can it be?” I said… great idea Dad, if you start training now you should be ready to do the ride by next year. Dad said… “Next year, I want to do it this July.” I’m not sure if I actually laughed out loud but I know I did in my head.  I thought, he had completely lost his mind. My Dad, in his early 70’s is very fit and very tough, but not a cyclist. He owns a bike but it’s a cute little 40 lb bike built for riding to do errands around town. Certainly not meant to ride across an entire state. All I could say was… Dad, I really think you’ll need more time to train for this event. 500 miles with 7 days of riding and camping along the way is a long week.  It’s not as easy as you think and by the way, Iowa is not entirely flat! Not by any stretch of the imagination!

In spite of almost zero training, in July 2009 we did the ride across Iowa, Ragbrai as it’s called. My Dad, Paula and Me. I went to keep an eye on them, as I was the only one with a clue as to what we were getting into. After the first day, both D & P were praying that the following days would be easier. They were not, there were lots more hills and rain and wind but they took it one day at a time and were thankful to see the end of each day.

In the end they both pulled it out. Failure was simply not an option for those two. They had a goal and they made it happen. It was amazing and I was incredibly proud to see them finish every day leading them closer to the end of the ride and to the reaching their massive goal.

My point – You can do anything you set your mind to. That was made clear to me in Iowa that July. We’ve all heard impressive stories of things people have done. Why not see what you can do?

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Do you need a good scrub?

"Does your ass hurt? Mine does..."

The other day one of my clients asked if I ever got “saddle sores” from ridding my bike.  I’m not sure why she asked, as she herself does not ride.  Maybe she’d heard tales of suck upset.

With that, I thought I would share some saddle sore wisdom.

“Saddle sore” is a term used to refer to any skin irritation located on, or near the part of your body that rests on the bicycle seat (saddle). Saddle sores can be caused by three things. Pressure, friction or infection.

To cut to the chase, a saddle sore can range from simple chaffing to a huge oozing boil. The boils are my favorite! They can get so big and nasty that they almost become planetoid. Lots o’ fun!

If you get a saddle sore – first, ask yourself, “does my saddle make me sore, or does my saddle give me sores?” If you saddle makes you sore, go to a good bike shop and get fitted properly on your bike. You may need a new saddle.

If your saddle is giving your sores than basically you need a good scrub! Seriously, bacteria causes most saddle sores. Bacterium grows in warm, damp places. That nice warm, sweaty chamois is the happiest place on earth for a microorganism.

Here’s what to do – As soon as you’re off the bike, get out of those shorts. Immediately put on something dry and loose. The idea is to air out your undercarriage. When you get home jump in the shower, don your loofah mitt, soap up and give yourself a good scrub. Do this every time you ride.

Aside from that here are a few other things to keep in mind.

  • Wear high-quality cycling shorts.
  • Never wear underpants under your cycling shorts. This causes chaffing.
  • Wash your cycling shorts after every use.
  • Lube up. There are all sorts of chamois creams out there to help keep away bacteria and minimize abrasion.
  • If you get a saddle sore don’t ignore it. Eddy Merckx ignored them and missed the 1976 Tour. They had to cut them out and drain them! Nasty!

I could go on but I think you get the gist. Happy Monday!

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Psychedelic saddlebag

Psychedelic Saddlebag

Yes Marc you are correct. That image I sent you in the form of a birthday card is in fact, a close up of a hematoma I suffered recently (and yes I am testing you to see if you’re reading my blog).  Since I trust that you are religiously reading my posts, you will remember that I recently mentioned needing to replace my bike helmet. With that I should admit that I was reminded once again not to attempt cornering at high speed, on a frozen roadway while attempting to obtain a date.  This maneuver did not work for me in the past (hence a broken collar bone in ’98) and it did not work for me last week. I hope that you appreciated your very colorful birthday card as no one but you can fully understand what a gifted cyclist/crasher I truly am.

Quick reminder: The more you move, the more you fall.  When you fall, and you will fall. Don’t try to stop your fall by putting out your arm or your hand. That’s how people break their arms and their wrists. When you’re going down, think tuck and roll. Tuck your arms and legs in and lay/roll down. No matter which direction you’re flying in, tuck and roll baby!  Seriously.  It works. You gotta trust me.  I may be a shitty speller but I’m really good at falling.

Keep moving!