I was cooking on Tuesday night, doing my usual terrible too-much-butter job of things, and felt a little tightness in my back next to my spine, below the shoulder on my right side. NBD. I’ve had this before. Used to plague me when I climbed. Didn’t even pop an aspirin. Ate the buttery meal (and some amazing tenderloin from Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats in Hillsborough) and retired.
The next morning, it all went to shit. My back was essentially useless. Which led to a cascade of muscular stupidity. Without the support from my middle back, my head was being supported by my neck muscles alone. Overtaxed by my giant melon, they shared some of the burden with the muscles on my middle LEFT side, which then started cramping as well, meaning BOTH sides of my spine had taken a vacation and left my head to dive, unsupported, to my chest. My torso is essentially a deflated hemorrhoid pillow. Yup, I know what that makes my head…
How all of this is connected was made very, very clear to me on Wednesday night, when, after an day of resting on the floor every half-hour as I recorded a book, I attempted to get on the rollers. Ha fucking ha. Putting my hands on the bars was exactly the opposite of what my back and neck wanted me to do. So I did the rational thing. I rode no-hands for an hour.
That it hurt as much as it did when I tried to ride, which is to say FAR worse than anything else I’d tried to do all day, made me wonder if this wasn’t cycling specific. As in, I’d caused this by doing something stupid on the bike. Yes, I’d taken a dumb fall on Sunday screwing around, but there were two days between that fall and the SPROING-ing, so while it may have been a factor, my thinking is that there’s something else, something more basic, happening.
Which leads me to this picture ($11.50 to Sergio Garabito, who took some GREAT pix at HPCX, to use without the watermark or the bad karma):
Note how fucking far down my head is, relative to my shoulders.
I’m thinking that in my desire to get “pro”, I’ve gone too low. My shoulder blades are clapping behind me like a 90-year-old’s butt cheeks in the wind.
I’m gonna have to start core workouts. One more thing I can’t buy my way out of. I really should be doing TTs.
This morning, looking (and feeling) like a depressed vulture, I replaced the 120mm stems on the bikes with 110’s, and raised ’em both up a centimeter or two. Hoping that’ll help a bit. Later, I’ll try to spin. Fingers crossed. I know the idea of racing this weekend is silly, but I’m holding out some small hope that at least Sunday can be salvaged. That’s worth jeopardizing my health, right?
Fuck you cyclocross, love sean