And every now and again, despite your best intentions and all your effort…things don’t turn out quite right.
GONE OFF COURSE
My last few races (five!) have gone considerably off course. I’m not riding as strong as I have, and figuring out the reason why has been a bit tricky. There’s a number of factors going into the pot. It’s a long story, but here’s the short of it…I hope.
WAS IT THE CRANKS?
I got a bike fit earlier this year on my Scale 900 with 170mm. In the fit, it looked like I was just on the verge of benefiting more from the 165mm cranks. The idea being it would open up the hips, raise the saddle and get me over the bars more. But it wasn’t for certain. I had to decide.
I went back and forth on whether or not to try the 165s. Cost and the fact the season was about to start were my biggest hesitations. And then figuring out 165mm cranks for the new SRAM 1x11 set up took some effort too because that drive train doesn’t come with 165s. (Turns out SRAM XO 165 DH cranks will do the trick.)
But I thought about the end of the year. If I were standing there in September looking back and thinking I missed out on free (LEGAL!) power through more efficient pedaling, I’d have kicked myself for not making the effort to find out. So the 165s went on in late March.
AND LIFE WAS BETTER…RIGHT?
Not exactly. Rewind to 2 weeks before the ProXCT opener in Texas. Through entirely different circumstances I strained my left calf muscle. The pain started out small and was contained to the calf but has since morphed into bigger pain and loss of power up and down my left side; from toes to the back.
It’s become a chicken and egg question. Did the pain (which seemed to stay the same with the 170 cranks) just get worse on its own or did it get worse with the 165 cranks? Or are the cranks even the issue? I’m working with a functional leg length difference that a lot of cyclists deal with.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Then, add to all of this, I’m just not able to get the heart rate up. What I thought was just a question of my fitness not coming on yet for the first few races, has now lead to blood tests and time off the bike to figure out why I’m not putting out the power I have before. Fatigue? Pain? Residual injury from last year’s dirt swan dives? Something else?
So…coinciding with all the factors I’ve been looking at to determine the best crankarm size, has been a whole other slew of elements to add to the equation, or to at least just help confuse the situation entirely.
I went to the Whiskey 50 late last month, and ended up chatting with Lesley Paterson (2x XTERRA World Champ and the eventual Whiskey winner, Right on, LP.) before the race. She asked how my year was going, and instead of finding something nice to say to gloss over it for conversations’ sake, I said flat out that I wasn’t racing like I could and couldn’t figure out why. And just as quick, she said “That’s the worst when that happens. And all you can do is love it anyways.” (I mean that’s roughly what she said - I wasn’t taking notes at the time.)
But she was right. Getting frustrated is pretty easy to do. And I don’t have time for frustration - or any other emotion that doesn’t do me any good for that matter. (who does?!) And as focusing on the love instead of the frustration is a choice - I’ll take love for $2,000, Alex.
BACK TO THE START
With all the races and travelling since early March, it’s been a little tricky to address this situation. Since I’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, I’ve had more time to work with the PT, massage therapist, chiropractor and my coach. And, I’ve had some time to go back to the start.
Back to the 170s anyhow.
It’ll work out. I’m working with some smart folks. I’ve just got to be patient.
And love it anyways.