A pain in the butt!
Assiduous readers of this blog will know that lower back trouble and severe sciatic pain recently forced me to take my first break from cycling in eight years. The break finally lasted five months, meaning, as Andrew Hamilton wrote in Cycling Weekly (see my previous blog), that I am now almost completely de-trained.
The only exercise I have done in the last two months is walking. At least the dog is happy.
I have been attending regular Pilates sessions, which have been very useful in regaining flexibility in my lower back. The practitioner I have been going to is extremely competent and during each visit she has had me do dozens of different exercises to restore mobility. It is extremely technical and the positions of various parts of the body have to be just so, including one’s head and feet, even though the focus is on the pelvic and lower back region.
The good news is it works. I am closer to being able to touch my toes today than I have been in many years!
With the advent of the fine weather, I finally decided it was time to get back on the bike.
I started with 40 minutes of fairly gentle turbo work, at a low resistance, spinning alternately at 90 rpm and 105 rpm. Apart from that fact that my butt started to hurt after just five minutes, this went fine.
Two days later I went out on the road for an hour and a half. It was good to be back! I didn’t feel I’d lost any fluidity in pedaling, but I have certainly lost a massive amount of fitness. My legs started to feel heavy and tired after just half an hour on the flat, and after an hour I was getting the pains in my shoulder and neck that I used only to feel after 3 or 4 hours.
I took the easy way home, avoiding the 15% hill that leads up the main road.
Second outing today, 25 km in one hour. I would have thought this ridiculous six months ago…
Final thoughts – yes, it hurts… All that work I did over the last 8 years toughening up my perineal muscles has disappeared over five months of enforced inactivity so after two consecutive days of gentle cycling my butt is distinctly sore, and feels like I have just done Bordeaux-Paris!