2011年11月アーカイブ

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Today was the first time to visit the city gym since it was refurbished. All new machines.

The new recumbent cycling machines look the part. There are lots of options for training with heart rate. Training with power. But I can never seem to enjoy these things half as much as being on the rollers or on a stationary trainer.

Aerobike: High cadence x 20 mins

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The new stepping machines have a few more features than the old ones. At first I thought the maximum level 20 was easier than the old machine but it takes time to get hold of you.

This has to be one of the best cross training exercises for cycling. Supported off the ground this is a non-impact exercise. You can really feel the minor muscle groups in you bottom and lower back coming into play. A long session today had me sweating buckets.

Stepping machine: L20 x 40 mins (150~160 target HR, 215 target spm, 4505 steps, 800 m climbing)

Stretching: Finished off with some stretches on the mat.

An effective use of one hour today. Maybe go for a swim tomorrow...

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I've always been the outdoor type. As kids we'd be told "go and play outside". We didn't mind because there's no place we'd rather be. Luke seems to be the same. Always itching to get outside.

I was going to do some indoor training today. I'd planned to go for a swim. But when the weather is like today, the bike will always win. There can't be many more days like this as we head into December.

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Head out to Nota on the flats. I plan to stay there but looking to the right I see the autumn colours on Komura Pass. Snow on the mountain ridge.

The road is barriered off once the first snows come so I know I'll have it all to myself.

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Too much to resist. Don't want to push too hard though. Keep the gears easy. Keep the cadence high.

There'll be plenty of time for swimming once the weather turns....

Tuesday's training: Komura Pass ~ Odeguchi camp site return (48 km, 800 m climbing)

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Daily stretching routine - Luke shows his dad just how "katai" he is

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This off-season I want to spend quite a lot of my training time off the bike: swimming, hiking, running, snowshoeing, skiing, strength training.

Like these activities, time spent on the bike will be low intensity base training. On days like today, I’ll still use my bike to get to and from work.

Now is a chance to focus on form and technique. Light gears today. Try to keep the cadence at around 100.

Easy on the rollers. More challenging on the road. A couple of gears lighter than usual. 10 to 15 rpm higher than usual. The trigger finger twitches to drop a couple of gears. This is good training though. Concentrate on pedalling circles. Pulling up. Pushing down.

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A couple of bedtime stories and Luke and Mark are asleep. Time for a beer...

Monday's training: Takayanagi return (55 km, 150 m climbing, 31 kmph, 101 cadence)

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legs1.JPG I got legs and I know how to use them...
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Today was a great day for a ride. Beautiful autumn weather.

A terrible hangover kept me in bed till 10 o'clock. On the road I thought I'd feel like a bird freed from its cage. However the hangover, plus a niggling cold and a slight loss of fitness made for a tough ride.

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The legs felt okay. The heart rate responded well. But I was out of puff, particularly on the climbs.

It's always hard to watch your fitness slip away in the off-season. Like an artist, you have to rip up the painting, throw it on the fire and set up a new canvas to start working on. I'm just happy to have an easel to paint on...

Stopped for lunch in the soba shop. Back home for some floor exercises and put the snow tyres on the car.

Not a bad Sunday at all …

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Sunday's training:

Bike: Takayanagi loop (75 km, 500 m climbing)

Floor exercises:

  1. Stretches
  2. Leg raise (10s x 10) x 3 sets
  3. Chest press (Mark x 10) 3 sets
  4. Shoulder press (Mark x 10) 3 sets
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On Saturday we went to Niigata city. We enjoyed lunch with Tazaki san and family. These days we spend more time talking about babies than bikes. Not a bad thing...

Next I went to see some sports medicine specialists that Tazaki san had recommended. Based in Niigata Albilex's Big Swan stadium, they are used to dealing with Albilex's professional football, baseball and basketball players.

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It was great to speak to a doctor who didn't simply say "you should quit cycling", but was focused on rehabilitation, prevention and care.

Time spent with the rehabilitation physiotherapists was even more rewarding. I became to understand the relationships between the hip joint and the supporting muscles. Also I became to understand why my injury might have occurred.

I learnt some stretching exercises and some strengthening exercises for the supporting muscle groups. I'll do these daily.

"Should I do weight training this winter?" I asked expecting to be blown back, "Definitely. Let's check your form..."

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Things are looking up. I'll ride tomorrow. Why? Because the sun will be out. And because I can...

This winter I'll focus on:

  • strengthening
  • stretching
  • cross training
  • and enjoying

Looking forward to it!

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It’s been two weeks since I first got pains in my leg. Two weeks since I did any kind of exercise.

Enosan described the injury as “subarashi timing”, coming right at the end of the racing season. No upcoming races to train for. Mostly bad weather outside. Stopping the active lifestyle has not been too difficult.

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I feel better by the day. Sometimes I think I could start training again. But a dash to the phone, or jumping into the car from the rain, reminds me that I’m still not 100%.

The next step is to see a specialist sports doctor. Not just to get the green light. I want to talk about how to ease back into it. Steps I can take to avoid another injury. The worst thing would be to come back too soon, or too hard, and end up back where I started two weeks ago – stuck at another red light…

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!
こんにちわ!
やっと!じょんのびジャージの新作が出来上がるようです!
サイズは?パールと同じだそうです!申し込みはお早めにお願いします!
パールって?確か?細身だったよぉな??大丈夫かなぁ??
後!忘年会の参加よろしくです!そぉいう私は行けませんが!すみません!

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Last week I had three blood tests. The tests were taken to determine if my injury was a result of infection and to monitor inflammation.

Most values were in the normal range. One thing that was noted was an iron deficiency.

"Eat some liver!" said the doctor.
"But I'm a vegetarian..."
"Sea weed!"

Being a vegetarian I was conscious that protein and iron could be in short supply. I pay close attention to protein but have maybe neglected iron.

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Iron for cycling?

One of the most important roles of iron is as a carrier of oxygen to the tissues from the lungs in the form of hemoglobin.

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So what are the best sources of iron?

Red meat and poultry, lentils, beans, leafy vegetables, pistachios, tofu, fortified bread, and fortified breakfast cereals are some examples.

Animal sources are more easily absorbed, so vegetarians require a bigger intake of iron than meat eaters.

How much do we need (UK RDA)?

• 8.7mg a day for men
• 14.8mg a day for women

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What does this mean?

Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Being a vegetarian will take that little bit more effort.

Of course you can get iron supplements too, although too much iron can be harmful.
A quick look on the internet shows most products contain higher does than the RDA..

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Looking at various websites, I found that one cup of edamame soy beans should provide the RDA. I wonder if the beer helps the absorption process!?!?

“A week is a long time in football” is what they say. It's a long time in cycling too.

Last Friday I awoke to pains in my leg. These got worse as the day went on. I went to see a friend who is a chriopracter in the afternoon. He thought the pain was due to a trapped nerve in the lower back. I got some treatment and went home.

On Saturday the pain was worse. I went to get more advice from another Doctor specializing in joints and breaks. He took some x-rays. He was worried about what looked to be badly worn hip joints. There was bit of loose bone or a calcium deposit in the joint too. More alarming still was a break in the lower back. He too thought it was a nerve problem, probably connected to this lower back break.

Now I'm an optimist of the highest order but nobody likes to hear the words “break” and “back” in the same sentence. I left with some pain killers, some medicine to help remove the calcium deposit and the order to rest, rest, rest.

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Nothing had changed by Monday. Worse if anything. But the pain killers had an effect which suggests that this was not nerve related. A full body MRI scan. Having my leg strapped down and held straight for 45 minutes in the tube was torture indeed. Images from the MRI revealed water in the left hip joint. I got some medicine to help remove the water and had a blood test to check for any infection which may have caused this.

In the meantime I sent my x-ray and MRI data to a doctor in Germany (thanks Ludwig) and my friend Doctor Nakajima at Niigata National Hospital. The doctor in Germany was of similar opinion to the bone and breakage doctor. Haemotosis in the joint and concerns over athritis.

Doctor Nakajima, a neurophisiologist, raised a the question of muscle damage to the iliopsoas muscles. He invited me in for physical examination, blood test and a CT scan.

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The physical examination suggested a problem in the muscle area. The CT scan allowed a closer look at the muscles. The iliopsoas muscles showed no detectable signs of inflammation. However, the blood test indicated inflammation in the body. This was supported by a slightly high body temperature.

It was decided to wait and see. If the inflammation increased or the symptoms deteriorated, we would have a closer look with a infused CT scan (this involves an injection of iodine to make clearer images and identify muscle damage).

On Wednesday I went back to Niigata National Hospital for a meeting with a doctor specializing in joints and rehabilitation. After another physical examination and analysis of the MRI and CT data, she supported the conclusions that we had come to so far.

Thursday and Friday marked big improvements. The pain is almost gone and I have stopped taking painkillers. Leg mobility is coming back too. I saw Dr. Nakajima again today. He was pleased at the speed of progress in the absence of medication.

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The first goal is to get back to normal.

The second step is to consult with a hip joint specialist and sports specialist on how to move on from here. My head is bursting with questions.

One thing that's not clear is the relationship between muscle damage and water in the joints. Also the presence of calcium deposits. One would expect that the three are related. Obviously I want to know this.

Also the cause of the problem? The first thing on everyone's lips is “norisugi?” or “too much riding?”. But its more complex than this. Some of the things I want to look into are

  • What's appropriate rest?
  • Stretching and muscle care.
  • Multi-activity and the detrimental affects of focusing too much on one sport.
  • Hereditary concerns.
  • Bike set up to minimalize the risk of injury

I want to train, want to be competitive, but I don't want this to happen again or risk long term damage. This second step is still down the road but I'm just happy to see it there on the horizon.

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すみません。最近のブログは英語ばっかりで。それにほとんど病院の話しです。


忍ちゃんに"あなたは自転車オタクからメディカルオタクになったね!"と言われました

"だって足が痛いんだもん…"と言うと

"足がなに!?赤ちゃんを生んでみなさいよ!そういうのを痛いというんだよ"と言われました。


先週の金曜日から左脚が痛くなりました。そして足が動かなくなりました。レントゲン、MRI、CT SCANなど、色々調べています。まだまだ調べてもらっていますがだんだん良くなると思います。

これからもがんばるじょんのび!

short term targets, long term goals

Each time I write a blog about visiting the hospital, the song No Compassion from Talking Heads' excellent album “77” enters my head.

What are you, in love with your problems?
I think you take it...a little too far
It's...not so cool to have so many problems
But don't expect me to explain your indecisions
Go...talk to your analyst, isn't that what they're paid for
You walk, you talk...You still function like you used to
It's not a question...Of your personality or style
Be a little more selfish, it might do you some good

Still, I like putting my thoughts down...

I went to see a rehabilitation specialist today. She gave me a physical examination and we went over my x-rays, MRI and CT scan data again.

She welcomed the huge amount of questions I had to ask her but rightly pointed out that I am focusing on the long term target (how should I change my training, avoid this happening again etc) when I should be focusing on the short-term goal (full recovery of the joint and muscle tissue).

I was also assured that there is no breakage in the joint. No malignancy. No immediate concern over arthritis. And no need for surgery.

I noticed my biggest improvement today. The pain has subsided considerably and my leg movement is coming back. Much easier to take the stairs and move around generally. There is still a way to go but the fact that my body is recovering on it's own (with the assistance of pain killers) is a good sign. I also dropped the dose of the pain killer.

Next up is a meeting with the radiologist on Friday. We are monitoring my blood values and body temperature with a view to determine whether or not a diffusion CT scan is necessary.

I have to extend my thanks again for the special treatment from the staff at Niigata National Hospital.

THIS IS A CYCLING BLOG, NOT A HOSPITAL BLOG!!!!

今日は今年一年のサイクリングシーズンを思い出しました。

I took the time today to reflect on what has been a fun-filled cycling season.

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Off season

冬はいつものウェイトトレーニングとインドアトレーニングをやりました。三本ローラーを使い始めて、とてもよかったです。もう前のトレーナーは使えません!

雪が降る前にはルークくんとハイキングをしました。米山、八石山などに行ってとても楽しかった。

In the winter I did my usual mix of indoor training and weights. I tried rollers for the first time too. What a revelation they were. I’ll never go back to a stationary trainer!

Before the snow came, I enjoyed hiking up Mt. Yoneyama and Mt. Hachikoku with Luke on my back.

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雪が降ってからは初めてスノーシューをやってみました。好きな峠は冬でも登れる!

I also tried snow shoeing for the first time. How great it was to get up my favorite climbs covered in 5 metres of snow!

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Base training

冬はたくさん雪が降ったので、いつもよりシーズンインが遅かった。やっと外で乗った時はうれしいいいい気持ち

Heavy snows last winter made it hard to get much outdoor riding in. The season started later than usual and it was a good while before my favorite climbs opened up. Still it felt great to be out on the bike again.

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Spring racing

草津の前にヒルクライムの練習をするチャンスはすくなかった。今年初めて入賞圏から落ちてしまった。残念だけどショックではなかった。レーススタートからついて行けなかったから。後半は調子が上がったからよかった。

By the time the Tour of Kusatsu came round in April, I had very little climbing in my legs. I failed to make the podium for the first time which although disappointing, wasn’t too much of a surprise. I couldn’t seem to get going quickly enough. Later in the race I managed to catch and pass a few decent riders which was some reward.

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そこから東京-糸魚川まで一ヶ月。ロングライドのチャンスはじょんのび200キロ一つだけだった。それでベストタイムを更新できたのでよかった。レースの前に自信アップ!レースはいつもと違い最初からグループで走りました。ライバルをチェックして、富士見峠で逃げて、ゴールまでTTして、4連勝!

I had a month to prepare for this year’s (every year’s!) main objective, Tokyo~Itoigawa I don’t have much chance to do the big rides that many do in preparation for this. Just one go at the じょんのび 200 km course. I was happy to break last year’s record for this course, which gave me confidence going into the race. The race itself was unusual as I was in a group from the start. I had to keep an eye on a few guys and control the race a bit. Once I broke free on Fujimi Pass, it was a solo TT to the finish and win number 4….

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次は栂池。今年からTTがなくなって残念でした。そんなにグレートな走りじゃなかったけど何とかクラス入賞しました。

Next up Tsugaike Disappointed to see the race + TT format had gone. No chance to ride with the big guns. A solid if not spectacular ride found me on the podium in my class.

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内灘は今年一年のなかでとてもいい思い出です。TTTではもっと良い勝負ができそうだと思うから来年も頑張りたいと思います。その次の日のレースもよかった。フラットコースで最初から最後までフロントで走りました。あと2キロアタックをやってみました。ダメだったけど走りはよかった。


Uchinada was one of the highlights of the year for me. The TTT didn’t quite go as planned. I’d like to have another go at this next year. I was surprised I felt so good in the road race. In the action from the start. An attack with 2km to go didn’t work but I had no regrets about having a go.

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3週間後の乗鞍の前に調子が悪くなりました。何だか疲れました。休養が必要?調子が上がらなかった。。。

Just 3 weeks later at Norikura I seemed to have lost this form. Tired on the bike. In need of a rest. I’d had good performances in this race twice before. Just couldn’t get going this time….

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Summer break

今年のプランでは5月と秋の二回にピークをもってくるというものでした。夏休み、イギリスで長いバカンスをしました。ランニングしたりMTBしたり、ロードバイクは1ヶ月位休みました。

The plan for this year was two peaks, one in May, a long summer holiday, and another peak in the autumn. This year we spent longer than usual in the UK. A full month off the road bike. I kept basic fitness by running and mountain biking, which I really enjoyed.

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New desire

日本にニューモチベーションとニューバイクを持って帰ってきました。エノサンがバイクフイットをしてくれました。リーチを短くして、サドルハイトを高くして、ぜんぜん違うポジションです。バイクもポジションもいい感じじょんのび。

I came back to Japan fresh, with new motivation and a new bike. Enosan set me up on the new bike using “Bike fit”. A big change in position with a shorter reach and a higher saddle height. The new bike / position combination felt good.

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2週間後に十日町ヒルクライムに参加しました。あまり急じゃない短いコースでした。走り方はよかった。最後に村山さんのパワーをみました。チャンピオンクラスで3位でした。


次は同じシリーズの喜多方ヒルクライムでした。また短いコースで、またチャンピオンの3位でした。よかった。

Just two weeks later and I was on the start line for September’s Tokamachi HC A short course, not too steep, quite suited to me. I was happy with my performance. Murayama san showed his class at the end with a turn in speed. 3rd in the Champion’s class.

The second of these races was the Kitakata HC. Another short one. 3rd again in the Champions’ class.

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さあー、秋はシーズンハイライトナンバー2でした。4週間中にロードレースX3。
群馬CSCで一人で逃げて、ブレークで走って、嬉しかったです。最後までついて行けなかったのは残念でした。でも走り方はよかったです。

Next up, the second highlight of the season, 3 back to back road races. At Gunma CSC I was like a mad man in a solo break and kept it going in a small breakaway group. I ran out of juice in the end but was happy with my riding.

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次の週末はジャパンカップでした。去年と同じくずっと第二集団で走りました。レベルが高いのでいつもエキサイテイングです。

The Japan Cup is a challenge just to finish. Just like last year I ended up in the second group on the road. The lead group slipping away… Still a decent level of racing and I enjoyed the thrill of it all.

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そして最後の関東ロードレース。今年は新潟でやりました。最初から最後まで頑張って走りました。逃げられれば良かったけど、走り方はよかったと思います。

The season’s closer, the Kanto Road Race, this year in Niigata. I rode an aggressive race. Should have made the break but anyone can say “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” so I’ll just be happy that I rode on the front from start to finish.

楽しいレーシングシーズンでした。2012を楽しみにしています。来年は東京-糸魚川で8時間半をきりますよ!

A fun filled racing reason for sure. Winning Tokyo~Itoigawa was the highlight but to come back strong this autumn was satisfying too.

Really looking forward to 2012.

I WILL BREAK 8h 30 FOR Tokyo~Itoigawa!

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I'm lucky to have friends to help me.

Firstly Ludwig, with medical concerns of his own, arranged to have a second opinion of my medical data. The diagnosis is similar to what I received yesterday. Lots of advice for treatment and recovery too. I've only met Ludwig a couple of times at the Tokyo-Itoigawa start line, so I am really grateful. I hope to show him some of the best of Niigata's cycling when we are both biking again...

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Secondly the staff at Niigata National Hospital. I teach English to the staff here and help out with preparing papers in English. In return I got the red carpet treatment today. I don't know why I didn't go here first. Dr Nakajima wanted to rule out the possibility of iliopsoas muscle infection. He gave me a physical examination and arranged blood tests and a CT SCAN.

The CT scan showed no inflammation of the muscle. The white blood cell count was also back in the normal range. The only abnormality was the CRP value which indicates inflammation. The value is not too high so the plain CT scan may not see this slight inflammation in the muscle. After consultation with the radiologist, a Diffusion CT SCAN may be the next step. If inflammation is found, antibiotics may be necessary.

Dr. Nakajima also arranged another meeting with specialists on Wednesday and Friday.

All this with a smile and in his usual perfect English.

As a side note, I noticed my haemocrit level was 40.7 (40-50% acceptable range). Maybe I should think about resting at altitude...

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MRI analysis allows images the body to be examined three dimensionally. Snapshots can be taken at any given point and in any cross-sectional plain. White areas around the left hip joint indicate the presence of water in the joint area.

To quote the big man, this one’s from the hip, or so I have been told

Went for an MRI scan this afternoon. What an experience that was! I was worried about claustrophobia. But it was the pain. Pain in my leg. Straightened out and weighed down. It felt like it had been twisted upside down. Forty five minutes of pure pain. The sound of the machine is unbelievable. Even with headphones on. Like Daft Punks’ Robot Rock mixed with Kraftwerk’s The Robot Distorted. All knobs turned up to 11. I could only feel the pain in my leg. My heart banging against my ribs. The sweat running all over…

I got the data and took it back to show the doctor.

He thinks there is some water in the left hip joint. It shows up as white on the MRI images.

He says this is why I don't have much control over movement. Also the pressure on the thigh muscle causes pain.

He says that the water may come from:

1. injury
2. too much exercise
3. infection

Maybe no.2 is the case, but I asked for a blood and urine test just to be sure. (a blood test I had in August showed a high concentration of white blood cells).

If this is an accurate diagnosis, I am really happy. I was expecting surgery (some titanium hips to match my titanium bike) and a long period of rehabilitation.

I need to rest up. Rest up well. I have some painkillers and some medication to help with removing the water. Hopefully movement will come back gradually and the pain will ease away.

There is still the issue of worn hip joints that I will have to deal with at some point.

I’m grateful to Ludwig for arranging a second opinion of the data. I am also grateful to my friend Takashi Nakajima, Deputy Director of Niigata National Hospital, for looking over the data too.

I was expecting worse... Hopefully I'll get off lightly...Maybe it's not over yet...

Oh yeah, and before you ask, yes it was cold in the MRI tube!!!

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Spine viewed from the side. There is a crack in the lowest bone. This often arises in kids who do lots of sport as a kid as the bone is still developing. Common in Japan with the intensity of "bukatsu" maybe, but my sporting youth was not too hard.

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The hips viewed from the front. The right one (left side on the picture) has more wear. The doctor is surprised I have no issue with this. The left one is also worn and has some calcium deposits which medicine I'm taking should help to remove.

Shinobu says I've transformed from a bike geek to a medical geek overnight! The timing of my injury couldn't be better, right at the end of the season. I just hope we can get it sorted.

I went to see the doctor for more consultation this morning. Looking at the symptoms, we are thinking it may be a hip issue:

symptoms

pain down the leg
モモから膝まで痛い

挫骨神経?

can raise the foot behind the knee

can't raise the left knee up (quadriceps won't contract)
立った状態で膝を曲げてかかとを後ろに上げられるがモモを上げられない

difficult to straighten the left leg after standing from sitting
椅子、床に座った状態から立ち上がると左足を伸ばせない

when standing still, left leg feels longer and bends / when the left leg is straight, the right foot is off the ground
立った時に左足が長く感じる、左足で立つと右足が浮く

no pain when sitting or standing still
座っているとき、立っているときには痛みない

difficult to straighten left leg when lying down
横になったときに痛くて左足を伸ばせない

painful to sleep on back or right side
仰向け、右を下にして寝るとモモから膝まで痛い

can sleep on left side with knee bent at 90 degrees and cushions between legs
左を下にして膝を曲げてクッションを挟んで寝ている
no pain in leg muscles to touch
触っても痛くない

some pain in lower back but most pain in leg when moving
動いた時に腰に少し痛みがあるが脚がとても痛い

painkillers make it easier to walk but the limited mobility of the leg is the same
痛み止めで痛みがない状態でも筋肉は動かない、運動神経のもんだい?




I'll go for an MRI scan this afternoon. For someone who's a bit scared of going in the elevator, 30 minutes in an MRI machine should be fun! Shinobu has done this twice. "Whatever you do, don't open your eyes!" is her advice. I'm going to take Guy Clark's The Dark with me. Hopefully they'll let me play it.....


Fingers crossed, the MRI will help us get to the bottom of the problem.

xray.jpgYesterdays pain only got worse. I could barely walk this morning.

I went to see a different doctor today and had some xrays taken. It seems I have a stress fracture in my lowest vertebrae. He thinks this is from childhood. Most people can lead a normal life with this condition but prolonged time in same position, like operating machinery or I guess cycling, can cause irritation and pain to spread via nerves.

He and I are more concerned about my hip joints. The right ball joint is quite worn. Perhaps a hip job will be necessary later? The left also has some wear and some calcium build up.

I got some medicine for the pain and for the calcium. 3 days of rest. If the pain doesn't subside by Monday, its time for an MRI scan...

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I woke up in the middle of the night to a sharp pain in the inside of my left groin, making it difficult to sleep. Through the day at work the pain spread down the inside of my thigh. Across the front of the thigh. And down to the knee.

No pain when still but simple acts like stairs or getting into the car become painful. I couldn’t raise my left knee at all.

I thought that it was maybe some strained muscle from playing football yesterday. But the muscle wasn’t tender to touch. So I decided to see the local chiropractor.

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After I told him the symptoms, he seemed sure of what it was straight away. A trapped nerve in the lower back. Sure enough, when he examined me, the left side of my lower back was sore to touch.

The sciata nerve has its root in the spine. This is the longest nerve in the body. Stretching right down to the foot. The pain comes from the spinal chord but is felt along the course of the nerve. The pain in the leg or foot is often worse than in the back.

The chiropractor thinks the root of the nerve has been trapped due to stretching or bending down on the bike for long periods, causing the bones in the spine to squash together, irritating the nerve root.

Today I had some electronic impulse therapy. Followed by a light massage. Followed by a back stretching machine. (All for 600 yen!)

The painful symptoms still remain though. I’ll go back to the chiropractor again tomorrow. And also try some light stretching and of course rest. If there are no problems, hopefully the pain will go away in a few days.

Looks like a weekend of beer and onsen!

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Rode the bike home from work tonight. Feels great under stars and a full moon. Not a big fan of night riding though. Back home. Only 15 minutes on the clock. Pull the rollers out. Set up in the street. Going in minutes.

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Turn Doves up loud. Great training music. Words? There goes the fear? Satellites? Pounding? Fantastic!

No light except passing headlights to keep an eye on the computer. Around 150 HR for 40 minutes. Cold under the clear skies when you stop. No time to waste. Jump in the bath with the kids...

Thursday's training:

1.Bike to work (20 km)

2. Rollers: ride to the music ~ Doves' Last Broadcast (150 HR x 40 mins)

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There is going to be less and less chance to ride as the weather worsens and the days get shorter. If you have a chance to ride outdoors, you have to take it. Keep on moving, don't stop, no .....

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A mixed bag of weather today. I was caught in the rain a couple of times. I need to dig deeper into the winter wardrobe. Winter jacket. Winter gloves. Tights.

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An Ishikawa Pass ~ Tajima Pass loop. Lots of leaves on Ishikawa Pass. Need to take care. Best not to descend on this one. Lock onto 150 HR for the climb. Enjoy the views. Winter training.

Tajima Pass sees the odd car so it's safer to descend. Heavy rain at the top though. Cold fingers squeeze the brakes gently....

Wednesday’s training: Ishikawa Pass / Tajima Pass loop (55 km, 400 m climbing)

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The weather changed in the last few days. Much more like November now

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Rain on and off throughout the night. First thing I do when I get up is check the sky. Inland and above the hills it’s dark and threatening. Over the sea, the clouds seem to be making way for blue skies.

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Working up the coast today, so a chance to ride. The fact that the sky is clearing from the sea means the wind will be strong and cold. The coast road is dry though. Wrap up well. Enjoy the sunshine breaking through. Nice just to ride for riding’s sake.

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Up the coast and down the coast it feels like a headwind both ways. That's November for you.

Get caught in rain on the way home. Makes a beer in the bath feel like heaven.

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Tuesday’s training: bike – coast road (70 km, 200 m climbing, 30 kmph)

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Sunday's race was the last of the season. It always feels like a void has been created. Nothing to focus on. Nothing to train for. Nothing to peak for. Nothing to rest for.

However, it's time to step back, refresh, recharge, restart.

I love winter training. Here's what I'm looking at:

Basic fitness:

  • road riding
  • hiking
  • snow shoeing
  • jogging
  • football

Strength:

  • weight training

Medium intensity:

  • rollers
  • shuttle running

I jumped on the rollers tonight. More out of habit than anything else. No point doing high intensity stuff though. Intervals in November won't pay off next April. Medium intensity. 150 HR. Staple winter training.

The average speed for the session was 56 kmph. This would have been something like 50 kmph in January. No point trying to hold this top end fitness though. Let it slip away. Build the body stronger over the winter. Build the top end fitness in the spring...

Monday's training: rollers ride to the music - LCD Soundsystem's 45:33
Warm up 10 mins
150 HR keep 30 mins

Total: 40 mins (38 km, 56 kmph)

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Today I went to the Kanto Road Race. A flat course, 14 laps of a 5.5km loop, 77 km in total.

I say flat but it's a slight incline up the valley, cross the river and slight decline down the other side. The weather was rain, heavy at times, so the corners were dangerous.

The men's race and high school race were grouped together meaning 130+ riders started together.

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Before the race I chatted with guys from local Niigata teams, Chojin Club, F(t) Racing and Team Fins. I made a plan with Vamos san to break away together. We tried didn't we!

As a warm up I used the rollers:

140HR X7 mins
150HR X7mins
160HR X7 mins
140-170HR criss cross X2

At the start line I decided to ditch the arm warmers and undershirt. No turning back now! Honki mode!

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From the race start to the race finish I rode as aggressively as possible. Attack. Attack. Attack. I got a gap a few times but just couldn't seem to instigate a decent break away.

The break that did get away kept a gap on the main group of 40 to 60 seconds all the way. Again I tried to get something going to close the gap, but it wasn't to be...

While thinking "this is the last lap, of the last race this year", I buried myself with a long pull at the front of the group ala Jens Voigt on the final lap...Last AJ...

It was a real fun race to end the year on. Let's do our best next year too!

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関東ロードレースに行ってきました。フラットコース、一周5.5キロX14、77キロのレースでした。

フラットと言うけどビミョーに登って、川を渡って、ビミョーに下って、川を渡るというコースでした。雨だったのでコーナーは注意ポイントでした。

一般男子と高校生と130+選手は同時にスタートでした。

レースの前に新潟県にあるチーム、超人クラブ、F(t)Racing、チームフィンズでと相談しました。超人クラブのVamosさんと二人で逃げることに決めました。やってみましたね!

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アップはローラーで:

140HR X7分
150HR X7分
160HR X7分
140-170HR criss cross X2

スタートラインでARM WARMERとUNDER SHIRTを脱いで、ホンキモード!

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最初から最後までアグレッシブに走ってみました。アタック。アタック。アタック。ギャップが何回もできたけど、上手く逃げられなかった。

逃げ集団は僕らの集団から40秒-60秒のギャップをキープしていました…追いつこうとしましたが…ダメだ…

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"今年のラストレースのラストラップだ"と考えながら、ラスト一周長く引いて、ラストAJ。。。

とても楽しいレースでした。来年もがんばりましょう!

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Photos: THANK YOU!

Blogs:

Nyo san

Vamos san

Tazaki san

Kenta san

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pizza party

We wanna get loaded and have a good time! Carbo-loading is what they call it. Before a road race you often hear cyclists talking about it.

As a vegetarian and a big fan of Italian food and beer, I'm pretty much loaded all the time. Before and after a race my diet doesn't really change. Just eat more!

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DZ - Tour de France on a vegan diet

Speaking of vegetarians, I was really pleased to read that David Zabriskie completed this year's Tour de France on a vegan diet. Good on ya!

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the bikes are packed, ready to roll...

Resisted the urge to do asaren this morning. Want to be firing on all cylinders tomorrow. Forecast says rain. Bring it on!

Saturday's training: rest day

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Futsukayoi! Hangover! It’s been a while!

Woke up with heavy legs yesterday. Decided on a rest day. Onsen and beer is always a good combination. Too much beer though. And I paid the price this morning….

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Sometimes riding is the best hangover cure. Clear the head. Get the blood pumping. Sweat the alcohol out. Always feel better after a ride….

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A Takayanagi loop. With the wind on my back, the climbing is easy. Chance to use a heavier gear. Enjoy the climbs.

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The return leg is a strong headwind from Ishikawa dam. Get down low. TT mode. A 30 km TT.

The new position on the bike means it's easy to hold an aerodynamic position. Hands in the drops. Or forearms on the bars. 150+ HR. 90+ cadence. 38,39,40 kmph.

That's the kind of effort I want to make in Sunday's road race. GANBARIMASU!

Friday’s training: (75 km, 450 m climbing, 33 kmph)

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Glorious weather today. Perfect autumn weather. The mornings are cold but warm up quickly. Take off the gillette. Enjoy the breeze.

Working in Takayanagi today. What could be better? Three climbs of Isonobe. One at 170HR. One set of intervals. One more at 170 HR. An Isonobe sandwich.

Riding up the valley there is a strong head wind. A chance to test the legs. See how the heart reacts. A new backpack is more comfortable. Less strain on the back. At the foot of Isonobe in less than 45 minutes.

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Climb number 1. Ditch the bag. Off with the glasses. Roll down the arm warmers. Unzip the shirt. First climb plan? A 170 HR lactate threshold climb. The heart rate responds quickly. Mid 160s by the first hairpin. Up to 175 HR on the steepest sections. Hold back a little. HR drops quickly on the easier sections. Push a little harder. Beautiful autumn colours and clear views at the top. Perfect reward.

Climb number 2. Intervals this time. 40 seconds hard / 80 seconds easy. Hard interval out of the saddle. Legs screaming to sit down. Heart rate kissing 180.

Climb number 3. 170 HR again. Harder than the first one but the heart rate still responds well. Interestingly, all 3 climbs take about 18:40. Not bad at all....

Wednesday’s training: Isonobe x 3 (90 km, 1400 m climbing)

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One last race next Sunday. Kanto Road Race. 80 km. Pancake flat.

I’m confident I can ride fast on the flat. Confident I can ride the distance. Confident I can follow wheels. Just need a good game plan. The racing game.

As for training, variety is the key to a good training plan. Cover all the bases. Make yourself a well rounded cyclist. Mix hard rides and easy rides, rest and recovery.

This is I how I’m planning to lead into Sunday’s race:

The essential mix:

Monday: rollers – intervals and leg speed

Tuesday: flats – recovery ride

Wednesday: Isonobe x 2 – 170 HR, intervals?

Thursday: asaren or motorpacing (Shinobu yoroshiku!)

Friday: rest

Saturday: rest OR easy ride

Sunday: RACE

Tuesday’s training: recovery spin ~ Nota ~ Betsumata loop (33 km, 160 m climbing)

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