Simon Usborne: 'Cyclists are prone to spend silly money on gear, but why bother when your legs are as supple as smoked hams?'
Saturday 24 July 2010
Until recently, my post-ride warm-downs involved only the muscles required to lift a massive wodge of cake towards my mouth. Stretching was perfunctory – the embrace of a sofa is far more appealing after eight hours in the saddle than lunges and quad extensions. But, as you may have read (I've banged on about it enough), I was shocked out of my slipshod regime by last month's 1,000-mile Ride Across Britain, which left me with the knees of a pensioner and a five-week effort to get fit for the Etape du Tour, the amateur stage of the Tour de France.
I'll have completed the 112-mile ride in the Pyrenees by the time you read this (find out how I did on the blog), but not before a lot of painful prodding and manipulation at the hands of a lady called Fran.
I always thought sports physiotherapy was the preserve of the trained athlete, but you don't need to be a pro to walk into Balance Performance Physiotherapy in south London. Hauling my hobbling form in front of Graham, who co-founded Balance, felt like driving a beat-up banger into a Ferrari showroom, but he and Fran believe even occasional sportspeople should take more care of their bodies. Cyclists are prone to spend silly money on gear, but why bother when your legs are as supple as smoked hams?
Fran and, later, Graham quickly identified my problem. I ride with my thighs, or quadriceps, which sounds sensible, but power should come also from the core, hamstrings and, well, bum. By overloading my quads, I've been stressing out my knee caps, which should float freely in their joints. When they can't, it hurts.
The solution in my case: a bit of acupuncture (unpleasant), unsightly plasters to support the knee caps, exercises with a Swiss Ball, and Trigger Point Performance Therapy, a slightly torturous system of rollers and balls that simulates a sports massage.
It's all a major faff, of course, but after two weeks of treatment I could walk downstairs again and ditch the painkillers. I'm now back on my bike, where I hope my knees will hold out on the route from Pau to the summit of the fearsome Col du Tourmalet. There'll be cake eating afterwards, to be sure – but this time the legs will get some attention, too.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Global warming ‘will make our winters colder’
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
A good year for nature in Britain, despite the cold: After frostiest March for 50 years, summer gave rise to an explosion in wildlife
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Northern Lights in the UK: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...