Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Cycling in support of Limbs For Life
Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Saturday, May 15, 2010

and clawing at faces

Ahh and then comes the beast. A mole hill if yer moles are effin enormous. Just a dizzy headed, gut wrenching, knee splattering climb up Mt. Lemmon is all. Known as the island in the sky. 25 miles from the bottom to the Summerhaven community at the top. I like climbing hills but the loaded single speed threw something of a new monkey in the bath.
At the bottom I swore not to walk, any of it! We went to dinner! Him and I. This was my Island! My mole beast to tame! My afghan to knit!

I took a few breaks to stretch and massage the legs but I mowed it. I had to dig deep I had to forget what I was doing. I though of riders back in the early 1900's in the tour de france doing 300+ Km stages on fixed gears over the Alps on dirt roads. I also thought of a few years back when I did the Everest challenge. We climbed 28,000 in a two day stage race and it took every thing I had just to keep the bike moving forward. I did that I can do this. Stay in the saddle and you'll get there. Mostly I thought of Kelly and her wonderful smile as if they were waiting for me at the top. It all worked. One of the harder bits of cycling I have done in a while. 25 miles and 4000ft of elevation. I pulled it without ever shifting into the walking gear! I kinda just wanna go do it again now.
Word mashers note: this seems a bit dramatic now that I read it. But to my defence I'd ridden 68 miles up to the base of the climb.


  1. oh gosh! yer a sweet kid! way to go dudebrah

  2. how did you end up in uruguay.?

    i'm just jealous,
    (about all of it)
    (except the climbing the hill with out gears)

  3. Hi,

    I saw your blog and couldn't help but write. I noticed your comments about knee mashing, and as a physical therapist specializing in cycling knee injuries, I have to wonder if you are aware of the kinesiology and physiology principles of knee mechanics.

    Every pound of force pushed down on the pedal is going directly THROUGH the bearing surfaces of the knee. Even if your anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and muscles are in top form, overuse and excess force (pushing down while climbing) causes chondral injuries, LCL and MCL tears or fractures, patellar strain and subluxations.

    This is why cars have transmissions: too much force grinds and breaks the engine. You can replace that, but you can't really replace knees a 100%.

    The same is true for your knees on a bike. People get macho and say they are not going to shift going up a hill, and YES- it is possible and yes the old timers in the Tour De France did it- but look at the knee pain and knee injuries these fellas endured and suffered the rest of their lives? Many had to retire from riding altogether and hobbled around injured and in pain.

    In my humble opinion working with cyclists' knee injuries, the stress that will be put on the knee riding a single speed up a mountain over extended periods of time is placing unnecessary strain on a your highest weight bearing joints. I herald your accomplishment and what you are setting out to do as a personal goal- but sincerely hope that you are familiar with physiology and kinesiology enough to understand that your knees might be ok on this ride and for the next few years, but once they start going downhill- that's it for your knees. I see it time and time again in my work. Riders being macho for a long time, and then finally having knee replacement.

    It would be sad to have a bragging accomplishment, but have no knees to speak of. In general, I am sure you know that as long as you have 80-110 RPMs as a constant, your knees are safe. Especially uphill. As a physical therapist and cyclist myself, I sincerely hope you have thought this through. Good luck.

  4. In response to the above comment: He's a state cycling champion, won the race in CA equivalent to climbing mount everest with 15 minutes just waiting for guy number two at the top, and has the medal to prove it. I think he may have thought this through...oh, yeah, and this isn't his first time riding bikes.

  5. you tell em' viv'.


  6. viva,
    the tour de france guys were "champs" and "pros". they have "medals" and it wasn't their "first time" either.

    that doesn't mean they don't do damage... medals don't mean a person won't damage their body. that's all i'm saying. i work with national level athletes (several RAM winners (look it up)- and they time and time again injure their knees in feats of machoness.

  7. These RAM contests look pretty intense, this guy may have a point....

    RAM Contests

  8. Thanx for the concern over my knees and yes, you did catch me flashing my Conan suite a bit. Though actually I had no knee pain and think you took my examples a bit to serious (I'm pretty sarcastic you would find, if you bothered to read any previous posts). Scrolling back a bit you would have also found that I'm actually running a two gear option single speed with a low of 31/20. Absolutely nowhere near the monster gearing of the riders in the by-gone era. (My cadence tops out around 11 miles an hour if I ride this gear on the flats) Seeing that I'm running a low end gear like this would have told you that: Yes I put some thought into it and saved you writing that opus. You would have also seen that this is not my regular set up and just a small side trip. My full time touring bike is in fact a multi-speed with most of the gearing ratios on lower side. My comfortable RPM hovers generally in the 90's and I have worked quite hard to push my aerobic threshold in order to keep up such a cadence. As I read back over this post it does seem a bit Macho but in my defence I was just rather proud of myself. That said, It is My blog and if you don't like what you read I'm sure you can find an over weight joggers forum to write condescending comments on?