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Old 03-16-09, 07:45 AM   #1
spessx
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What would you do if you couldn't race?

Hey guys,

I'm 37 and have been into bikes all my life. BMX, MTB, Road and of course training and racing the last few years. I developed some hamstring/back pain late last season that has only gotten worse even though I've been doing PT and working with a doc. The diagnosis is a Spondylolysis of my L5 vertebrae. Basically, my L5 has got two cracks in it which is causing an instability in my back. I'm in a back brace currently trying to get the fissures to heal and the next step would be a spinal fusion. Either way, its looking like I'm not going to be able to race anymore. So, I guess my dilemma is what the hell do I do now? What would you do if you couldn't race anymore?

-s
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Old 03-16-09, 07:46 AM   #2
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I'd go hiking.
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Old 03-16-09, 07:48 AM   #3
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Golf
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Old 03-16-09, 07:59 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses....

Golf is right out because of the active twisting of the spine. Hiking doesn't sound too bad although it's more of an activity than a sport.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:00 AM   #5
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It depends on why you like competition. If it's for the sake of competing, you might be able to swim or even auto racing, While you don't get the adrenaline rush, golf is competition. However if you just like being outdoors for exercise, hiking or just fast walking might be what you need.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:00 AM   #6
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Come hiking with me. I'll make you cry.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:10 AM   #7
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weird. the ad showing up next to your post is for the laser spine institute's minimally invasive spinal stenosis procedure.

to clarify, are recumbents an option?
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Old 03-16-09, 08:17 AM   #8
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I enjoy the training required and the over the threshold efforts. I also like the wheel to wheel racing and being in great shape. I've got an S2000 that I've done a number of track events with but don't enjoy that nearly as much as bicycle racing.

I can't bring myself to ride a recumbent yet. Besides I don't know of any local racing that goes on with recumbents. They seem to be more for the "Old hippie who dresses like Gallager with a fanny pack" crowd.

-s

Last edited by spessx; 03-16-09 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:35 AM   #9
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Coaching, woodworking, coding...

Sorry to hear about the injury. Huge frustration there, but you're doing the right thing trying to replace the addiction with another healthy addiction.
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Old 03-16-09, 08:46 AM   #10
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My other toy-intensive sport is scuba.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:05 AM   #11
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Fly-fishing is not a horrible obsession to have.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:23 AM   #12
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I'd officiate.

That's what I turned to when I couldn't play lacrosse anymore.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:24 AM   #13
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I like everything about fly fishing except cold water and tying knots.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:27 AM   #14
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Restore an old car, travel, get my pilots license, have friends over more often, take cooking lessons from great chefs, learn several languages, get my golf handicap back down to scratch, volunteer time at the homeless shelter... I can come up with things all day long.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:27 AM   #15
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I like everything about fly fishing except cold water and tying knots.
Well then...

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Old 03-16-09, 09:42 AM   #16
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I'd go hiking.
+1

Hiking gets you out in queit places, challenges your abilites and the people you meet are a little more low key than the master's group at any bike race.
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Old 03-16-09, 11:16 AM   #17
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I'd go back to motorcycling, competing in observed trials. Obviously not an option for someone with back problems as it involves a lot of falling down and picking up motorcycles. Low speed falls and light motorcycles, but that would still be a problem.

Besides that, any other form of motorcycling, building/rebuilding motorcycles, farming, spending time with my wife.


But to be honest, I'd work very hard to come back to cycling. I need a lot of exercise to be happy and I am really enjoying cycling at the moment, even though I am cat 4 pack fodder for most races. Doesn't Lance have a bunch of fused vertebrae in his back?
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Old 03-16-09, 11:23 AM   #18
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Coach.
Start a junior development team.

Officiating can be very frustrating for ex-racers.

Motorcycling can give a lot of the same experiences: danger, speed, cornering, cool toys, and a sore butt, to name a few.
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Old 03-16-09, 11:49 AM   #19
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That sucks man hopefully you wil end up being able to race again. If I could race I guess I'd get back into professional photography, or I'd just go for ultra long distance riding.
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Old 03-16-09, 12:26 PM   #20
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My alternates would be (or are) fly fishing, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing.

If you are looking for something competitive and somewhere to spend your money - how about motorcycle racing or sailing.

Oh, or you could sire some children - that would fill your time and empty your bank account as well.

I hope you heal up so you can ride again.
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Old 03-16-09, 12:54 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by spessx View Post
Hey guys,

The diagnosis is a Spondylolysis of my L5 vertebrae. Either way, its looking like I'm not going to be able to race anymore. So, I guess my dilemma is what the hell do I do now? What would you do if you couldn't race anymore?

-s
Wait until you figure out how therapy/surgery works before throwing in the towel. I too have Spondylolysis but no cracks. I'm 48. I finally figured out what was wrong with my back just about your age. In addition, I was over-weight and out-of-shape. I lost some weight and exercised...lots of situps (remember my condition is different than yours). My kid started BMX Racing and instead of sitting around the track, I also took up racing (at 40). Then moved to road biking in 2006. I'm 40lbs lighter now. The condition I have is funny in that when I'm in the drops, I have less pain. The reason for my story...I was told that sports are out but then saw another Dr. He gave me options...don't give up and seek other opinions. Good luck.
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Old 03-16-09, 03:21 PM   #22
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RJB,

I appreciate your response. I'm curious though how you have Spondylolysis but no cracks? That's the definition - 'Spondylo' means 'spine'. Lysis means to be divided, or more simply, a hole or fracture of sorts. Do you meant that there was no actual separation or slip in the vertebrae? Did you end up getting surgery?

Thanks a mil

-s
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Old 03-16-09, 04:00 PM   #23
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Hey guys,

I'm 37 and have been into bikes all my life. BMX, MTB, Road and of course training and racing the last few years. I developed some hamstring/back pain late last season that has only gotten worse even though I've been doing PT and working with a doc. The diagnosis is a Spondylolysis of my L5 vertebrae. Basically, my L5 has got two cracks in it which is causing an instability in my back. I'm in a back brace currently trying to get the fissures to heal and the next step would be a spinal fusion. Either way, its looking like I'm not going to be able to race anymore. So, I guess my dilemma is what the hell do I do now? What would you do if you couldn't race anymore?

-s

Not sure why you wont be able to race anymore. I have the exact same thing, have for over 20 years. There is also some guy name Lance that is also sporting the same thing. The key thing is core strength and flexability, the latter becomes more challenging. Of course it depends on the grade of the injury. Took me about 6 months to get stong enough to return to my normal activities.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:05 PM   #24
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RJB,

I appreciate your response. I'm curious though how you have Spondylolysis but no cracks? That's the definition - 'Spondylo' means 'spine'. Lysis means to be divided, or more simply, a hole or fracture of sorts. Do you meant that there was no actual separation or slip in the vertebrae? Did you end up getting surgery?

Thanks a mil

-s
Actually with mine the bone is missing between my L4 and L5. Its a soft flexable bone that runs up the inside of the spine. Its there to stabilize the spine. Now your body will rely on the muscles. Most of the time the vertebrae will slip forward in my case.
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Old 03-16-09, 06:03 PM   #25
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I'd probably continue to ride and train for longer centuries/double centuries/brevets/etc., but since that option might be out...

I'd probably concentrate more on my drumming, my bowling (I don't think a lot of spine movement is required for this; if you're moving your back much, then you're doing it wrong), and I'd definitely find another activity that I'd enjoy that will keep me in great shape. Yoga might do it; maybe even hiking.
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