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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-16-09, 02:30 PM   #1
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Lower back pain, should I give myself a rest or ride?

I may have been overdoing it. Last month I logged 500 miles, I typically ride 30 to 40 miles every second or third days. I've always had some lower back pain, but the pain would not last more than 48 hours. Recently I've been able to stay on the drops about 60 to 70% of the ride and I've increased my cadence from 75 to 90 rpm. Speeds are up from 15 mph to 18 mph average, according to my computer.

Now Iím waking up every day to minor back pain.

I canít decide if this is normal ďno-pain-no-gainĒ or something that I need to resolve. I've given myself a rest for the last 6 days, but still have constant pain. I'm playing around with the bike fit and plan on staying off the drops on my next set of rides.

Should I ride or rest?
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Old 05-16-09, 03:09 PM   #2
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Each person is different. I would spend the money on a professional bike fit. If I stay in the drops a lot, I have lower back pain, but I have also learned to stretch a lot more and how to stretch properly. I also know my core strength is not as good as it was last summer.

I usually ride the pain away, but there are rare times that I don't do something because of back pain.
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Old 05-16-09, 03:20 PM   #3
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Tylenol before and after every ride should help.

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Old 05-16-09, 03:29 PM   #4
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mustache handle bars, streching and alleve
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Old 05-16-09, 03:29 PM   #5
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move from the drops to the hoods periodically.
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Old 05-16-09, 03:42 PM   #6
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You need to find the cause, or causes.

There are a number of potential culprits.

1) age happens, google Raise Dat Stem

2) core strength, are you doing anything to strengthen your core? Cycling builds muscles that can cause low back pain.

3) flexibility, are you stretching?

4) analysis, see a sport Doc, preferably one with experience with cyclists.
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Old 05-16-09, 03:58 PM   #7
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Why are you in your drops so much? I only spend that amount of time in my drops when racing. Never when training or just riding.
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Old 05-16-09, 04:02 PM   #8
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Why are you in your drops so much? I only spend that amount of time in my drops when racing. Never when training or just riding.

That has been my mistake. I was on the drops 1) when dealing with headwinds and 2) because my hands are more comfortable on the drops and less comfortable on the hoods. I've changed gloves and rotated the bar to bring the hoods up & back. I'm planning on staying off the drops, as you suggest.

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Old 05-16-09, 04:32 PM   #9
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I can't imagine being in the drops for that long, yes it has advantages but not in long run. Although I must admit I may spend to much time on hoods.
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Old 05-16-09, 05:50 PM   #10
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At 6'3", being in the drops makes a good difference in wind reduction, so I try to spend more time down there.

Stretching and core work does make a difference.
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Old 05-16-09, 05:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by flip18436572 View Post
At 6'3", being in the drops makes a good difference in wind reduction, so I try to spend more time down there.

Stretching and core work does make a difference.
I'm 6 feet even, and like the drops. However, I don't like setbacks. Any online guides to stretching?
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Old 05-16-09, 07:13 PM   #12
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Look at some Yoga clips from googling it. I think there are mulitple places that have good video, but I no longer have the links in my favorites. I have really worked hard on stretching my ham strings and that has made a world of difference for me.
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Old 05-16-09, 08:18 PM   #13
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Try some aerobars. They let you put weight on your elbows, and your back relax. Very nice for slicing through nasty headwinds.
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Old 05-16-09, 09:22 PM   #14
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Ouch. That sounds painful.

My suggestions, based on dealing with upper back pain from my scoliosis:

1. Stretching. Yes, do core work, but pay attention to hamstrings. The hamstrings in cyclists tend to be tight, which can lead to lower back pain.

2. Preload with Ibuprofen.

3. Get a bike fit.

4. Pay attention to proper posture on and off the bike. I don't know what structural problems you may or may not have, but if you have any, take care of time off the bike. I can tell when I'm riding if I've been spending too much time in a scoliotic slouch off the bike, simply based on how my back feels when riding.

5. If it's a muscle problem, a little rest will reduce the pain, although you will suffer some stiffness. If your problem is in a joint or bone, then you should see a medical professional.
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Old 05-17-09, 03:09 PM   #15
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Sounds like you have a lot going on barrettscv. Have you been riding all winter or within the last month or two? Without a picture its hard to get an idea a) what shape you are in? and b) your riding posture in both drops and hoods.

Usually typical muscle pain lasts for only a couple of days (DOMS), but with the lower back can last longer. Rest is usually the soundest advice along with light stretching at first working your way up to longer holds. Ice and compression can also be used depending on the severity along with things like tylenol or alleve (but don't use to long). Also core work and total body work may help. If you've been going hard you also might have CNS overload and need anywhere from a week to a month off, but that is usually built into periodization training.

My advice would be to rest and stretch. Also notice any little things like a slight lean or tilt to one side as this might be indicative of a muscle imbalance. Keeping your wallet or something in your back pocket and constantly sitting on it. See if your mattress is sagging or dipping and see if you can prop it back up.
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Old 05-17-09, 04:11 PM   #16
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Thanks for the good advice everyone. I rotated my handlebars so that the brifter are easier to reach. After a more relaxed 34 mile ride to day, I can report good news.


I stopped to stretch after 10 minutes of riding; I'll continue to do this.

I stayed on the hoods and off the drops. Had no pain from my hands due to full finger MTB gloves that take the load off of the web between my thumb and index finger. The hoods now feel much more comfortable and I felt I had better control, too.

I'm going to change my existing handlebars to an FSA "compact" type, and flip the stem in the up position.


I really pushed myself over the last 8 weeks. I rode very few miles from Thanksgiving to March, living in Chicago has its limits. I think my core strength will limit my performance more than leg strength or cardiovascular capacity. I should work on improving my flexibility and gradually increase core strength if I wish to ride as much as I have.

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Old 05-17-09, 10:33 PM   #17
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i suffer alot from lower back pain. it was ever since a MTB crash. but some days its like my back is on fire. its not all the time. so i will take some motrin and take a couple of days off and get back on the saddle just as hard as before.

as for causes. it could be your fit. i know if i dont warm up correctly (for me) then spend too much time in the drops too early then i might be in a world of pain. but there are times when i put big efforts in and ill have some lower back discomfort. those pains disappear by the next morning. if i have pain for multiple days then its time for rest.
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Old 05-17-09, 10:40 PM   #18
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yoga, massage???
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Old 05-18-09, 01:03 PM   #19
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http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx...6099&PageNum=1

Someone on here gave me that link for some decent stretching info, it even has pictures too!

I just scheduled a fit because I can't get my new bike to a point where I don't have foot and wrist pain and numbness every ride. I am luckily not having major back issues and thats great because with damaged discs in my neck and lower back I thought it could be a major obstacle. I hope it helps. I can ride twice as far on my comfort bike as I can on my new expensive road bike right now and that doesn't bode well for my planned 3 x centuries and 2100 total mile goals for the year.

Glad to hear you are getting some relief.

Happy riding!
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Old 05-18-09, 01:30 PM   #20
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Thanks woodie
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Old 05-18-09, 01:34 PM   #21
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No problem. Just because I'm a Red Wings fan doesn't mean I can't help out a windy city rider.
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