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Old 09-21-01, 01:21 AM   #1
cyclezealot
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What do you feel like after touring 8-hour days for 6 days?

Had a great tour. In saddle 8 hour days for 6 days. Non supported tour. Aches. In the rear. Could it be hours in saddle,or washing cycle clothing? Maybe sometimes put them on a little wet and let dry in saddle. Staying in tent at night -do not have modern conveniences of home.
Other noticeable ache. Hands. Numbness in hands,particularily left hand. Difficulte for awhile completing functions like writing, tieing shoes. Think this in normal.?
Other than that. Feeling after all those days, seeing great scenery- estatic.
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Old 09-21-01, 01:49 AM   #2
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We tend to limit our cycling to say 4-5 hours a day so rest of time is sight seeing.

Always get a wee tingle in the left hand, but as we stop often for drinks and cake, the bahookie doesn't get sore.
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Old 09-21-01, 09:12 AM   #3
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If you think that 8 hours a day, 6 days a week was bad, you should consider early bike races. The book Bike Cult describes some early bicyle races (late 19th century or early 20th century?) done on an indoor track. Racers tried to do the most laps they could for up to 20 hours a day for 6 days. If the book is describing these races accurately, it must have been fairly brutal on the body -- possibly even more brutal than the bare-fisted boxing events from the early days of boxing.

This type of racing didn't last long. They soon modified this race so that they racing was done in a tag team fashion, so that one team member would rest while the other team member would race. And the idea of the 20 hour racing days didn't last too long.
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Old 09-21-01, 11:20 AM   #4
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Guess, my question is, After a week in the saddle is numb hands normal.? Try changing seat/ hand positions. Normal rides I am very comfortable in the drops. How long does your hands feel numb afterwards.? Use gel gloves. But otherwise energy level never been better.
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Old 09-21-01, 12:52 PM   #5
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If I am reading your post correctly, the numbness lasts long after the ride is over? As far as normality, I can only offer my own experience on 7-day tours, where numbness never lasted longer than a minute after getting off the bike. But it sounds like you tried all the right stuff: changing positions, using gloves, etc., so I can't think of any suggestions off the top of my head except to ask how straight or locked your elbows were. I'm sure many of the other folks here will be along soon and present more useful info.
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Old 09-21-01, 01:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by cyclezealot
Guess, my question is, After a week in the saddle is numb hands normal.?
Numb hands are related to carpal tunnel problems. This doesn't mean that having numb hands after a ride means you'll get carpal tunnel syndrome, but you should pay attention to your body's signals. On many bikes, one ends up putting quite a bit of weight on one's hands and wrists. Even if your energy levels are great, you may want to break up your riding a bit more so that you have less time spent with weight on your hands and wrists.

My left hand used to get quite numb after 60+ miles in one day. However, I find that my enjoyment decreases after a certain amount of miles in one day. For example, if I cycle 30-50 miles in one day, I have time to get off my bike and explore whatever looks interesting. This exploring is part of what makes cycling fun for me, but your mileage may vary....
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Old 09-21-01, 04:24 PM   #7
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Vicious cycle. It is not that the numb hands are awful. Never noticed them on 70-90 mile rides. Often I will ride 4 days out of 7. Maybe then a 200 mile week. Can't say then, noticed numb hands for any consideralble time.
Wonder if to take weight off hands, could a solution be to elevate/lower handlebars.?
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Old 09-21-01, 08:36 PM   #8
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cyclezealot -- well, if it doesn't feel bad, then that's good. (I find it somewhat unpleasant when my hand goes numb.)

On an upright bike, the more you lean forward, the less your weight is over your butt and the more it's on your hands. So yes, adjusting the handlebar height (as well as seat height) may help out.

(And of course, there are recumbants where one places virtually no weight onto their hands at all. Which is why some recumbant riders will ride one century in the morning and another century in the afternoon and not have sore hands at all.)
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Old 09-21-01, 09:20 PM   #9
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Congrats on your tour!

I had a really bad case of numb hands after my first tour. Took a long time to go away, and then one day I noticed it was gone. It scared the crap out of me though.

I've since shortened my touring days and scheduled rest days and changed my handlebars so I had more hand positions. The main key though is to take breaks throughout the ride. Don't "ride through" numbness; take a break.
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Old 09-21-01, 10:56 PM   #10
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One factor I did not mention. During my tour on Big Sur we did like 11,000 ft. of climbing. That means easily 10 miles of steep decents on winding curves. I am a descent woss, especially on the sheer cliffs. Down minimum of 10 miles of constant braking on 8 % grades, that takes a toll on the hands. For awhile down the grades, felt I had not the strenghth to shift my big gear.
I hope it will never be necessary to lessen mileage. That is no way to get across North America. Meanwhile, toy with saddle/ handlebar height, should problem persist. And for now, hope bank recognizes my signature on my checks. Heah, touring is worth numb hands. It was great. Would not miss a minute, including fighting off racoons in the redwoods.
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Old 09-23-01, 09:31 PM   #11
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You don't necessarily need to lessen the mileage, just take more breaks. If you want to do 8 hours of riding, take a half hour break after 3 hours, and an hour break after the next three hours, or something like that. Besides, you'll make plenty of miles in the flatlands, especially if you're going west to east. Even if you make a point of taking your hands off the bar and giving them a shake every few miles it will help immensely.
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