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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 05-19-14, 09:06 AM   #1
ufa
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Acceptable pain after Audax

Hello all,
what is the acceptable pain the day after Audax? What could be tiredness and what could be bike misfit?
I ask this because I have done a 300km Audax last Saturday, and on Sunday (day after) I had some neck, arm, thigh pain. Nothing that made me stay on bed, but I was definitely not new. Even today (Monday, 2 days after) I still feel little discomfort here and there.
I thought my bike fit me, but after 300km I am not sure.
Am I supposed to be total fine the day after? And 2 days after? What are your recovery experiences?

Last edited by ufa; 05-19-14 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 05-19-14, 09:55 AM   #2
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Everyone is different. The day after I expect to hurt. Not enough that I can't walk, but stairs are uncomfortable. I usually don't have neck or shoulder pain, but my wrists are sometimes a little sore. Sometimes the second day is worse than the first day after. It takes me a week to get back to feeling completely normal, whatever that is. I try to keep a good work load and my legs are often a little sore every day. There's a reason that clubs usually don't schedule brevets closer than 2 weeks apart.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:24 PM   #3
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...we'll, they don't usually schedule brevets closer than two weeks apart...

Devil's Week

Back on topic, there's a difference between soreness and pain. In my experience I expect to be sore, but if I'm in pain, I look to change something on my bike or clothing. I had a saddle which was good for 300km. Tried a 400 with it and it turned into an ass hatchet. True pain after that ride.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:47 PM   #4
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All I usually worry about is numbness. Core strength exercises will help with the neck and back pain. My shoulders are a little sore after the 400k I did this weekend, but nothing too far out of the ordinary -- in fact it might just be falling asleep on the couch.

If you feel discomfort on the bike, then you might want to look at fit. If it only happens afterwards, then work on core strength. Nothing too extreme, light weights and abdominal workouts mostly.
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Old 05-19-14, 05:56 PM   #5
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I did a 600k this weekend. Quads are a bit sore but not a big deal, similar to what CFboy said....can feel them climbing the stairs and told the Masseuse to go easy on them. Should ice them. I am more concerned with my numb toes. I think the shoes might be too narrow. I had thought the size 47 were too short although they felt great, so I bought the 48. Still numb. Not acceptable. Might be a width problem. Could be a pedal problem. Never had this problem in the past. Maybe I am too old. All of this is unacceptable.

One of the guys I rode the first 400k with said it takes him a full week to recover from a 600k and this guy does a ton of Brevets. It never used to take me more than 2-3 days to fully revoer. On day 2 after a long ride, I would do a recovery ride. We'll see now. Probably need several days off.

OP......seriously.....could be a fit problem if you really have bad upper back pain. Could be conditioning as it was in my case. I had really bad pain in my upper back early this year after a 200K. It lasted a few weeks and it hurt. I was not conditioned pure and simple and I am just starting to get into somewhat decent fitness. After the 60k, my upper back is fine....no issues at all. I was pretty sure I did my fitting properly when I built up the bike and just did not bother with taking the time and $250 for a fit. If you have the time and money, it might not be a bad idea to get an opinion on your fit.
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Old 05-19-14, 06:16 PM   #6
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I guess it depends partly on what kind of pain you're talking about. If it's joints or tendons, that's more likely to be bad; if it's just tired/sore muscles, well, you did just ride your bike for an ungodly long time.
I usually expect to be fully functional (i.e, able to get up on time, ride to work, and get things done) the day after anything up to 600k, although maybe a bit stiff and not entirely firing on all cylinders. I feel like recovery has gotten maybe a little easier over the years, as I've become more accustomed to it. The day after a 1000k or 1200k I can get stuff done if I really, really have to but I'd much rather spend it eating and lounging and avoiding stairs.
I do find that, while getting back on a bike may not be the first thing I necessarily want to do the next day, once I do get on and start pedaling it actually feels pretty good and I think it helps with recovery. Mostly what lingers is the lack of sleep, which does take several days to really catch up from, especially on rides that start in the wee hours so you're really losing almost two nights of sleep.

If I am in "pain" per se, it is something minor/superficial, like a bit of chafing or a blister, although there have been exceptions. One time I had really bad achilles tendon pain on a 1200k, and that took a week or two to go away. The first couple of times I rode more than 250 mi or so, I had some sort of tendon pain in my upper arms/shoulders. But whatever that was from, it went away by itself and hasn't happened again even though the bike and fit have not changed. That was years ago.

It seems to me that general tiredness is totally normal; muscle soreness, superficial things, and aches and pains like maybe tender sit-bones are reasonably normal and nothing to worry about. Sore joints that take more than a couple of days to go away, stabbing pains, pain that persists even when you're not doing anything, etc, are probably more serious and should be addressed, especially if they keep happening after every long ride.
Lots of people accept numbness in fingers and toes as par for the course, but I disagree, particularly with regard to fingers/hands. Avoiding it may be a complex solution, but it can be done. And hands are important - your hobby should not cause you lasting nerve damage.
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Old 05-19-14, 07:01 PM   #7
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I am more concerned with my numb toes. I think the shoes might be too narrow. I had thought the size 47 were too short although they felt great, so I bought the 48. Still numb. Not acceptable. Might be a width problem. Could be a pedal problem. Never had this problem in the past. Maybe I am too old. All of this is unacceptable.
if it's just your toes, it could be that you are actually suffering from Morton's neuroma. This is age related. Mine was set off on a 200k. This seems to be exacerbated by socks or shoes that are too short. The orthopod I went to was not good at diagnostics, his judgement is not to ride 125 miles.

There is a nerve on the outside of your ankle/heel that can be pinched by cycling shoes. I have gone to loose fitting shoes and for the most part I'm happy about that. I used to have a patch of numbness on the outside of my foot after 600k or longer rides, that has gone away.
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Old 05-20-14, 05:22 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your kind responses. Today (Tuesday, 3rd day after the 300km) I'm almost good. Maybe some minor changes on handlebar height to ease the shoulder/neck issue should me enough, who knows? But my neck/shoulder is almost new today.

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If you feel discomfort on the bike, then you might want to look at fit. If it only happens afterwards, then work on core strength. Nothing too extreme, light weights and abdominal workouts mostly.
After the 200km mark I began to feel shoulder/neck discomfort even on the bike. Maybe a handlebar height problem? It is a inch or two below the saddle. Almopst level with it.
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Old 05-20-14, 05:45 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your kind responses. Today (Tuesday, 3rd day after the 300km) I'm almost good. Maybe some minor changes on handlebar height to ease the shoulder/neck issue should me enough, who knows? But my neck/shoulder is almost new today.



After the 200km mark I began to feel shoulder/neck discomfort even on the bike. Maybe a handlebar height problem? It is a inch or two below the saddle. Almopst level with it.
One thing that I find I do is hunch my shoulders as I get tired during an event. It takes a conscious effort sometimes to drop my shoulders and relax to avoid getting shoulder and neck soreness/discomfort.
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Old 05-20-14, 06:30 AM   #10
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After the 200km mark I began to feel shoulder/neck discomfort even on the bike. Maybe a handlebar height problem? It is a inch or two below the saddle. Almopst level with it.
I think that's still core strength. You can experiment with raising your bars, but that will slow you down, at least a little. Having said that, most randos have their bars a little higher than a typical high performance position.
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Old 05-20-14, 11:03 AM   #11
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Old 05-20-14, 02:38 PM   #12
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if it's just your toes, it could be that you are actually suffering from Morton's neuroma. This is age related. Mine was set off on a 200k. This seems to be exacerbated by socks or shoes that are too short. The orthopod I went to was not good at diagnostics, his judgement is not to ride 125 miles.

There is a nerve on the outside of your ankle/heel that can be pinched by cycling shoes. I have gone to loose fitting shoes and for the most part I'm happy about that. I used to have a patch of numbness on the outside of my foot after 600k or longer rides, that has gone away.
Thanks, I am going to nip this in the bud. I think the toe box or the pedal is causing it.....can't be my old age.....we Randos age like fine whine.
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Old 05-20-14, 02:46 PM   #13
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You seem to have your leather saddle quite level, possibly even pointing down a little bit (hard to tell on the pic.) This is very likely putting pressure on your neck/shoulders that will become very apparent on long distance rides. Try this: Ride your bike around the block and try removing your hands off the handlebar. Do you get the feeling of sliding forward on the saddle? If this is the case, you need to point the saddle up a little bit until you feel stable on the saddle when you remove your hands. My Brooks saddle points upwards about 3 or 4 degrees, but this will vary from person to person. They are known to require this kind of set up for best comfort.

In regard to thigh pain, a good dose of soreness is to be expected on a 300Km brevet. But one is definitely taking it to a higher level on a single speed or fixie, especially if the route is anything but flat. You need to decide yourself whether you want to move to longer distances with the bike/components you have or train harder for your body to get accustomed to those distances. I know some guys here have done 1,200 Km. randonnées on single speed/fixie, so it's definitely doable. But what works for someone might not work for someone else.
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Old 05-20-14, 03:24 PM   #14
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You seem to have your leather saddle quite level, possibly even pointing down a little bit (hard to tell on the pic.) This is very likely putting pressure on your neck/shoulders that will become very apparent on long distance rides. Try this: Ride your bike around the block and try removing your hands off the handlebar. Do you get the feeling of sliding forward on the saddle? If this is the case, you need to point the saddle up a little bit until you feel stable on the saddle when you remove your hands. My Brooks saddle points upwards about 3 or 4 degrees, but this will vary from person to person. They are known to require this kind of set up for best comfort.

In regard to thigh pain, a good dose of soreness is to be expected on a 300Km brevet. But one is definitely taking it to a higher level on a single speed or fixie, especially if the route is anything but flat. You need to decide yourself whether you want to move to longer distances with the bike/components you have or train harder for your body to get accustomed to those distances. I know some guys here have done 1,200 Km. randonnées on single speed/fixie, so it's definitely doable. But what works for someone might not work for someone else.
Thank you Chris, I will try to tilt it a bit to see if helps
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Old 05-21-14, 09:01 AM   #15
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I'm one of those who has done 1200k's on a fixie, and this is my take (aside from saddle angle - I agree that it looks tilted down). If it's just thigh *muscle* pain, that will probably get better the more you ride. If it's extreme, you might overdone something and maybe you need to adopt a strategy of riding fairly easy on really long rides until you've done enough of them to know what you can get away with. I know that it's sometimes hard to do that on a singlespeed when you're trying to keep up with people, or just trying to make it over the hills. It may be worth practicing climbing slowly and carefully at very low RPM's - there is definitely a technique to it.

I do not necessarily think that neck/shoulder pain is due to riding a fixie, though. While I haven't done nearly the amount of long distance with a geared bike that I have with a fixed gear, my feeling is that since I have to get out of the saddle and really use my arms/shoulders for leverage on the fixed gear, if anything it is better at preventing stiffness because I have to actually move around and use those muscles instead of just slouching and pedaling. The flip side, though, is descending. If you are tensing up your arms and shoulders and locking your elbows when you ride the brakes down long hills, that might well make your neck and shoulders sore. Core stability can help keep your upper body in control while you spin your legs really fast, to a point.

I do think it makes a huge difference if you can sit up and take your hands off the handlebars. Some bikes don't really handle well that way and some riders think it's a bad idea, but personally I think it's important and makes a huge difference. Take your hands off, sit up, stretch, raise your hands above your head, move your neck, etc. Your body was not built to sit in the same position without moving for hours and hours and hours. The most perfect bike position in the world is not as good being able to sit up and stretch. That's one thing (one of the very few) for which I think a fixed gear really is better: it lets you retain more control over your speed with your hands off the bars.
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Old 05-21-14, 09:17 AM   #16
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Hi Coluber42,
Thigh sore was the least sore (almost recovered next day). The major was shoulder/neck (almost disappearing today). Despite Brooks blog saying that the saddle should be levelled, I will tilt it a bit nose-up.
I cannot ride hand off (not with this bike)
But I can stop more times to stretch, in next event
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