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  1. #1
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Sore knees - looking for advice

    Hey all. So I've been riding now for over half a year and 2500 miles and NEVER had a problem with my knees to speak of. I took a 50 mile ride on the Greenway Sunday followed by two days off due to rain and when I got on the bike again Wednesday my knees were hurting pretty bad with any pressure on the pedals. I've done 4 or 5 50s and one metric century and this has never happened before. Nothing is changed on my bike or the setup or nothing like that. I've ridden the same Greenway route before and had no trouble. What's the deal?!

    When I did my 15 mile ride Wednesday, I stayed down a gear or two to make it easier on the knees. It's nothing major, but they definitely let me know they weren't happy Took another day off yesterday. My question is should I get back out and ride today or stay off the knees until they're not hurting so much? Walking around is not bad at all, but when I climb stairs, I can tell they're still not normal. I just don't want to aggravate them. If more light riding is good for them, I'll ride. If it's best to let them heal, I'll chill. What do y'all think? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Megiddo's Avatar
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    Were is the pain? Front or back of the knee? It could be your saddle height. Are you warming up? I'm not and sometimes pay for it. I did a century last weekend and did not warm up well and hurt my hamstring almost right-away.

    I'm no expert on this, so consider this more of a bump.
    2010 Fuji Roubaix ACR 2.0

  3. #3
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    It's the front of the knee. I've done both longer and harder rides with the bike set up the same and been fine. It's really confusing why this has shown itself now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    Just my opion but riding for over half a year and 2500 miles sounds like way too much. You are far beyond fitness and excersice at this point and it takes time, like way more than six months, to work up to even metric centuries. I think you are starting into this biking thing too fast and if you don't back off a bit you could do some real damage. You may have already put yourself in a situtation where you have to quit for a while.

    Me, I was a commuter that had ridden for several years when I bought a rode bike and felt like I had to log huge amounts of miles. By the time I was doing centuries I was also limping up and down steps. Eventually I had to admit that I could ride at all for a while.

  5. #5
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    Ice your knees after your rides, try raising your seat post a smidge, and spin in an easier gear. That's what I did after I over did it on a ride last week and it's working well. I notice if my knees are also making a crunchy sound like a potato chip bag then I need to raise my seat post.


  6. #6
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    +1 - i think seat height and the amount or the lack of float on your pedals could be an issue
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
    Just my opion but riding for over half a year and 2500 miles sounds like way too much. You are far beyond fitness and excersice at this point and it takes time, like way more than six months, to work up to even metric centuries. I think you are starting into this biking thing too fast and if you don't back off a bit you could do some real damage. You may have already put yourself in a situtation where you have to quit for a while.
    I disagree. 400 miles per month is not a big deal and it certainly does not take more than six months to work up to centuries, metric or otherwise. When I returned to cycling my commute was a 32-mile round trip, that's 600 miles per month without counting the miles I did at weekends. I never had any trouble with my knees.

    OP, it's impossible for us to diagnose the cause of your problem. It could be overuse, it could be that you've been pushing a big gear, it could be some unnoticed change in your riding position. If your knees are hurting while actually on the bike (as opposed to aching after your ride) I'd guess at something positional and advise you to tinker with your saddle height and position - maybe a bit higher? Give it a couple of days rest, possibly augmented by ice and ibuprofen, and then try experimenting.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  8. #8
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Well, I couldn't stand it, so went out for a 40 miler yesterday. Couple off gears lower than normal. Used the granny gear a lot more than normal Today they're cetainly aching a good bit.

    I did raise my seat about a cm. I had lowered it about the same a couple of months ago in an effort to help my ulnar problem in my left hand. It hasn't helped that, so raising it shouldn't be a problem.

    I worst thing about this whole knee thing is that with fall here now, the next couple of months are prime time for riding. I ain't going to stop riding now. The knees can rest this winter

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryPitts View Post

    I did raise my seat about a cm. I had lowered it about the same a couple of months ago in an effort to help my ulnar problem in my left hand. It hasn't helped that, so raising it shouldn't be a problem.
    A whole centimetre is a pretty big change in saddle height. And anterior knee pain is sometimes associated with too low a saddle. So I'd speculate that you've just answered your own question. Might be worth having someone knowledgeable look at your position on the bike, it sounds a bit hit-or-miss?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    I have a knee issue known as patella femoral syndrome. It was caused by a lot of hammering hills out of the saddle and the only real cure is rest. I was told 6 weeks worth of rest! Dang!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  11. #11
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Dude, that sucks! I'm never out of the saddle so hopefully I don't have that!

  12. #12
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    A whole centimetre is a pretty big change in saddle height. And anterior knee pain is sometimes associated with too low a saddle. So I'd speculate that you've just answered your own question. Might be worth having someone knowledgeable look at your position on the bike, it sounds a bit hit-or-miss?
    I've just radically changed my layout and we'll see over time what this does. I probably raised the seat height an inch and half over where I used to have it. Since lowering the seat didn't help my numb left fingers, I've adjusted it using the fully extended leg with heel on the pedal method. I've lowered the tilt of the saddle to just a hair higher than flat. I had raised the front of the saddle also hoping to help the ulnar problem. I have also gone back to the stock bars that came with my Mendota, the Trek Capital bars and removed the Trek Satellite Elite Carbon Trekking bars which I love Now I'm looking for a bar end solution that allows me to keep my bar end mirror if anyone has a suggestion for that. The Ergon grips with bar ends don't allow for a mirror do they?

    So it'll be a bit of a different bike next time I go for a ride. We'll see what happens

  13. #13
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    Anyone know how this fellow is mounting his mirror to his GC3s http://forums.mtbr.com/7896176-post2.html? I've never seen GC3s in person, but in looking at the Ergon site http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gc3 I don't see how the mirror can mount. This is exactly what I'm looking for though!

  14. #14
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Can't help with the mirror question, but you are changing a great many things at once, and that's going to make it hard for you to know exactly which changes are having what impact on your comfort. It certainly sounds as if you have been riding with your saddle too low, and that's often a cause of knee problems. For the rest, if you are still at all uncomfortable try changing one thing at a time in small increments. Not clear why you've changed the bars that you "love"? Is it the numb finger problem? If so you may find that something as simple as a change of mitts might help.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    I've just tried so many little things over the last 3 months or so and none have helped, I thought I'd try something more radical and just give it a go. Once I get my bar ends installed who knows, I may end up liking this layout better than the Trek trekking bar although it definitely won't look as cool being CF and with the unique bull horns You're right though, my seat was definitely too low. Raising it is going to put more pressure on my hands however, so we'll see how it does.

    Sometimes I think if I could raise the bars up significantly higher it would help. I've already gone from the stock 7 deg stem to a 25 deg which solved a problem I was having with neck pain. I liked the change so much I bought a 40 deg stem, but it turns out that to use the 40 deg stem I have to remove some of the spacer rings which effectively drops the handlebars eliminating the benefit of the higher rise. If these latest changes don't do me any good, I may visit the LBS and see what he thinks about a way to raise the bars. I may be crazy, but I think even a couple of inches wouldn't be a bad thing. I ride a 'performance hybrid' so it has me bent over more than many plus I'm old at 56

  16. #16
    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryPitts View Post
    Anyone know how this fellow is mounting his mirror to his GC3s http://forums.mtbr.com/7896176-post2.html? I've never seen GC3s in person, but in looking at the Ergon site http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gc3 I don't see how the mirror can mount. This is exactly what I'm looking for though!
    you should be using a head mounted mirror anyway imo. Much, much more effective.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  17. #17
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryPitts View Post

    If these latest changes don't do me any good, I may visit the LBS and see what he thinks about a way to raise the bars. I may be crazy, but I think even a couple of inches wouldn't be a bad thing. I ride a 'performance hybrid' so it has me bent over more than many plus I'm old at 56
    I'm older - just - and I ride a pretty aggressive position on my road bike. Even my tourer has a significant saddle-to-bars drop. But it is true that when I returned to cycling after a gap of a few years it took me a while to adapt to a less upright, more stretched-out position.

    Don't just concentrate on your bike, do some work on your core muscles. Include some stretches that work on your hamstrings, hip flexors and, especially, lower back. Try to maintain a flat back, bending from the hips rather than arching your back. If you can get your core in shape you will be able to maintain your posture without putting quite so much weight on your hands.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  18. #18
    Senior Member GaryPitts's Avatar
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    FWIW, a week after my first post I'm pretty much back to normal. Knees aren't sore any more, but they do complain a bit still when under pressure, so I downshift and keep them happy. I'm not sure what that was all about, but I'm glad it was no worse! Thanks all for the thoughts.

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    This is just a potential rule-out, but worth a thought:

    How is your flexibility?

    I was going along fine, riding strong on a relatively high-mileage schedule when all of a sudden I started having bad knee problems. I did all sorts of things with no luck and ended up seeing a massage therapist.

    She told me right off that my flexibility pretty much sucked. I had injured myself running years ago by over-stretching, so had stopped stretching altogether. Long story short, she freed up some adhesions and gave me some stretches to do.

    Worked like a charm. In two weeks I went from granny gears back to riding almost full power.

    Moral of the story is, check your flexibility because if that is the problem it is a super easy and quick fix.

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