So, how am I doing?
[This is my mid-year body inventory. I don’t expect it to be of interest to anyone but myself.]
Legs: Not at all bad, considering. Muscles have got bigger in the past year, and tend to be very hard by the end of the week – apparently a sign of dehydration. Knees click slightly now and then, but nothing too alarming. Hamstrings very very tight, even by cyclists’ standards. Must stretch more regularly.
Arms: As with legs, more muscly, and very defined by the end of the week. Not sure if cyclists are meant to have muscular arms, so I’m probably doing something wrong. Wrists sometimes ache a bit, but have recently lowered bars, which should hopefully sort this out.
Torso: Thankfully mostly OK. Back hurt for about a week after the big ride in April, but has been fine since, apart from the occasional twinge in the morning. Have lost a bit of weight though (well, strictly speaking, have lost girth, not weight; I always get heavier as I get smaller – if I were a size 10 I’d probably weigh about 18 stone), and it’s nothing but annoying. My clothes don’t fit properly any more, and I can’t tighten my bag enough, so it rests on my lower back, rather than across my shoulders as it’s meant to. Losing weight is vastly overrated, by the way. It hasn’t noticeably increased my personal attractiveness, my strength and fitness, or my success with the ladies. And it means I’ll get colder in the winter.
Feet: My Achilles heel, as it were. Arches completely collapsed, and head of fourth metatarsal on right foot very painful on pressure with shoe, pedal, ground, etc. Left foot starting to go the same way. Collapsed arches leading to sore ankles, affecting pedalling efficiency, and meaning I tire more quickly. Potential for this to lead to knee problems, and more. Lots of things I need to do here. Get self on NHS waiting list for physio; decide whether it’s worth investing in Cyclefit; try harder at tai chi, find properly supportive shoes (SIDI Dragons slightly too loose, bought a pair of Specialized BGs, but they hurt so much I couldn’t walk, so back in the Dragons) or investigate insoles. Or give up cycling.
Skin: In bad shape, as much because I’m run down, as because of the effects of weather and friction. Blisters on heels, blisters on thighs (from that rubber bit that keeps the hem of my shorts in place). Saddle sore. (Why am I suddenly getting saddle sore, after all these years? I reckon it must be the summer sweat, plus my being a bit run down, plus bad foot/pedal interface putting unnecessary pressure on saddle area.) A nasty oozy spot on my ankle where a blister has overlapped with an insect bite, and got infected, and can’t heal because of the constant friction with my shoe. Calluses on hands. Bruises and rough skin on hip and chest (from bag and lock). Face looking distinctly weathered, and covered in wrinkles and spots. (Must drink more. And wash more. And moisturise more.) And of course, the really silly cyclist’s tan!