Tuesday, January 20

Tubs, outlets, and butts

After very much thought, very little deliberation, and with loads of regret I'm pulling the plug on The Most Horrible Thing Ever. My wrists and thumb are saying that they don't think it's such a good idea to be riding for 24-36 hours a couple weeks from now, and I'm gonna have to listen. How did I find myself in this situation?

I'd probably have to go back to this past spring. Doing events like The Cohutta 100, PMBAR, and The Cowbell 12 Hour (well less than 12 for me) Challenge probably started up my problems, and I didn't take the time to address them. I do remember the discomfort ramping up a little around the time of the Tour De Burg and ORAMM, as those races certainly had their fair share of painful descents and such. I do know when things got noticeably worse, The Month of Mayhem.

My ti bike broke right before the MOM, so I decided to try a Niner frame and fork. I got the One Niner (scandium SS), and I have to say it was fast, fast, fast and very good at what it does. Light, maneuverable, and stiff, it was one of the best bikes I've ever ridden when it came right down to getting to the finish line as fast as possible. The problem was all that stiffness came at a price, and doing over 330 miles of racing and probably another 100 miles of recreational riding over a one month period of time was not such a good idea. Things kept getting worse, and I just ignored them.

I remember talking to Fuzzy about the whole rigid VS suspension thing at the Tahoe 100 last September (the last race of the MOM). He usually races on a squishy fork, and I was wondering why he chose to do so. He said something about longevity and living to fight another day (I'm horribly paraphrasing), but basically that a rigid fork would cause a lot of damage if he rode it all the time. Racing is what he does, and being stubborn and riding rigid would be at the expense of his health and happiness.


I've always been under the impression that I can do anything I want to do, and my body will take care of itself. I figure if other people are doing something similar it stands to reason that I should be able to do the same kinds of things. Problem is that I recently started thinking "Is anybody else really doing EXACTLY what I'm doing?"

What is it EXACTLY that I'm doing? I am (up until recently) doing all my mountain biking on a rigid fork. It's the way I like to ride... it feels right to me, and I don't really wanna ride any other way. The first problem I have though is that I do these stupid long events that beat the shit outta me, and it leaves me a little toasted. That would be all well and good if that was the only problem, but there's more. I go out and beat the piss outta myself for 100 miles on Saturday and then go to work on Monday so I can hold onto a pair of handlebars for a week before I head into the next weekend and ride 30 miles off road and then continue the cycle indefinitely till the next event. I can't say I really know anybody else doing something this stupid (somebody might be, but I don't know them), so I can't really say "if other people are doing something similar it stands to reason that I should be able to do the same kinds of things". Obviously a smart person would take a break and heal up, but my occupation leaves me no choice but to get back on the bike immediately. I've been doing this for four years, and I'm approaching forty, so it stands to reason that the unstoppable force (the ramifications of my actions) has met the immovable object (my desire to ride rigid all the time). So what's a smart guy (I did finish college) supposed to do?

This past November I was bordering on being a basket case. I was thinking about my wrists as much as a teenage boy thinks about sex. I was becoming obsessed thinking about them all the time, and I almost considered making an appointment with a physician even though it was gonna cost me an arm and a leg (thanks to my friendly insurance company and my interesting benefit limitations). I love riding my mountain bike, and I love riding it rigid more than any other way, so thinking about the possibility that I was endangering my future happiness due to my stubbornness really bothered me to no end. That's when I started thinking about the fact that I was dealing with an overuse injury and that the logical cure was forcing myself to consider taking a break from what I'm doing. Since I can't quit my job, and I shudder at the thought of spending my winter on a road bike (yech) I bought a Fox Fjork.

I've been healing pretty quickly since I put the squishy fork on the Zion. I'm not 100% better, but my every waking thought isn't clouded with depressing thoughts about never getting any better or thinking about going under the knife. At this rate I can see myself getting over this, but I'm gonna have to be smarter in the future. My new MOOTS will be built to suit my future needs and not my fashionable desires. I wanted to have it made with my non-suspension corrected Independent Fabrication fork in mind, but I've thrown that idea out. It will be built around the 490mm A-C Niner fork (yes steel, not carbon for me) so I can throw my 100mm Fox Fjork on the front when I need to recover from something big and stupid.

So in the interest of good health and a happy future I'm pulling out of TMHTE. Warm joints are happy joints and keeping my joints warm and happy for 36 hours would more than likely not be possible. I'm pretty sure it would set me back in my recovery, and that's just not acceptable at this point in my life. I've got a lot of fun lined up for 2009, and I plan on enjoying it to its fullest.


Not only did you suffer through this sob story drivel you will not get TMHTE race report drawn out over a week of postings this February. I assure you I will bring back the entertainment factor even if it means I have to do Part Two through Seventeen of my virtual tour of Bad Idea Racing headquarters.


allan said...

WOW. You really are making adult decisions. I was looking forward to TMHTE reports but I gotta say..that's definitely the right/smart thing to do.

Anonymous said...

For SS rigid like riding with the benefits of suspension there is non better than the White Bros Magic fork.

Build the Moots with that fork and you will be eternally grateful.

dicky said...

I considered the WB fork, but the 2009 Fox Fjork was cheap (on eBay) and came with no strings attached. It has a nifty adjustable blow-off valve that makes it easy to run it locked out, but it still let's the fork absorb hits.

But really, if I'm running squish it's gonna be about recovery, so it doesn't really matter how efficient it is as long as it moves a lot.

Guitar Ted said...

Hey Dicky, sitting here only days away from my 48th go round on this orb, I have a wry smile as I read your post.

All I have for ya is this: Better get comfortable with changes, cause time doesn't go backward my friend.

I suspect there will be more suspension adventures down the trail for ya. Just a hunch.......

Big Bikes said...

Ya, I don't know how you actually race rigid all the time. I've been running rigid since August and as a result I am plagued by constant hand pain.

I'm afraid what I screamed at my fork
(as I stopped to wring out my hands and arms) on Farlow gap during The SWANK is true: “You are a horribly failed experiment!”.

Anonymous said...

When you say your building the Moots for your future needs, you surely must mean the near future (like as in maybe the next year).

dicky said...

No, I meant my future needs. It will be able to hover, teleport, and transform itself into other useful objects (like a toaster).

Future needs.

Anonymous said...

Don't to it! It's your trademark!
Monkey butted rigid dude.

I'd go rigid. My frame is rigid. But, I can't afford to go rigid right now...

Anyhow, we're all getting old. And, before long, you'll be hauling your butt around on the hundies (24hr, staged stuff) on a squishy...

I have a titus squishy for sale if you like...
I much prefer my rigid. Its just the way riding should be done.
On a stiffy.
Can just feel it.

(hey, what the hell is up with this PG13 crap)


Anonymous said...

Get bigger gloves.
stop playing with it so much and your wrists will recover.

Rigid is the way to go.
Just looks bad azz out there!

squishy is for wimps silly monkey.

Anonymous said...

Equiring minds wanta know more about:

10/09 Pisgah Stage Race

I'd be up for that!

Drew said...

from early 02' until mid 05' i rode BMX 4-5 days a week, usually for 3-5 hours a day, i was managing my pal's skatepark, and my co-worker has dirt jumps at his moms house...
i wound up with spiral fractures in my wrists, mega lower back pain and shoulder pain too boot. after the park took a dump due to a missed business move i was in pain from BMX and dissillusioned with loosing my beautiful park so i inevidibly took a break from it.
i ride my little bike here and there but i am still mainly taking said break. through this break i have indeed healed, but i am still breaking.
the short of what i guess i am saying is that making amendments in order to heal is better than taking breaks to heal.. not that you would loose interest in riding in the woods, i havent lost interest in BMX, but i have lost the drive.

Drew said...

also in my unprofessional, but having had to deal with both for customers in the past (and industry manufacturing info), it is my opinion that white brothers forks are garbage AND i weighed one V.S. a base model REBA and the reba was lighter, by only a little but the white was way off on its posted weight

Anonymous said...

Wear some 10$ wrist braces from your local pharmacy or wmart during the week to give your wrists a little more rest. Ergon barends rule too.

Namrita O'Dea said...

can I use this as classified space to sell my White Bros Magic 80 (29er fork) for a smokin' deal?


ok, sorry.

there is no way i could make it through a whole "season" riding a rigid singlespeed. not with endurance races. i just did a few last year and still feel some wrist pain sometimes. btw, rigid singlespeeding is not cool anymore!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered a Girvin flex stem? You can probably score one on eBay for under $10.00.

What happened to leaving a giant scorch mark on the Earth? You selling out your core values? And what the hell am I going to do with my mid-January race fitness?