Archive | October 2013

A Little Bit of Freedom

After seven weeks of having both wrists in casts, I finally got some freedom yesterday as both were removed. The left will require a splint for another one to two weeks. I am not wasting anytime as I will have my first physiotherapy appointment today to loosen up both wrists. The right does feel pretty good though I am most likely in for long period of treatment  on the left. Let the fun begin.

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I was very surprised at the amount of dead skin was under the cast. The layers of dead skin were so thick I could have used a putty knife to scrap of the skin. There will be a nice character scar on the left that I hope will fade over time but if it does not it will make for some interesting conversation. The skin certainly has taken a beating with the look and feel of alligator skin. Without a doubt, the skin itself will need time to heal as well but with input from a friend, that process is under way.

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I am glad that the healing process has begun, where I am a little more in control, so that I can get on with some sort of training program. If anything the last few injuries have taught me, is that I need to start very slow, to build up muscle and cardio so that my injuries can heal properly. So, tomorrow I will start will some extended brisk walking and nothing else until there is more flexibility in my wrists. Let the fun begin.

Until next time….“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity”. Hippocrates

I Am Going To Admit It……

A couple of days ago, I was reading a post by Pipe Down Piper where she talks about being frightened. The medical condition she has is certainly scary and enough to stop most people from pursuing an athletic goal. Reading her blog, I am sure she will make sound training decisions that will allow her to be the best athlete she can be.

As for myself, well I am going to admit that I am frightened. Not as much as Piper, whose condition is life threatening but whether my body can hold together long enough for me to reach my ultimate goal. Am I writing cheques my body cannot cash? Do I have the mental fortitude to continue to see me through any more challenges thrown my way? Only time will tell.

At the moment, my mental challenge is how will I perform on the bike come next spring. Back in June while on the Rideau Lakes Tour, I took a spill on my bike but I was lucky enough to only get a bruised hip and a little road rash. After the spill, checking myself out and encouragement from my group, I continued on the ride to Kingston.  Though I was a little tentative the next morning for the ride back to Ottawa, I was able to do it without much fear. I attribute this to being surrounding by a great bunch of people who did not let me dwell on the negative thoughts or over analyze the spill. It is true what they say, “if you fall, it is best to getting back in the saddle as quick as possible”.

This time round though, I do not have the benefit of getting back in the saddle right away. By the time that I am healed enough to ride, bike season will be over with snow on the ground. I have purchased an indoor bike trainer that should be set up soon but static indoor training is nothing liking the real thing. Over the next number of months, as I climb on the bike to do an indoor training session, I am sure there will be some flashbacks to both spills that could fuel my fear of getting back on the bike come spring.

You see, one of my character flaws is that I over analyze things that I do and that happen to me. With a good five months before getting back on the road, this allows me way too much time to fuel my apprehension of getting out on the open road. I do realize that as I continue to bike, that there is a good chance that I will have another spill but am I willing to go through what I have in the last seven weeks again. To answer the question truthfully, yes,but I would hope that this is the end of the health issues and sets backs. There are people,I am sure that would look at me and say I am crazy but I would say I am driven.

I hope that my drive to reach my goal will allow me to overcome any doubts that I have about getting the bike back out on the road. If not, once again, I will seek out the appropriate help. If this journey has taught me anything, you cannot undertake a goal of completing an Ironman without the help of other people.

Until next time……“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday Morning Motivation #21

Find Your Strong. This is a great series of videos and we can all see a little bit of ourselves in the people who this project profiles.

What I Have Learned Since My Bike Spill

Since I began my journey almost three years ago, I have had my fair share of ups and downs, but this latest set back has been by far the most limiting in what I can do. As much as I want to do some physical activity, I do worry about sweat get in and around my casts. Also, because showering is such a production, having to shower each day would be just too much.

Never at anytime in my life, have I had so much ideal time. I do try to make the most of the time, spending a lot of it reading about subjects that interest me, but you can only do so much of one thing before it gets boring. The great fall weather we have been having has not helped with me desire to be outside running or biking. It is funny how I look forward to a trip to the dentist, doctor or shopping, none of which I like, just so I can be out of the house for a little while.

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Post Surgery

Like all the other times I have had a set back, I try to learn something. Below in no particular order is what I have learned so far.

1. It is ok to ask for help from family and friends. I let my male ego get in the way of letting people help me, when I should have accepted offers of help.

2. Though our health care system may not be perfect, when called upon, it works very well. I am certainly greatful to all those medical professionals both here in Ontario and British Columbia that put me back together.

3. Given the extent of my injuries, I had to learn that resting is ok. I did try to do a few things in the last week, only to regret it a short time later.

4. In the early stages of my recovery, that the healing process burns a lot of energy and that not fueling my body properly could come back to bite me in the butt.

5. Prior to my accident, I could not believe how well developed my calf muscles had become. It took all summer of running, riding and cross fit training to get them like that. Now when I look at them, it is like a bowl of jell-o. It does not take long to lose muscle mass.

6. I ashamed to say it, but I had not been to the dentist in 14 years. With my time off, I decided to go. I was amazed at the advancement is dental technology. No longer the scary or painful experience it once was. On the upside, I only had one small cavity.

7. In searching for things to read, I was amazed at the quantity and quality of the writting of a number of bloggers out there.  I have learned so much from peoples real life experience and I hope I can translate that into by own experience.

8. YouTube is such a great resource. I have been spending a lot of time watching clips on triathlon training as well as learning how to do things on my iPad and MacBook. Google is no longer my main search engine.

9. I watched a lot of TV unfortunately and the one thing I can say for certain, is that reality TV is so far from reality it is not funny.

10. Whoever is the person that categorizes movies by genre really needs to give their head a shake. I do not know how many movies that I viewed on demand that were categorized as comedy where I did not laugh once.

11. The amount of crappy movies that are out there is unbelievable. I cannot believe how some of them got financed.

12. How expensive personal care items are for people  who are physically challenge. I am glad that I have insurance that covers such items.

13. Sometimes it takes a set back like this to realize how many friends you have. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of concern and get well wishes from so many. I am truly humbled.

14. Drinking beer through a straw sucks. Really it does! I could not believe how much different a beer tastes when drinking through a straw. Not something I will ever do again.

15. You would be surprised how much you can do even with a couple of broken wrists. Where there is a will, there is a way!

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Fun Gift From My Tri Friends

If the stars align and everything goes as planned, I should be back to semi-normal by mid November. On the up side, the right cast will be removed on October 29th, which will give me more freedom and mobility. I have already met with my physiotherapist to start planning my return to training and she believes that it will not take long to get my joints back into working order.

Until next time……..“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

Monday Morning Motivation #20

Well for some reason or other, my post for Monday did not post and there seems to be an issue with the embed coding. So please click on the link to video the video.

 

A little late today due to a number of appointments early this morning and then the day got away from me. Talk about your never give up, never give in attitude.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=9286906

Uber Cool Blog Review of a Bike Fitting App

A friend posted a link to this blog on his Facebook page this afternoon and I just had to share here on my blog.  This blog post by DC Rainmaker, provided an excellent review and for the price of $2.99, this app seems like a no brainer for avid cyclists. The Bike Fast Fit app is currently only available for the iPhone/iPad but from the information provided below, an Anroid version is in the works.

Automated Bike Fit Measurement App Review: Bike Fast Fit

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I want to start off by first noting just how rare it is that I write an entire post specifically about a single app.  I could probably count the number of times I’ve done that in 6 years on one hand.  I simply find that most of the good apps out there are already known, and most of the others tend to suck be less awesome.

Nonetheless, I get bombarded with devs wanting me to post about their apps.  Many of them believing that a 99 cent redeemable app code will entice me (C’mon, I buy $400 watches to support readers in reviews, I think I can afford 99 cents!).

So, this afternoon while reading through e-mail I saw another app, and almost tossed it into the bin of things I won’t be reviewing.  But after poking around the link I was actually surprised – it claimed to do something I hadn’t seen before: Real-time analysis of your bike fit – including angles and distances.

So, I re-arranged my entire living room to try it out.  Why did I have to do that you ask?  Well, it turns out that in order to get far enough away from my bike to get the full view I had to go about 10 feet away.  Or, approximately 1 foot from the wall.  In fact, the camera taking this photo was literally up against the wall shooting somewhat blindly.

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Next, after getting my phone in the right position I cracked open the app and got the wheels lined up using the red circles.  It wasn’t quite an exactly perfect fit, but I made it work as best as possible.

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(Update: A few people have asked how I attached the iPhone to the tripod. I use a tiny little adapter you can see there called ‘Glif’, which can also double as a way to keep the phone upright simply on a desk/flat surface (balances it).  I always have it in my backpack so if I need to take shots somewhere I can without a tripod.)

Then, I set the self-timer.  You can set how long to wait, as well as how long a video to record.  In my case, I went with the 30s for both.

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Then, I ran to my bike and pedaled.  This part wasn’t terribly exciting.

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After pedaling, I went back to the app, and it was ready.  At this point you’ve got a drop-down menu of different angles you can have the app spit out at you.  These are all common fit angles that are most often used to describe bike positions:

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Picking a common one, I then can see what it believes my angles were.  In some cases, they’re near perfect:

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But in others, I may need to adjust them slightly (like where it selects my hip, so I adjusted it):

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To adjust them, I highlight the green glowing blob, which moves the piece connected to it.  This is moderately brilliant because it means you can actually see what’s being moved – as opposed to having said spot be directly under your finger.

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I also zoom in and modify things:

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Within the video, I can easily move it frame by frame using the dial on the left hand side – like a scrolling wheel.  Again, this works exceptionally well and is a thousand times better than trying to play ‘drag a dot’ on a line.

As I add measurements, it’ll tell me about 5-7 paragraphs about each measurement, including general guidance on acceptable ranges.  Of course, there can always be exceptions, but this should you understand if you’re in the ballpark:

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In addition to angles the app can also do distance measurements.  All you’ll need to do is tell it some random distance of your choosing on the bike, and the measurement of that distance.  So I did that:

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Then, from there on out it can measure everything else:

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And also do random angles for any three points you’d like – such as this totally useful angle combination I randomly created:

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You can save multiple bike profiles and riders and multiple analysis sessions:

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As you ‘add’ measurements in, it’ll list them in a summary page, one after another (it does all the measurements for you – you just validate them):

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While the app handles hip angles and the like for triathlon/TT bikes, when it comes to measurements around the handlebars, it’s more focused on road bikes:

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Additionally, you can also do a front view as well, though I didn’t do that tonight:

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At any point you can simply tap to share a given fit angle and/or measurement.  For example tweeted or e-mailed:

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Overall, this app is pretty damn cool.  Mostly because it’s actually useful – especially for athletes that may not be right next to their coaches and/or fitters and want to poke around at new positions a bit (or validate old ones).

Now, I don’t actually believe this should replace a fit from a proper bike fitter.  Really, I don’t.  But in many ways this substitutes for the highly expensive Retül system that some fitters have (the computer portion anyway), which uses little placed sticker dots onto the athlete and calculates the same angles.  In this app’s case, the app simply recognizes human body parts and does that for you.  It would be cool though if you could place little sticker dots (like these) on the correct body part spots (knee/hip/ankle) and have the app pick those up (for higher level accuracy). (Updated note: As pointed out in the comments, you can definitely still do the dots now, which will improve accuracy when it comes to manually adjusting anything you might need to on the screen.  Good call!)

I also think it gives an athlete an opportunity to quickly share fit details as needed.  For example, when I spent some time at the LA Velodrome back in the spring, in talking with renowned bike fitter Jim Manton, he mentioned a funny story where a well known pro triathlete had come in for a fit.  About a month later Jim had seen a race photo of the athlete in a news clip from that weekend.  Turns out, while re-assembling the bike after travel things got a bit out of whack.

No doubt that issue could be solved a bunch of different ways (like a tape measure).  However, one interesting way would be for a friend to simply take 10 seconds to take a video of the athlete after setting up the bike and ensuring the angles are all the same (since it automatically does all that).  The angles could have acted as a quick double-check.

Or, probably more practically it can just be used to quickly see what your own fit angles are, and documenting them.

Now there are a few things I’d like to see however in the app, which I suspect are probably minor adds for the developer:

1) I’d love to be able to upload the videos recorded from the app with the angle information shown in real-time – right now this is all internal to the app (and isn’t put into your camera roll).
2) All of the angle references are listed on the screen as you add them, but I’d like to see that information also transmitted with the e-mail like the photos are.  Currently only the angle you’re looking at is included in the e-mail information.
3) I’d like to be able to share the raw video with my coach/fitter so he could tweak the angles as need be in the app.  Right now everything happens on my phone.  Since my coach lives 3,861 miles away – it’d be great if I could setup the video, include the reference distance (if I wanted) and then let him go to town on looking at angles.

Obviously, there’s lots of things as a non-fitter I’m likely skipping over (both pros and cons), but, as a bit of a bike geek, this caught my eye as fairly useful – especially in a solo person capacity where you’re trying to take your own bike fit angles (obviously, to post on Slowtwitch and be told your seatpost is too low).

At any rate, the app costs $2.99 and works on all Apple iDevices (with an iPad variant).

Thanks for reading!

(Update at 10:15AM EDT: For those asking about Android, the developer has let me know they are working on one, it’s just that they’ve primarily been an iOS development shop in the past so the Android side is taking a bit longer to release.)

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada where, like our friends to the south, means eating one hell of a lot of turkey and other goodies until we can barely get our butts away from the table. What better way to burn a few calories than with laughter.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!