in Cycling

Weekend adventures; don’t over apply the embro

I’m happy to report that despite a still-tight right hip adductor, I managed to eek out 9.5 miles on Leif on Sunday; I felt slow, but it wasn’t about the speed, it was about “time on my feet” as DJ puts it.

I kept my adductors from being overly engaged by simply… not trying to change my form. Over time I’ve come to realize all the things I’ve been doing to “correct” form have caused one injury or another. Running too far forward on my feet hurt my calves, trying to push my pelvis forward has angered my hips. So I just let my body be and instead focused on having a super strong core.

On Saturday I rode on the Summit team ride, which was actually brought about by some event going on at Athlete’s Lounge, so a bunch of teams were out. At first I was terrified I was about to ride with about 60 triathletes, but thankfully the groups broke up and went their separate ways. It was a gorgeous day and we did a quick loop around Sauvie before heading up McNamee. It started out a bit cool, so rather then put on knee warmers that I knew I would later regret, I decided to try out some “mild” embrocation.

The last time I used embro stands out very clearly in my mind: King’s Valley road race, in 2009 or so. Oh the firey, firey burning pain. I thought my legs were going to sear right off. So I haven’t used it since. But lately, I’ve been thinking maybe I just was being a baby or something, and it would be quite nice on cool mornings. So of course, right before this huge group ride when we’re in a rush to get ready, DJ gets some from Athlete’s Lounge, and without thinking much, I just smear it all over my legs.

Yeah I think you know where this is going.

It was great until we started climbing. It began as a tingle at the back of my knees and slowly grew to an all-encompassing hell fire centered around my knees. I wasn’t really sweaty or hot anywhere, except my legs. There were waterfalls of sweat and embro streaming down my calves and into my socks. I tried to ignore it until we got back to AL; I tried wiping it off with some water, which actually does a great job of just spreading it around. Thankfully I had packed some baby wipes and those managed to temper the burning until I could shower.

Enjoying a spin around Sauvie Island

Enjoying a spin around Sauvie Island

When I wasn’t focused on the burning sensations, I was being good and not getting above threshold, so I was pretty surprised to a see a mountain of PRs on the climbs. I haven’t felt this strong on the bike in a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong: I could not turn around tomorrow and do a road race, I have zero top end. But you don’t need a top end for triathlon, or so I’ve been told. The next few weeks will involve some speed work, so I’m curious to see where that takes me.