The view from the the drops is beautiful. Sweet.
Before this bike I had a more traditional setup, the saddle was only a few inches above the top of the bars. I was plenty fast, around a 20 mph average but the Venge is better. A full 5-1/2″ drop from the nose to the bar top. That setup didn’t come cheap though… Admittedly I can’t see much in that position but I worked so hard on my flexibility to get there so I feel nothing but satisfaction when I ride, head down, in the drops. I rode once a week for an hour straight in the drops to get used the position. Then I lowered the stem and again, spent a lot of time in the drops until I got used to it. A couple of months later I lowered it again and continued my Wednesday ride as my designated “drop day”. Then one last time.
Training my body to like that setup was not easy and was anything but painless. There were quite a few times where I thought about raising the bar up a spacer. I never wrote about that. I kept it to myself, figuring nobody would want to read about the struggle and I didn’t want to give my indecisiveness any more weight than it deserved, which wasn’t much – but I suppose it makes sense to let that cat out of the bag. I’ve struggled mightily, from time to time, with staying dedicated to being the best cyclist I can be. Rather than give up I stuck with it, pushing the pain, doubt and negativity aside. I had a goal and dammit, I was going to ride flat – except if it meant injury and not riding at all.
I’ve worked hard on several aspects of cycling. Knowing my way around the components, how to service them and care for my bikes. How to pedal harder and more efficiently, how to climb… I worked on strategies for riding with my club and on developing some fantastic friendships with the guys I ride with. All of that pales in comparison to how hard I worked on getting flexible enough to ride low and I’ve only written two or three posts on the subject – out of more than 1600. The only thing I’ve worked harder on is getting fast, but that goes hand in hand with this.
The greatest benefit of riding low, out of the wind, is speed. Without that aerodynamic position I couldn’t possibly ride as fast and far as I do, at least without coughing up a lung or blowing up my ticker. Two months ago I thought I’d finally taken this pursuit a little too far when I dropped the stem the last time… My first two drop days hurt.
I stuck with it though. I didn’t give up, I kept pushing the length of time… I kept pressing my chin toward the stem cap. The third week was a breakthrough and by the fourth well on my way to being comfortable again.
I can spend as much time as I want in the drops now. Headwinds, crosswinds, taking my turn at the front or even after I’ve dropped to the back so I can virtually be pulled down the road by the group.
I didn’t listen to any of the naysayers who said only pros are flexible or young enough to ride like that. I set my sights, uh, low and went for it…
The view from the drops is sweet because I worked my ass off for it.
I’ve been battling a raging case of tendonitis in my right elbow for the last two or three months – I’ve been in so much pain for so long I can’t recall how long it’s been. I’ve iced it on and off now for quite a while but I know the real answer is a little bit of rest but short of my arm falling off that’s not going to happen until the snow flies and the cycling season is done and in the books. Simply. Ain’t. No. Way.
So about two weeks ago, maybe three, I mentioned something to Mrs. Bgddy about how bad I was hurting. We talked about the proper treatment, rest and regular icing, Aleve and pretty much left it at that. Then last week I arrived home to a small box on the buffet with a Copper Wear compression sleeve in it. Now, let’s just say I was skeptical but in enough pain to try just about anything so I could keep my season going.
Now, anyone who knows anything about tendonitis knows that RICE applies: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, so compression is going to help anyway, but the real question is does the copper in the fabric make a difference.
After about five days, wearing it about half of the time (sparingly throughout the day and through the night) and at only twenty bucks for the sleeve, I can honestly say I have no idea if the copper makes a difference and I don’t really care because the Copper Wear compression sleeve works. In fact, last night was the first night I haven’t worn it and I couldn’t wait to slide it on this morning. I haven’t had to bother with Aleve since I started wearing it too so any time spent not blasting my liver is great. While the pain is not entirely gone, it’s at a much more manageable level. Cycling has become a lot more enjoyable as well because I’m not dreading having to climb out of the saddle or worrying about the sprint finish in the drops anymore.
That’s pretty much the extent of this informal “review”, except to say that I was not compensated in any way, shape or form for this review. My wife bought my Copper Wear sleeve at a store (I think Bed Bath and Beyond) just like any other normal person would. This post is based on my experience only and I offer that experience freely. I make no claim that a Copper Wear sleeve will cure anything including, but not limited to Ebola, rhinovirus, the common cold etc.. It simply made my tendonitis not hurt so bad – and for that I am thankful.