Monday, December 31, 2007

Mistaken Identity

I don't know how but there were some readers (according to my Dad) that thought the picture in my previous post was of me. Now maybe if my Dad was Prince Charles I might have ears like that that but alas that's not the case - it was in fact a Belgian fellow, Jan Boyen, who is also a pro cyclist (despite being a below the knee amputee). See my previous post for details.

It would also have meant that I was riding again which is not yet the case. Despite the desire, I'm not quite in a position to ride just yet.

However, now that I am on my feet again (so to speak) I am now desirous of doing some form of aerobic exercise as I am starting to become quite the lard arse, at something like 20kg over my race weight. Yikes!

So, on Christmas Day between happily tucking into the oysters, prawns and lobster for lunch and ham, roast pork and turkey for dinner, I discovered my brother had one of those recumbant indoor cycling trainers. Like this one.

So I thought it would be perfect to see if I could pedal. Alas the range of motion allowed by Schooner (my leg) and my knee was insufficient to enable me to pedal. We are not amused.

So what does one do?

Well one checks out alternatives and I have two up my sleeve. Firstly I need to be able to move major muscle groups (i.e. my legs and bum mostly) in a frequent motion with enough resistance and over enough time in order to make sufficient blood pump round my system to start the process of improving my aerobic fitness (i.e. commence the cardiovascular and metabolic improvements I'll need). My slowish and limited walking simply ain't gunna cut it. For the able bodied this usually means running/jogging/brisk walking or swimming or cycling and variants of each using indoor training equipment.

I can't yet do any of these (swimming is out due to small open wound on the leg / risk of infection).

So my alternatives are:
1. find other exercise options I can do; and/or
2. find mechanical measures which would enable me to pedal a bike.

So on front #1 I visited a local gym (Balmain Fitness) today to investigate the options. Looks like a good place to go, the guy I met there said he has one other client in a similar situation and he showed me and allowed me to try a few machines which might do the trick. One was a stepper, which I guess most would be familar with and another was an elliptical trainer similar to that shown at left. As I understand it, the girl doesn't come with the trainer.

What interested me with this option was the motion was similar to pedalling but without the same range of knee joint angle required. Kind of like walking with your feet going in circles. I tried a few rotations and it's just within my current range of motion capability, so I reckon that's the go. Then maybe mix in a fast circuit of weight training and hopefully that will get me back on the long road to competing again.

Option #2 is to create a shorter than normal left pedal crank for the bike, which would enable that leg to make a full revolution on a bike until I am both ready and have the prosthetic capable of enabling me to revert to a full length crank. So my good buddy and track racing super star PeterB (he gets the "B" as I know quite a few Peters) happened to phone me today and he is going to set about getting a 100mm left crank made up (my normal road crank is 175mm and track crank 170mm).

Fortunately it isn't that hard a job for a reasonably skilled machinist as the left crank is the easiest to do (the right crank is a bit more complicated as that side has the spider and chainrings attached). My bikes use Campag square taper cranks, so an old BMX crank will probably do the trick. Add an old style pedal and cage, put the bike on a trainer and as long as I can get on the thing I should be away!

OK, so I have a couple of options to test out over the next couple of weeks so I'll be sure to report back on the success or otherwise.

That's the calorie expenditure side of the equation sorted (well a plan at least). I also have to add to that the more disciplined approach to calorie consumption. I'll just go back to doing what I used to before, which was pretty successful. Since emerging from hospital I have simply eaten too much but I suppose I can't be blamed for having such a lapse for a while.

So Happy New Year to everyone. Let's hope 2008 is a beauty!


Andy said...

Wow, I'll bet it'll feel great to be able to sling a leg over the trainer and do some work. Looking forward to hearing you're back on the bike, keep it up.

RayMan AKA StingRay said...

I've been reading your comments on the Wattage group for the past year, you've always provided a lot of great information. Today, I read through your blog and was shocked to learn about your accident. I don't you know you, but I think your desire to return to a normal life and get back on the bike is courageous. You've been positive and forward looking. I wish you lots of encouragement and strength. I'm not sure how I would react to a similar situation, but I would hope I would find the strength to overcome any kind of adversity. I wish you the best and happiest 2008.

Alex Simmons said...

Thanks guys - I get lots of good feedback and stay determined to keep on keeping on!

Lawrence said...

Alex, 2008 is the start of your big bright shiny racing career, version 2. Happy New Year! :-)

Unknown said...

Whaddya mean the girl doesn't come with the elliptical trainer???? ;-)