Saturday, July 2, 2016

Leopard’s Bane

In Season 4 (2014), Episode 4, And the Old Bike Yarn, of sitcom Two Broke Girls, Caroline adopts an abandoned bike half woven over by a homeless knitter and plans to use it to deliver cupcakes they’ll bake. Max reveals in shame she doesn’t know how to ride one. An attempt to teach her ends in a crotch injury, which she ices with cold cans of diner soda, as the rest of RICE - Rest, Compression and Elevation - wouldn’t be practical. Premise provides gags full of sexual innuendo, which seems this show’s main purpose. Sex turns the average participant from tool to fool; picture a vulgar medieval jester, and you’ll get the level of intelligence to which sitcom panders, imbecile monarchs and mindless minion.

Ah, summer, high season for touring, when every distance seems nearer, and you take on more than you can handle. Never know how much you’ll suffer even if you’ve done it all before. Bike&Chain mentions pain on every tenth page but never resolves how to cure beyond a hot shower or soak, then long nap in loose wrap with legs elevated, safe recommendations that smother litigations. “Pain and pleasure are equally interesting, for some inseparable.” Suffering pays, but that fact offers little comfort. Turin Brakes conversely called bicycle a “pain killer” in summer rain, but they meant a mood boost not pharmaceutical remedy.

Painters pour pain onto canvas as complaint. Protests go nowhere. If you complain, responses of those who might hear include, in order of likelihood, annoyance, avoidance, bemusement among the blameworthy, kindly advice you can’t apply, race to capitalize, and, rare though superlative, suggestions that actually work validated by vast experience. Bicyclists mostly bawl about bonks, butts, calves, feet, knees, thighs and wrists. How bike is adjusted and equipped effects all. Chamois balm, padded shorts and well worn leather saddles eliminate or lessen posterior discomfort. Bar tape, gloves, and multiple hand positions assist either wrist. Weight loss also helps, since dragging around excess elevates distress, and wool socks deter abrasion.

You’ll undergo fewer aches and pains if you hydrate before, during and following, whether plain water, special sports drinks, or water suspended powders. Nutrient rich diet and sensible exercise regime will gradually harden bone and flesh and increase endurance. Digestion stores glycogen and lipids that legs use as fuel, but water lubricates muscles and metabolizes both. Sneaky sugars don’t last and exacerbate diabetes. Importantly, avoid exceeding your physical limitations, or risk complications. Cocaine during or opioids after defeat any health benefits. No prescription beats prevention. “Pain, after all, can be short circuited by ketamine, mental discipline or morphine drip, but only ethics, nonviolence, and safety awareness work to prevent suffering.” That is to say, don’t engage in road rage, and stay out of harm’s way.

Muscle spasms may be spam bicyclists can’t simply delete. It’s said that potassium insufficiency causes, why many cyclists eat apples and bananas. Arnica montana (aka leopard’s or wolf’s bane) diluted in a gel is one topical remedy that works nearly instantly for a charleyhorse, deep bruise, or severe cramp. Not for internal consumption or where skin is broken, since it’s a poisonous herbal, you must heed adverse reactions or health contraindications and use sparingly. Other liniments don’t work as effectively or quickly. Daub menthol HEET liquid on tender site but likewise don’t get it into eyes or on fingers. Bengay or Icy Hot are for arthritis or discomfort, not spasms. All, however, reputedly reduce inflammation that induces pain, as do aspirin, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs, though use of any can potentially be fatal to some.

Long rides so increase body heat that all you want to do is cool off. Sweat evaporating from skin is what nature provides as a restorative, further reason for fluid intake. Professional athletes set bedroom thermostats at 65°F and take ice baths. Yet direct chill may trigger vicious contractions, so be careful how you position yourself relative to air conditioner and cool breezes. Sleeping is the best cure, since your autonomic system directs hypothalamus to automatically shed 1 or 2 degrees. Good advice and loose moisture wicking garments ease adversities, possibly persuade riders to attempt full and half centuries, though somewhat gaudy and sweaty skinsuits suffice for shorter jaunts.

You aren’t born with an instructional manual on how a human body operates, only instincts urging curiosity and moderation and senses from which to learn. The only arbiter of whether you are having fun or preparing to compete in next Grand Tour event is you. In peak shape once assumed a challenge comparable to most difficult Tour de France stage. Didn’t regret it, but won't retry. Nevertheless, not letting any teen on a mountain bike pass uncontested, even when nearing end of a hot 50 miler. Dug deep, overtook, and pulled far ahead, while he vanished in rear view mirror. Competing too easily tempts, but maintaining race cadence for prolonged periods maximizes chances for injury and pain.

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