Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It's been a while since my last post. For the few readers I'll summarize the reason for the lull in one word - numbness.

The nerve issues that I suffered during and after TransWisconsin have basically left me unable to ride more than a handful of times up until a month or so ago. The first two weeks back required me to look at my hand when holding a sandwich or a glass of liquid to ensure that I wouldn't drop it. Our cats enjoyed the dropped sandwiches a lot. Typing caused the numbness to get worse (bad when your job requires you to type for 8 hours a day). Day to day tasks became actual tasks. I have much more insight as to how I will be when I age to the point of not being able to handle some of life's basic tasks myself. Caretakers, you have been warned.

I've spent some time talking to medical doctors, sports therapists and acupuncturists over the last six months. The first (or even second) opinion isn't always the right one. I had two doctors ready to slice into my wrist to alleviate my numbness because they were convinced it was carpal tunnel. A four day onset of carpal tunnel seemed a bit unlikely to me. Thankfully I found third and fourth opinions from Cindy McGuire at Hands on Sports Massage and Jay Heaverlo at Midwest Acupuncture Clinic. I credit both of them with really getting to the root cause of my issues and getting me healed up. Insurance companies that don't cover accredited massage therapy or acupuncture are missing the boat IMHO.

Although I'm finally better, I can't begin to (again) tell you how important getting your bike fit properly is. My Salsa Fargo was the *one* bike in my fleet that I had not taken in to Rasmussen's to have adjusted and it completely screwed me for close to 6 months. I will be taking my Fargo into Adam for a fit once I'm ready to start riding it again.

While I was busy with not riding my bike, I picked up a real camera and started taking photos as a way to still stay involved with cycling and see my friends. I have bunch of them here on Flickr if you are interested in taking a peek. While we're on the subject of photography, I'm honored to announce that I've been accepted an offer to be the Official Photographer for TransIowa V7. I'm hoping that I am able to capture even a portion of what this ultra-endurance event is like. A huge thank you to Guitar Ted for allowing this to happen.

Finally, I still have some TransWisconsin writing to finish up. I'm finally ready to reference my little composition book so I can write "the rest of the story". Hopefully the details won't be too fuzzy.

After 6 months of numbness, soul searching, and depression, this biker is finally getting back into his Zen state. It feels good.


Courtney said...

Glad you doing better Steve.

Joe said...

Loose the drop bars!! I use either Titec H-Bars or Surly Open Bars with Ergon grips. Pure heaven for long rides.

Matt Maxwell said...

Glad to hear you're back on the bike and avoided the knife. I've suffered from similar hand numbness, but luckily it never lasted more than a couple of weeks. Then again I never tried to do Trans-Wisconsin.

Here's my unsolicited advice: For off road riding drop bars haven't worked for me, part of it might be bike fit as I was trying to retrofit an old bike. Gravel is fine and I love the drops on my Cross Check. I've gone to H-Bars or similar swept bars and Ergons for technical stuff.

Adventure Monkey said...

Glad to hear you're doing better. I have thought about getting a proper bike fit done, but haven't yet. This post makes me rethink that.

Ari said...

IT is really good to hear from you Steve. You had us worried. I will be looking foward to seeing you at Trans Iowa. Could you describe what issues you had with the Fargo? I am always interested in hearing fit issues so I can help my customers. Were the bars too low, too high?
Hope you get back on the bike soon since I know how much it mean to you.
Best to you my friend,
Ari Andonopoulos

Steve Fuller said...

Ari - Still need to get the fit done so everything is a bit of a guess. Couple of theories.

My L Fargo was built by using a bare L frame and all of the parts from an XL Fargo. The stem length on the XL was 110mm vs 100mm. I think that was the main issue. I've always felt like I was stretched out a bit too much when in the crook of the drops and I think this is the reason.

Looking back on what parts of my body needed adjusting/work I think the bad position caused a lot of shock to get transmitted into my shoulder and caused inflamation/stress in my neck and thoracic outlet area. The nerves to the hand and arm all go through this area. The conditions I experienced were very similar to that of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ari said...

Thank you so much for the answer. I also feel that it is important to pad the heck out of the bars on the Fargo. Lots of shock seems to be tranmitted up through the fork. I was thinking that perhaps the new Fargo with a suspension fork would be a good idea. I hope you feel better every day.
best my friend,


Gordon Inkeles said...

Have you looked at the Rivendell bike fit approach? It certainly changed my life for the better.