Tuesday, March 1, 2011


After the marathon two-day drive home from Tucson, AZ and the subsequent cleaning/unpacking of gear, it was time to address my back issue. My approach to fixing my back will be no different than researching a new piece of bike gear. I will gather as much info as possible, obsess over the pros & cons (there might be a spreadsheet involved), and then move forward with confidence.

Step #1 – Gathering Information
I took the first step before leaving Tucson when I made a Thursday afternoon appointment with Jen Fisher of Teton Therapeutic Massage. Jen has worked on me occasionally for a few years now and knows my normal hotspots. My visits to Jen are often “rewards” to myself after an endurance race and therefore she is used to seeing me sore. However, on the Thursday following Old Pueblo Jen bluntly said “you are a mess”. She was referring to my overly tight hamstrings and the lack of natural curve in my lower back. At the end of the session Jen handed me a Yoga schedule and told me directly “you need Yoga in your life”. Jen is by far the best massage therapist I have even been to and I respect her advice.

The Flat Back posture is often caused by muscle imbalance and/or tightness

Step #2 - Yoga
In a strange bit of fate, the Yoga Tejas studio in Driggs was offering a Beginner Intensive 5-night class starting the following Sunday night. I took it as a sign. My resistance to doing Yoga was due in part to feeling like I didn’t know how to do the poses correctly and therefore I felt like I was wasting my time. A bad first impression of Yoga was also lingering in my brain. I took my first Yoga class in Jackson last summer and walked out of it feeling like Yoga was way too hippy-dippy for me. A 5-night class would either get me on the right track or would prove once and for all that Yoga is not for me. After only 2 of 5 classes I already see the benefit. I really like the teaching style of Bridget Lyons and the pace of the class is quick and athletic.

Step #3 – A.R.T.The morning after Old Pueblo I received an email from my friend and pro cyclist Amanda Carey urging me to go see a woman in Jackson who practices A.R.T. Amanda had received several A.R.T. treatments for a back issue as well and recommended Josie highly. Josie works out of One to One Wellness and after a lengthy follow-up conversation with Amanda I made an appointment to see Josie on Monday. The One to One Wellness facility oozes energy and I immediately felt comfortable there. My first treatment was, well, intense. I almost launched off of the table several times when Josie dug into a problem area. Ironically, Josie was the second woman in less than a week to tell me “you are a mess”.

One of the best explanations of A.R.T. I have found is HERE.

This week is less about the bike and more about rebuilding my body so that I can begin training again without pain. I have plenty of time to ramp it back up before the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde in early May.



Buzz said...

Yeah yeah......all that stuff is good BUT you can hurt yourself doing that stuff too! Women think differently from men AND they relate to their bodies differently than men do......which brings me to my question: How come you didn't know you were as @#$ked up as you were?

I have had chronic back pain for over 30 years. I have tried EVERYTHING. I have successfully(and sometimes only temporarily)healed myself but it is constant vigilance, awareness and listening to the voice of my body.

Listen Dave


Dave said...

Buzz - A valid question with a multi-part answer. It is not uncommon for my lower back to hurt during long races and training rides. However, I can usually ride through it and it typically eases up later in the race. My lower back bothered me during Camp Lynda three weeks prior but I chalked it up to just riding hard on technical terrain. Then I spent 18 hours in the car to get to Old Pueblo. That didn't help my already tight muscles.
So what did YOU do to heal yourself?

Vito said...

Buzz has a good point however I think you are heading in the right direction. One question I have for you is...How is your core strength and are you well balanced structurally?

I had severe back issues several years ago and was bed ridden with spasms for several weeks.

I found that not only did I have a couple of bad discs in lower back, but I also found out that my Musculature was completely out of balance. After weeks of physical therapy and a good core program my back issues were resolved. I've found that if I don't keep up with my core routine on a regular basis the pain returns. Also, flexibility is a huge issue so the yoga is a great things.

Another program I used is developed by Symmetry for Health. It totally makes sense and has had great results.


If you go there, click on news and events and go to Men's Journal. You'll get a sampling of part of the program. They also have a book available.

Just thought you may like another resource. Best of luck with your recovery.

and...Go Petervary's !!!