The Mountain Bike Life

Back on the bike this week after 4 weeks of P.T. {physical therapy} AND a big move back to him ownership. Oh, typo there; or was that a Freudian slip? I had HOME ownership on my mind but, there’s some truth therein in him ownership. (smiling.)

Al and I are engaged and planning on a wedding later this year. Hurray! The past six months of selling the old home and buying a new home was so much more effort than we planned, our mountain biking took second fiddle to the mayhem of US. That is the sad part of our big shift. The rest is all good, better than good. It’s the BEST!

Once again I’m just a roll out of the garage towards my beloved Aliso and Woods Canyon wilderness park. Al gave up one wilderness park access near his condo to move us to a larger space we much needed, closer to the ocean and our fave Class1 bike path (off road) that leads us to my slice of local mtn. bike heaven. ALISO!!

Back at it…stopping at big California oaks in Aliso Woods Wilderness park | Photo: Al Patterson

Back at it…stopping at big California oaks in Aliso Woods Wilderness park | Photo: Al Patterson

SO…..while I had down time from biking and up time with packing and planning our move, I got in to see the orthopedic surgeon regarding my neck issues and into physical therapy as I mentioned in last month’s blog.

I’m not ready to quit the bumpy rides on dirt, but will choose the trails that will be easier on my not so young neck. I have my new exercises to do that will strengthen those muscles and lessons in better posture and appropriate stretching to keep me in the best condition for biking and hiking.

Here’s the goods on my excellent experience with my fab P.T.’s at St. Joseph’s Hospital out-patient physical therapy in Laguna Niguel, CA.
I learned that there are more than 650 named skeletal muscles in our bodies. And most of us are using the same few muscles over and over again in our habitual workouts and not switching it up a bit. I’ve learned that our muscular tissue makes up 35-40 percent of our body weight. Some muscles are controlled by our brain, and others are controlled by our nervous system. I’m learning it’s important to get to know the deep fascia of my body. Yes, when my deep fascia is happy, I’m very happy.

No muscle is an island. Let’s look at it that way. You have one troubled spot, it affects everything. When I was young(er), I was not fully aware of how wonderfully my healthy body took care of all my physical needs. As the years have gone by, I’m learning that parts that are worn out are worn out because they were over-worked. Adjoining muscles atrophy if not included in the all over workouts.

There’s so much going on in our muscles, tendons, bones, joints when we live an athletic life. I realized how little I give my muscles the attention needed to stay sharp. Keeping 650 muscles in tune every week is…..exhausting! Answer…We need to cross train.

So good to be back on bike and riding these rails. | Photo: Colleen Hannegan

So good to be back on the bike and riding these rails. | Photo: Colleen Hannegan

I’m not a fitness freak. “Crossfit” is not for me. I don’t want to lift truck tires and roll them across the room or lift more than my 10-pound weights to keep toned and maintain my vibrant physicality. I’m a lightweight. But I learned that assorted strength training, walking, biking, swimming, hiking, floor exercise, using stretchy bands and isometrics, geared to your own needs and body type, help us keep fit in all areas of our body.

We get fatigued and injure muscles and joints from repetitive motions over many years of same habits.

As I went through my new exercises and paid attention to my PT’s suggestions, I thought that every athletic person over 30+ (absolutely over 50!) would benefit greatly from a few appointments with a PT. Get a review of how one moves their body through their workouts, check on proper posture and habits, talk about any aches or pains before they become doctor visits.

I regret I didn’t visit my orthopedic surgeon 6 years ago when I started having serious neck issues. Seeing a PT much earlier would have put me way ahead of the game in neck rehab and strengthening than where I am now. And I believe I’d have less of a decrepit #3-#7 vertebrae than I live with today.

But I started now and that’s sooner than later. There’s no silencing those muscles in pain once the damage is serious. But there are ways to lessen pain and re-build.

Being out there is a good as you feel. The adventures on the bike or on foot will be wonderful memories with friends when your fitness level is at peak performance. My advice; don’t wait until your hurts keep you from having the best of times.

Together, we’re unstoppable! | Photo: Colleen Hannegan

Together, we’re unstoppable! | Photo: Colleen Hannegan

Stop, look and listen to your 650+ muscles and everything else you got going on there….anything talking to you late at night??

Ride on and stay well this summer!

FYI, these photos of the park were taken during a very gray May. It’s July and no sign of gloom. Lovin’ these sunny summer days.


Check out part one with an interview with Hans “No Way” Rey!

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