Tender is the nitis

I went for a bike ride on Friday. It included a bunch of steep hills, things I ride from time to time, and they were all in succession, something I don’t do so much.

Also, this hill climbing was done with an undersized cassette. Cove Climb, Alley, Millionaires by the Sea, Ganado, Anchovy, Friendship Park, Monaco, Whitley Collins, all slogged out on a 23-tooth rear cog. Let’s just say my rpm’s were more like rph’s.

I was tired from the riding but the next day when I hopped on my bike for a quick pedal, I had a twinge behind my right knee. “Probably just stiff from yesterday,” I thought, knowing that the back of my knee has never ever been stiff “from yesterday.”

After an hour or so of easy pedaling, it didn’t go away and in fact it worsened. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I once had tendinitis, the patellar variety. At the time I didn’t know what it was so I rode longer hoping it would go away but it didn’t. A doctor gave me an anti-inflammatory called Feldene but that didn’t work.

I ended up getting off my bike for almost six months. That’s how long it took to heal. Every month or so I’d get on the bike to test it out and it would feel good for a few minutes and then start to twinge again. You can’t heal tendinitis with anything but rest. That’s my opinion.

This tendinitis is different because it might be a ligament instead of a tendon. It’s hard to tell which string on the banjo behind my knee is affected. I hear that ligaments heal even slower than tendons. The good news is that it’s a fresh wound and I got off it shortly after realizing the problem. Scratched Sunday’s Santa Clarita Fondo off my list and am scratching off Westlake Century, too. Bummer.

If anyone knows a magical cure for irritated banjo strings, I’m all ears. Not that I’ll believe you, you understand …



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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.


48 thoughts on “Tender is the nitis”

  1. I agree with you, there is no alternative to rest. For a while just pretend you have a life other than riding your bike. Hope you heal quickly.

  2. Or a 29 if on Campy and while you are at it change to 50/34 in front. If the pros use low gearing on HC climbs, you can too.

  3. Sorry Seth this one is on you., The fact that you will never see a pro ridding with less than a 28 on the back and their cadence are mostly above 90 has to say something. Also you don’t live in Florida, so make use of the modern gears and semi compact rings.

  4. If you need more than a 39×28 for anything in pv, you’re too old or weak or both. As far as ouchy bits go, I bet if you let yourself get older without pedaling it will get better.

    1. Seth…LISTEN to Banksie. ICE…ICE and more ice…you know while you watch all that television. Okay…while you power thru a book. Oh, and Advil…i like 400 milligrams ever 4 hours. I get this almost every spring…the pros call it Spring Knee…since it usually crops up after taking some time off…and now…in the “spring”…you’re back on it…

      1. What if I don’t like ice? What if I don’t have any Advil or know what it is? What if I’ve only had it once in my life, ever? What if … I should have been climbing in the 11? It GOES TO ELEVEN.

  5. I had similar problem last Fall, 3 races into CX season I had to stop racing. slightly too high saddle was main issue along with multiple other minor changes that compounded into not-minor issue. I hired John Howard down here in SD ( yes that John Howard) to get it figured out. For any bike related injury he’s seen just about everything and seems to be pretty knowledgeable towards fixing it. And his bike museum and awards collection are fairly respectable 😉

      1. Lowering the saddle height mainly, too high by about 3/8”. Cleat location, saddle fore/aft, subtle body position change – all played into it. My knee pain was outer side rather than what you described but it’s amazing how some weird maladjustment can surface in an unexpected pain. Hope you’re able to resolve this quickly good sir!

      2. He may also have said something to the effect that running up steep dirty hills with my bicycle on my shoulder and jumping 40cm barriers in succession was probably not helping things – obviously just crazy talk there

  6. As others have said, ice. I’ve also had good results with wearing a neoprene brace to keep the area warm and supported.

  7. Give acupuncture a try. I’ve had tennis elbow, golfers elbow, patellar tendinitis and all responded well to acupuncture when nothing else was working. After weeks of rest, physiotherapy, anti inflammatories etc with little to no improvement a couple of sessions of acupuncture had me functioning without pain again.

  8. I’m 55 and have had this problem (and a few others) on and off for the past 43 years. Whenever this problem crops up I lower my saddle about 3-4 mm and continue to ride a bit easier (blood flow is good for healing). I also stretch a little, but not too much. I find stretching the hamstrings on the bike when I’m warmed up is best. Extend one leg and touch your nose to the stem. When the problem resolves, I then raise the saddle back to the height I like. I generally disagree with NSAIDs for more than an overnight; that’s treating the symptom.

  9. Ice, Ibro and Rest. No way around it. And maybe a little less “pro” saddle to bar differential, old man. Function over form.

  10. I bike. I’m way older that almost anyone. I use this stuff:

    Anica Montana is your Homoeopathic friend. Really. Try 30X. It’s not a drug – it’s what tickles your body into producing a cure. Anica can’t hurt you. And it’s cheap. Similar to Ibuprofen, which isn’t bad either. Neither is the ice.

    Also my local Acupuncture Collage has a Orthopaedic clinic. That cured my back.

    Western medicine taken straight up is just not that good at fixing things. Look around at the alternatives. Something will work for ya!

  11. Have you looked on Google or WebMD? Probably cancer that’ll kill you in a few weeks anyway, so you might as well go ride…

      1. Anyone who rides a plastic bike, on a road with cars, has probably already had their brain replaced by a carbon fiber-seeking tumor. I try to explain to my wife that really, more carbon is the only approved treatment.

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