Insane People

I count a number of cyclists among my clients. Not many of them race seriously, favoring rides that involve mere light-hearted competition. But they follow the cutthroat riders, the ones who get into demented events like the Paris-Brest or the Race Across America.

“A lot of the riders this year got Shermer’s Neck,” said Evan as he explained what the race was — a nonstop, solo ride from someplace in California to someplace on the East Coast  (varying by the year). “The winner slept seventy minutes a night total, I heard.”

“Um, don’t people start to hallucinate after about three days of that?”

“Yeah. Every year they have some incident with a guy getting off his bike and attacking a stop sign, or something.”

Just a hazard of athletic competition. Apparently it didn’t erupt in this case.

“When you compete, you injure yourself,” Arnold Schwarzenegger once said. He would know, not least because of a continued lifetime aptitude for shooting himself in the foot with his dick, but oh well that’s another matter entirely.

“So what is this neck thing?” I asked. Evan explained that as you continue to cycle relentlessly, head hunched down over the handlebars, the muscles of the neck eventually falter and become completely flaccid, leaving you staring at the road beyond the treads of you front wheel. Various solutions have been used to prop up heads by cyclists who refuse to bail out on a race because of a trivial nuisance like this. One of this year’s finishers braided her hair and tied the braid to her bra strap.

I’m not listening to any more crap from twitchy people who say I’m going to “hurt myself” hucking up a pile of manhole covers wearing belts and wraps.

I looked it up and found out some massage people in my general skill area treat the scalenes and sternocleidomastoids to get rid of this problem,  citing a likelihood that old whiplash injuries and the like predispose a cyclist to it. Now if any of the insane riders in my clientele turn up with this malady I can  feign that I am Hot Stuff, at least if they don’t flee naked from the house after I find those scalene trigger points; they hurt like a cast-iron son-of-a-bitch.

I’m wondering if it’s a bit like Limber Tail, a condition that affects dogs, just at the other end.

Human beings were not meant to move over the earth on two wheels.

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15 thoughts on “Insane People

  1. A friend of mine has a good friend in one of the RAAM 4-man teams. Dunno which one. We agreed they’re nuts, even though he himself is an avid mountain biker who has no problem hurtling down cliff faces astride a multi-thousand dollar piece of titanium. Suddenly this makes me wonder if a recent stroke — he’s only low-forty-something — might be associated with an accumulation of tiny unknown neck injuries.

    I’m with you: Manhole covers and a spotter.

    • RAAM or any other sleep deprivation events are just that. Sleep deprivation events. I don’t consider them “sports”. They are just a sickness. There is nothing healthy about seeing who can go the longest without sleep. Just my opinion……….

      • And considering how serious you are about your cycling, I respect your opinion on a matter like this.

        I’ve never been able to make a bike stay up long enough to feel the postural effect, but obviously it’s harder on some people than others.

  2. “they hurt like a cast-iron son-of-a-bitch”. Thank you, I shall be using that phrase from now on, although I suspect it won’t sound nearly so cool with an English accent 😉

    As for the extreme athletes who only sleep for 70 minutes a night and tie their hair to their bra strap to keep their heads upright… well, I’m sure its good that our gene pool has such fanatics because they are wonderfully useful when it comes to dangerous exploration and wars, and they probably just need an outlet when there isn’t a new continent to beat a path across or an enemy to slaughter. But I like my athletic activity to make me feel better, not worse.

  3. Well, I like my two wheeled conveyance, but I don’t think such an event as you describe is much of a sport. I ride a bicycle for enjoyment and fitness, not to deprive myself of both.

    If I get a three wheeler next will you think more approvingly of the vehicle?

    • I am dazzled by your penny farthing, Zeus, but unless it did have a third wheel, I couldn’t ride it.

      It’s like the bumblebee can’t fly. I look at something that cannot stand up on its own and I refuse to imagine that it can stand up with me ON it. So it doesn’t. I don’t like anything that doesn’t allow me to stop dead still and decide what my next move is going to be, and only remains functional if it’s moving. I always capsize. It makes no sense to me, and I won’t do it.

  4. I was rolling on the floor laughing reading this. And Terminator shooting himself in the foot with his dick – was the cherry on the pie. Ah ah ah ah, Sled, Sled.

  5. I live in an Ironman town…now there’s a competition I just don’t get. True torture. I’ve heard training up for it takes 7 years from your life. These people would rather shit themselves than stop.

    Oh, and sled, darlin’, I wish we were in the same area. i would so totally come to you for massages…I love the stuff that hurts ‘like a cast iron son of a bitch’. (high pain tolerance, that’s me!)

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