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.