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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Sleep at the Wheel

Greeting dear Girlfriends from the seat of my bicycle! Yes, my cybersisters here I am several time zones away from home in Thunderbay, Ontario.

Today I have cycled over 1100 kilometres across the country and yes, in 4 short days I will have reached a new goal…. 1600 kilometres of riding and visit to Holt Renfrew in Toronto.

Rest assured my sisters, I have come prepared. My riding shorts are Swiss and fabulous. I have several jerseys- all matching my bicycle.

Make no mistake, I am not a fast rider… but if you see me riding by I have my priorities in order… I do match. Speed is not my friend, but fashion knows no boundaries.

There I am on a fabulous bicycle for about 4-5 hours a day. Even if you love to ride, the time can take its toll. It’s a long time. I do pass it by listening to books on tape or music. Needless to say, I now know all the words to Lady Gag’s new CD and I can sing all the parts of the various Broadway musical soundtracks on my IPod.

Shall I share with you the highs and lows of my last 1100 km? Shall we wax nostalgic for the fact that, yes, I did ride through a hailstorm in Ontario conjugating the “F” word with every pedal stroke?

How about the ride through Kenora where I found a chocolate lab running down the highway and picked him up and stuck him in our RV. Yes, this little pup was adorable (I named him Digby) and he slept in our hotel room for the night before being returned to his rightful owner.

All along the way I have spent hours without the feeling in my hands. When you spend more than 90 minutes on a bike, your hands tend to fall asleep after about 45 minutes. You spend the next few hours shaking them out to regain feeling.

According to a Study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2003,
This hand numbness is very common. The study looked at over 1000 cyclists participating in a 600 km multistage event. 92% of the cyclists experienced motor or sensory symptoms of the hand. The most common injury is ulnar nerve compression, causing symptoms in the ulnar nerve distribution (ring and little finger).

The median nerve is involved less commonly. The cause of this injury is related to constant pressure and vibration, with the wrist in prolonged wrist hyperextension and abduction (holding your hand on the handlebars in a flexed position).

Treatment involves refraining from cycling until the symptoms resolve. Prevention entails wearing cycling gloves, adjusting the handlebar position, applying padding to the handlebars, frequently altering hand position during cycling, and reducing body weight on to the handlebars.

And so my cybersisters… I have solved my problem as I do with everything… through fashion. Racing gloves have become my token accessory along this cross-country journey. Like a pretty little boy scout I have come prepared… I have several pairs of fabulous racing gloves in a variety of colours and padding.

Eleven days down and twelve days to go until I reach Nova Scotia. There will be many more hours and many more kilometers. My hands will fall asleep and wake up repeatedly. Regardless of what happens, I’ll do what I always do in any crisis situation…. Be prepared, hope for the best and of course…. Accessorize accordingly.

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