Sit Bones

Ischial tuberosities.  Yes, that’s what they’re called.  Mine have had an awakening the last two days.  In past years, cycling had been my major sport and recreation.  Almost daily, from early spring to late fall, I would gather all the accoutrements needed to mount up and ride, getting in anywhere from a weekday twenty miler to a long 60 to 100 mile ride on the weekend.  Lately, since I grew in my devotion to running, cycling has shifted from prime sport to an event reserved for one week during the summer.  That is when I make my way up to Northampton,Massachusetts, and join my friends for four days of intense cycling with Ride Noho.  Ride Noho is a cycling camp run by Aldo Tiboni and his wife, Elaine.  They find beautiful routes around the back roads of western Massachusetts, and lead their guests on rides suitable to their abilities.  Accompanying them, and providing a cycling engine of enormous power, is Bob, ex-marine, and now a super-fit, white-haired, pony-tailed, vegan who is a ride co-leader.

I make this trek annually because I still have a love of cycling, even though I’ve essentially given it up for running, I may want to get more into triathlon, and it makes for a great get-away when I can spend four days with friends, pretending I have no way to check work e-mails.  One little downside of not cycling regularly, though, is one must break in the ischial tuberosities, among other bones and muscle groups peculiar to the cycling experience.


Jan, Bob, and Dan in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Jan, Bob, and Dan in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

The seat on a road bike is designed the way it is to provide unfettered motion of the legs and thighs as they turn the pedals, and at the same time, support one’s backside.  The points at which this support is provided are the ischial tuberosities, or the “sit bones”, as they are called in some reference journals, like Bicycling Magazine.  Our first day on the road, Monday, we did a 57 mile ride including 4,000 feet of climbing.  Since it was the first day, the old ischial tuberosities were in a naive state, hence did not announce their presence very loudly.  Yesterday, we did a more modest 46 mile ride with only 2000 feet of climbing, the idea being to go easy before our herculean effort of today, a planned 70+ mile ride (closer to 80 I hear), with over 7000 feet of climbing.  Well, yesterday, those tuberosities made it clear they were not going to take this kind of punishment sitting down.  Yes, they announced to me in a very clear message that they were sore and swollen, and what right did I have to punish them in that manner?  Right from the start of yesterday’s ride I received this feedback as I gingerly set my butt upon the saddle as we were heading out, but it was not until the last ten miles of the ride, as Bob pulled us along at a steady clip in a pace line, requiring concentration and steady pedaling, that the message really came through, my ischial tuberosities were in revolt.

Rewards of the ride include a great lunch at Elizabeth and Paul's in Noho, including their modest version of blueberry pie.

Rewards of the ride include a great lunch at Elizabeth and Paul’s in Noho, including their modest version of blueberry pie.

Perhaps today the bones will have backed off on their message of pain.  I hope so.  This ride we have planned today is a huge challenge.  Maybe all my other parts will complain loudly enough to drown out the whimper from where the chamois meets the leather.

Uncorking Croatia


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