As you might imagine breaking your spine is a tedious recovery process, non cyclist medical professionals couldn’t quite understand my need to find the answer to the question when will I ride again until I found my specialist who also bangs out some solid miles on his morning commute and Sunday spins, he’s one of those hard core any weather riders.
During my discharge exam he apologised for keeping me waiting for surgery and for the multiple scans that didn’t quite pick up the full extent of the damage which when he explained in graphic detail I had a bit of a weep in his office.
We spoke about how my body works with the bike and he recommended non round rings while explaining how they’d get me ovewr the dead spot and relieve the strain on my lower back.
This week I gave Sigma Sport some cash and they sent me some Rotor Q-rings which were an easy swap out for my 50/34 “ recovery crank” and I stepped back up to the 52/36 oval rings. I was expecting an adjustment period while I figured out when to get the power out, I was wrong.
I do need to adjust the rings because I installed them in the medium position and I need to move the rings around one notch but even though I’m not using them efficiently I have more power for longer and my back pain is less, I’m not saying that the Q-rings gave me the free watts but the pain of getting over the dead spot around my L5-S1 gives me the confidence to to put my body into a whole new zone of distress.
Since fitting the rings TrainingPeaks WKO4 has done the math and my VO2max, mFTP, smoothness, TSS and IF are all higher, my on bike effort hurt so much less while on the riding and I really do notice it, of course the downside to being able to work harder longer is that recovery can be more painful, but even those pains have moved.
On the standard rings, after doing 45k I would ned to do nothing but lay down while my back screamed in agony, constipation was a constant thing while my body just seemed to clamp up in pain, on the Q-rings, while I still hurt a bit that’s because of the extra effort I can carry out and instead of being focused on my back it’s most all leg DOMS.
Going up hill is still annoying but I have the ability for constant paced application of power without the shooting pain that used to jab me from my hips to the base of my skull. I took great pride the other day while out, there was this well set chap on his murder bike, we were stopped at the lights, he looked at me “ see you at the top” and off he sprinted, I caught him, passed him with a glib “ are we at the top yet”? he eventually caught me and dropped me on the flat but for that moment I felt fucking amazing.
Now I’m not saying Q-rings are the best bit of tech I own, that will always be the PowerTap pedals but for the cost and benefit they are most certainly the best single investment I’ve made and if, like me you’re a bit broken and a bit wonky I can’t recommend them enough