Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bad Knee 03-09-2013

The Voile 18-inch ski strap offers multiple uses. Anything shorter is limited.
I've skied all winter without a hitch, but last week, during a benign Mt. Wire lunch run, I buggered-up my left knee when I slip on the ice. The trail was either slush (sunny aspects) or ice (shade) and I was pushing hard to get back to work for a meeting. After topping out on Mt. Wire I'm running down the trail as fast as I can go when I slip on an icy spot. I should have just let the fall happen, but I fought it, and during the twisting, gyrating and body-contortions to save the fall, I tweak the knee. Nothing serious, but I need to take care of it up front so I can get back to skiing this week. Hopefully not two weeks. That said, knees are like avalanches, don't push the limits until conditions are stable. If it doesn't feel right, turn around and go home, but when it feels right, go with confidence and center punch that hill (or knee)!

Look closely and you'll notice there are NO surgical scars on my 51-year-old knees, something I plan to continue (no scars) through death. I've never met anyone who is happy with knee surgery (scoping, replacement (that sounds so old), etc). Recovery from even the least invasive surgery takes at least a year and then their knees are no better than before the surgery. So why do it? To underwrite the surgeons next European vacation or his kids college education? No thanks. Alternatives work. My choice is to take a week off from skiing, ice it, rest it, and plan on big ski days this spring.

The other thing: use them or lose them. My knees hurt much worse from inactivity than from hard use. If they hurt without any known cause, like a slip on an icy Mt. Wire, the best cure it go hammer them. When I feel pain, I'll go skiing or run a trail and my knees always feel better afterward. Even running down hill, a big taboo in many minds, but absolute folklore in mine, will not injure a healthy knee. I've been doing it for 30+ years and my knees are strong and relatively pain-free. In fact, downhill running will build and maintain the quad strength required for skiing, like no other activity - other than skiing. Trail running, with much elevation gain/loss, is the best conditioner for back country skiing. Like I said, use it or lose it.

Oh my legs? I'm built like a Rugby player which is not the best body type for BC skiing, running or cycling, at least if one is racing, but I do OK speed-wise for my heavy body type (5'8", 163 lbs.). I recently read that Black Diamond Equipment is getting into the back country ski outerwear game, but will ONLY offer lean sizes, otherwise know as  the teenage-french-girl body type. That is great if you fit the mold of a world class SkiMo racer or cyclist, but what about us stocky types? It seems like a marketing blunder on the part of BD Equipment? What can I say? I feel violated. My body fat is barely above 10%, yet my waist size is larger than my in-seam due to huge glutes (large ass muscles). While I am muscular, I am NOT overweight. I don't do any body building, I lift weights only to maintain strength and balance, nothing more. Yeah, it is possible that I could lose 10 or even 20 lbs on a starvation diet, but why? Hell, I don't even wax my legs, which is required if you want to enter the realm of bad-ass cyclist. In short, I have the body God gave me and I take care of it.  Black Diamond is nuts to think there is only one body type that will buy their products. I own 5 pairs of their skis, which I love, but maybe it's time to move on? Loyalty is double-sided.
Also, Dynafit boots are all the rage right now for their light weight and great performance, but I can't wear them for one major design flaw: the walk/ski control is coupled with the top buckle. My calves are of inhuman girth, therefore I get much pinching and reduced blood circulation without first modifying the upper buckles on all my ski boots. With the Dynafits I can't see how that can be accomplished without compromising the walk/ski mechanism. Scarpas and Garmonts (now Scott) will remain my boots of choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment