Watt Matters is a blog about training and racing with power and other related musings.

Aside from writing items here on occasions, I also provide cycling performance improvement services via coaching, aerodynamics testing and host a cycling tour.

If you'd like to ask me a question or suggest a topic you'd like my take on, then just head to Ask Alex and let me know!

What about me? / 100 degrees

OK, this is my blog and I'll cry if I want to....

Not really, no blubbing from this duck. So some have asked - how am I going? - I haven't heard? - are you riding yet? and so on....

So a quick update.

I'm doing fine, actually socialising quite a bit lately, which has been great. :) Part of the plan* to return to some "normality", whatever that is. Those that know me from the cycling and training forums know I'm still kicking about and occasionally being useful.

* The shorter term plan includes a return to work and a return to cycle training.

My leg is doing OK although Schooner is on his, er, last legs. Simple fact is Schooner doesn't fit very well now and I am ready for a new leg. I keep having to wear these thick cotton ply socks inside the leg liner to ensure a snug fit. I'm up to six socks now and it doesn't really do the job all that well.

So after a bit of walking I get sore. Sometimes it drags over to the next day. The other annoying thing is the patch of skin that got rubbed off ages ago just doesn't get a chance to heal. Last time I tried a pedalling session on the home trainer, I created and popped a small blister. It's still healing and that was weeks ago. I've been trying all sorts of remedies. Unfortunately, as soon as you cover it with anything, it just increases the pressure on the wound and makes things worse.

I had another 25-min trainer session but it's only very small doses at the moment. So not much pedalling for me I'm afraid. I'll try again soon but it's a risk until I have a prosthetic more suited to the cycling function.

On that front, I had a good session with my prostheticist (George). He has this funky new socket design ready for me when I upgrade to the next leg. It is pretty low cut but very clever and will enable full knee flexion without interference behind the knee. It's a carbon fibre socket and very strong. I will be able to clip on separate walking and cycling legs. Inspector Gadget look out! Only a handful are in use in Australia I’m told and not used elsewhere in the world. Must be for special people like me!!

He was pretty happy with my walking. I’m a little over 3 months in with current leg. I’ll get some photos of the new socket when I get the new leg – probably not 'til later in March I’d say. My next review with the Rehab Doc is at the end of the month.

As for managing the changes in stump volume, I am eyeing off the computer controlled vacuum pump George has on his own prosthetic leg – that looks the bees knees.

I also like the look of George's “ankle” which appears to be a multi-directional joint of some kind – great for walking on – I have most trouble walking on slopes and cambers as my prosthetic ankle is a fixed joint - no flexion at all.

I am having trouble getting motivated to exercise much I have to admit especially with the current set up not being all that comfy. I’m sure hoping the new leg will help in that regard.

I also need to keep working on the knee’s range of flexion. It straightens OK but I’m not bending as well. It has improved – my physio measured 100 degrees last week, it was 85 when I left hospital. Crap for pedalling though. She has given me some exercises/stretches for the knee and I'm having a weekly physio sessions to work on it. I guess I'd need to get to about 135 degrees.

I’m also in the process of designing/building a new home trainer, with a big flywheel and power meter. Should be a cracker. I figure I’ll be doing more indoor workouts once I’m back into the swing of things. I'll be writing a separate post on all that later. Here's a prototype:

No ergomo power meter for me though (like on this bike) - it only measures left leg power!!

A week or so back I also visited the track to watch some of the Australian National Track Championships. I met many of the Athlete with Disabilities crew (nice people) and then watched their Time Trials and Individual Pursuits. Amazing.

On the right is Michael Milton. Have a read about some of his amazing feats, including the world record for downhill speed skiing.
http://www.michaelmilton.com/

Hello to the girls from the Paralympic Committee ! It was great to say hi.

And I bought a Boule set and had my first game. I got beaten!! They'll keep :)

Enough for today.

My Own Trainer Project

An Hour of Power