Still nursing any Lobster injuries? I am!

I suffered the consequences of this kind of imbalance last winter. Riding like a maniac all the time feels good, but it isn’t pure good.

A friend invited me to join a high-intensity indoor soccer team with a ‘one game per week - no practice’ structure. Since I was so fit and a passable soccer (that’s football, for you mainlanders) player, I signed up. First game went fine. I played intensely. The second game, the following week, after about 10 minutes of play, WHAP! My left ham felt like it had snapped. I was wacked out for about three weeks.

The sad thing is that during eight months of the year I can’t get up any juice to X-train despite my lesson. Now, with winter ON in Minnesota, the gym is my friend though.

Post-Lobster, I had weird quad probs that went away after a couple weeks. I sort of convinced myself, mainly through self-diagnosis, that I had experienced exertional rhabdomyolysis. After this, my stamina was fine and I don’t think that I experienced significant muscle loss. Mid-summer I had varicose vein surgery which I chose to pursue because of a nasty condition called phlebitis. Never had had it before and it seemed related to the varicose veins of my left calf - but probably not related to RTL.


I honestly had more problems in unicycling training pre RTL than post RTL. Many of my overuse/imbalance injuries have been curbed by a consistent, daily, fairly comprehensive stretching routine with a few core exercises thrown in for good measure. I’ve been king of the junk miles in my bicycling “career” for years and have had to work through a myriad of issues before taking up unicycling so much. Riding my fixed gear road and mountain bikes around here for 10-15 hours a week over half a dozen years or so has really put my body through the wringer. I found Bike for Life - How to Ride to 100 by Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky to be a valuable resource. It’s not unicycling specific, but the principles seem pretty sound.

It has also been quite helpful to have a good chiropractor who is willing to work with me on my biomechanical deficiencies. My flexibility has always been poor, but I’m getting better. I’ve been a cyclist for years, but when I switched to unicycling I found all kinds of knee issues cropped up. Tight IT bands were a large part of the problem. I had tendinitis in my right knee too. That appeared to be the IT band coupled with a problem in my quadricep. Stretching and a foam roller (6" diameter x 2 ft PT device) really worked wonders.

This fall I had some nagging issues with my back. I couldn’t sleep through the night. The problem was finally traced in large part to my 10 year old mattress. Once we got a new one things cleared up quite well.

Post RTL my speed has increased significantly (down to 52:30 vs. 56:30 best on a particular loop), but I’ve backed off unicycling as much and increased my bicycling again. I also vary road and mountain rides on the uni. My uni skills have gotten a whole lot better since forcing myself to race it in a 1/2 dozen mtb races (well, one a cyclocross on the 36er) that were 10-15 mi. each.

Right before RTL I was extremely frustrated- especially with distance uni riding. Since I’ve been back and balanced things out (relatively speaking) the fun has returned.

I really just like to ride. Road or mountain, bike or uni. I’d agree that the thought of hitting the gym seems disheartening, but after reading about all of you guys (who are much more experienced an unicycling than I am) I guess I’ll have to give it a go- more out of fear than love.

I’m not sure which Dave Dan was addressing, but I’ll say “HI DAN!” anyways, along with “Hope to see you next summer- Lisa can now ride too!”.

There have actually been three Daves/Davids who have responded to this thread. All three riders from the Centurions have also responded. I believe I have had all the injuries mentioned at one time or another with the exception of the floating bone chip.

I have never liked but have always used the gym to prepare for my various sports: Unicycling, Whitewater Kayaking, Track and Field and Sailing. The exercises I do are always designed to help the events I am most active in at the time.

I do have some permanent injuries that can’t be fixed but for the most part I’m still hanging in there at age 53:)

Joe is still recovering

I am still having difficulties with my knee. Walking is still troublesome. I’ve been working through a few setbacks and the issues related to winter weather, having added a plate and a few screws to the tibia. Now, if any one thinks I’m a little crazy, I tell them “Maybe I have a loose screw or two”.

I have managed to unicycle to work and home every working day since the end of September. Even riding during our periods of snow.

Sunday, 2/22/09, Tom Blackwood helped keep me motivated to get all the way around the long route (33 miles) of the Chilly Hilly for my longest ride since RTL.

Seattle PI Chilly Hilly

Thanks go to Tom for making the Chilly Hilly into a great riding experience. Even the weather became cooperative and we finished with some sunshine.


How long is your commute?

That is crazy, I wish I stepped up and uni commuted more often.

Joe, that is really amazing. You are one highly motivated guy. I’m sorry you’re still having some difficulties, but what you’ve done is fantastic. I had a bad leg/ankle injury climbing once and it took a full year before I was really good to go. Daily rides is what did it for me back then.

Way to go!



I second that - way to go with your recovery!

It’s really hard (and important) to be patient and push yourself in a cautious way. I am feeling reasonably strong for the first time in a year and a half but it has taken a LOT of work. You will get there!


Joe is kind…at a minimum it was co-motivational. He’s been riding uni, I’ve been riding chairlifts. Turns out that’s not great cross-training for uni climbing. The last 8 miles or so, Joe was talking me up the hills as I started to bonk. On the final hill, he did everything except throw me a tow-rope.

Joe, thanks for posting those photo links. Did you see the little girl on the unicycle? I totally missed her.

More Lobster surgery to report

I am currently recovering from my 2nd arthroscopic knee surgery; both involved repairs of the medial meniscus. My hunch is that I had small tears that the Lobster worsened (both in training and then in racing). Initially the pain was worse in my right knee, but I had problems in both. After a scope of my right knee, the doctors told me that if I had problems with the left, they would trust my judgment and not even bother with the MRI. Sure enough, I only complained to them last Thursday, and less than a week later, I was under the knife.

My Lobster injuries are as follows:

  1. tendonitis, left upper ankle (went away after a month)
  2. ‘tennis’ elbow (from holding my extension), left elbow
  3. medial meniscal tear, right knee
  4. ditto, left knee

I also had some knee problems that went undiagnosed before the tears but were probably related to them.

I think that’s it for me!

My only injury is to my brain, a longing to do it again!!

Doing the RTL again? Yeah!

Doing the RTL again would be nice.

I’m longing to get rid of a few spare parts that the surgeon left behind when he put me back together. Each storm seems to effect me worse than the last. This cold wet spring is motivating me to opt for surgical removal of my RTL souvenir screws and plate.

But with no “RTL II” in sight I’m hoping to be able to do a Pacific Coast of Washington and Oregon supported tour the last two weeks in July and early August. I’m think it might be nice to ride from White Rock, BC to Crescent City, CA.

I didn’t know THAT could happen :frowning:

Re my tennis elbow, …

Yeah. Apparently I’m in the minority of riders who pull their extensions towards them. I’ve tried the pushing out method, and it feels weird – makes me feel like I’m going to fall forward. Anyway, it also has to do with the type of ext.

But the point is, I was holding the thing for dear life for so much of the ride that I ended up with tendonitis in my elbow – from unicycling!

Thanks for giving this thread a bump. Interesting reading. I didn’t know there was so much carnage and fallout from RTL.

I wonder if all the jumping in trials and street unicycling works the hamstrings enough to prevent knee problems. It would be great if were possible to maintain muscle balance just from unicycling. I’ve never been able to go to the gym consistently. I just don’t like it.

I’m probably getting way ahead of myself. If I stick with this long term and I get into good enough shape that muscle imbalance might be a problem, then it would be nice if I could stay balanced by using a variety of different uncycling styles.

I think you may be right. I do very little trials/muni. I believe a lot of my problems stemmed from the strengthening of only certain muscle groups, which pulled my kneecaps to the exterior, causing or exacerbating the problems that surfaced during the race.

Surgery on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Surgery #2
I’m getting un-screwed and de-plated. Hardware removal. Seems I have a loose screw. One screw head sticks out about 3 mm tearing up the muscle and tendons behind the knee.


I’ve had dreams of a standup handcranked unicycle for a while now just because my upper body gets so neglected. I picture something like a giraffe with pegs, but no seat, and maybe BC style plates instead of pegs.

It’d probably be a lot easier just to go to the gym, eh?

Joe - if that didn’t sound so painful, the fact that you literally have a screw loose would be pretty funny. Hope it’s better soon!