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Last week had flown by very quickly. We had a great family get together and it was lovely to see all but now that everyone has gone back to their respective homes its back to business as far as my training is concerned.

Higher and higher. Great-niece Loveen climbing the magnolia tree!

Higher and higher. Great-niece Loveen climbing the magnolia tree!

Two problems I had to deal with in the past week – one minor and one potentially major. First of all I managed to put on 3 pounds in weight – understandable with so much food lying around and the absence of disciplined cycling. The second one did cause me some consternation but seems to be sorting itself out.

After my previous Sunday’s particularly hilly ride I developed a niggle in my left knee. I initially thought it was a strain of the vastus medialis the big strong muscle on the inside of the thigh – often referred to as a “pear drop” as that’s what it looks like on serious cyclists with serious thigh muscles!

So I decided to take a few days’ rest from cycling and did a fair amount of ice packs  and stretching. By the end of the week it had not settled so I went to see my old friend Rob a local sports physiotherapist who after careful evaluation decided that it was as a result of a very tight ITB or ilio-tibial band. This is the very strong fascia on the lateral side of the thigh that the quads are contained within and its main purpose is to stabilise the knee whilst cycling or running. With age and overuse it can get adhesions to the muscles and can get quite tight (I know this is a very simple explanation but for the purposes of this blog should suffice) and thus tends to put a lateral rotational pull on the knee. As a result it not only pulls on and causes inflammation of the attached retinaculum on the medial side of the knee but also irritates the vastus medialis which then tries to overcompensate to stabilise the knee!

Phew! Anatomy lesson over. So what can one do about it? Treatment of most musculo-skeletal conditions is pretty much the same – stretching exercises to break down the adhesions and try and “lengthen” the ITB. One technique that I have heard of but never actually used is the foam roller treatment. So it was down to a local sports shop – The Running Fox and an investment in this foam roller and back home on YouTube to learn how to use it.

I can easily say that the foam roller has been one of the best investments I have made in recent times. Within two days of using this not only my tight ITB is loosening up but my knee is so much better and I have used the roller on other muscles and on the upper and lower back too. The latter is like having the most wonderful massage. So if you ever are stuck for a present for the sportsperson in your life – get them a foam roller! (No I don’t have any shares in the myriad of companies manufacturing them.) Avoid the expensive ones with fancy ridged appearances. Mine cost £16 – you may get it cheaper online but I like to support the local shops.

To check my knee out I went for a short hilly ride today and am glad to report that the knee has behaved. So I shall have some sessions over the next couple of days on the exercise bike – to rebuild stamina and to try and lose these extra pounds. This Sunday is also the final group ride that we are all looking forward to – 85 miles covering practically every hill in this beautiful county of Leicestershire and Rutland. Then it is going to be tailing off time to the grand départ!

My fund raising has reached £5580.88 and I am very grateful to everyone that has donated to a great cause. If you look at the website of Hope Against Cancer – what I have raised is tiny compared to the annual need of keeping all the research projects going – so please consider donating even if it is only a small amount. If you have already donated consider what you can do more to support this cause. How about rattling the tin at friends, family and work colleagues or organising a coffee morning or a similar fund raising effort? How about even looking behind the settee and under the cushions to see if you can find some loose change?

Giving and fund raising are very personal to each individual. I was stopped by a lady in the street who said she didn’t know me but her daughter died a few years ago from breast cancer and she wanted to donate. We had a little chat and it transpired that if her daughter’s cancer was discovered in current times her chances of survival would have been very good. It is amazing how much research has already gone into cancer and the amazing advances that we all are benefiting from, including Val and our family.

Radiant Val - at the end of her

Radiant Val – at the end of her cancer “journey”. Thanks to all the wonderful doctors and staff at our local hospitals that looked after her. NHS at its best.

Whereas taking on this challenge has meant that I could set personal goals it also meant that I could raise funds for cancer research in our local hospitals – our way of thanks for the care Val received and putting something back into the system.

Finally I shall post here all the different ways that you can sponsor me and make that difference:



text GURU67 with £amount (from £1 to £10) to 70070

Sponsorship forms are at Charnwood Pharmacy, Bloomin’ Marvellous, Dilip’s Multi store, The Black swan, The Crown, Ryatt’s Optometrist, Hall Croft Opticians, Janine Soars hairdresser at “Sheardesire” in Hall Croft, Rosebery Medical Centre, Rosebery Pharmacy, Forest Edge and Outwoods Surgeries, Bridge Street Medical Centre and Pedal Power in Loughborough. Don’t forget Livio of Livio’s Italian Restaurant is also collecting a voluntary £1 donation from his diners and promising to match it.

By clicking on individual businesses you can learn more about them and support them. Thanks.

Further information about Hope Against Cancer: http://www.hfcr.org