Riding the bike is the most challenging leg of the triathlon for me. Not only is it longer time-wise, it involves mechanical equipment and significant speed. Ever since I crashed in Taiwan and broke my face, every time I ride the bike, I am uncomfortably aware of the potential of impact with the pavement. To make things worse, multiple body parts go painfully numb the longer I am on the bike.
My husband coaches me that a numb bum can be avoided by having more pressure on my feet. This would probably be sound advice if my feet weren’t also going numb…as well as my hands, from my palms to my finger tips! I must constantly change which pressure points are bearing the most weight.
I also manage the numbness in my feet by wearing my RunAMocs. This gives me room in the toe region to frequently wiggle those toes. The Vibram soles give me a good grip on the pedals, but have good flexibility for range of motion. I know that some people advocate stiff shoes for biking, but I think binding up the feet to pedal is akin to inhibiting the elbow when using the arm to crank a handle. Freedom of the joints, even the lesser appreciated joints of the foot, leads to a more comfortable and efficient application of force. It may seem in theory that force is lost with the bending of the foot, but I suggest that engaging all of the foot muscles adds power, maybe by enabling the leg muscles to be more fully utilized, much like the knee adds to the act of walking or running.
Its at least worth thinking about. If you think God knew what He was doing when He designed the foot, it makes sense to not inhibit that design. Casts and braces are typically only used to support a body part that is healing. The smart goal is to have the musculoskeletal structure regain strength, not to keep bracing it.
You could legitimately ask why, then, do I not ride barefooted? I admit to judging the pedal spikes too pointy for comfort, but mostly, I am concerned about having to put my feet down quickly at speeds that might shred my feet. I find that the RunAMocs allow a nice balance between natural foot movement and a pliable layer of leather for skin preservation.
Is anyone else having these issues and what do you do about it?