Archive for March 2011
This is why I love Cancellara, and why you should too.
(For the record, Phillipe Gilbert comes in a close 2nd for his attacking prowess and heart. Basically, any cyclist who has an attacking pedigree is at the top of my list of awesome).
And then he finishes them off…
My friend Dave Williams has been a figurehead in the Colorado freedom movement for quite some time. He has this uncanny ability to speak to any group on any issue (including those who completely disagree with him), find some common ground, and leave them believing just a little bit more in libertarian ideas. He is kind of like the grand ambassador for freedom in Colorado.
In this podcast, I wanted to address a few things:
1. Can direct political action help the cause of liberty?
2. Can indirect political action help the cause of liberty?
3. Can the Libertarian Party help the cause?
4. How and where does Dave draw the line for “justified” government force?
5. How can we better communicate with those who disagree with us?
We discuss all those issues, plus his work with the Gadsden Society of Colorado, the liberty lobbying firm he founded a few years back.
Check out the podcast – Justin and Dave Williams on the political process.
I saw the highly recommended Lee Carmen with Pain Solutions Inc yesterday morning. Originally I was going to see an MD knee specialist, but I decided against it. Like my fiance has taught me, I need to find the root cause of my knee problem and attack that. Sure, I could get a shot in my knee and solve the problem in the short-term, or just stay off of it for a couple months until the inflammation and swelling completely subsides. But that won’t prevent my knee pain from coming back later. I’d be reduced to resting, getting shots, taking Advil, icing, and all that stuff the rest of my life.
So what’s the root cause of my problem? In a word: imbalance. Our bodies are made up of different parts that are all completely interconnected. When one part is off, it affects many other parts. Our bodies are also very good at adapting to imbalances and sub-par mobility. After time, our body can compensate for inadequate parts by calling on other parts to work double duty so to speak. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had extremely tight muscles. I was born maybe the most rigid person on the planet. I remember being a little kid and getting a physical. It was evident that I was inflexible and had a limited range of motion. My Mom asked the doctor, “Will Justin ever be able to touch his toes?” “No, probably not,” the doctor responded. School assemblies were the worst. All the kids could sit quietly, “Indian style.” I physically could not sit that way. I was forced to sit with my feet in front of me, knees tucked against my chest, while my arms wrapped them up into a tight-knit ball. It was extremely uncomfortable. I would sit there not paying attention to the assembly due to being so uncomfortable and wishing I could sit like everyone else. As a young baseball player, I couldn’t even mess around and play catcher some of the time. Why? Because I couldn’t crouch in a catcher’s stance. I was too inflexible to sit on my heels. It was truly pathetic.
Now it seems like my rigid body structure and extremely limited range of motion has come back to haunt me. Over the years my body has learned how to adapt and overcome these deficiencies by calling on some muscle groups to turn off, while working others overtime. I have a twisted pelvis due to tightened quad muscles and an overcompensating hip flexor. When sitting on the bike, my twisted hips create the illusion that my right leg is shorter than my left. Therefore, my right leg has to compensate for that by overreaching. My glute muscles have been basically shut off for quite some time, as my quads and the muscles in and around my hip are constantly firing. My tight quad muscles and IT band pull on my knee cap and throw it off track. Therefore, my knee cap doesn’t sit straight. Rather, it sits off to the right side and tracks at an angle instead of straight up and down. My knee problems are simply a symptom of this long list of imbalances and deficiencies. When my crank spindle broke and put my pedal sagging at an angle, it forced an already over stretched right leg to stretch further. Again, the broken crank and ensuing knee pain are just one manifestation of an overall, much bigger structural problem.
The good news, and I believe there is a silver lining to all these problems, is that there is no telling how good I can be on the bike once my body stops fighting me and starts working with me. It’s amazing I’ve gotten as far as I have with a body so out of whack. Now I have the ability to reach new levels of fitness when I finally straighten myself out. This part is exciting. In the short term however, I’m not exactly sure how this season will go. I’m not sure if I can race much at all. And if I can, I might be racing at half speed due to decreased training levels. I’m most worried about my participation in the Tour of the Gila. I was really looking forward to that race. I’m going to do everything in my power to get back on track and race the Gila – even if I’m just a helper for a teammate.
For now I’m going to be seeing Lee a few times a month working on straightening me out. I’ll also be attending Jon Heidemann’s functional movement class at Peak to Peak twice a week, in addition to the exercises and stretching I’ll be doing on my own. I’m going to continue to train, but only 1 hour at a time until my knee can handle longer duration. Unfortunately, my fitness is going to take a big hit. Finally, I’ll be wearing kinesio tape on my right knee from time to time to help it to track properly. So if you see me out there training, I might look like Lucas Euser here:
My friend and fellow voluntaryist Ademo Freeman joined me the other night for a podcast on cops, with a strong focus on police accountability. Ademo is a guy that knows a lot about the cops issue and runs a fantastic police accountability website called CopBlock.org. In it, you’ll find a wealth of information from an array of contributors. They also have a couple of really cool features like podcasts and a sweet interactive map.
In our podcast, we touch on Ademo’s background with the police issue, how Ademo and his crew keep cops accountable, what regular folks like you and I can do to keep the police accountable, some of the more egregious police horror stories, reasons why we see so much police brutality today, why cameras are so important, tips and techniques for dealing with cops, what a moral protection system might look like, and finally, we touch a little bit on some of the institutions that might arise in a voluntary society.
***Update: Ademo was kind enough to link back to me on CopBlock. Thanks bud!***
I don’t even know where to start. After thinking I was on a fast track to getting better, my knee is the worst it’s ever been. I woke up in so much pain this morning and it’s still feeling worse than ever. It’s gotten so bad that I called a knee specialist that I will be seeing on Wednesday morning. Where I’m sure he’ll tell me not to ride at all for a few weeks. And thus, lose much or most of my fitness. Then I get to start racing in April with no fitness. Cool. (but isn’t it PRO to “race yourself into shape?”)
This of course happened after a great day on the bike yesterday with the team. We climbed the 3 most steep mountains in Boulder – Magnolia, Sugarloaf, and SuperFlag. My knee was throbbing by Flagstaff. I iced the living hell out of it last night, but that didn’t seem to help much at all. Now I’ll patiently await a guy I paid to tell me not to ride to tell me not to ride…
Until then, I’m reduced to day dreaming and watching bike racing on the interwebs. This video I found on Velogogo is pretty cool, mostly because Gilbert is the most fun racer to watch in recent history. If he isn’t currently attacking, he is definitely planning an attack for the near future. He lives the word panache.
Doing my interval workout this morning was a dream! I’ve got a brand new crankset on my bike now, and boy does it feel smooth. When I initially clipped in, it felt like my right cleat was busted. My foot was so used to being clipped in at a steep angle, that being level was almost too weird to handle. I jumped off my bike and looked at my cleat to make sure it wasn’t broken. Sure enough, it was fine. I got back on and started pedaling and began to get used to pedaling level again. I only did around an hour and 20 minutes though, but it felt great!
Now I’m set to do a little longer on the bike tomorrow, maybe 2.5 hours when it’s all said and done. I’ll know for sure how far along my knee is after that ride. Since I’m no longer aggravating it with my broken crank anymore, it’s more about letting my knee repair and heal itself. Not sure how long this will take, but it’s a much better situation now than before. I’ll continue to ice it and continue my stretching.
Now my mantra is HEAL BABY HEAL!
One night a couple weeks ago, it dawned on me that I have podcast equipment sitting at work at my disposal. Why haven’t I taken advantage of it yet? Then and there I decided to start messing around with some podcasts with my friends. I know a lot of really smart people who I can tap to get some expert knowledge on a wide range of topics.
For my first podcast endeavor, I wanted to talk to an old friend of mine from the neighborhood, James Davis. He and I grew up in Jersey together, played sports together, went to shows together, and went to school together. With the birth of his son, he’s had a bit of a shake up in his world. He’s seeing things in a different light now, specifically, the horrible public school system. This got him thinking about our education system, and more generally, the awful way the government administers (monopolized) goods and services. Since then, he’s been on a tear listening to and reading a bunch of resources about schooling.
I decided we should have a chat about his journey and what he’s learned so far about our school system. Without further adieu, here is the first installment of the Justin Longo podcast show – Justin and James on schooling.
Wow, what a difference a day makes. Last night I went over Bailey’s house to put on a new chain, cables and housing. Bailey is like my Mr. Miyagi when it comes to learning how to fix stuff on my own bike. Anyways, at the end of the process, Bailey discovers that my right pedal is extremely loose. And it’s not because my pedal was bent or not properly tightened, it was because the insert on my crank that holds the pedal was loose and thus, my pedal was sagged down and floppy instead of being held level. Meaning, I’ve been pedaling for who knows how long with my right foot completely out of whack. Instead of pedaling with my foot level, I’ve been pedaling with my foot at an angle where my little toe is pointing towards the ground. Knee problems? OF COURSE.
It’s funny because I was reading up on tendinitis the other night, and lots of articles mentioned that knee tendinitis can be brought on through incorrect foot pronation, due to incorrect cleat placement or a plain old bad bike fit. This is exactly what has been happening to me over these last couple weeks because of my broken crank! I’m glad I found out now!
Moral of the story is, I’ve bought a Cannondale Hollowgram crank to replace my busted old crank. I believe that my knee problems will finally go away now that I won’t be pedaling at such a severe angle. Hopefully I can send my broken crank back to Cannondale for a warranty. Either way, I’m glad I’ve gotten to the bottom of this. If this does indeed fix my knee issues, it will be a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Here’s a little update on my knee issues. For one, the problem is by no means solved. But I’ve managed to sort of stall it from getting any worse. The upside is that I have not experienced the sort of pain I got the very first time my knee acted up a few Saturdays ago. The pain I’ve been getting when crossing the two hour threshold has been more agitation and soreness than the sharp biting pain I initially had. Another plus is that I can do short 1 hour and 1.5 hour interval sessions. The problem is initiated because of duration, and as long as I keep my duration down, I don’t get any pain. As before, I experience no pain whatsoever from normal day to day activities, only from longer duration on my bike.
The downsides however, are plenty. When I get past the 90 minute mark and edge closer to two hours, I start to feel the twinge in my knee cap. That basically signifies 48 hours of impending soreness. Once the knee starts to get agitated, it remains sore the rest of the day and into the following day. It really sucks. And the strange thing is, the pain is worse later on in the day when my leg is bent in a 90 degree position for extended periods of time – like people do when they are sitting down eating dinner – than immediately after my ride is finished. The following day it feels sore, like someone hit me in my upper knee cap the day before. It’s not horrible pain or anything, and I am able to (and I have) ride through it, but it’s really annoying and not to mention, probably not a good idea for my long-term health.
What it comes down to is that someone who really enjoyed long days in the saddle is now reduced to 1.5 hour sessions at a time. My days of 5 and 6 hour rides are over, at least for now. That in and of itself is really depressing. Not to mention my forced limited participation in the team’s training camp this weekend.
Bottom line: I’m continuing my stretching routine, mostly twice a day, with a focus on my IT band. Additionally, I’m icing my knee at night. I have spoken to a few more people and I have reason to believe that what I have is some form of tendinitis. If that’s the case, it may be something more permanent that I thought, and I’ll have to learn how to mitigate the pain and deal with it.