A Physio’s View on “The Ultimate Time Trial”…

Imagine this…a 3000 mile time trial with 170, 000 feet of climbing…unreal isn’t it? All of this in fewer than 12 days and 12 hours…this is exactly what Joan Deitchman is going to attempt to accomplish in just a few short days. She has done her training, a solid plan has been laid out and she has put together a unique team of individuals to help her on her journey. I am honoured to have the opportunity to be her Physiotherapist and crew mate on this adventure. Joan’s body will have to go through significant stress during this race, which will derive from hours of being stretched out on her bike. Historically past athletes have developed odd levels of peripheral edema, spontaneous neck muscles shutting down, compartment syndromes, not to mention atypical muscle overuse injuries! My role will be to communicate with Joan and Joan’s body to try to avoid and minimize these issues as much as possible. This alone, will be a challenge, as there don’t seem to be any rules as to how the human body reacts during the grueling mileage encountered during RAAM. On a daily (or nightly, afternoon, mid day, sunrise…) basis we’ll be using massage and ART ® to keep her muscles flushed, oxygenated, pliable and ready to attack the mountain passes and miles of asphalt. As well, my toolbox will be stocked with rolls of Kinesio Tape to assist with edema, and muscle proprioception; as well as, acupuncture tools to keep her energy flow up, pain levels down and muscles behaving at their absolute best. Not to mention constant review of her bike positioning to maximize her biomechanics! Anything else we come across…. it will all just have to go with the flow.

This race reminds me of my inaugural day in practice when my first client came in with the typical “you’ll never get this” injury. Prepare for the unexpected, because it will likely happen. This race is going to challenge myself, and the rest of her crew, on all levels to keep Joan at her best. Suddenly that little ache I get in my back on a “long” ride doesn’t sound so bad….Get on board and follow this amazing journey of human body, mind and ultimate determination!

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