A Kick to the Gut

Flying Rhino Argyle

Save the endangered belly!

When I decided to do a blog specific to the IRONMAN, I decided to tell it all, the good, the bad, the stupid, and the destined to get picked up and endlessly talked about by my ridiculous haters. This probably falls into the last three categories.

Clyde is back from the bike shop.  We decided that for my 2 hour bike last week I would put him on the trainer (a thing that allows you to turn your outdoor bike into an indoor bike with variable resistance.)

I was feeling pretty triumphant because I had put the trainer together, then removed Clyde’s back wheel quick release lever and replaced it with the tightening rod from the trainer, and then got Clyde onto the trainer.  I had grease on my hands and hadn’t broken anything. Success!

It was also bittersweet.  As I mentioned before Clyde is a gift from my friend whose husband had passed away – Clyde was his bike.  She is an amazing person and from the times that we met and her stories of him he was an incredibly kind and smart man and was really encouraging to me. It’s an absolute tragedy that he died so young. I hope he is happy that I have Clyde, I think he would be, and I think he’d think that the story I’m about to tell you was funny.

So it was with great confidence and a little sadness that I set out on my inaugural “training ride” with Clyde.  The thing is, his handlebars don’t go up very far so I was much more doubled over than I normally would be on the spin bike.

That meant that at the top of each pedal stroke my knee went into my stomach. At first I was just a bit annoying, at around 30 minutes I was definitely noticing it and an hour in it was really starting to hurt.   But I wanted to finish out my ride so I sucked it up and finished the two hours.  My poor belly is visibly bruised, and my stomach was upset that night and the next day.  I told you it was a bad decision!  I thought it might be interesting to calculate how many times I had actually managed to knee myself.

I was doing two hours at an average of 85 revolutions per minute (the workout included alternating between 80 and 90).  RPMs are calculated based on one foot (so, for example, you count only the times that your right foot goes around, not counting the left) so  since both of my knees were ending up in my stomach that meant that I was getting kneed twice for each revolution.


85 (rpm)

x 2 (for both the right and the left knee)

x 120 (minutes)

= 20,400

= Ouch

The good news is that this is easily remedied by getting some work done on my handlebars.  I’ve known from the beginning that I would be riding more upright than the average rider, and if I had any doubt I’ve definitely cleared that right up.  In the meantime, I’m back to the spin bike and committed to making better decisions with regards to the way I treat my awesome belly.

More Cool Stuff:

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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5 Responses to A Kick to the Gut

  1. sb says:

    It took me years of cadence-focused work to get up to 85rpm as a comfortable spin; you are a natural, and you’re going to kill it on the bike at the IM. Rock on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fl_commenter says:

    So you don’t have to count your cadence:


    Consider the GPS units. When you start riding outside they’ll be useful for sending data to your coach.


  3. natalieh says:

    Oh the dreaded belly/thigh/knee conflaguration. I dont like that feeling at all.
    I dont know the bike configuration you have but ive been learning different ways you can set up. Maybe one of these ideas would help?

    If Clyde has rounded drop style handle bars you can flip them up so you are in a less agressive posture.

    There is also the peice between the post and your handlebars that you can swap out. Sometimes they are on an angle and you can flip it to angle up, giving an inch or two on the bar height.
    Just some thoughts about how tou can adjust the fit without soending money. Hope you find the right geometry. One of my friends tells me the thigh/belly mash up is like a really awesome massage. Im not quite there with it.
    You are totally kicking butt 🙂


  4. ebay313 says:

    i just read something that was linked from a facebook, it was an article about things that are bad for vaginas. One of those things (and the only one that wasn’t a “duh” thing) was bike seats. According to the article women who ride bikes a lot have decreased sensation in that area, and this is more pronounced in women who have bikes with lower handle bars.
    This kind of has me a bit afraid of bikes now, lol. Though so far I’ve never had problems. But definitely makes me less inclined toward riding that involves lower handle bars, lol. So, just thought I’d share that in case it makes you feel any better about having a more upright biking position, lol.

    (I also did not save the link nor did I check the sources, so it could all be total bullshit though)


  5. Oof. I recently did my first spin class, which was only 45 minutes and I was NOT maintaining that high of an RPM, and had similar issues. I had the seat too low, so my knees were bending at a higher angle, and at times I thought I might puke from the combination of the kicking and the exertion.


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