Ankle Sprains, Crank Sets, and Cadence Mishaps

youtube-picture-smaller-versionIn my second attempt at vlogging about my IRONMAN journey I talk about doing squats with my foot in a bucket of ice, the importance of making your equipment work for you, the first time I attempted cadence training (and how it was a bit less successful that I originally thought…) and include a special guest appearance by my little rescue dog ChadShannel. We named him after drag queens, and he acts like it.)  He sits around  expecting us to wait on/worship him 99% of the time, but as soon as I try to record a video he runs around the house, barks, chuffs, and makes all kinds of noise, so I thought that he must just really need some screen time! If you prefer to read a trancript, it can be found below the video.

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Welcome to my second video blog! Super excited to be back. You may be wondering “why is she wearing that fashionable, fashionable headset?” and the reason is that it allows me to have Dragon NaturallySpeaking create a transcript while I do the vlog and so everything is faster and easier. It’s not just fashion its function! Alright, let’s get to the IronFat stuff!

Not a lot to report from last week… I sprained my ankle.



This is me doing squats and releves with my foot in a bucket of water.  I’m not sure if this is actually therapeutic or if my physical therapist is just messing with me at this point.

My ankles are hyper-mobile – so I can stand on the outside of them with my feet folded under, I could do it since I was a kid. Usually it’s kind of like a superpower – I roll my ankle and then I hop up and I run and it’s like magic. But this time it was not at all like magic. I was able to swim and toward the end of the week do some strength workouts, but unless wallowing in self-pity is cardio I did not have a great week of workouts last week.

One thing I did get to do that I’m really excited about is make some changes to my bike. Those of you will than following the strength in the beginning know about the journey I’ve been taking with Phyxius,




Yes my bike’s name is Phyxius.  It’s Greek, it means putting to flight and I actually got it from the movie The Replacements which is about a ragtag band of football players and it’s the name of Keanu Reeves’ character’s boat in the movie. I thought really no movie better encompassed and explained my journey in the Ironman than the replacements, so there you go.



For those of you haven’t been following from the beginning it’s been quite the journey to get this bike to work perfectly for me and my body. I am obviously not a traditionally-sized cyclist and that has posed some real problems. In addition to being really short I am also mostly made of torso so I have these tiny Chihuahua legs that are working as hard as they can.  And then I carry a lot of weight of weight in my stomach and so when I’m folded over on the bike often my legs and my stomach are trying to occupy the same physical space at the same time which…no worky.  And so, since I can’t get physics to break we’ve done a bunch of stuff with the bike. We’ve raised the stem so that the handlebars are bit higher, now we’ve gotten some shorter cranks so that I have a little more room to peddle.

And this is really important and I can’t stress it enough  – make your equipment work for you to the extent that you’re able. I got a lot of weird hater comments about how I should feel terrible that I’m adapting this bike and that’s ridiculous. The idea that the problem is my body and not some piece of equipment that my body is using, is whackadoo. If you’ve got equipment that isn’t working for you, see which you can do to alter it to make it work for you.

One of the main ideas in cycling is called cadence. And cadence is basically how fast you’re peddling, and there are lots of theories about how fast to paddle in what gear when and why, and that’s beyond the scope of this vlog for sure. What I would tell you is about the first time that I tried cadence training. My coach left a note saying get on the spin bike, it was like an hour or an hour and a half, something like that, and try to keep it 80 to 85 revolutions per minute. I was struggling so much with all the other sports, it was right at the beginning of my training and I was like, I’m going to get something right surely like this is the thing. I get on the spin bike and I start peddling and I’m like, wow, 80 to 85 revolutions per minute is slow and incredibly easy. I’m going to blow this out of the water, I’m going to do twice as fast!

I got home I typed in my notes “I went twice as fast as you asked me to” and he wrote back and said “were you by any chance counting both feet?” and I was like “yeah, of course I was” so for the 60 seconds I was counting each time the right or left foot came around.  Turns out in cadence training  you’re only supposed to count one foot so the good news was that I did reach my target goal on my first try was able to say to sustain it and that’s something that I’ve been able to do consistently on the bike. The bad news is that I was not going twice as fast as I was assigned so bummer there.


Even though you only count one foot, both knees come up for each revolution and so it gives me the opportunity to knee myself in the stomach about 10,000 times an hour which is why these shorter cranks are so exciting, cause they are going to cut down on the unpleasantness.

The more comfortable I can make myself on the bike the easier it will be to stay on the bike for the hours and hours it will take to train for and complete the IRONMAN. Super excited about anything that makes me more comfortable on the bike. I got Phyxius home today and I’ll do my first training ride in a couple days and I will let you guys know how it goes.

I really can’t say enough about the bike shop I use which is called The Unlikely Cyclist*.


There are bikes everywhere!  There are bikes hanging off the ceiling!

Lisa is the owner over there



Lisa and Phyxius are old friends.

Lisa herself is a plus size cyclist and an expert in helping to fit plus size cyclists, so it’s been an awesome experience, they actually have clothes that fit me in there. It’s just super super cool. So while I have the chance I just want to say if you’re watching, thanks you’ve been a lifesaver!


I don’t know if you guys have heard it or not but there’s been all this skidding around at my feet and barking and chuffing happening and that is this little guy. That is ChadShannel. His full name is ChadShannel Royale, named after three of our favorite drag queens.


Until next time, thanks for watching the Vlog. Bye!

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*Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any way for talking about The Unlikely Cyclist  I just really like them! (and I did receive permission to use the pictures)




About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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2 Responses to Ankle Sprains, Crank Sets, and Cadence Mishaps

  1. lsstrout says:

    Why on earth would people be upset that you are adjusting your equipment? Do they wear the wrong size shoes?

    Hope your ankle heals quickly and you can get your schedule back!


  2. Rebecca B says:

    The bike shop sounds amazing!


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