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Pain in the neck, literally...(9 posts)

Pain in the neck, literally...HillRepeater
Dec 17, 2002 10:11 AM
I've been riding road bikes for about a year. I recently ramped up my mileage quite a bit - doing non-stop long rides of 4+ hours and 80+ miles. Around the 3 hour point, my neck and shoulders start to hurt a bit. I'm often sore in those areas for a day or two after the ride as well.

I'm 5'10.5 with a 33.5" inseam. I'm on a bike with a 57cm top tube and a 10cm stem. The drop between the saddle and bars is about 2.5". I spend probably 95% of my time on the hoods, using the drops only to catch other riders. I rarely ever ride on the tops.

Is the soreness something that will go away once I get used to doing the longer rides, or do I need to start experimenting with setup?
Me tooChen2
Dec 17, 2002 11:09 AM
But I attribute a lot of it to my age. I've got 3 inches of drop, probably a bit too much for me. I find that naproxen sodium (generic) works well for this time of pain. I don't take it often because overuse is bad for the liver, so I've heard. Your set-up sounds reasonable to me.
re: Pain in the neck, literally...DINOSAUR
Dec 17, 2002 11:26 AM
Off hand, I'd say it's your position. But after riding 4+ hours something is bound to hurt. It could be because your stem is too long, or too short, or your drop. Or you might need to work on your upper body. My upper bod is shot after 4 straight seasons of cycling and nothing for the upper body. Plain old fashion push-ups and pull-ups will do the trick. You can also do some stretching while you are riding, like neck rotations. Cold weather can contribute to neck pain. I wear a mock turtle thermo to keep my body heat inside. You also should veri your positon, try changing the angle of your bars just a tad. My bike has Deda anatomic bars and a width of a size 2 pencil lead can make a difference. I carry hex wrenches with me on rides and make little changes until everything feels right, it might take months (or years).

Reading back your post you said you just upped your mileage...that's probably the reason......
Don't overlook Bike Fit...Small Things Can Turn Serious!BigLeadOutGuy
Dec 17, 2002 12:00 PM
First thing I would do is get your bike set up right. Goto an experienced Bike-fit person. You would be surprised how off your set up may be. Just cause your drop between saddle and bars isnt 10+ Cms, your reach has a big effect on your neck and shoulder as well. I ran into the same thing you had, I assumed that it was just cause I was upping my mileage, but what happned was that there was a muscle in my back that was tearing away from the bone. I worked througg the pain but after 6 months it became unbearable. I went to the doc to get checked out, May never be the same again. But more importantly I went to an experienced bike-fit company...took measurements of all my bone lengths ect.
and they set me up. I couldnt beleive how off my set up was as far as saddle fore and aft position and stem reach.
so please, get your bike fit checked.
if you have any questions email me
re: Raise the nose of your saddle a little bit.dzrider
Dec 17, 2002 12:59 PM
It was a miracle cure for me. A park ranger at a campground in the florida Keys suggested it. I had gone from riding once or twice a week to touring about 85 miles per day and my neck and shoulders hurt every afternoon for weeks. The difference was phenomenal.
That worked for me too..DINOSAUR
Dec 17, 2002 5:15 PM
What I do is use a small carpenters level and place it on my saddle, dead center. Then I level out the saddle so it is perfectly level. Then I raise the nose until the bubble in the level starts to cross the forward line. A 2 bolt seat post (like a Thomson) makes this easy. Then I ride like that and see how it feels. Sometimes I will raise the nose a tad more, it's a feeling I get. You take the weight off of your upper body and place it back on your rear. You can slide back and forth on your saddle depending on what you are doing. Also remember when you are raising the tilt you are also raising the saddle height so you might have to drop the saddle a couple of mm's or so...

Another thing is stem length. A longer stem spreads you out and elongates your position and distributes your weight. You would think a shorter stem would feel more comfortable but that's not what I found (for me anyway)..part of it also is getting used to riding a road bike and developing certain muscle takes years, it is a sport that is slow to develope in....
try this...seyboro
Dec 17, 2002 2:49 PM
Don't mess with your setup yet. Instead of looking straight up and ahead during your rides, cock your head sideways and up from time to time. Worked for me.
On-bike stretchesKerry
Dec 17, 2002 4:49 PM
If it is just a fatigue issue, you can likely solve it by doing shoulder crunches, neck rolls, windmills with your arms, etc. every hour or so. If these kinds of tricks, along with more miles of experience, don't cure it then you likely have a fit problem.
re: Pain in the neck, literally...Trent in WA
Dec 17, 2002 5:10 PM
It might go away after awhile, but if you're in the mood for experimentation, you might do what I did earlier this year, to good effect: (1) raising your handlebars to reduce the drop along with (2) using a longer stem to compensate for the fact that raising the bars will shorten your overall cockpit length. If that feels like an improvement, you could then try using h'bars with more drop. The net effect will be to give you more functionally and physically distinct hand positions on the bars, and you'll be able to ride for longer distances more comfortably. If you're keeping your hands rooted to the hoods, your arms and upper back are probably getting stiff during the course of your rides, and it's spreading to your neck.