10 July 2011

The Latest Fad

We saw lots of various items of compression clothing on the leaders at Transalp this year.  They are much cheaper and much less inconvenient than the fad of 2009 -- electronic muscle stimulus gadgetry -- and I think equally unproven.  But they make your legs feel stronger and leaner, and without them, it is clear that you will be written off as not a serious competitor.  It was easy to pick some up at the Etape exhibitors' village this afternoon.  I got a pair of the "medilast sport" Chausettes Pro-Sport Speciales Cyclisme, for use while riding, and another (2nd half price) of the Speciales Recuperation designed for recovery (recommended for 90-120 minutes use).  I was promised that in only 90 minutes, my legs would be good to go!  They had orange, red, black and white ... but were out of the ugly green ones we saw in action on Transalp.

UPDATE: I wore the black socks on Acte 1 of Etape. They are supposed to "activate" the blood flow. They felt good for the first 2 hours or so, then I started to notice the fairly tight, binding feeling at the top--around the knees, and I wanted to cool down as I climbed and the day heated up. I ended up folding them down around my ankles for the rest of the ride, where they did not cause any problems at least. And my feet were one of the few parts of my body that did not cause me any concern during the ride -- good blood circulation, no pain or numbness. There were way too many variables on Monday to consider this a valuable test.

UPDATE #2: I wore the white "recovery" socks for several hours Tuesday night, after a short but painful rear wheel test-ride Tuesday that included some hills in the suburbs (well, surrounding communities) of Annecy.  I must say that my legs feel really good after wearing the recovery socks.  So the first impression is that they do improve circulation and just might work to speed recovery.  I'll try them again after the 208km race on Sunday and gradually try to see if this theory holds up.

UPDATE #3: Also, I had dinner Tuesday night with a 40-year old Brit rider in this tour group who completed Monday 3 hours faster than me, and said he used race time trials with Chris Boardman (big, big local hero in Britain, for those of you who are not familiar with him -- almost as many Brits with Boardman bikes on Monday as I saw Germans with Canyons at Transalp). He mentioned that he had had a blood clot in his legs a few years ago, and used compression socks to help it clear, eventually.  That got me thinking about things like "economy class syndrome", and the use of compression socks to avoid blood clots during surgery, and for people who have had lymph nodes removed as part of cancer treatment and are subject to swelling in the legs.  There may be more science behind this trend than I had thought, even if there is not "proof" that they work. Maybe I should be wearing them on the plane back to Tokyo?

1 comment:

mob said...

If you are going to wear compression socks during riding, please don't forget to attach a foxtail on the backside of your saddle as well:


or perhaps better this one: