Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dempster Highway 1 - Vik 0


I'm back early from my Dempster Highway tour. I got halfway up the Dempster [~449kms] before an acute nerve injury in my left hand rendered me unable to ride - based on my online research sounds like carpal tunnel syndrome. I can't type very well with 1.5 hands so I'll plug away at a tour report slowly and post it when I can. The short version is that the bike worked very well with two notable exceptions: my Selle Anatomica saddle stretched faster than I could adjust it [being replaced under warranty] and the Titec H-bars setup & my left hand obviously had issues. Oddly my right hand is totally fine and I had no problems with my left hand and those bars on other tours. I had lots of fun on and off the bike. The scenery was great and I enjoyed the remoteness of the Dempster. I met quite a few super nice folks on the trip both cyclists and civilians.

My bike is trashed from the mud so I'm going to spend the next couple days cleaning it up and revamping the Titec H-bars with Ergon Grips and padding it as much as I can. I hope this solves the problem as I love these bars for general riding, offroading and cargo hauling. If the problem persists I may switch to drops for tours.

My buddy Joel [the other local Big Dummy owner] also managed to injure himself recently - clearly July was not an auspicious month for Big Dummies! Hopefully we'll both be recovered and be able to ride the Canadian portion of the Great Divide MTB Route in mid-August.

I've posted photos from the trip here.

13 comments:

Apertome said...

It seems to be the year for injuries. My mountain biking buddy Dave got a spinal cord injury at the beginning of the year and I broke a finger a few weeks ago. Another guy we know crashed at 45 mph after going down a big hill and really messed himself up. Another guy messed up his shoulder in his own wreck. It's crazy!

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear your trip got cut short, but I'm glad you're ok. It looks like you managed to see some incredible scenery, even with your shortened trip. I'm jealous!

Doug said...

Looking forward to stories from the road. Sorry to here about the shortened trip.

Otto Van De Steene said...

Carpal tunnel syndrom can heal pretty fast, so don't panic. Hope you will be fast on your bike again!

Jim said...

Vik:

That's really, really unfortunate - my wife has had surgery on both hands for carpal, and it is both painful and limiting - hope the inflammation goes away quickly and you're able to make good adjustments.

Do you move your right hand off the grips occasionally, even to check your bike computer, grab a water bottle, or etc.??? Something that minor could be leaving your left hand overstressed...

Good luck! I'm still plugging away on my Expedition and gradually working up to my first century this fall. Can a 200 brevet be far behind?? (don't answer that!! [grin])

Best,

Jim

runawayscreaming said...

Well, you got some nice pictures anyway. It sounds like your handlebars were the culprit. Drop bars may have been a better idea (up fairly high with Cork Ribbon, etc).

Vik said...

The bars are definitely the problem, but the question is are those bars just a no go for me or would they work with different grips and more padding?

They work so well for all my other riding and previous [less demanding] tours that I'm hesitant to throw the baby out with the bath water.

OTOH I have never had hand issues before when riding drop bars on a touring bar.

Doug said...

Just had a chance to look at the pictures. Very stunning! Is that much rain typical for the Yukon this time of year?

Vik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vik said...

Doug the fellow who gave me a lift back to the main highway works up on the Dempster every summer. He was there 10 weeks last year and had 4-5 days of significant rain. This year they've been struggling to get many nice days. The main road was completely washed out due to heavy rain a couple weeks before I got there.

The forecast for the Dempster was another 5-7 days of rain after I stopped riding. So I would have had an EPIC ride the rest of the way north had I continued. They were already pulling vehicles across bad stretches of road up north using graders. On my last day of riding I met a guy on a BMW Paris-Dakar motorbike riding south. He took 10hrs to ride about 360kms the previous day and called it the worst day of his life.

mike said...

Vik, sorry to hear your trip was shortened. I hope things go better for your next tour. Thanks for posting about your experience and putting the pictures up on Flickr. I'd say give drop bars a try. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure.

Tanya said...

Sorry to hear your trip got cut short. The hand numbness thing happened to me on the first day of my first ever bike tour. Stupidly I continued to ride for a week with a hand I could barely use and it took several months or more to fully recover the nerves on the one side of the hand. What kind of gloves are you using? I like specialized BG ones, they have good ulnar nerve padding, I was just using cheapo lightly padded ones when I pinched the nerve. BTW I found the numbness to be on the opposite side of the hand from carpal tunnel, if you google handlebar palsy you'll find more!

Cornell said...

Vik;

Sorry to hear about your problems with your hand and the fact that your trip came to an abrupt end. Hope it clears up soon. Anyway, still a great experience judging by the, as always, great photos.

Cornell

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos Vik! Congrats on making the journey up north. It is beautiful country isn't it? I'm planning another trip north in a few weeks although it will have to be on a motorized bike this time.
All the best,

Pat Rodden