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April 22, 2008



Ok, bear with me, cause the nurse in me is on duty...

When you mentioned your toes, the first thing I thought of was dermatomes. It might be that something is too tight, but it also might be your back (I'm thinking L5):

Myotomes & Dermatomes

Spinal nerves have motor fibers and sensory fibers. The motor fibers innervate certain muscles, while the sensory fibers innervate certain areas of skin. A skin area innervated by the sensory fibers of a single nerve root is known as a dermatome. A group of muscles primarily innervated by the motor fibers of a single nerve root is known as a myotome. Although slight variations do exist, dermatome and myotome patterns of distribution are relatively consistent from person to person.


Myotomes - Relationship between the spinal nerve & muscle
Dermatomes - Relationship between the spinal nerve & skin.

Each muscle in the body is supplied by a particular level or segment of the spinal cord and by its corresponding spinal nerve. The muscle, and its nerve make up a myotome. This is approximately the same for every person and are as follows:

C3,4 and 5 supply the diaphragm (the large muscle between the chest and the belly that we use to breath).

C5 also supplies the shoulder muscles and the muscle that we use to bend our elbow .

C6 is for bending the wrist back.

C7 is for straightening the elbow.

C8 bends the fingers.

T1 spreads the fingers.

T1 –T12 supplies the chest wall & abdominal muscles.

L2 bends the hip.

L3 straightens the knee.

L4 pulls the foot up.

L5 wiggles the toes.

S1 pulls the foot down.

S3,4 and 5 supply the bladder. bowel and sex organs and the anal and other pelvic muscles.


Also, just to toss out some more 'potentials': your bike seat (there are MANY types of seats out there...all of them different. WHERE your sit-bones contact the seat, what the seat is made of (ie: firm, soft, gel, etc)...the angle of contact for your sit bones, fore/aft position on the seat/bike...then there's how long you stay seated...(I'll find a link to Dave Moulton's website when I get a chance...he has a nice post on seat to measure/etc to TRULY find a seat that fits you).

Most cyclists recommend standing up (as in get OFF the seat) every 10 minutes or so (at least) for a small amount of time...15-30 secs at a help w/ circulation and such...especially on long you are putting more pressure on your pedals over a longer amount of time.

Then there's your bike shoes/type of good are the shoes (ie: how well do they distrubute the load of the pedal/contact area to the entire bottom of your foot)...insoles? Stock insoles are usually crap...lots of diff insoles can help w/ numb toes...I am 'gelling' (dr. scholes sports-gell and work WAY better than the cheap-O foam ones that came w/ my shoes). These are just a few potential areas.

It could be one or a combination of any or none of these causing your of the guys I ride with has his toes go totally numb on all HARD rides...we still haven't totally worked out his problem/s yet...I'll be looking at the info Cat provided to see if that might help him).

And then there's the simple thing of putting on toe-warmers or full on foot warmers if the weax is even remotely most road shoes are made with LOTS of flow-thru ventilation...if the temp is even low 60's, I ride w/ toe warmers...stops most of the airflow...otherwise my toes will surely go numb.

Good luck..and keep us you surely aren't the only one w/ this problem!


Yes Sara, you have very cute kids. Second only, to mine (of course).

I'm in the Netherlands at the moment and picked up a Dutch newspaper yesterday and tried to read the article about the Amstel Gold race. The article went on and on about Rabobank and Thomas Dekker and how great they/he are/is. Only in the last sentence did they mention he came fifth. Got to love the parochialism!

BTW - my husband thinks your numb toes might be because of the position of your cleats relative to the central rotation bit of your pedal.


Good points you guys! Nakigrl, are you doing this loooooong trip with kids in tow? WOW.

Sara, PS. Nice post and it is nice to seem the Fam having fun w/warm weather. I rush on and off this machine during the moments I pick up my kid and he's slowly getting ready!
Sorry I haven't said anything about the race. It was an odd experience and I couldn't find Cathy. Boohoo.

I dragged my poor uninterested son out to Tybee the night before the race, to see what was going on. I found a parking lot full of team buses in front of the only big hotel on Tybee (Ocean Plaza, I think). Naturally I drove through like some lovestruck teenager. Number one son thought I was an idiot, but tolerated my starstruck behavior with the patience of a saint. I was careful not to stalk anyone like Ms T does (no, I think it's really cute and ballsy, but he wouldn't have tolerated it). In fact the only time I saw any riders was during the race and on the podium. I did gaze longly at the anti-doping truck, but restrained myself.

I walked from my motel in Savannah about 9AM the next day, to see what was set up and nothing had really started. I was worried that they wouldn't get done in time! I almost offered to help, but thought better of it. Savannah didn't seem to support the race, (though Tybee-where it started- really did). No posters, no welcome signs, no programs to be seen, though I did see people carrying them. A race organizer told me to get one from VeloNews (!), but since I never saw anyone at the table, I didn't get one. A couple of the organizers I talked to indicated the city did not support the Tour at all: "basically one person ran the whole deal," was the comment one guy made. Later I talked to a bike shop jockey, who told me it was because the Gov of GA wanted Savannah for the stage and the Mayor did not. Then he asked me to come on the road with him for the rest of the race...shoot, where's T when you need her???? What also surprised me was that the Mayor sent a protemp in his place at the awards ceremony.

Savannah is a funny, colloquial town that behaves as if no one is important enough to change for. They are warm and polite in the way many Southerners are, but you don't come in and ask them to do things differently. There's a lot of OLD money in Savannah.

There was a big screen in the vendor area, but it didn't run any race footage til pretty well into the stage. Subsequently, I didn't know what anyone was doing out there. I also thought the race at Downers were better than the guys here. Some of the people at the race kept asking where the riders were; "if they'd mention a street, we'd have an idea," remarked an fan next to me.

The riders went by so darned fast, I couldn't recognize anyone to see who was in position. I watched them pass the finish line on the way out from Tybee Island (about 20 miles into the race) and then return for the finish about 1'45" later. Is there a technique to this which I have not mastered?

Watching the podium ceremony was cool. I was as close as you can get without being in front, but of course everyone is taller than me so I had a hard time getting pictures.

Dominguez is such a sweet person. I was really happy to see him win. He kept remarking that he hopes his wife doesn't deliver this week (she's due in three, but "looks ready right now" he said) because he would have to leave the race. Yes Ivan, that's the right priority!

The crowd around the finish was pretty small IMHO, but maybe it's like that a lot. Certainly the ToM had big crowds, but not here. I did see footage of the folks on the road, and there were groups that showed up and seemed to be genuinely excited.

One good point is the conditions of the roads, which were great. Haven't caught today's results yet...I go home tomorrow!


Oh yea...cleat position..forgot that one...some current thinking has people put the cleat as far towards the middle of your shoe as possible (there are even proponents who say that actual MID-shoe placement is best, though very few shoes will allow that, and it would require a change your seat height adjustment to do this).

And it could also be as simple as the wrong mentioned you weren't wearing 'cycling' socks...if they are too thick, they can bunch up in undesired areas, and can also make the fit of your shoes not quite right..and the longer you ride and your feet swell some, the fit changes (unless you fit your shoes for thick socks). So if it's chilly, use toe warmers on the outside of your shoe, rather than thicker socks. And then...could your socks be too small or constricting? Just another thing to think about.

And pedaling technique could possibly also comes to play here...spinning nice 'circles' or just mashing down. It's a real tangled web figuring out the cause/s. Back to pedal stroke...most people pedal toe down...if your shoe isn't fastened or fit correctly, your feet can slide forward some...they shouldn't ever hit the toe of the shoe...that would be bad. Along w/ standing up now and then, pedaling heel down briefly can also help some toe-related issues. These are all things I've toyed with and/or read about...just throwing things out there...a shotgun approach if you will. Hopefully you can find a numb toes are not very fun.


Nice update on the race Cat..thanks! I guess I can't imagine how it is out compared to the ToC. Hard to imagine a town NOT going race-CRAZY for a start/finish.


OH Sara, isn't it GREAT to get out and about again! We have a nice selection of flowers here (finally) and things are really "greening up". We went to the local crit races this weekend and my daughter insisted on clapping EVERY time they went by -- of course it helped that the races were around this big park so that she could also swing while watching the "bike guys".

Thanks for the update on your race experience, Cat. Bummer that people weren't more excited to have the race come through. It seemed like EVERY town on the ToM route really enjoyed the race and supported it in large numbers. LOVED your description of dragging your son over the night before! And Yes.....T would have jumped RIGHT IN that car ;-)

Oh, and I really enjoy reading your blog Nakigirl. The pic of your husband with the flag *and* camera is priceless. What an adventure!


I'll second everything that Matt said. I position my cletes such that I feel balanced on the pedal, not rolling forward or backward. Thick socks are not great, but very thin socks cause their own problems. I've chosen a medium sock, although another roadie claims his sock-issues vanished by using a thin-medium double sock approach (ala hiking socks approach). Foot swelling was mentioned, and should be checked after you're fully warmed up. I was expecting up to a half size (metric) swelling after a hard ride, but it was much less. Nonetheless, worth a check. I've been checking to buy some Sidi's, until April 15th turned ugly. I'm back to saving up for them.

Cat, great to hear some on the ground racing coverage!

Sara, cute kids.


oh sara, those kids are the coolest! and just as you're warming up for summer, our winter is arriving in bundles. we don't have a "fall" season here, we go straight from HOT summer to really cold winter. for a few months we have drastically varying temps - 28degrees one day and then a cold front comes through and the temp plumets to 14deg the next. not so easy to get dressed in the morning as you never know HOW MUCH it's going to warm up at midday.

so numb toes - i had that once, but once i changed to clipless pedals, it went away. i go with the "too tight" theory - either the socks or the actual shoe. i've heard that even tho your shoe doesn't FEEL tight, it could be constricting in a certain spot which causes the numbness. you just need to experiment continuously as you ride with loosening your shoe straps.

woohoo - la fleche wallonne live on telly today. another arvie to be spent supine on the couch!


I have my cleats one centimeter behind the ball of my foot. You can check articles about cleat placement at

susie b

Sara, your kids are SO cute! Watch out Shaun White.

And thanks Jessica & Cathy. I would lOVE to have a copy of 'John Adams'! And hows in going in GA, Cathy? Had your fill of Sweet Tea yet? I watched Neal's interview with Chris & THINK I almost made out the smooch marks all over their faces. Courtesy of the IA via Cathy M!

Thanks Cat, for the ToG update! And I just love the vision of your son rolling his eyes at his cycling-struck Mom. :) Too bad Savannah didn't support it more. I've never been, but it's always been on my list of places to visit. I guess as a tourist-hub, they don't see a need to go out of their way for something that's not just about the town itself.

And NAKIGIRL! OMG! I am flabergasted & so excited to read about your trip! I printed out all your posts so I could read over the weekend. OMG! I can't even imagine doing this as an adult, but you are bringing your kids. This is fantastic! I will be reading every post. Do most New Zealanders really take a year off to tour around Europe?! Wow. American college-age kids used to do something like this for the summer, but even before the dollar plummeted, it was still only about 10-20% of kids that age. Anyway, I admire you & your husband SO much! How do you decide which countries to hit when (besides for the Tour)? Will you live out of the campervan for the rest of the trip or stay with friends here & there or rent a place for a few weeks at a time? Your kids must be the envy of ALL their friends! Talk about a trip of a lifetime! And if you don't mind, I will be living vicariously through YOU for the next 10 months! :) :)

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