Lingering Soft Tissue Problems

Hi Coaches,

I’m feeling a bit desperate.

I (a 33-year-old male) have lingering soft tissue problems in my quads, both legs, that evolved from a tight calf I felt on a zone 2 ride in late November. These issues were resolved through massage, foam rolling, stretching, and a local masseuse who has experience with cyclists noted I have very tight IT-bands, hips, etc.

In the weeks following, things got better before regressing with a specific cramp-like feeling in my quads. The pain/cramp-like feeling only really comes on when walking, mostly downhill/downstairs, and lasts for several hours up to a full day. It then goes away, and I start from scratch.

Here’s my backstory, which might help identify what the underlying issue is. After years of doing a maximum of 500 miles, I started 2020 with determination and focus, buying a gravel bike and getting really serious about cycling. I was about a month into riding more seriously when I bought a power meter and registered a 220 watt FTP (April)

Cutting a long story short, I lost about 40lbs getting down to 175, and I brought my FTP to 305 in November. I had successfully ridden BWR Cedar City, and I was brimming with motivation, looking at perhaps becoming competitive in gravel races in 2021.

In total, I rode 6,000 miles this past year, no rides after December 15, thinking that rest would solve my issues, but it hasn’t at all. Massage hasn’t helped, and my most recent attempt at recovery involved a dry-needling session at a recommended PT who works with a lot of triathletes in the area.

It’s now been a week since the dry-needling, and I’m feeling little to no improvement. I still feel tightness in my quads coming on in the most random moments, and the inability to ride (3 total easy rides in the last four weeks) has done a number on my mental and physical state.

I put a lot of the weight I lost back on, and I probably lost lots of watts, but having accepted those, I just want anything to hold onto. People have mentioned that I’m quite possibly overtrained, but any insight or tips on how to work on active recovery versus just hoping every morning that I feel better getting out of bed would be hugely appreciated.

Sincerely, a dedicated podcast listener and Sweet Spot Base High Volume hopeful (for when my legs allow it again haha!)