Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Light Up Monolith, Light Up

The monoliths from my earlier post about Red Bull Illume are lit up at night

Large screens bearing sports-related images are lit up at night along the Scottsdale Waterfront now. My review: I like them. I'd like to say they are life-changing, or ennobling of the human spirit, or something similar, but having experienced something actually life-changing this week, unexpectedly, I am hesitant to call big screen TVs setup along the canal the same thing.

I happened to buy some leg compression sleeves at the GABA bike swap. They were cheap, I have been thinking about getting some on the outside chance they might help with my night time leg cramps, so I picked them up. Low, behold, my night leg cramps have been totally cleared up by wearing the compression leg sleeves a few hours before bed. Sleep is so much better when you don't get roused at 3am by a rigid, painful calf or foot cramp. Not totally sure what it means, medically speaking. My leg veins are apparently not efficient enough at clearing out the waste products from cycling 12 to 40 miles a day. The compression sleeves apparently help them out with that task. 

I should probably speak with a medical professional further about this, I realize. I'll get to that eventually, in case something else is going on, but at the present moment, I'm just more or less ecstatic to make it through the night without a wicked foot cramp. Super-happy, in fact. So while the big old photos along the canal are nice, they aren't as nice as that, not life-changing. But, on the other hand, maybe I just need to spend a little more time with the photos to see deeper. Sometimes, working longer hours, I feel like a get a brain cramp. Maybe photos like this can serve as decompression sleeves for the mind.

The big screens are watched day and night by security guys

I'm not sure if the images change over time or not. They stayed the same while I watched, any way.

They are arrayed in a line across the bridges, and stacked like cards along the path, appealing to my OCD

Some of the photos are rocking action shots, while others are quieter, requiring some contemplation to appreciate. There are some benches set up nearby, for pausing, for reflecting, for considering. These light up when darkness falls. I'm not sure how late they stay on, but I'm thinking about stopping by here later on in the evening, when it's more likely that fewer people will be around, to sit and give the images a longer viewing. Perhaps while wearing my compression leg sleeves, in order to sleep clear until morning, having cleared waste products from both legs and mind.



  1. I get leg cramps/back spasms at times (mostly in summer after big rides) and have found it is related to low potassium levels. (And to lesser extent also to dehydration). For a long time I thought it was due to overworked muscles, but when we went backpacking a year ago on the Appalachian Trail and it was very hot, but not that strenuous, I began to relate it to the amount I sweat. I sweat quite a bit, and I must excrete it that way. It is harder to tell how much you sweat on the bike as most evaporates easily.

    Potatoes, bananas, tomatoes (try paste--on a spoon!), milk, oranges, and spinach are all good sources. KCl table salt is another source, although it tastes different (metallic) from NaCl. I find "NoSalt" is better than "NuSalt". I always thought Gatorade had K as one of its electrolytes, but it has only 1 or 2% of your daily requirement.

    You may want to try upping your potassium intake and see if that helps. If you look at some of the calorie counting websites (like Calore Count), you can enter your food intake and compare your potassium consumption to the USRDA (or whatever they call it now). I find it is hard to get to the recommended levels.

    I live in Michigan, so hot weather is limited, so this is largely a seasonal issue for me. I may look into the compression sleeves next summer if diet doesn't keep it under control. I intend to discuss this with my doctor, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Jim. I tend to think that my cramping could be due to a combination of factors. I've tried chugging orange juice before bed time, with making sure that I'm suitably hydrated, and that doesn't seem to be effective by itself. On the other hand, it's certainly true that on summer bike rides in Phoenix, I make sure to hydrate as well as replacing sodium and potassium, usually with bananas or dilute orange juice. I tend to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, too, but that doesn't seem to relate one way or another to when I experience sleep-disrupting foot or calf cramps. On the other hand, cycling long distances and muscle fatigue does seem related, although maybe not immediately/directly, but rather later on, when I'm laying down and trying to sleep. Which may be why the compression sleeves seem to be helping.

  2. They packed up the monoliths today, and headed off for the next installation (11/25/2013).


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