Rémy Métailler looks like one of the fastest riders on the planet when he’s hucking Whistler Bike Park and today we have an answer for why that never seems to translate into race success – arm pump.
That horrible feeling of your forearms freezing solid as you’re unable to curl your finger to the bars to work your brakes is familiar to us all but it seems it is worse for Rémy than most. He’s had some surgeries to try and improve his performance but still struggles to hang on for more than one minute of riding.
In a post on his Facebook, Métailler said: “Here is the reason why I can’t race more than what I would love to and don’t get the results I am working for : My both hands can’t grip the bars long enough. Depending on the track I can loose all my grip strength after one minute. Everyone gets arm pumps, they are part of the sport but I should get them later than I do. I trained a lot, had one surgery per arm already for a bad compartment syndrome and tried every potential solution without much success. I will keep working on that and hopefully improve that a bit.”
Arm pump, or Chronic Compartment Syndrome, is caused by restricted blood vessels in the arm during repeated exercise. It may not be the most debilitating condition but it can seriously hurt, and stop you from being able to work your brakes properly. High profile Moto GP racers, Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl reportedly suffered from it but underwent surgery to relieve their symptoms. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have worked for Métailler.
Beyond the surgery there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done about the condition, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it means Metailler has more time to pump out his banging edits instead. If you suffer from arm pump and don’t want to go through something as drastic as surgery to resolve it, then setting up your cockpit and suspension properly, staying hydrated and stretching your forearms can be more holistic methods to keep it at bay.