Thursday, March 01, 2007

Feeling stronger, but more uncertain

Today is Day 10 off the bike, and I have to admit, it’s killing me ... slowly. Every day, I develop a little more range of motion in my knee. And every day, I take that range a little too far. In the morning, I’m on top of the world and bounding up hills. And in the evening, I’m sore, stiff and frustrated, and rifling through the yellow pages to find sports medicine doctors. But I never call them when the morning comes. This evening, however, I’m announcing my intentions on my blog. Hopefully, it will hold me accountable for at least giving a doctor a call.

Today, I stretched my knee and coaxed it just beyond a 90-degree angle. I started out 10 days ago with a rigid 180-degree leg. After a day, I could bend it to 170 degrees, 160 degrees, and so on. It’s a strange way to heal, and it always makes me feel a day away from invincible when I get up in the morning. Now that I’m about a day away from being physically able to turn pedals again, I figure I should at least seek out some professional advice that I can ignore.

Since my walking ability has been upgraded to almost “normal,” I decided today was the day to do an “up” walk. I laced up my Montrail Susitna running shoes - which I was elated to find on super clearance more than a month ago and still haven’t used - and started pounding up the Dan Moller trail. The trail basically starts just outside my front door by following a snowy path up two unplowed streets, then diverges on a steep singletrack that connects with the snowmobile trail. Since I’ve only ever ridden the Don Moller on my bike, I’ve only ever seen the snowmobile trail. And I realized that today, more than six months after moving in next door, I was hiking up a trail I had never used before, wearing winter running shoes that I had never even before bothered to wrestle out of the closet. And I thought ... wow ... I really do ride my bike too much.

It felt good to get out for a real hike. But it doesn’t help my physical health to be so excited about the Iditarod Invitational. Today’s developments were equally inspiring. The peloton of three cyclists pulled out of Nikolai just before 8 a.m., and rolled together across the finish line at 3:20 p.m. for a three-way second-place tie that trailed Pete by nearly 20 hours. Further back on the trail, the weather took a hideous turn for the worst. -30 degree temperatures coupled with 45 mph winds created wind chills on the pass that were off the charts. After starting the traverse to Rohn, most of the remaining cyclists at that point were turned around with varying stages of frostnip. Several scratched. Another guy I’m rooting for, Brij, opted to wait out the storm. He’s currently at the Puntilla checkpoint, and I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll finish the race.

Either way, I was feeling inspired to bound up the hill in my brand new sneakers, iPod thumping and sunlight blazing off the white snow. The temperature read 11 degrees when I left, and I thought about how beautiful and warm it was here; how enjoyable it would be to go home, ice my knee and eat a Boca burger for lunch; and how much I envied those still healthy and strong, and still turning their cranks out on the frozen Iditarod trail.


  1. I wrote this big comment previously about knees, I have two bad ones myself but then it did not post and I was interupted. Here is the cliff notes, mostly it needs rest if your putting it to its limit everyday that does not count. Also Aleve I think it a better anti inflammatory for this injury, pure opinion on that developed through 37 years of knee problems and no I am not 37, and miriad of prescription for Aleve back when it was prescription only. Also I cannot emphasize icing enough. Even if it is not super bothering you at the end of the day, ice it till your skin is done with icing. Just my two cents worth, but your through the worst of it, it was some little leaky bursa type membrane rupture, that is why it froze up. Your sis is right you have to be careful or you will screw it up good, and likely now that you have had this injury you will see it again, though you can likely skip the total lockup with preventative jump on the Aleve and Ice right after your big future big rides before you sleep, or pile it up with a gentle bend and ice and sleep short with ice changes. Aleve, Ice, water therapy, nice deep bath will do if you have no access to pools. Good luck bad knees suck.

  2. "And I thought ... wow ... I really do ride my bike too much." can't ride a bike TOO much...can they?

    I know the feeling and the itch to get out. I've only been off the bike since Monday with this stinkin' cold and I really want to go outside right now on the Pugsley and ride around n the blizzard that's blowing through. Take care of the knee and I think you can make a full recovery. Of course, Monkeygirl may be right. Now that you've had this injury there is increased risk for a repeat. Take her advice and it will stay healthy.

  3. Patience! Gotta take the long view. I've had issues in the past, and a good physical therapist with actually first hand knowledge is invaluable. Shop around, and if a person seems off they likely are.

  4. It's not as bad as your knee, but I'm down and out with a nasty sore throat that's progressed to laryngitis. least there are a few of us who understand how you're raring to get back to "normal".

    And there's no way you can ride a bike "too much".

  5. Some options:

    Snow bocci
    Ping Pong

    See the trend?

  6. Can you get on the spinner? Try to loosen it up or pedal with one leg. Crank the iTunes. It's better than nothing.

  7. what's a boca burger? :)

    peace out, yo!


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