Saturday, July 3, 2010

Whole Again

Now that I can stand on both legs for extended periods of time without pain and swelling, I finished putting my beloved Dean hardtail back together. It looks sweet. The wheels are a bit beat up, but the rest of it was recently rebuilt.

I found it quite challenging to maneuver through my basement shop. I had to double count my bikes. I never realized my collection had grown to 10 bikes. Can you find them all in the photo below? They're all in there. Actually, I have 10.5 bikes if I count my half of the tandem (shown above). I used to think having a bike for each day of the week plus one was a good number. Plus one, in case one of the other bikes craps out. Now I need to figure out which two bikes to unload. I currently have five mountain bikes, four road bikes and one cyclocross bike. There are no redundancies in the MTB lineup. The road bikes, maybe. I keep one as a winter salt beater and another with dedicated hillclimb gearing, but essentially a road bike is a road bike. MTBs come in more flavors though, such as hardtail, full suspension, singlespeed and different wheel sizes. Each will ride better than the others in certain terrain.

My hardtail isn't the only thing feeling more complete these days. I poached a ride this morning. I found my full suspension MTB to have a generous pedal to front wheel clearance, such that there was zero chance I would run my boot cast into the tire when turning. A road bike has half the clearance and is too risky right now. I put a flat pedal on the left side and headed for the paved Nashua River Rail Trail with my wife. Never know when I need to be rescued.

This past week I mentioned to my physical therapist that I hiked up Mt Kearsarge. She stuck a finger in her ear, turned her head and went "la, la, la...." She cracked me up. She didn't want to hear it. She also won't want to hear I road a bike outdoors already. I figure the risk is becoming pretty low, as I don't even take my crutches out of the car anymore. I could walk all day in the boot if I had too, and if I had to put my left foot down suddenly, it won't be a problem in the boot. My bone strength was 80-90% two weeks ago and should be approaching 100% by now. It is the rest of my ankle that needs work.

I thought there was a chance Cathy might be able to stay with me. It was early and trail traffic was still pretty light. But once that breeze started moving over my skin, something kicked in that I haven't felt in eight weeks off the bike. I got into a solid tempo groove and I was gone.

I waited in Ayer for Cathy. She wasn't far back. On the return trip, I felt even better, managing to average about 19mph for the 25 mile round trip. Not bad considering the number of cross roads and other users to slow down for, and riding on big knobbies. It seems I've lost far more in my legs than in cardio. My legs would fatigue way before my breathing became labored. I expected the opposite. My weight is still down. Hopefully soon I can start working on getting left leg muscle strength back. So far my physical therapy has been working on range of motion and no weight bearing.

After the rail trail, Cathy and I rode a bit of road so I could show her approximately where I crashed and broke my ankle, since it is about a mile from the parking lot. Ended up with 30 miles for the morning. Even though it is very awkward riding in a behemoth of a boot cast, the long ride didn't bother my ankle at all. Instead, all the bits that went soft over the last eight weeks got ornery, like my butt, hips and hamstrings. I just may have to try something with a little vertical in it on Sunday.


KJ said...

Glad to see you're up and around again - just be careful not to set yourself back!

CB2 said...

Congratulations on the milestone.

Alex said...

Legs tired and cardio not tired... that sums up bike racing for me =). Clearly, there is such a thing as sport-specific strength!

I'm impressed with your progress, keep it up! (carefully)