Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I graduated...

...from physical therapy! I had my final orthopedic follow-up visit on Monday. The doctor was quite pleased with recent PT progress. When I asked how much more I will need, he chuckled and said I was past needing PT. I was quite psyched about that on multiple fronts, as $60 of co-pays per week add up after a couple months, and three PT sessions per week cut into riding time. I still have some dorsiflexion to get back. For a while, I was stuck at 12-15 degrees. Then in the last couple weeks I shot up to mid-20's. 20 degrees is considered minimum useful to do normal things. I'm not sure what most athletes have, but I bet it is well over 30 degrees. I will need to continue my stretching routines and icing when swelling occurs.

I got on my rollerskis Saturday. I finally was ready to answer the question of how my ankle would respond to being squeezed in a skate ski boot. I went on a short, flat dead-end road by work. At first, my left ankle was all wonky. My ankle still has a lot of stability strength to get back. But after a couple 1-mile laps, it started to come back to me. My biggest concern were the two pins at the bottom of my tibia. They protrude a little under the knob on the inside of my ankle. This did not seem to bother me at all. I was using my old, completely worn out Salomon boots. I had my best race in these boots last winter. My much newer boots hurt my ankles in precisely the area these pins are located, so I know they will not work. Not even on my good ankle. So what did end up bothering me was a surprise. It was the screws in the plate on the outside of my ankle. These are higher up, in the upper cuff area of the boot. The cuff must necessarily be quite tight. When I removed the boot, you could count screw heads from the bumps in my skin. Time will tell if this is just something I need to get used to, or if it will be a persistent problem. The doctor said the hardware can come out, but only 6-12 months after surgery. The way I see it, I will probably be skiing with the hardware this winter. If I never adapt to it, I'll have surgery in the spring to remove it.

Taken last week. My right quad and calf are bigger and
more defined, my left ankle and foot still look plump.
I wonder if my left foot skin tone will return to my normal
pasty look?

Work has been a bit nuts lately. Coupled with physical therapy and trying to get respectable riding volume in doesn't leave much time for internet. Besides the NEK ride Dave and I did Friday, I got in more great riding over the weekend. Saturday, before going in to work, I met up with Andy, another cyclist from PT that blew out his knee long boarding. We did a 1.6hr semi-recovery ride through Hollis. Sunday I wanted to finish the long trail ride Dave and I hoped to get in Friday. I stayed closer to home, parking at Massabesic Lake near Manchester, NH.

There is an endless supply of singletrack, fireroads and ATV trails in that area. Literally. I think I read somewhere that Trail 15, a winter snowmobile corridor, goes all the way to Canada. You have the FOMBA singletrack, a growing collection of other clandestine singletrack in the area, and a few dirt rail trails to connect things up. I take advantage of all of it.

I find it odd some guys on mountain bikes turn their noses up at anything on dirt that is not technical singletrack, yet pound out mindless miles on pavement with their road bikes. I'd much rather ride tempo on a dirt rail trail with no cars or people than on a busy road. My Massabesic loop is different each time I go there. I usually start by riding around the lake on fireroads and singletrack. This is good for 10 miles. Then I'll hit some portion of FOMBA singletrack. All of it can add something like 15 miles. There's 4 mile Evil FOMBA nearby and several more shorter goodies all in the area. Then Trail 15 is taken north for a lap around Tower Hill Pond, good for another 6 miles. But I often don't stop with a complete lap. I keep heading north on Trail 15, sometimes to Bear Brook State Park, with has 10,000 acres filled with NEMBA built singletrack. FOMBA to Bear Brook is 10-12 miles apart, so round trip alone adds 20-24 miles to your ride. What I like about Trail 15 is you can haul ass on it. It is a bit bony in spots and has plenty of rolling hills. You can put it in your "threshold gear" and leave it there. And leave all the deer flies behind. Way more fun than the road.

Grannite dome in undisclosed location.

The 3.5 mile Fireline Trail in FOMBA is becoming quite the beast. The soil in that area is gravelly. The trail traverses many steep up and downs. With the dry weather this summer, things are becoming quite rutted out. I used to be able to clean this trail with ease, but not anymore. I dabbed more times than I can remember. I wore my lace-up ankle brace again and was glad I did. I jambed my left leg down pretty hard one time.

There's also a huge quarry area west of Trail 15 I've played in a few times. Lots of ATV trails and gravel doubletracks. It is not posted from the back side, but when I popped out on a road one time at a gate the sign made me felt I'd be arrested on the spot. Nothing technical, but huge area to ride in for constant change of scenery. No cars, no people.  I rode hard Sunday for four hours straight, never getting tired, ending the ride only to keep a time commitment. Covered over 46 miles, hitting a lot of stuff I never been on before.

46 miles with a bit of everything.

A few more nine hour weekends like this will whip me back into shape quickly. Right now my focus is on Colorado at the end of the month. I hope to be able to ride 4-6-hrs per day like I did with Dave this spring in Arizona. A stretch maybe, but I'm feeling more confident that if I pace myself reasonably, it will be quite doable.

1 comment:

rick is! said...

nice man. you're more motivated than anyone I know.