Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hard Lessons Hopefully Well Learned

I don't know about you, but cycling, for me, is kind of the last bastion of my young-man-invincibility phase. That lasted 30-some years. My bulletproofness, incredible athletic talent that would allow me walk-on to any pro sports franchise (if I "really" wanted to) and make the team, and my amazing dance moves have all crashed and burned in distinct and irrefutable instances. And yet in my late 40's, I've somehow clung to the notion that I can do as much of anything that I want on a bike.

Last week was apparently about the universe correcting my misconception.

My knees are a mess from different injuries and surgeries and while I can't run or ski or a bunch of other stuff, I've always been sure that I can do as much knee-friendly riding as I want and that in fact, the more the better. My knee surgeon even had a term for it: "work hardening". He stole that term from the materials science world and he should have left it alone. Over the last several days, I "work hardened" my knees into a bad place. I'm off the bike for I'm not sure how long and I've ended the last few days with the wonderfully cool relief of ice packs.

I'm not implying in any way that my surgeon is to blame. I needed to listen to my body and instead, I decided that a dumb, self-imposed goal of seven carless days was more important. Two-a-days of stop-and-go urban riding hammers your knees and I was feeling the effects bigtime after the first three or four days and yet I was determined to power through and in fact on the last day, stubbornly refused to use the bus for any part of my travels.

If past experience from this similar condition is any indication, I think I'll recover, but it will take a while. Which hopefully is time well spent modifying my ideas of what I should be doing and how often. Which sucks, but is what it is. I hereby refute every last ounce of invincibility. "Getting by" is a hard pill to swallow, but on the positive side, I think you can get by at some pretty high performance levels. It's okay to be real.

In the meantime, I've consoled and distracted myself with another rack project. Except that the little bastard has caused me more grief and rework than any rack I've built so far. It is yet to be determined whether I will learn a hard lesson from this rack, or it from me.


Mike Sirott said...

I hear ya on the knee pain Pat. Been there, done that, and now it's my back too. Are you saying it gets worse with age? :(

Anyway that's a long ass commute for a painful body...If being cage-free is your ultimate goal, I think you'd have more luck trying my strategy: Live one mile from work and call yourself hard core for riding your bike all year round :)

John Speare said...

Mike: I share your strategy. But I travel a full 3x as far as you to work!

Jason Gilman said...

Do those circular cutouts in the rack deck double as cup holders?

Alan Jacob said...

Dear Pat:
Thanks for offsetting the 1,300+ miles we drove this week while on vacation. You took one for Team Earth.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your knee, Pat. To sum up what I just read: Ride your bike to get latte, surf net, eat pie, eat dinner, have good beer, see good people, get good produce, and take in your surroundings. If this includes work, school, or an errand --So be it. Just remember to reward yourself with good beer or good pie instead of pain in the knee.

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