Friday, September 30, 2011

First Ride in 5 Weeks.....

Well, last night was the regular Thursday night Lake Chabot loop and was to be my first ride in 5 weeks.
The ride normally starts at 6:15 but seeing as I didn't really want my first ride to be in the dark, Jerry and I met and started at 5:00

Since I knew my fitness would be off, I brought the bike with gears and not the singlespeed.  And,, since the geared bike also has suspension at both ends, it would help prevent the jarring and bouncing.  You'll notice in the picture that the bike is absolutely spotless..I don't ride it much to begin with and for the last 5 months I haven't been able to do anything but clean and tinker with my bikes.....every one of them looks brand new at this point.
I have to admit, I was tentative and slow.  In addition to my fitness being off by quite a bit, the thought of crashing and being back off the bike for an extended time really had me kind of rattled.  As we finished 10 hills and Brandon though, I started to loosen up and relax.

By the time we were coming down towards the stone bridge, I had relaxed to the point that I could just ride and not spend the entire time dwelling on the "what ifs".....I was still slow, as a matter of fact Jerry was faster than I was on just about every downhill.

I don't think I've ever used my brakes quite as much as I did on this ride and I have to say, those Deore XT hydraulics are awesome.....very smooth modulation, no fading, no squealing (now that I have the Alligator rotors anyway) and no issues at all.

Eventually, we made it around the lake and back to the paved path towards the marina.  It was here, after surviving the loose dirt, the rough bumpy trail and the foot deep ruts that I almost got taken out by a young lady on a mountain bike.  As I came around the corner, she was on my side of the trail headed straight for me looking down at her pedals.....As she looked up, I went left and she did the exact same I went right and she grabbed both brakes, skidding and almost turning back into me....

Luckily, there was no collision and although she was seemed rattled, she didn't fall and continued on her way.  Obviously a new rider and although I was in the right and riding in control, I felt bad about scaring her.

Eventually, we made it back to the parking lot never needing our lights and, hung out chatting while we waited for Bob who, also recovering from a broken collar bone, was still out hiking.

All in all it was a really good ride on a beautiful Fall evening.  I couldn't get over how excited I was to be back on the bike and how great it felt to be riding.  I've enjoyed the hikes I've been doing and didn't completely hate the little bit of running I did, but none of those things filled the empty spot in me that riding does.....even slow, tentative, worried riding....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Try Not To Crash....Ok?

So, today I had my 5 week follow up with the orthopedist for the broken collar bone.
Turns out everything is healing up the way it's supposed to and once it's all said and done, my right shoulder will be 1" narrower than my left, but the bone will be twice as strong where it overlaps.....makes sense I guess.

After the x-ray and the visit with the doctor, I asked if I could get back on the bike and her response was, "yes, but try not to crash, ok?"

Wow! Now that's good advice....I wonder if someone had told me that 5 weeks ago, if I could have avoided this whole episode....

Typically, my rides have several goals. Get a good ride in, have fun, rack up some miles and improve my fitness.....never have I really started out a ride with the thought that , maybe I should "try not to crash" on this ride....

Of course I'm being sarcastic, but to be honest, I think that my outlook on riding is definitely going to be affected.  At least for a little while until this whole thing is in the past.  Being forced to stay off the bike for the past 5 weeks has been brutal.  Not to mention the thought that had it been worse, I could have been off work and that would have affected my income.

I was talking to one of my co-workers and he mentioned that once he got married and had kids, he gave up skiing and rock climbing.  He was too worried about getting hurt and not being able to provide for his family.....Is that normal?  Is it normal to let fear of injury dictate the things you enjoy in life....maybe it IS normal and I'm irresponsible for not living that way....who knows.

I do know though, that I will probably be slower and more careful than I've been in the least for a little while....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday Night Lake Chabot…..Hike

Pretty much every Thursday for the past few years I’ve done the Lake Chabot loop with the nitedawgs, our riding group. This, combined with a Tuesday road ride and a longer ride on the weekends has enabled me to eat pretty much whatever I want and still maintain my weight under 200lbs.

For the past few weeks since the crash though, I’ve not done anything. Well that’s not totally true. I’ve sat on the couch, caught up on some reading, eaten pretty much everything in the house and surfed the web for a pair of those cool polyester pants with the expandable elastic built into the sides.

Last night though, I decided to break the cycle of lazyslob-itude and head out to join the Thursday group at Lake Chabot. Knowing I still can’t ride, or even grip a set of handlebars, I planned a hike instead.

I had no route planned, but grabbed my iPod, my Garmin, my trail runners, threw a water bottle in my pocket and headed out. I followed the group down the 10 hills trail to where it intersects with the Cameron Loop, headed down to the wooden bridge, over that and began the climb up Live Oak trail.

Once upon a time I tried to ride up Live Oak and, after almost passing out while pushing my bike up it, have chosen to only use this particular piece of hell on earth as a downhill route. It’s steep! Like 20% in places and rutted and loose… a matter of fact, I don’t even really like riding down this trail.

The hike up the trail was pretty much exactly what I expected. It’s a 0.9 mile, max heart rate, lung busting, sweat running into the eyes suffer-fest. The strange thing is, that after being off the bike for a few weeks, it’s exactly what I needed. I loved it! I had the iPod cranking some of my favorite tunes directly into my brain and I pretty much just zoned out and enjoyed the suffering.

After reaching the top, I turned around and headed back down the way I came. I’m pretty sure I’m actually faster uphill than down as I’m afraid of falling and screwing up my other arm. Once at the bottom and back across the bridge, I turned right and headed around the lake. It was a gorgeous evening and there were a lot of people out walking around the lake. None of them seemed to be working as hard as I was though…could it be that not everyone enjoys suffering…..weird….

As I got back around towards the marina, the sun was setting. I didn’t need my flashlight yet, but I could tell that in the weeks to come, my hikes would be ending in the dark. There’s one last little joy-fest before you get back to the road to the parking lot. It’s a little no named path that is less than a half mile, but it at least 20% for the majority of its length… be honest, I hate this section on our weekly rides, but tonight hiking up it as fast as I could go, felt great….one last lung burner to end the evening….

It’s here that the group caught me. I saw their lights at the bottom when I was about half way up and try as I might, there was no way I could hold them off… by one they passed me, leaving me in the twilight to finish my hike with the music from my iPod and the sound of my heartbeat pounding in my ears….

All in all I ended up with 4.7 miles and 1020 ft of climbing…..a pretty good evening workout for a one armed, overweight slug who’s previous 3 weeks had been spent watching reruns and sitcoms….