Thursday, August 26

Morning’s ride: 40:08 Distance: 12.08 miles

I was much less reticent about getting my butt out of bed and riding. I had hoped to ride a little longer than this, but I wanted to make sure I had time to take a shower before I went to work, so I ended it a bit early.

My back felt okay, but my thigh started acting up. This was a bit troubling. It’s the first time since I got the new bike that I noticed a pain in my old enemy, my gracilis.

Oh, no. Not the gracilis again. If you did a tag search for ‘gracilis’ on this blog, you’d get a bunch of posts where I was complaining about that muscle in my inner thigh. Search for ‘ileopsoas’ and you’ll find a few more. But none since October. My new bike seemed to be what my leg needed. It’s a longer bike, more suited for me than my old Schwinn. I figured it was the cure for that pain. Now it’s back. Hopefully it will not stay long


Friday, January 22

This morning’s ride: 50:00 Distance 0 miles Average cadence: 93 RPM

Well, you won’t hear me complaining about my gracilis or my ileopsoas. At least, you probably won’t. What I have, it appears, is a tear of the hip joint’s labrum, on the adductor side.

Or something.

Basically, the stuff that prevents my femur from grinding into my hip joint’s got a teeny tiny tear in it, and that’s what’s causing the problem. I’m still not certain why it doesn’t start hurting  until about 60 minutes into the ride, but I guess more will be revealed. Right now I’m just gonna do my pelvic thrusts.

Work, work, work.

Tuesday January 19

This morning’s ride 45:33 Distance 0 miles Average cadence: 96 RPM

I said ‘aaaaahhhh.’ I breathed in through my mouth and out through my nose. Or vice-vera. My chest was thumped. My neck was rubbed. My epiglottis was swabbed. Oh, boy, and isn’t that fun?

Inconclusive. There was no sign of blood in my throat. Or anyplace else other than where it should be. So, it appears that the bloody Sunday toothbrushing incident was merely an anomaly, brought on by some outside forces, and not the harbinger of potentially fatal disease.

Surprise, surprise.

I need to monitor it and see if it reappears again in the future. Which, hopefully, it won’t. If it does, then we’ll schedule some electromagnetic poking and prodding to beat the band.

And in the good news/good news department, I’ve got a physical therapy appointment scheduled for Friday afternoon to see if we can’t work the kinks out of my balky ileopsoas muscle.

So things seem to be on the up side right now. Or, at least, not on the down side. Which isn’t exactly the same thing some times.

Wednesday, October 7

This morning’s ride: 47:47 Distance: 9.58 miles Average cadence: 91 RPM

I dodged a bullet this morning. No, not literally. Not like that car the other day. The bullet in this instance is a metaphor for the weather. The forcast was for rain and a high wind advisory this morning, but neither really appeared on the ride. Still, I made sure the route I took kept me relatively close to home in case I needed to end my ride sooner rather than later.

But I didn’t. The rain wasn’t rainy and the wind wasn’t windy. Because I kept close to my neighborhood I encountedered a lot more little hilly streets. And unlike the rain and the wind, the hills were hilly.

I had been avoiding the hillier routes the past couple of weeks, because I’ve noticed that aggressively climbing them seemed to aggravate my gracilis/iliopsoas/groin/whateverthehell muscle it is that hurts so much after long rides more than riding relatively flat routes. But this morning it didn’t seem to be acting up.  No, in fact, I took the hills more and more aggressively. I was feeling good! I rode past my old buddy Cobb’s Hill, and the gate was open, so I turned and charged up. And I was fine. No pain! Maybe taking the days off between rides was helping me!

So–if I can climb Cobb’s Hill–why not try Pinnacle! The steepest hill in the area! Let’s go! I charged down the hill.

Well, I started to charge. About three revolutions down the hill, my leg said no you don’t.

It didn’t shout it. It was just a little twinge. A warning shot across the bow of my ego, so to speak. I pulled back, and eased my way home, being careful to not push any harder.

I made it home, and I’m not limping, but it’s just another reminder that Things Take Time. I will need to factor healing time into this process. I’m doing my best to forestall it until the snows come.

Let’s see how far I can push my luck.

Friday September 25/Sunday September 27

Friday morning’s ride: 44:40 Distance: 9.99 miles Average cadence low 90’s

Sunday morning’s ride: 1:04:34 Distance: 15.34 miles Average cadence 94

Friday morning’s ride was cold and dark. Sunday’s ride was after sunrise, but more than half of it was in the rain. I’m doing my best not to push myself because of the muscle pain in my leg. If I keep my rides to an hour or less, I seem to do okay.

I have some work to do. I need to go to the prosthetist. my leg doesn’t fit any more. I need at least one new leg, or maybe two–one for riding, and one for every day.

I also need to go to my doctor. I should probably get a physical–I think that since I’m now over 50, I can actually get one. And I’ll need to have him (or more likely, a specialist) look at my thigh. A friend of mine who’s a nurse and former massage therapist seems to think that it’s not the gracilis. I also have an acquaintance who’s a cyclist and a wind surfer who, too, doesn’t think it’s my gracilis. The latter thinks it’s a groin pull. The former thinks it might be my iliopsoas.thigh_muscles_superficial_anterior

The latter is treated with rest. The former is treated with stretching. I’m pulling for stretching. But, as I wrote, this is something for my doc (or some doc) to discover.

Sorry this isn’t as witty or verbose as some of my posts, but I spent most of the weekend slicing down a pear tree, and I’m tired.

Sunday, September 13

This morning’s ride: 1:03:11 Distance 13.98 miles Average 96 RPM

I wanted to go 15 miles. I had planned on going 15 miles. I didn’t plan on running into a marathon. I suppose it ‘s my own darn fault for not paying attention to local events, but when I slipped onto the canal path about 6 miles from my house, I rode past a runner. And another. And another. That’s not too unusual; lots of folks use the canal for their jogs. Then I came across a bunch. “To your left!” I shouted as I scooted past. They shouted something back. I didn’t understand what they said because they were so out of breath. Sounded like “Deer wanting a space beer!”

Then noticed the runners all had numbers on them. And there was a water station. And a plethora of people glaring at me in confusion and anger. And a little girl in a rainbow wig. That’s what clued me in. Oops.

I suppose I could have continued riding. After all, it was public space, and no one said I couldn’t. And, of course, I’m an athlete. But it was wrong. So I got off the path as soon as I could and tried to figure out a way home.

I was on the east side at this point. I’m not really an eastside guy. But I found my way home, and even found a decent hill, which I attacked with a fervor,  until Gracilis McAchypants showed up again. This has got to stop.

I wonder if there’ll be little girls with rainbow wigs on Mt. Washington?

Wednesday, September 9

This morning’s ride: 1:01:23 Distance: 13.73 miles Average: 90 RPM

It was dark this morning when I started my ride. No–that’s not entirely correct. It was night, but it wasn’t really dark. There was a waning gibbous moon hanging in the sky, and it was bright enough that I saw my shadow as I climbed on my bike. And being a shadow, it stayed with me as I rode down the street. And being a child of the seventies, a song immediately popped in my head, and stayed there for the rest of the ride:

I’m being followed by a moon shadow. Moon shadow moon shadow. Leapin’ and hoppin on a moon shadow. Moon shadow, moon shadow.

I always liked Cat Stevens, but this particular song always struck me as a bit creepy.

And if I ever lose my hands, Lose my plough, Lose my lands, Well if I ever lose my lands, well–I won’t have to work no more.

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colors all run dry, Yes if I ever lose my eyes, well–I won’t have to cry no more.

Here was this guy apparently losing bits of himself all over the place, and he’s singing about it.

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t cry, and I won’t beg, Well if I ever lose my legs, well—

Well, what?  What did I do? What am I doing? What will I do? I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but in all the years that I’ve heard this song, I never made the connection between Cat Stevens singing about how one reacts to adversity, and the adversity in my own life.

And, since there’s precious little else to do on a bicycle except pedal and ruminate, I ruminated. The song isn’t about mass amputations. It’s about taking life on life’s terms, and doing it with good humor and grace.

So I rode and watched the world around me brighten up with the dawn. When I got home, I sat in my backyard and finished my water while I waited for my freaking gracilis to settle down again. It hurts, but only for a little while. And although it was now fully day. I could still see the moon. It looked like it was in exactly the same place as before, and was no doubt shining just as bright, but the day had overtaken the darkness.

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light. Did it take long to find me? And are ya  gonna stay the night?

Monday, September 7

This morning’s ride: 1:58:34 Distance: 24:07 miles Average: 80 RPM

I didn’t want to ride today. I had no desire at all. Instead, shortly after I woke up, I called my friend Mike, and we talked. We talked about politics and life, and–this is important–we talked about ourselves. It’s surprising how few people are really comfortable talking about themselves (and listening to others talk about themselves) but Mike’s one of those people. Mike’s worst days are better than the best days of most folks I know. “Tell you what,” he said, “give me fifteen minutes, and I’ll meet you out on the canal path.” Mike lives about ten miles east of me, so I went east, he went west, and we met up about 6 miles from my place, and rode. Mike is a fairly aggressive rider. As he puts it “I ride faster than just about everyone I know–except you.” Which made me feel good.

So I rode at Mike’s pace, although I believe that he could have gone faster had he wanted to. But he didn’t. Instead, he took me on some roads and trails I hadn’t traveled. Because he’s lived here his entire life, the ride was a bit of a history tour as well. As a result, I had more damn fun on this ride than I’ve had  in months. I realized that my focus had been primarily on cadence and shifting techniques and breathing and exertion and my freaking gracilis and just about everything other than how much fun it can be to ride a bike. Today, while riding with Mike, I had fun.

After he went back to his house, I still had ten miles to go to get home. I rode it at around 20 MPH most of the way. Nothing hurt, nothing went wrong. It was…fun.

By the way, Mike’s 71 years old, and a retired firefighter. He spent much of his life running towards things the rest of us run away from. I want to be like Mike when I grow up.

Monday, August 31

This morning’s ride: 52:00 or so Distance: 11.88-ish Miles Average: low 90’s

It was cold this morning. Jacket and gloves cold. My combination GPS/timer’s batteries ran out 10 miles into the ride. I don’t care. My kids are home.

This evening’s ride: 51:25 by my watch Distance: around 12 miles. Average: 90’s

I had a headwind all the way home. It was still cold when I rode home. I didn’t know it was going to be that cold, so I packed away my jacket. I didn’t care. My kids are home.

I noticed that my gracilis (the inner thigh muscle that’s been hurting so much these past few rides) hurts the most when I stop for a while. My friend Tanja (who knows about these things) thinks it might be caused by the difference in lengths between my legs. This could be fixed by adjusting the crankshafts, or getting a new leg. Both time-consuming, and expensive. I don’t care.

Did I mention my kids are back?DSC_0075

Sunday August 30

This morning’s ride: 1:20:44 Distance 18.39 miles Average: 90 RPM

I had a nice 2-hour ride mapped out. I had the time, traffic was light, the weather was good, and my legs felt fresh.

So why did I stop 40 minutes short?

thigh_muscles_superficial_anteriorMy freaking gracilis. That damned muscle on the inside of my left thigh acts up whenever I ride more than an hour. You could set your watch to it. The last 10 minutes of the ride were agony.

My kids come home tomorrow night! Which means I will have one last day of riding to work. I didn’t do that nearly as much as I wanted to, but I still will manage to ride to work 10 out of a possible 20 days. Plus I did some additional riding–either in the morning, or the evening, or on days off–so I did spend a bit of time in the saddle. Considering all that went on this month outside of riding, which included buying a house, flying to Texas for a weekend, and burying my stepfather, that’s a good average.

Every weather forecast I’ve read says clear for tomorrow. Let’s keep a good thought.

And hopefully, to the doctor’s on Tuesday.