It was impossible to be anything less than giddy about riding through Sonoma wine country on a sunny day, and when one is giddy, one tends to ignore one’s limitations. Here’s mine.
A little over 12 years ago, I made a bad jump from a sailboat onto a dock and sheared off the plateau of my right tibia – doc-speak for totally messing up my right knee. By anyone’s measure, I’ve recovered very well from it. I’m a little knock-kneed, as the surgeons had a hell of a time trying to get everything back in place and aligned properly, but I can do just about anything with that leg except run for any distance. I’m also beating the doctor’s forecast; he told me to expect that I’d require a knee replacement after 8-10 years, and happily I haven’t gotten there yet, nor do I hope to for another few years.
One of my sons asked, shortly after the accident, whether I was going to give up sailing. “No,” I said, “I’m going to give up jumping.” But I wouldn’t trust that leg on a pitching foredeck anymore, so I did give up crewing in competitive sailing.
I bicycle partly because this is the only form of sustained, intense exercise that the bum knee will tolerate. Most of the time. I rationalize that bicycling is excellent for the knee, to keep it mobilized and more arthritis-free than it would be otherwise. Even bicycling can test it at times, though – such as when I’m racing giddily up and down hills and around vineyards in Sonoma County, outdoors for the first time since early December. Climbing is especially stressful on it, of course, or rising from the saddle to accelerate or to relieve the sit-bones for a couple of minutes. There were some steep hills in Sonoma.
After our return, the weather and roads around Rochester were favorable enough that I worked in two more outdoor rides before cold winds and rain drove me back inside, and by then my knock-knee friend was thoroughly pissed at me. He told me I should have taken it easier on those first couple of outdoor rides back here in Rochester. He bitched with every step up or down a stair and nagged me whenever I’d rise from a chair or climb out of bed in the morning. I tried plying him with ibuprofen, thinking that he’d quiet down a little if he were stoned, but the only way I finally shut him up was just to stay off the bike for a few days and let him lay around like the fatass he is.
Clearly, I need to be more considerate of him if I’m going to fool him into riding 100 kilometers with me in the Rochester Tour de Cure coming up on June 13. This week, he let me climb back on the trainer downstairs for a couple of decent spins, and so far, no complaints.
Today and tomorrow, I’m going to bundle up and sneak out for more outdoor riding, hoping he won’t notice, if I keep him warm enough. Stay tuned.
Oh, and there’s one other thing that makes him happier: when a friend donates money to the American Diabetes Association in support of our ride in the Tour de Cure. If you click here and make a donation, he’ll be ever so much happier…. Thank you!