Yesterday I set out on a 53 mile bike ride. I knew I was pushing it, trying for 50 miles this early in the year, especially since I haven’t kept up with the biking properly over the winter months. But, while I know that I am known for biting off more than I should be able to chew, 98% of the time that pays off for me. So I wasn’t too worried. My friend and I set off to a town about 45 minutes away from our home. Mr. Ink couldn’t join because he had to work. My biking friend is a far stronger rider than I am, and we are both introverts so we knew that we’d be mostly spending the day riding “alone.” He would ride ahead at his pace, then wait for me to catch up from time to time. It worked for us. Now, this was an organized ride so there were other people on the ride. But I personally did not know anyone. Furthermore, the anticipated weather was rain all day long, with scattered storms. And it was cool. So many people registered to ride didn’t show up.
The ride ended up being pretty nutty. For at least 30 miles we were pushing into extremely strong headwinds. The kind where you get SO excited to find yourself at the bottom of a hill, because that hill gives you a break from the wind. Only to crest the hill and realize you now have to push just as hard into the wind as you did to climb the hill. We stopped at a couple of places, a fruit farm for homemade pie, and then a little cafe for lunch. We were able to sit with 3 guys that my friend knew, and we all had a lovely break and lunch. Company was very good. But, during the time we ate, the rain began.
At that point, we were already so far into the ride that turning around to go back was pointless, we might as well push on through the ride. There was about 15 miles of gentle rain, and then 15 miles of absolutely drenching pouring rain. My bike bag took on water and became a pool. We’d had the wind at our back for awhile, which was such a relief that I didn’t even mind the pouring rain that much, but then we had to turn into the wind again and that’s when things began to take a real downhill for me. Between the unrelenting rain and the unrelenting wind, I began to notice my right knee twinging. This isn’t something that happens for me, and there was nothing I could do really, so I geared down a bit and pushed on. And then I geared down again, and again, moving slower and slower. Meanwhile my friend would find a tree to stop under in hopes to stay out of the rain while waiting for me to catch up, while I just continued to ride slower and slower.
Then I realized I really couldn’t put pressure on the right knee at all. Ok, now it’s time to change the tactic again, new tactic, allow the right knee to just be along for the ride and let my left leg do all the work. I eased off that right knee, and since I am connected to my pedals, I concentrated on both pushing down and pulling up with the left leg. This kept me moving slow, but consistently. My friend waited again at the end of a road, I stopped and asked how far we were from the end. He said “12 miles.” I said “We’ll be turning again now, right? With the wind at our backs?” He said “Yes, just right around this corner.” “Ok, I think I can make it.” I remarked, and we set off again. But, even though I was able to move much faster with the wind at my back, I began to feel the left knee twinge. It wasn’t appreciating all the extra stress I was putting on it. I tested out the right knee, was it maybe magically better? No, no it was not. I kept on, but I was in such a bad way. All I could THINK about was walking. I just desperately wanted to walk. My friend stopped again, I flagged him down before he could take off in front of me, and asked again “How many miles?” “5.5” he said. I said “I can’t make it. Why don’t you just ride on back, pick up the car, and come get me?” “Really?” he said. “You are feeling THAT bad?” he said. Now, don’t get upset with him, this was not a comment questioning how I felt, it’s just that in the 7 years I’ve known him, he’s never seen me give up and he’s watched me push through heat exhaustion even. So he was incredulous.
But, he quickly agreed this would be for the best. He rode off quickly, and I got off my bike. I rearranged my gear, I dumped the water out of my bag, I removed the rain jacked since at that lovely moment it decided to quit raining, what a relief! My toes were numb, I was completely drenched. I looked forward to a bit of a roadside hike, at least I wasn’t biking! I took a step. And experienced extreme pain in my right knee. As it turns out, the one thing I desperately wanted to do, I couldn’t even do. I leaned over my bike, tried a few more painful steps, and rested for a bit. I tried again. Thankfully, I found myself able to limp along a bit. It was slow going, but at least I was moving forward. The sun came out. I stopped for a few minutes, took off my soaked tshirt as I had on a “wishful thinking” tanktop under it. It was actually warming up. I tried to walk again, and it was worse than when I first got off the bike. Ok, new plan, don’t STOP walking. Just keep walking to keep it from stiffening up.
Not long after, my friend came to get me. I got in the car, he loaded my bike, and said “There’s Ibuprofen in the glove compartment, TAKE SOME. By the time we get home it may start taking effect.” I listened. After a pleasant ride home, it had taken effect. He unloaded my bike, Mr. Ink was in the yard planting things, and I told him I’d done something terrible to my knee. I dropped my bike right there, said goodbye to my friend, and headed inside.
I am thrilled to say that this morning it is significantly better. I’ve been keeping up on the painkillers, icing when I can, and getting up and moving regularly until it gets bad enough I need to take a seat. I have high hopes this will be an injury I can get ahead of quickly.
Final total, 48 miles. 2 miles shy of my goal. I will call that a win, but keep that ice bag coming!
Meanwhile…Miss Butterfly and Lizzie were running a race. I’ve got photos of that! They, too, got rained on. I was told that Miss Butterfly’s dad had to hold the leash for a good portion of the run, since Lizzie was SO excited that she’d just run circles around Miss Butterfly. With dad holding the leash, Lizzie would run after Miss Butterfly, making the experience quite a bit more pleasant.
I’d have thought after actually running a 5K, Lizzie would be worn out. But she wasn’t. I don’t know what I was thinking, she walks a 5K regularly with me, and it NEVER wears her out. All in all, I suspect a new tradition was begun, as they really enjoyed this race together.
Today I am hoping that in between my sitting times, I will be planting and weeding. It rained overnight and the weeding should be at a point it goes fairly easily. Mr. Ink has been too busy planting things to get around to the weeding of things. We also plan to see if we can get to our favorite farmers market for more plants. And he tells me he’s going to build me some tomato cages today, since I don’t like wimpy cages, and he doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on hefty ones. We’ll see how it all goes! I am feeling the desire to get out there though, so here’s where I’ll leave you. Have a wonderful Sunday!