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It Only Hurts When I Smile

May 30, 2019

I’ve now ridden six times since May 24th, with one day off after the second ride, so that means I’ve been riding for seven days with one rest day. That almost sounds like a regular week of training! Were it not for the fact that the rides are all short and slow, with zero focus or intensity other than simply pedaling my bike, it really would be like a regular week of training.

At the moment, the only thing I’m trying to do is simply get things moving again, and begin to rebuild something that resembles enough fitness to hopefully return to do a few races at the track this year. Obviously, after just six rides in one week, I’m nowhere near ready to pin a number on and roll up to a start line … but, damn, that itch is already returning.

The right elbow is still far from straightening fully, but I’m heading back for more physical therapy soon to help with that- hopefully. The right wrist, the one that had a plate and five screws put in it after the 2016 crash, has been achy and sore, but does not appear to have new injuries … I think. Under the category of #cyclistproblems, one of the biggest issues I’m currently dealing with is noodle arms and fatigued triceps. After the two full months off the bike, with as little use of arms as possible, they both wear out within about 20 miles. The right arm is weak from being in the cast and immobile, while the left arm burns up quickly from compensating for the deficiency in the right. The right arm is effectively shorter than the left now, so my right shoulder tends to drop, which leads to additional overcompensations and imbalances. Thankfully, my legs don’t actually feel all that bad! Maybe there’s something to be said for the countless base miles and muscle memory of 37yrs of competitive cycling?

Second ride, and first #TimJacksonOverheadSelfie®.

Overall, the right arm is dysfunctionally functional, and I keep getting on my bike. I tried the fixie on my third ride back on the bike … and it wasn’t my smartest idea. But nobody has accused me of being terribly smart. Ever. Taking my patented #TimJacksonOverheadSelfie® is a bit awkward now, as I’m having to learn how to be consistent with my left arm. Ive also noticed an unwelcome feeling of greater vulnerability on the bike- a bit more anxiously watching each and every driver and car, looking for signs of their intentions or distractions, desperately hoping not to have to take extra evasive actions … or worse. If my elbow and wrist weren’t in their current condition, I’d simply head for the dirt/gravel to rebuild fitness- but it’s currently not physically an option.

But … BUT … each time I get on my bike, I remember that I’m grateful to be alive and not more badly broken. “It coulda been worse.” It really coulda. It hurts. I’m really impatient. I want to get back to where I was on March 23rd … today. I’m unhappy about this massive setback, and fear for the overall recovery of range of motion. But, again, it coulda been worse- and I’m on my bike trying to make it less bad. I love to ride my bike. I yearn to get back to racing. I wanna be “the fast old guy” again. It’s gonna take more time than I want it to, and I have to force myself to go slow(er).

Eddy Merckx is famously credited for saying that, “cycling is 20% physical and 80% mental.” Lord knows I’m plenty mental, so I hope it pays off.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2019 9:25 AM

    Hang in there Tim.


    • Tim Jackson permalink*
      May 31, 2019 9:44 AM

      Hangin’ is what I do best …


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