Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

Chronicle of My Participation in the World's Toughest Enduro Rally – Again…

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Killer bicycle ride

Posted by desflurane on June 21, 2013

I am once again recovering from a twenty-four hour stint on Labor and Delivery – oh joy! But, as per usual, I have the payoff of getting the next day off, and I have used it well.

I didn’t bother mentioning it before, but as it is germane to the current topic…

Toward the end of my last training ride I was headed in a general homeward direction and decided to hit some singletrack that I haven’t ridden for quite some time. It was great! It wound around through the hills until connecting into the top of the “switchbacks” trail that I ride almost every time I go out. Reasoning that some downhill switchback practice would surely be in order, I started descending the trail.

You couldn’t ask for a nicer location to practice riding down switchbacks – they are for the most part really tight turns and not true switchbacks. As a result, its fairly easy to get down them – just drag the back wheel, shift your weight over the bars and steer around with the front wheel. Works great nearly every time! A couple of them are too tight for this technique and more advanced methods must be employed (such as getting off the bike and dragging the rear end around, for example).

All was proceeding nicely until I allowed the front wheel to slip out from under me on one of the tighter corners. In an instant the bike fell over, slamming down to the right-hand side. This would have been a complete non-issue except for the fact that the end of the bars landed full-force, squarely in the center of my right foot.

Certainly my SIDI boots and thick socks soaked up a bunch of the blow, but despite all that protection IT HURT!!! BADLY!!!

As always, I took quick stock of myself – determining that despite the pain, nothing was broken. I’d just have to jump back on the bike and “ride it off.” Which I did.

I even found a new stretch of singletrack whose existence I was completely ignorant of. But by the time I got home the pain in my right foot had not diminished at all. I pulled off my boot – all seemed well. A bit swollen perhaps, but nothing obviously wrong beyond what you would expect when you take a good hammer-blow to the top of your instep…

To cut to the chase here, I wrapped my foot up tightly for most of the next twenty-four hours (which I spent on Labor and Delivery as you will recall) walking very slowly and with a pronounced limp. I suppose everybody around the hospital has gotten quite used to seeing me limping, since it occurs rather often, and nobody even asked what I had done this time.

My bound-up right foot. Note the manky old Birkenstocks that I have worn daily for the past ten years...

My bound-up right foot. Note the manky old Birkenstocks that I have worn daily for the past ten years…

I’m not ashamed to say that my greatest fear for the last few months of training rides has been that I would have some stupid accident complete with an injury that would once again rob me of my chance to ride in Romaniacs, or plague me with pain while I’m out on the track – preventing me from riding up to my potential. Thus far I have felt like it was just a risk that I had to live with. A guy has to train after all. What are you supposed to do?

Well, with nine days until I fly out for Sibiu and already sporting an aching, swollen foot, I made an executive decision. I doubt very much that my riding skills are going to improve drastically over the next week or so – so I am going to leave the dirt bike in the garage and focus on pure fitness training on my bicycle until the event.

Today I put that plan into action. I suited up in my Lycra and hit the road. I climbed almost all the hills within ten miles of my home. In total I rode 64.9 miles and climbed 4600 feet (104 Km and 1400 meters). Needless to say, the workout was excellent – far better than I could ever get on the dirt bike. I just can’t wear myself out like that on the motorcycle, its too dangerous.

So my plan is to just keep racking up miles on the road bike until go time arrives. I was planning to do this anyway, but due to current circumstances I’m starting my “recovery” phase a few days earlier than I had meant to.

As an aside, since getting home from the ride today my right foot feels great! Doesn’t really hurt to walk any more and the limp has almost vanished. I’m not sure why the ride should have been particularly therapeutic, but it somehow did the job!

I’m not complaining!

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