Monday, March 05, 2007

Myers back on the bicycle

I've talked about getting back on the bike for about two weeks. The key impetus was my sports medicine doctor saying "you're doing ok... it's time to get back on the bike and conquer your fear." I wouldn't say that I had a fear of riding, although I do have a more profound respect for that one downhill corner on Kennedy/Priest Rock Trail. But I will leave that challenge for the future.

What I do have is an extreme respect for all of the minor muscles in the body. When you do weights, you concentrate on the big guns (delts, traps, quads, biceps, triceps) and lump all the small muscles into "stability muscles." I found a Gray's Anatomy online, so there is a picture and some text. When the muscles been shut down for a month, they let you know of their existence when they start up again. This is especially true for small muscles along the spine connecting the vertebra and small muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade. I avoided biking until I'd gone through most of the reactivation pain.

My first bike ride since January 16 was on a beautiful sunny Los Gatos day. The temperature was almost 70F. I put sunblock (spf45) on my entire face to minimize scar damage. I inflated my tires again (they'd lost 40 pounds... a sign of how long it had been) and then went out on my road bike. I will not be on a mountain bike for a few months; this is from three issues: (1) having shoulder strength, (2) making sure that my broken cheekbone (zygoma) is fully set, and (3) having the physical stamina to do crazy climbs. You can read more about the zygoma (I broke it at all four of the junctions) in Gray's Anatomy.

I made it about 2 flat miles away from home before my awakened muscles told me of their presence. I felt pain across the lower back and sides near the bottom of the rib cage (the serratus muscle). You don't even pay attention to these guys until they speak to you.

I traveled 4.6 miles in just over 20 minutes. The warmth of the sun felt great. The wind in my face was invigorating; it was a wonderful feeling to deeply inhale fresh air again. I was in terrible shape, with an unjustified racing pulse rate and muscle pain. But I had a smile from ear to ear as I entered the house.

A number of relatives have suggested that I go safe and do a stationary bike indoors. This short bike ride convinced me to the contrary. I can't wait until I'm back doing 50-60 mile rides again. And it'll be a bit longer before I go for a mountain bike ride.


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