Thursday, 31 March 2011

Some random thoughts while riding...

The weather people predicted sunny spells and wind - LOTS of wind. 40km/h of wind.
They were right on the money!
So todays ride of 56.7 miles in 3:27:30 was a real mixture. Some wind assisted WHEEEEEEEEE, and quite a lot of URRRRRGH into said wind!
Still - there WILL be weather in Cumbria in May - so I'd better get used to it :o)

Today is my Mum's birthday!
Happy Birthday Mum :)

If there IS anything that happens after we die, she would have been looking down on me as I rode in the sunshine and strong winds today, and I think she would have been smiling, because I'm training for this challenge!

1120 total miles
30,000+ total METRES of ascent and descent
all done in 10 identical and consecutive daily circuits around Lakeland.

There are some who think it's bonkers - and others who think I'll not be able to complete it.

But I'm doing it to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer support.


The statistics say that 1:3 of us will be affected directly or indirectly by cancer in our lifetimes.
I have experienced that 3 times already!
My Mum almost certainly died from an undetected bowel cancer, which means that she didn't benefit personally from the input that the wonderful Macmillan Nurses provide.
She HAD benefited from that support when she was caring for her own mother who died as a result of pancreatic cancer though.

This morning my lovely wife was in another country, while *her* mother was in theatre. She had done a home test which had picked up the fact that she had an asymptomatic bowel cancer.
Hopefully it was caught really early, and she won't need the input of Macmillan!

The local fundraising manager called me today. We had a fantastic chat about the 10 Fred Whittons challenge and what Macmillan could do to help me.
The bottom line is, I am well and preparing to take on something that I KNOW is going to push me to my limits. Their support and the fact that they are clearly incredibly grateful for my little effort is enough to be honest. For a big charity, they act like a very small one.  I have been absolutely blown away by their input.  I couldn't ask for more really!

But what is 10 days of self-inflicted hardship compared to that which some people live with daily and will do until the end of their lives?

It's a chance to put something back - just because I can. And because I want to.

I set a target of £10 per mile on my JustGiving site - it's a random kind of round number.
I'm currently up to £0.21 per mile!

My most heartfelt thanks to the folk who have supported me thus far :o)

Funny old day. Not quite sure how I feel about it..

All of those things.

I would love to be able to hit my random target - because many of us, at sometime will be affected by cancer either directly or indirectly - and will be very grateful for the work of Macmillan then.

But I'm just one very small person in the greater scheme of things. I'm not well known. I'm not in the public eye.
So I will do what I can - and that will have to be enough! :)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

ouch... Ouch!... AAAAAAAAAAARGH!

If you were to meet Justine my physio, you would be fooled into thinking that she was a quiet gentle little thing who couldn't possible hurt anyone or anything.

Seriously - you would!

You would also be gravely mistaken.

I thought that a nice 24 miles in the morning sun would warm my legs up nicely and get the unhurty juices flowing around them.
I also thought that with the work I've been (secretly) doing over the last couple of days, that todays World Of Pain would turn into "Ahhh! That's nice, please do it some more"

and WRONG!

I should have known better. I got a message asking me to come in a bit early if I could and that should have set alarms ringing straight away - but did it? Oh no! Not a bit.
Silly boy!

As it was I couldn't get there much earlier - but I was soon to regret the extra 30 minutes that I had afforded the Queen of Hurt!

To be fair - she DID say that the hurty area was loads better than on Monday - this was the good news.
I knew I was in trouble though when she LOWERED the treatment couch.

Word to the wise - any time your physio lowers the coach - it is to HURT you more!
They can apply more bodyweight ;o)

So - the application of more bodyweight ensured that I didn't just sweat more - I actually made the blue roll dissolve!
And Justine, kept on saying Sorry - but I KNOW she was loving every minute of it!

And she had an extra 30 minutes........ which *I* had given her! :-O

Silly silly boy!!

Oh! And then she covered my in half-a-hundredweight of ice!

Not only did she separate most of my tissues from the bone - she also deep-froze me!!!

Can't wait to see what she has in store for me next week ;o)

On the positive side, I'm building the mileage back up nicely and the knee is coping fine with both longer AND harder, so something is going right.

I have decided to do the Lakeland Loop Sportive on the 10th April as an event-specific training ride.  It's 69 miles and involves most of the second part of the Fred Whitton Route, which is the part that I know least well.  So doing that, and probably checking out most of the route from Lorton onwards in just over a weeks time will give me a good idea of what to expect of that part of the route!  The rest I know quite well anyway :o)

Right - need to see just how bruised I am this evening!!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Elementary Errors

It was a lovely day again for a decent ride-out. A couple of delays - another unexpected Taxi(EvilStep)Dad occurrence, and some work things that had to be done this morning meant that I left later than I had planned to.

I'd looked at the 64 miles route that I've done a couple of times in the past, but thought that it would be a little bit far at this point, so I worked out a shorter version. There are more climbs on this ride, and in the direction that I did it today, more miles that are uphill.
I also misread the wind direction on the weather forecast, and ended up with the majority of the ride into it. All good endurance/climbing training by stealth ;o)

There were quite a few cyclists out and about today too, which made a nice change.

And so the elementary errors. 50+ miles is going to take me over 3 hours. So I'll NEED to take drinks and some emergency rations - makes sense doesn't it!

I forgot!

Very silly - and I've spent most of the rest of the day playing catch up!

Now - a question.
My rear derailleur isn't indexing the gear changes very well. I'm having to over-push to change down, and clicking up works mostly OK apart from between the 6th and 7th sprockets (it's 9-speed cassette) I've cleaned it all up and squirted GT85 through the cable outers, and I think it's moving OK - could it be that the derailleur pulley wheels are worn (there is quite a lot of play in the upper one) and they are the ones that came with the bike over 3000 miles ago.

If it is that, what would be a decent replacement?

One of my arbitrarily set goals was to start knocking out 50 mile segments in under 3 hours , and today I did that - 2:51, actually. So that was quite pleasing. And I seem to have recovered reasonably well too!
I'm seeing Justine my physio, tomorrow. She wants to do some work freeing up my hamstrings.

It's SO going to hurt!

Lots going on tomorrow too, so I'll only get in a short ride in the morning

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

That's better :o)

It was another lovely day here in the Midlands. I was a little delayed getting out this morning due to an unexpected Taxi(EvilStep)Dad moment, but in a way that was quite fortunate, because it had warmed up perfectly for a Shorts and Short-sleeved cycling top ride.

I decided that I'd try my knee out on my 'standard' 42 mile circuit. It's not challenging and is a great time-in-saddle kind of route. I planned to work slightly harder than I have on the last couple of rides, but still focusing on keeping the cadence pretty high and the effort on the lower side.

There was a bit of a headwind on the first section to 6 miles or so, and it is nett uphill, and I was really surprised to be averaging about 18mph at the roundabout where I take note of such things. Dry roads and not too much traffic helps though ;o)

By 21 miles I was batting along quite nicely, thinking that my altered riding position was not only kinder to my knee but also letting me get more power down for the same effort. Mostly it was just enjoyable though!

It ended up as 42 miles in 2:11:25, an average of 19.1mph.
I'm not sure where this pace for effort is coming from, but I'm not complaining.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Physio does the [rolls eyes] thing!

I've been a little frustrated with the progress of my knee this week. After my ride on Monday it was a little tender. OK, I *did* have my seat a little high, but I didn't think that I'd done any mischief.

A couple of long drives and a busy week meant that I didn't cycle as much as I'd planned to, but even with that rest, I went to my physio appointment today a little disgruntled. There was discomfort in the back of my knee,it really doesn't like any twisting, and has become slightly tender to touch in the same area that hurt before.

I pointed out the areas that I was concerned about, and Justine set to working out what was going on. The back of that knee was a bit swollen.
Hadn't expected that!
And she set to 'work' on a specific area - you know what I mean, the kind of work that makes you actually break out into a sweat.
Physios DO seem to enjoy doing that, don't you think?

"Soft tissue stuff," she said "I'm going to have to have a PROPER go at this"

I'm sure I heard a whip crack then ;o)

I was also given a stern talking to about not having worked on my flexibility and range of movement - oops!

I have 'til Thursday to rectify this - and I'm preparing for a World of Pain!

As for the part of my knee that has been operated on.... she told me that I'm "ONLY 3 weeks out [rolls eyes] and I'm happy with your progress"

So the good news is that I tweaked something because of an incorrectly adjusted riding position, and my knee is making reasonable progress.
It's not a problem on the bike at all. The last couple of rides have been 20 and 30 miles at 19+ mph and not having to work hard for that. So that is really encouraging.
The warmer days with more daylight hours undoubtedly helps too - it's nice being able to ride in shorts and a short-sleeved cycle top again!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Riding in the sun

On Friday I took the bike back out on the road. I chose to do my standard 30 mile circuit and to keep the effort level down.
It was a really nice day: sunny with a bit of wind and it was just really nice to be back outside on the bike! I realised fairly early on that my seat was a little high, and the slight toe-down position put a bit of unwanted stress on the outside of my recovering knee. So once I got back it was a little tender and really didn't like being twisted even a little bit.

So I had a fiddle with the position. Down a bit and back a bit, and decided to have a no-riding day on Saturday. Work was busy anyway, so that ended up being a good decision!!

Today I decided to do the shorter 24+ mile route. The altered riding position felt very comfortable and I was spinning along quite nicely. And for the effort level quite quickly - I assumed that there was a tail wind!!
I was really surprised to look at my average speed at about half distance and see over 18mph - I rarely see that on my training rides, and certainly not at that easy effort level!!

So today was 24.4 mile in 1:18

That's the fastest I've ridden it by a full minute, and 8 minutes faster than the last time I rode it! Either the altered riding position made a huge difference, or the bike is just rolling far better!!!

More importantly, my knee didn't grumble at all afterwards, so I'll stick with this position for a while and see how it pans out.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

All systems GO!

OK - 2 weeks down the line from the procedure to finally sort my knee out, and I went to see Justine for a bit of Physio-derived ear-bashing.
She was on great form today, but more importantly was very pleased with the progress that my knee is making.
She did a little bit of work on the medial wound site which has been a bit tender, and otherwise just told me to keep working on my strength and flexibility stuff.

I asked about the ACL, and she said that the best thing I could do was keep my legs muscles strong, because THEY are the support structure, and that the ACL had probably been like that for years.

She has told me to get back out on the bike and start building up my endurance again, although not to do any hard-core sessions for at least another couple of weeks. A little more probing from me and I was able to tie her down to what she meant.
She's happy with longer easy effort rides and to just keep an eye for any reaction, and adjust things accordingly. And I can gently up the effort level if things are OK over the next week.
NO eyeballs out hill sessions or leg-busters for now.
And absolutely no activities that introduce dynamic twisting - so running (as I expected) is out for the moment.

Better put my bikes outdoor clothes back on then.

This is great news!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Physio and good news

Today I saw the physio for my first post-op appointment. I've been given a few exercises to do as there is a bit of muscular atrophy on the operated leg - VMO and calf most noticeably - and have been advised to get on the Turbo trainer for up to 40 minutes at a time, but no more in a single session for the moment.
I've also been advised to avoid deep squats while the new edge of the Lateral Meniscus is settling down.
The fact that there is only minimal swelling in and around the joint was remarked upon, and so my recovery so far is going well.

Todays physio - a triathlete - was interested in the 10 Freds Challenge, and he said he was confident that I'd be fine in terms of getting back to training and timescale for that. Yhis is a good thing!

He was also pretty sure that the tear in the lateral meniscus was the most likely culprit for the problems I have had with running.

So - so far so good.

Next weeks appointment is with Justine again. I'm sure she just wants to see the back of me!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

6 days After my Knee Arthroscopy

A quick update on the state of play with my knee and my enforced 2 week rest...

It is very clear that Mr Different Knee Surgeon did quite a lot more firtling with my knee this time (I had an ineffective procedure back in the Summer) because I ended up with a bruide and swelling that extended almost down to my ankle, and the main insertion site has remained slightly tender.

That said, it has never been painful, as such. My knee doesn't like being knocked or twisted, so there is still some swelling inside the joint.

I've been keeping it mobile, perhaps doing slightly more than I should have, but I'm very pleased with the progress so far. It's fine to walk around a fair amount and I'm contemplating turning the legs over really gently on the turbo a little to see how it is doing. The good thing about being on the bike is that it moves in a single plane and there is no twisting.

I DO have my physio appointment tomorrow though, so I'll see what I'm advised then.

If I compare the recovery to last time, it's looking very similar, so I'm reasonably confident that the 2 weeks I was told is likely to be pretty accurate.

Whether or not the procedure has done what it should have done remains to be seen, and is something that I'll not know for the best part of a couple of months