Sunday, February 1, 2009


I'm finally back on the bike. Well, on the trainer. It's a long story with many possible starting places but the best part is Thursday night while on the trainer I felt no pain in my sacroiliac joint. How long has the pain been growing deep near the base of my spine? A few years. I dealt with it by downshifting on climbs, walking them or avoiding them altogether. Sometimes, I could pull it off, but not with a payback later. I lost strength. And confidence. I got pretty frustrated. I didn't tell people.

I would hike sometimes, then realize that the weight of my camping backpack, even when I offloaded gear to Jon, caused serious pain. Hiking the five miles to get to Rabbit Lake I had to stop many times to rest the injury that I called my "bad hip." Then this fall on vacation I got sick. I also crashed hard on my mountain bike. The flight home triggered more suffering so that when I saw Dr Mike I told him I needed to talk about this hip.

When I pointed out where it hurt, he told me it wasn't my hip but the sacroiliac (SI). Stretches, contrast therapy, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy were prescribed. We started in November as Luci - my wonderful PT with a contagious laugh - taught me about my back. And taught me how to walk and even taped my back. I rode a bit, but mostly tried to avoid things that led to pain later. Then I had my finger surgery in December and had to stay off the bike.

Between the exercises I did at least once a day and often twice, thinking when I walked and staying off all my two-wheeled friends I got stronger. Then, with permission from my hand Dr and a little finger splint I climbed back on the trainer. Pain returned to the SI later in the day. How would this ever work? Why did it have to keep returning?

One more session with Luci and I learned to find those muscles I've been training all month and tell them to do their job on the bike. I upshifted like Luci told me and kept pedaling. My legs drew slower circles and kept stable as everything worked together just like it does in normal people. I'd just planned a short ride for this experimental stage of finding my stability on the bike, but I felt like I could have just kept riding, and the thought of doing a century ride seemed entirely possible. I haven't thought that in a long time.

It's strange how an injury, one we may take lightly at the time, can creep into everything we do. I didn't take very good care of it to begin with, then it morphed until I didn't even want to ride all of Resurrection Trail last summer.

I'm hoping my recovery continues. I'm hoping this is part of My Better Year. I'm hoping I have the dedication it will take to keep with it, to not overstep my limits, but to also push myself to ride farther than I did on any rides last year. Yes, this has to be a better year.


Alaska's Dirt said...

be patient with your all takes time and you will have all those pestering quirks behind you faster than you think.

William said...

I was gonna say don't stop riding when I reread where your injuries are. What I had meant to say was something like - there is credence to a healthy mind healing the body. So, maybe bicycling rugged terrain is not such a good idea but, you still have books and breaking the cycle of what you love might waylay healing. Well, all I know is I won't break my cycles. Wish I read more..that would be the only one. Glad someone does. Eh! I think you get the idea anywho...
Lovely photo there with the covered bridge..that would be an all day ride..ALL DAY!!!!
Good luck to you.

bikegirl said...

Thanks - seems the older I get the more I appreciate that to achieve many things there is a process. Sometimes a long process, but well worth the effort. I guess I'm getting a bit more patient. In some ways.

William, the bridge is on the Resurrection Trail, a backcountry ride through a beautiful mountain pass, just under 40 miles long (from where we start). It's one of the goals I've for this summer.

What I really miss, though, is the snow and ice riding. I love riding through the woods on my bike during the winter. I'll be a pretty happy girl when I am back on my snow bike on a regular basis.

Tapia said...

It's amazing what a good PT can do! Congrats on feeling better and I hope the healing only continues:)

Anonymous said...

I too love riding in the winter. It's so peaceful and beautiful, kind of like being in a Chrismas card.