Saturday, April 11, 2009


I got a hint of hope following my doctor's appointment yesterday. The doctor had me bend, twist and extend my leg and ankle for a good 15 minutes before he sat me down and leveled with me. There appears to be no indication of any serious injury. The problem appears to involve a pretty strong case of muscle/tendon/ligament exhaustion. What I need to do right now is to get off the bike for a while and have enough time to relax the muscles. Here's his take on the whole thing:

While this gave me some hope I can't help but despair when I look at the calendar. At this point, I have come up with the following strategy:

Week 1= stay off the bike completely.

Week 2= get back on the bike and start training, adding miles gradually.

Week 3= if I still feel strong and there is no real sign of pain get daily mileage up to 20-30 miles.

Week 4= if I still feel good, get on the road immediately.

I truly hope this works. If it doesn't, what's the worst that could happen? Well, I would just have to postpone this trip till next year. In the meantime, there are plenty of other wonderful adventures left on my list. In the end, the sky will always be my limit. :)


Family on Bikes said...

Oh no!! Take it easy and rest - don't injure it more!

But - it may not be the end of the world after all. On our last trip, my knee suddenly went out. I mean - went OUT! I was in immediate, intense pain. Putting any weight at all on my leg was excruciatingly painful. We seriously thought our trip was over.

Somehow, that didn't happen. It turned out that my knee cap had come out of alignment and, while it hurt like the dickens, it corrected itself in a couple of weeks and we were back on the road - taking it slowly at first.

Honestly - don't worry about "conditioning". It won't matter. You can build up the strength you need on the road - just plan to start of slowly. If you plan to do 30 mile days at the beginning, it won't take long at all to build up the strenth until you can do whatever mileage you want.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

If you haven't done it already, you may want to go to a reputable bike shop and have a fitting done. They usually run $150-200, but a good fit can reduce the likelihood of injuries such as this one.

J Quaglia said...

Good perspective. As a wise man once told me, "the world is your oyster." While cycling across our great nation will be a great adventure, there are other things you could do if your injury continues. Have you ever read "On the Road?" Or "Into the Wild" (aside from that last part about Alaska, of course). Both are examples of individuals who found incredible adventure across this great nation without much money or possession. They did it by hitchhiking, foot, etc. Just an idea if the injury doesn't get better.

Daizy said...

Have you considered couch surfing?
I haven't tried it but you seem like a guy who likes to meet people so it could be something you would like. Maybe as a back up in case something interrupts your trip. It's always good to know some locals.

Debbi said...

So glad to hear it's nothing serious. Even so, don't push yourself too hard trying to make this trip happen. As you said, there may be other great things you could be doing until next year.

If you can do the trip, that's great. But if not, remember--there's nothing more important than your health. (That's more than a tired cliche. I speak from experience.)

Rev Johannes Myors said...

Good luck with your recovery. Hopefully, we could get together when I get up to Washington, DC in a couple of weeks. I left Americus, Georgia March 23rd on an eight month long bike tour around the United States. I am in the Lexington-Columbia, South Carolina area right now. Target date for arrival in Washington, DC is May 01st.

In HIS Draft,

Rev Hans

Jill Homer said...

Sounds like a pretty solid plan. I agree with Nancy. Take tons of time off the bike. Take three weeks if you need to. For a week before your trip, take a few short rides and see how they feel. Take one long ride if you can and see how it feels. Then assess. You can always start out slow. Bike travel is training :-) I hope it works out. If not, as you said, there are plenty of other adventures out there.

Arctic Dakini said...

keep up posted! You can still type, eh?

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Sounds like a good plan!

Happy Easter!

Jack said...

@Family on Bikes,

That is actually encouraging. Though, at this point, it looks like 10-15 to start is more realistic. I have an appointment with a bike guy this Thursday; I'm almost convinced this has to do with bad bike adjustments.


Already on it. In fact, between Nancy, Jill and you, anon, I was able to think through next steps. So thanks.

@J Quaglia,

Yup, read one, saw the other on DVD. Even if this thing doesn't happen I have a ton of other ideas I can fall back on. All is not lost. :)

Jack said...


Already on that. Have been for a couple of years. But thanks for the suggestion.


Me too. And as I say above, it's not the end of the world. Just a matter of reprioritizing stuff.

@Rev Hans,

Well, I might actually be here if this bike trip does not happen. Send me an email and maybe we can meet up.

Jack said...


Thanks for the follow up. Absolutely agree. Might go down to 10-15 the first day and work towards 25 by the end of the first week just in case.

@Artic dreamer,

Will do. And yes :)


Thanks. And happy Easter to you as well.

dtb said...

Having been down injury lane, I can relate to the depression and panic. That being said: This time last year I could not even walk. Yesterday, I went on a 5-mile hike and today I biked 6 miles to work.

Do what the doctor says, and do not despair. The body has an amazing capacity to repair when properly nurtured, and where there is a will, there is a way. (trite but true.)

Libby said...

I've also deal with tendon injuries. You might want to look into strengthening your ankle using some yoga exercises, like squatting low to the floor with your feet flat on the floor, while you're off the bike. Ask your yoga teacher!

Kady said...

Ok, how random are you that you taped your doctor's diagnosis? It made me LOL. What did he say when you asked to do it? What did you give as an explanation?

Jack said...


Already way ahead of you. Trying to stay off my feet as much as I can.


Honestly, that sounds super painful at the moment, but will do.


I figured that doctor-patient privilege applies to this blog, so I just came clean:)

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about the injury! Get out some quick prayers out to "Our Lady of Good Health" There's a beautiful Indian prayer chapel at the National Basilica or check out this website if you are homebound this week.

Fonk said...

What was your bike training like before recently? Did you just start riding? Often people start piling on too many miles (or too much intensity) too quickly - the body isn't used to it, so reacts harshly. You might just have to tone it down a bit and ease into it.

Also, are you using clipless pedals? The type of cleat can make a big diffeence, and even just adjustment of the cleat w/ any given type. I rode Look pedals on my road bikes for years, then one year after injuring my hip in a crash, I started having knee issues when i rode my bike. I switched to Times, and the problem went away. No problems with the Eggbeater pedals on my mountain bike either. You might also consider just skipping clipless altogether and going with regular, platform pedals. Jill had a good post about her experience with pedals recently - check it out if you haven't already.

Anyway, just some thoughts. I hope you get it all worked out, and it doesn't derail your trip.

Elizabeth Halt said...

REST !!!

I hope the recovery goes well and you are back on the bike in time for your trip. :)

chaotic kitten said...

Really hope you're feeling better soon.

Jack said...


Thanks for the kind thoughts. At this point, it's unclear if this trip will actually happen. But I did think about you when I was at the basilica last week. Thanks for the comment.


Well, after all the suggestions and comments I actually have a proper fitting at a bike shop in Arlington last week. While that helped a bit, someone there mentioned that what I was experiencing might have something to do with the placement of the clips on my shoes (they were out of alignment quite a bit). This made me think of you. Let's hope this fixed it. If not, thinking of changing tactics asap.


Believe me, it's all I have been doing. Have done some pretty short trips this week. We shall see where that takes me.

Jack said...

@chaotic kitten,

Thanks for the support