Trivia: What is the average age of a Ride The Rockies Participant? Ok, admittedly I don’t know. But it’s not 19. Chances are, you’re hovering near middle age. And if you reach your glorious midlife on a bike, adventuring through the Rockies, your previous years, like mine, were probably the epic type, the kind that did some damage to the ol’ carcass.
Nothing makes me want to gouge my eyes out like someone blabbering on about their injuries and ailments, so please know that I am both ashamed and bored by the following. I’ve had knee, shoulder and hand surgeries, a stress fracture and arthritis in my foot, an untreated rotator cuff issue, femoral nerve entrapment and a hip cartilage tear. I delivered 21 pounds’ worth of babies in two years. This body said ‘uncle’ long ago. But if I ever sat down on a couch for more than 5 minutes, I would never be able to walk across a room again, so I try to keep moving.
My injuries originate from genetic hyper-mobility and overuse. Thus, any whining you get out of me is easily quelled by a quick reminder that it’s my own damn fault. I’ve barreled through pain on the regular, in denial that my body needs maintenance. That is a bad call, friends, and here is why:
When you ignore an overuse injury (please, take it from me), it gets worse. You will ultimately be on the sideline longer, because of your stubborn refusal to take a short break when the problem began. Being activity-banned long-term is SO depressing. And if you’re the prideful type, abandoning a sport altogether is a far greater blow than a brief, healing respite. If it’s embarrassment you fear, I can only offer you this: the more shame you experience in life, the easier it gets. Find me on the ride next week, and we can swap tales of humiliation.
After resting, a responsible blogger would advise an injured rider to listen to his doctor. But I just can’t do it with a straight face. Doctors are wonderful, but they so rarely support my love of self-destructive leisure activities that I prefer a foolhardy physical therapist when possible. Once you find your medical soulmate, follow her instructions and be patient. Keep your chin up. A full life requires balance, and is full of recalculations. Don’t waste your time on disappointment or thoughts of surrender. You might be a weekend warrior, but you’re still a warrior.
We rode each and every mile of the Cottonwood 200. It was a fantastic training opportunity in the Flint Hills of Kansas. For the first time in three years, we can (and do) boast of not being dead last. Greg keeps breaking spokes, but is undeterred. His cardiology consultations have been promising for our odyssey to Colorado. God bless the gym campers without earplugs. Greg’s snoring was the stuff of legend.