Misc Thoughts

Cut Me Doc

I’m a pretty active road
biker.  Bicycling, that is (although I
ride motorcycles as well).  I ride about
3,500 miles per year.  Since I live in New England, a lot of this riding happens indoors.  I’m pretty much a wimp when it comes to
temperatures below 40oF – the wind chill while riding 20mph is
something like 1,000o below zero.

I trained a lot this winter,
mostly indoors, spending hours each day on my Computrainer.  I’m not the fastest guy in the world, but I
set a goal for myself to do centuries (100 mile rides) at an average speed of
20mph this year.  That’s a step up from
my average last year of 18.2mph.  The
additional 1.8mph seemed achievable, especially late in the season – late
summer to early fall. 

About a year ago, I tore a
tendon in my right elbow playing tennis. 
It was a small tear which orthopedic surgeons say generally heals itself,
although they often take up to a year to heal. 
A couple of cortisone shots made last year’s riding season tolerable,
although late in long rides I had some trouble shifting the rear derailleur and
using the rear break (both done with the right arm).  I looked forward to the 2006 season because
my winter training went very well and my arm would be healed.

As it turns out, my arm
hasn’t healed.  So now I need to make the
call on whether or not to have surgery now and blow off this riding season or
to try to tough it out with the injury. 
The recuperation time is six weeks until I can use my right arm again
and up to three months until I can do any long-distance riding.  There seems to be a reasonable chance that
even if I don’t get the surgery, the injury will prevent me from being able to
do any of the longer rides later in the season. 

My general feeling about
life is to always play offense.  With this
in mind, I’m leaning to doing the surgery and then to focus on recovery.  Get back on the bike mid-summer for short
rides and to be in some form for the fall rides.  20mph may not be in the cards for this year
which is disappointing.  Every year it
gets harder to get better.

I get one last cortisone
shot in a couple of weeks.  Common wisdom
is that this shot, the third, will only provide relief for a few weeks at best,
but no one knows.  I’ll ride after I get
the shot and make the call then.  I think
I’ll be moping around during the short New England
summer with my arm in a sling.  Oh joy.

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