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Monday, June 10, 2013

Missing Time


A few TiC readers may be aware that I took a bit of a sudden and unannounced hiatus from blogging after the first week of April. I have only just started blogging again. It isn't that there wasn't anything to blog about. A few great stories came and went during that time.

Regretfully, I was unable to write much during that time and I missed some good stuff. Oh well, that's just life-- the life of so many cyclists working to balance employment, family, health, weather and the sport we love. 

Things were looking really promising as I gained strength and stamina during February and March. My speed and recovery times improved dramatically in the weeks of climbing leading up to the Sanlinxi race, where I put in a respectable time for a guy still climbing back from an idle Winter of knee recovery.

The knee.

Every time I think I have it figured out.... it flares up again. I build my fitness up, and just as I start to push myself a little bit harder... it brings me back down to zero. This case of missing time is not related to space aliens, magnetic fields or crop circles. This is entirely about the knee. The goddamnedfucking knee!


On April 7 I embarked on my annual Taichung to Kaohsiung ride in honor of the Paris-Roubaix race. I was joined by Ryan, a fellow expat and a bicycle industry guy.

I felt I could make it as it was a flat route that would simply take a bit of endurance. I've suffered through worse and with all the hill training I had done, I figured I could just spin the crank at an even 32-34kph. In December I had done a pretty strong ride to Tainan, and then another to Kenting the next day. We rode hard both days, so I figured Kaohsiung would be that, plus a few more kilometers.


Ryan and I made pretty good time. We both favor titanium bikes and he is a very strong rider. Small talk chewed away at the hours and we felt pretty confident we could make it as long as we kept consuming caffeine and calories.


At one point I lost energy for about 20min. as there was a gap in my fuel intake.... whoops! I still felt pretty good. A little itchy in my calf as a lingering effect from the Sanlinxi race.


Just after Tainan my knee started to feel a little "fuzzy" and then achy. I was less than 50km from our destination and fought on despite the soreness.

We circled around the Zuoying HSR Station, like the velodrome in Roubaix. We were tired, but in pretty good spirits. We had made it in about 9 hours, which is a pretty typical time for experienced riders. Not bad. Done. In the bag.


I then had commitments from work that filled the next sunny day. I was really swamped with work anyway, so no blogging. It seemed all the days when the weather was nice enough to ride, I had commitments. On the days I had reserved for riding... torrential rain. This continued for eight weeks.


By the time I finally got onto the bike, my knee started to hurt after 50km. I limped home. I rested and stretched, and hoped for an improvement.


I joined Michael and Dom for a short ride a week or two later, and I had a flare up. 


I limped home and tried more ice and rest. 


I knew I had a ride up Wuling planned, so I rested and then delicately tried out the knee with a lower saddle height. 


I went out to search Bagua Shan for some hidden roads and found an amazing little climb. Some of the back roads were too slick and I was forced into the dirt to avoid a crash. 


I tried to rest and do my Wednesday night climb. 


Then hoped for the best on Hohuan Shan. Hope doesn't heal knees. To make matters worse, my camera broke and I am stuck using my iPhone, which isn't exactly the machine best suited for blog inspiring shots. 


This is when I decided to do a refitting and possibly get to the root of my problem and stop treating the symptoms. I am tired of missing time doing the things I love.