Back in the Saddle - Too Early??

We decided to spend the holiday weekend in Northern Wisconsin when our friends invited us to rent a cabin with them in the Hayward-Cable area.  This area, part of the Chequamegon National Forest, is well known for an outstanding network of off-road recreational trails.  The American Birkebeiner, the nation’s premier X-country ski race, takes place every winter between the two cities.  The summer’s big event, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, is the top mountain biking race in the Midwest.  The trail system is open to the public throughout the rest of the year.

cgwheelie__smallgood.JPGSo, when in Rome, I decided to bring along my bike in hopes of finding a couple easy trails to test my Achilles.  I’ve been getting around pretty well riding on paved trails in the city, although I still lack strength in the calf and tire out more quickly on longer climbs.  The lack of strength means I don’t have the quick acceleration and I tend to use my good leg to power through the pedal stroke.  But, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride on some of the best single track trails in the county.

Saturday afternoon we found an easy/intermediate trail that seemed like it would be fun to try.  It was a looped trail with several crossover points, so I had the option to cut the ride short if things didn’t feel good.  We ended up only riding about 8 miles but that was just about right for my first time back in the saddle on single track trails.  There was a little bit of tightness on a few climbs and at times I felt myself relying almost solely upon my good leg.  But, overall things felt pretty good.  The single track trails were in excellent condition and I was tempted to go for another ride, but I knew that might be asking for trouble.  Plus, I had the rest of the weekend.

sign1.jpgWe went to a different trail head on Sunday and again found several “easy” trail options to choose from.  After selecting a route and jumping back on my bike, I could tell right away that things did not feel quite as well as the day before.  I was experiencing a bit more stiffness throughout the pedal strokes and my tendon was quite sore any time I put a little extra pressure on the pedal.  I also got winded quickly on several of the climbs.  Fortunately, my friends are very understanding of my condition and had no problem when I decided to cut the ride short.

I’ve experienced a bit more soreness in the tendon area since the ride on Sunday.  This tells me it was probably a bit too early for me to be back mountain biking.  It feels a little better today, but I’ve been walking with a bit more of a pronounced limp.  I had a great time riding, but it was a good reminder that I can’t push things too quickly.  It was humbling to have my a$$ handed to me on the easy trails, but I’m happy to know that I’m a step closer to normal.  I’ll continue riding on the paved trails, but I may wait another month or two before I hit the single tracks again.

9 Responses to “Back in the Saddle - Too Early??”

  1. Tom,
    I know how you feel with regards to the good leg doing most off the work. I am scheduling myself to do a ride to work on Friday morning, approx 10 miles, and than home again at night. My PT said cycling was a good form of excercise. I’ll let you know how I get on !
    Congrats on the double figures on the marathon !
    Johnk :)

  2. Tom..

    Great to hear about getting back to normal. I, too enjoy some single track trails and know that without the strength to push through, it would be tough right now. How did you do getting out of the clips?? I was not sure that I could rotate the 15 degrees needed to clip out. It seems that one ride than rest for a couple of days is best.
    Keep up the good work.
    Doc Ross

  3. Thanks Ross. I got used to clipping out of the pedals several weeks ago. It was a little difficult at first, but I loosened up the tension a bit to make it easier. No problems while I was on the trails, even when I had to bail a couple of time. I actually had more of a problem constantly clipping back into the pedals. My calf got tired so it was a little difficult pushing with enough force to clip in.

    I think you’re right that a couple of days rest between rides is the way to go right now.

    JohnK - Good luck with your ride to/from work. I’m sure you’ll do fine, just give your self a chance to rest if you’re feeling sore.

  4. tom -
    Glad that you are staying active and was able to ride on the trails.

    The recovery is indeed a marathon, and it’s reemphasized every time my leg gets sore from walking and reading your posts on your progress. I hope you are able to ride those trails without any problems in a few weeks when you reach your 6 month mark.

  5. Tom-

    We are not who we are if we dont push a little…. Just have to be discplined to know when to say when. Glad to see you are staying after it. I am just starting to ride around the block a few times but not any farther. Glad you enjoyed your rides.

  6. Tom..

    What kind of clips do you use…I’m an eggbeater fan…easy in and easy out. Have you done any Xterra races??

    Doc Ross

  7. Doc Ross - I have a cheap set of Shimano SPD pedals that I got several years back. I’ve never tried the eggbeaters. I’ve always wanted to upgrade, so maybe I’ll have to give them a try.

    No Xterra races for me. I love running and biking, but the swimming leg has always made me shy away from a triathlon. I am curious about the trail runs though. I would probably give that a go if they had a race in my neck of the woods. Have you done any of the races?

  8. Thank you for the link to your story progress was great to read a realistic and motivating story congrats on completing your 1 st marathon after your Achilles rupture gives me inspiration to listen follow instructions and not over do things. (take a sensible approach). You have worked your way back gradually and done all the right things whilst not pushing your luck… Good Luck for continued recovery and any further marathons. thanks again

  9. Dancer - Thanks for your comments. However, just wanted to clarify that I only completed a 1 mile run, not a marathon. I’ll save the marathon until next year! Good luck with the recovery. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m sure you’ll be back dancing before you know it. Keep posting on your progress and don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come up. There are soooo many great minds on the blog network, all willing to help out fellow ATRers.

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