This morning marked our first outdoor ride of 2012 – and with it, my first injury of the season!
We decided to start out relatively easy – Brent’s been riding a bit, but I haven’t been on the bike more than a couple times since Nationals in October, so we laid out a course that would carry us over 30-40 miles on relatively flat terrain to allow us to shake out our legs and rebuild a base.
We started off down into the Wissahickon park to take the gravel towpath toward the 8.5-mile Art Museum loop that circles that Schuylkill River. Just before we hit Forbidden Drive, though, Brent suggested we check out a newly-opened stretch of trail.
The three miles of rolling single-track had recently been regraded and smoothed out, so instead of negotiating the sharp craggy ascents and descents, we flew through the first few kilometers, gliding along the gentle slopes. Brent missed the more technical terrain, but I was loving it.
Eventually, we turned off onto an older trail and bumped along the rocks and roots, dodging the hikers, runners, bikers, and dogs who were enjoying the warm January weekend.
I was trying to navigate around a sharp gnarled turn, when my front tire caught on a rock. My handlebars jerked to the left as my body continued moving forward, and my knee jammed into my stem.
The hit was so hard that I doubled over, unable to breathe. So hard that my kneecap instantly turned black and blue. So hard that my odometer – located on the other side of the handlebars – spontaneously restarted itself.
I caught my breath and gradually continued on. I walked a little more than I ordinarily would have on those trails, and I took each pedal stroke a bit more gingerly. But we made it down to the towpath without incident, and as we picked up speed it gradually loosened up.
We continued to revise our route as we went, and by the time we returned home a couple hours later, we’d covered 32 miles, a mix of technical trails, wind-burning flats, and quad-groaning ascents (there were probably a couple descents, too, but they were less memorable).
Brent and I both agreed that the ride felt far longer and harder than either of us expected. When we set out, I was contemplating a trip to the gym later this afternoon for some speed work, but by the time I crested the final hill, it was all I could do to spin the file few blocks home and drag my bike into the basement.
A couple hours, a hot shower, and a Wawa veggie hoagie later, I was lying in front of the TV, icing my knee.
Because really, what’s a little swelling if not the perfect excuse for an afternoon of snoozing on the couch?