Monday, April 24, 2006

No Riding for a while!

Simply amazing how two weeks can go by so quickly.

I'll spare anyone the details, or my lack of recollection of the details. We'll just assume that for the most part everything has gone just swimingly. Up until Monday of last week.

Flashback... December 4th, 2005. Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis.

Beautiful clear Saturday afternoon, temperature hovering in the mid 20's if I recall correctly. I was out riding the fixed gear off-road bike on what were excellent winter conditions. Well packed snow. All was good until some point where I goofed and went over the bars after landing in loose snow after the concrete "skinny" turn drop/jump. For anyone who doesn't ride in snowy conditions, the bike tends to stop rather quickly when you encounter deep snow, but at least the landing is soft. In the moment of the unplanned dismount, I hooked my right thumb on the handlebars and peeled my thumb sideways the direction it was most certainly not intended to be bent. Sore, but not down for the count, the pain did not stop me from enjoying another two laps.

For the following week, my thumb was very sore.

Saturday, December 11th, 2005 birthday ride/camping excursion.

Packed and ready for a sub-24 hour camping trip with the guys from the bike shop. We headed through Saint Paul and out toward Stillwater on the Gateway trail. Plowed, but still snow-covered we were enjoying the weather and the merits of riding our bikes, loaded down in the winter. When it's cold, your packs full of beer keep nice and cold. We stopped at one point and loaded up on 5 or 6 bundles of firewood. Dan carried the bulk of the wood in the Burley cargo trailer, Joe carried a bundle on his rack, and I carried a bundle on my rack. We each had at least a 12 of beer (or empties, depending on our progress.)

At some point north of Maplewood, we were finely tuned. Dan was enjoying pulling the Burley and laughing at the way that he could so easily make the trailer fish-tail wildly behind his bike. I was laughing at my ability to build up speed and ram the rear end of the trailer causing him to also fish-tail wildly. Though, in the process, my bike too would weave wildly on the slick surface of the bike trail. Nothing like being loaded down with probably 30-40 pounds of crap on a bike and trying to keep from crashing. Well, that's exactly what I did at some point. My front tire caught some loose snow near the edge of the trail and down into the ditch I went with significant force.

Now, of all things to land on, I couldn't have directed the impact of my crash any more squarely had I tried to land on my right hand thumb. The pain was intense. Pit of the stomach, bring you to your knees, make your eyes water kind of pain. Winter/15-20 miles from home nothing else to do but continue with our camping adventure. I had no real ability to grasp anything with my hand which made opening beer somewhat of a challenge! I made it home Sunday and to the doctor I think on Monday.

Fast forward... The original doctor had completely missed the fact that I had completely torn the ligament on my thumb. It took until late March to get back into the doctor and finally get a referral to go see a specialist. 5 minutes in with Dr. Anderson and the prognosis for surgical remedy was looking good.

On Monday, April 17th I woke up at 5AM and was out the door on my bike. I packed my Timbuk 2 bag and rode my Rivendell road bike. It was about an 18 mile ride, windy, crisp, beautiful. Made for an excellent way to get to hand surgery. I had made arrangements for my wife to pick me up later for a trip home.

Now, the surgery went well... A wild experience really. They did a local nerve block on my right arm, just below my shoulder. I had no feeling or control from that point down. I was conscious for the whole ordeal. The took a tendon out of my right forearm, drilled a couple of holes in the bones of my thumb, and transplanted the tendon to fill the role of my shredded ligament.

The pain of recovery is nothing. Well, it did hurt... a lot. Probably not as much as when I originally hurt it. What does hurt though is the fact that my hand is all wrapped up and I am not allowed to ride a bike. Today makes a week of not riding. I don't get to go back until Friday to have my hand unwrapped. Dr. Anderson threatened not being able to ride for a month. I cannot ride a mountain bike for 3 months. I can handle a week, I can tolerate two of not riding. I can take the three months of not riding off-road. But, I gotta talk the good Dr. into letting me ride.

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