|Getting ice packs for my knees at the Tor des Geants finish - there were no cold streams to stand in nearby, but there was cold beer at the finish area, so this seemed like the simplest solution|
06 October 2010
Back in the saddle
It has been two and a half weeks since I finished my Tor des Geants race, during which time I have done absolutely nothing physical (except tearing down a fence in our backyard, but that was all upper body :-) I was pretty bagged after the run, as expected, but more concerning to me were me knees. They were really quite sore after pounding down that last 750 metre/2500' downhill on the last 5km from Rifugio Bertone to the finish, and the aching lasted for about two weeks afterwards until it mostly cleared up. I have not had knee pain the past, but I wasn't too worried about this since it was a similar ache in both knees, so not indicative of any nasty trauma. I think I just beat them up a lot! Rest proved to be the best medicine, and frankly, sitting on the couch sipping coffee or reading was way more appealing than going for a run.
But time heals, the sun has been shining more often than not, and I was starting to get the itch to get moving again. It is September, and that means it is the absolute worst of the worst commuting traffic to and from work. Thus, I am generally keen on riding my bike the 30km to work instead: it beats the crappy traffic, is fun, gives me a great workout, and is satisfyingly (and admittedly smugly) eco-friendly. But, after a summer focusing on running only, it is a bit of a challenge getting back into the routine again, and I find that I have to start in good weather to get in my groove before the constant west coast winter rain starts and the daylight hours diminish. Motivated by the many factors I mention above, I got my poop together, found my flat kit, pumped my tires, and headed out the garage yesterday on my trusty commuter steed into the early morning daylight.
I was a bit strained in the legs, using muscle groups for cycling that haven't been active in a while, but the general fatigue from the race seemed to have dissipated and I was able to cruise along pretty well. I had a noted lack of strength for aggressive hill climbing, but did have a pretty solid aerobic endurance base to pull from and was happy with the constant cadence I managed. The sun was shining, the cool fall air was in my face, I felt good to be moving again, and no cars tried to kill me - all in all, a pretty good return to physical activity. The non-impact movement of cycling also had no ill effects on my knees, so they were happy with it all as well.
It will be sunny again tomorrow, so I'll be back on the road again. It is eight weeks until the next race (the TNF San Francisco 50-miler in December) so it will be good to build on the "training effects" of TdG to prepare for the next one.
p.s. TdG race report: yah yah, I'm working on it.