7 Days to go and already behind

A Day in the Life on Kings
A Day in the Life on Kings
It was the best of times, it was the… well, you gotta be appreciative for what you have and not focus too much on the things that go wrong. Tuesday morning’s ride followed Monday evening’s knee assessment by Todd, basically confirming that he’s got Patellar Tendonitis, but a pretty mild case. Mild, unfortunately, does not mean without pain.

The plan was to tackle Kings at an easy pace, and at least on that score, we executed the plan. Just JR with us, so no undue pressure and he’d already had his killer rides in the days prior. Kevin was doing fine for the first half, and then he started feeling it. I think JR went into auto-pilot at some point, probably distracted by something and just rode off ahead without realizing it. That’s in the first photo.

The middle photo? One of Garmin’s new torture modes. For designated segments, it will display where you are in relation to others you follow on Strava. Tuesday morning it picked Tod F, good customer, someone we evidently need to sell a slower bike to! By the time we made it to the top, we were over 8 minutes behind Tod’s best time. Yikes.

The far-right photo? That’s Kevin doing the stretching exercises recommended by the other Todd (double-d Todd), his Physical Therapist. The stretching definitely helps, but doesn’t eliminate all pain. We cruised along Skyline OK, but doing the west-side Old LaHonda loop wasn’t in the cards. Fortunately JR picked up someone to ride the rest of the way with though, as Karl had come up 84 and ridden backwards to find us (presumably he must have left way too late to get to the start of the ride in time).

So that was Tuesday. Today it was just riding to & from the shop, which Kevin did without issue; hopefully tomorrow he’ll be back up to the full route. It still won’t be fast, but should be one more small step back to the full-speed Kevin. And, with just 6 days to go before leaving for France, there’s not much time to waste!

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If you need a PT (Physical Therapist) for anything cycling, Todd’s your guy! Saved today’s ride, and maybe France too.

You do NOT want to experience this on a ride! Kevin's got serious pain in his left knee, feels like he can't make it home, and with France just 10 days away...
You do NOT want to experience this on a ride! Kevin’s got serious knee pain, feels like he can’t make it home, and with France just 10 days away…
It wasn’t supposed to be a tough ride. Hold the power down (250 watts max) and re-introduce Kevin to the routine after being off the bike through three brain surgeries for his epilepsy. We chose the old familiar… Old LaHonda/Pescardero/Tunitas Creek. Things didn’t go quite according to plan.

Old LaHonda wasn’t too bad, just slow. Not even sure how slow, but keeping the wattage down, it was probably in the 27 minute range. A bit odd being passed by quite a few people, and a bit tough a few times keeping Kevin from going into “target acquisition mode” those few times we managed to creep up on anyone. He’d had some issues with his knee a couple weeks ago, when he got out for a short ride in-between surgeries, but so far, not too bad.

The Cookie Face Test shows a surprise... helmet hair! Just a hint of if, despite how short his hair is, having been shaved off for his surgery.
The Cookie Face Test shows a surprise… helmet hair! Just a hint of if, despite how short his hair is, having been shaved off for his surgery.
Haskins, the climb over Pescadero Road, was also pretty slow. Knee still OK. Coming into Pescadero it got a bit cooler (fog moving in) and ouch, a bit of pain. Maybe it will go away after lunch.

Riding into a mild headwind on Stage Road, things started looking not very good. Kevin was taking it really easy but the knee was getting worse as he went. I suspected some connection between the colder weather out on the coast, and hoped that heading back inland soon would help. Tunitas was now out of the question; that steep & nasty run up from San Gregorio to Highway 1 via Stage would kill him. We headed up 84 instead, enjoying a nice tailwind that helped keep the power down and the pain away from his knee. Yeah well, by the time we got to LaHonda, it didn’t much matter whether the road was tilting up or flat. We stopped about half a mile east of LaHonda to consider our options and yes, got desperate enough to try and call for a sag (neither wife nor daughter answered their phones though).

What to do. This is one of those times you’re very fortunate to have a former employee and friend who’s now an extraordinary Physical Therapist. That would be Todd Norwood, who works out of Agile Fitness in Palo Alto. The plug is very well deserved. Todd suggested that he ride up near the front of the saddle, and try to keep his heels level. Thankfully I carry enough tools with me to fix or adjust most anything, so I both moved his saddle forward and tilted it down a bit at the front, to keep him from sliding back. Amazing difference! Pain greatly reduced; he was able to make it over the top and ride home. As we neared Skyline I was thinking how much life had changed in the past hour; had we sagged in, and not had a good idea what was going on and/or a way to effectively deal with it, Kevin’s trip to France was in serious jeopardy. Now, there’s hope. He’s got some exercises to do and we’ll see if the changes I made to his seat positioning allow him to get back into the groove.

Seems like this year, not much is coming easy! Next year ought to be a breeze by comparison. 🙂

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