Broken toe on Saturday, no ride Sunday, Tuesday morning back on bike!

Beautiful view as the fog begins to burn off
A bit of catching up to do. On Saturday, test-riding a bike for a chain-skipping problem, I was successful. I got the chain to skip. Of course, I had to apply a huge amount of power to get it to do so, and when it did, it sent me literally over the handlebars, doing a mid-air flip and landing on my back. I lay there for a minute, doing an inventory, checking to make sure all my parts were intact and movable, before getting up. Left hand and left foot were not happy. Hand not quite so bad, but the foot, the big toe, just didn’t quite feel right. Becky and Kevin talked me into heading to Kaiser ER, which, of course, I rode a bike to. Hey, injured, doesn’t everybody ride a bike to the ER?

Very gross photo of a very gross foot which you might not want to enlarge by clicking on it!
I told the admitting person I thought I had either a sprained or broken toe. She asked what my pain level was, 1 to 10 scale. I said truthfully, 2. She said no way was it broken if pain was only a 2. Tried to explain to her that I don’t typically feel pain from broken bones, but why bother, people don’t get that. Should have told her something like a 7 pain level and probably would have been seen sooner!

They take x-rays; hand is ok, big toe on left foot, what a surprise, it’s broken. And it’s swelling. Fun. Doc tells me to “buddy tape” it, gives me a funny sort of shoe to try to keep the toe from taking much pressure, and tells me someone from podiatry will give me a call in a few days. Unfortunately, as expected, I wasn’t able to ride Sunday because I really couldn’t get a shoe on that foot. I did try. I did fail. It wasn’t just pain; it just wouldn’t fit. Foot looked like a puffer fish. Pretty depressing, not being able to ride on a Sunday, and concerned about how much longer I might be out of commission. Visions of casts for 3 or 4 weeks, that sort of thing.

This morning I took some pre-emptive action against that possibility, by proving I was nuts enough to ride anyway. I used an older shoe of Kevin’s, from back in the day when he fit a much larger size, and rode with that on my left foot, regular shoe on my right foot. Felt a bit weird, sure, but I was able to ride, and that’s the important thing. Especially since I wanted some leverage with any doc that might be telling me I couldn’t.

The doc actually called while I was on the ride; I got back to him later and the news was basically about as good as it could be. First good news- there’s nothing they can do for a toe broken where mine was. No casting. Second good new- I really couldn’t do anything to it that would make it worse or take longer to recover! Riding was fine, especially since cycling shoes have stiff soles, distributing the pressure.

So, things are not so bad. Dodged a close one!

The White Walkers have busted through the wall!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Charles Dickens wrote that centuries ago, during the events leading up to the French Revolution. The amazing thing is that he somehow captures all the feelings that can occur during a single 2 hour bicycle ride, without ever likely having ridden a bicycle. But that surely must be what it’s all about right?

I was thinking about the age of foolishness this morning, while climbing Kings and watching the two Kevins riding off the front, just out of reach at first, then one corner ahead, then finally completely out of sight until I got to the top. I was thinking that I officially no longer make the cut for my own ride and may have to consider leaving a few minutes earlier than the rest.

Everything before me, nothing before me. There’s something about mortality in that line, I’m certain of that, and I was certainly feeling very mortal this morning. And yet, once up on Skyline, the road began to unfold in front of me in an enjoyable fashion, reminding me what it is I enjoy about cycling.

It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. Well perhaps that’s inverted; I wake up, head to the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker in the dark. But thankfully, even deep into winter, the sun is up before I get onto the bike. Or maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it’s dark outside but the coffee represents the light!

The age of foolishness is easy. The idea that I can keep doing the same mileage, the same climbs, forever. But couldn’t I just as easily have focused on the spring of hope? No, not yet. Spring is what I live for, because it’s warmer and warmer means I breathe better and my weight comes down. But I can certainly buy into the winter of despair. I wouldn’t necessarily single out any particular winter though. It’s every winter. Even the approach of winter saddens me; that first ride that I have to wear leg warmers gets me to thinking how many long months away I am from leaving them behind.

Honest truth? I don’t think I ever actually read A Tale of Two Cities. But I feel like I might enjoy it now.