During my last ride, on Tuesday, I fell off the Trek 29″ wheeled mountain bike trying to negotiate a very sharp corner. I landed on my knees from a height of several feet and by the evening my right knee was swollen. It was uncomfortable to walk and I had a scuff mark from under my nose and down my chin. My wife, Ali, didn’t notice the facial injury so I didn’t bother to mention the knee. That’s what 27 years of marriage does for you. I walked the dog in some discomfort on Wednesday, was a little better on Thursday and would have been back on the bike on Friday afternoon if it hadn’t snowed. It was wet snow which was never going to settle on the ground at home so would have been no fun to ride in. Today, with hairdressers open after the Covid 19 lockdown, Ali was out so it was time to ride.
I’ve exercised my whole life but really know little about the science of it. Should I have waited until all swelling and discomfort were gone before going out again? Would I aggravate the injury with movement or would it help in the healing process? After 4 days off the bike I was willing to risk it but didn’t want to have a chance of falling on the knee again so chose a road ride. It was raining when I got up at around 7am but had become quite pleasant by 8.30. My pedals were fitted to the Trek so I used it even though it would have been nice to have a change and ride one of my classic bikes from a bygone era of the sport.
I chose a simple circuit which skirts around the back of Healey Nab, our local hill, drops down to the dam across the Anglezarke reservoir and then climbs steeply, rising 320 feet in a mile. I could feel the tendons behind my knee from early on and after half a mile I felt the bruises at the front. It got better rather than worse as the ride progressed and now feels just as it did earlier this morning so, I think my ride has had very little effect. I worked fairly hard because I wasn’t feeling significant discomfort, climbing the big climb in my second fastest time ever, according to the app. Strava. The Trek has an old school transmission with three chainrings at the front and I determinedly stuck to the middle ring on the climb. I had to stand up on the pedals to keep it going on the steepest sections but this definitely helped my speed. If I’d dropped to the small chainring and spun the pedals more quickly I wouldn’t have got as much energy into things and would have been a little slower. You need to feel significant resistance for the best speed. I stopped at the high point to take some pictures where I briefly chatted to 2 E bikers who must have been catching me on the climb with their electric assistance. I’m not ready to go down that road and would only consider an E bike if my ability to perform dropped significantly.
The route home was almost always flat or downhill and after the climb I felt my ride was nearly over. I noticed how little effort I was using on a gentle descent so upped my effort a bit. I enjoyed being out in the sunshine but without the greater challenge of off road riding it lacked that extra excitement. I’ll be back off road for my next ride.