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Lately, Monday mornings leave me filled with dread and apprehension. This isn’t the regular process of starting each week by mentally cycling through all of the poor decisions you’ve made in your life that have led to you having to face another week of this. This is much more crippling than that. And when I really think about it, this is almost entirely your fault. Yes, you. Oh, sure, you’re not entirely responsible for the soul sucking nature of office work in North America. But you are responsible for me having to worry about figuring out something to write about each and every Monday. I have to open up my e-mail, sift through all of these terrible questions about the impending death of 26” and whether or not the IMBA is evil and ruining mountain biking, and then extract some nugget of mediocrity that will allow us to move forward for another week. And I’m starting to resent you for it.
Of course, this is silly of me. Often, what appears to be our main problem is nothing more than a symptom of a larger issue. If you’re familiar with the teachings of the late great philosopher Douglas Adams, you will know that there is a fundamental interconnectedness of all things. So, logically, you still are the problem, but you’re not the entire problem. It goes deeper than that. You’re just a small piece of the larger whole and to fix this malaise I need to dig much deeper to discover the true source of my…ahhhh…issues.
And what better place to start than right here. Why not use these weekly ramblings to track my descent? Multiple questions focussed on cake and cupcakes? Long gone. Career advice? Okay, I have to admit that I wrote that a month or so back and decided that it was finally time to pull it out when I couldn’t think of anything better, so that doesn’t really count. Discussions about product reviews addressed to a guy in his underwear with a llama? Heading downward. The green beret guy? Hey, I was reasonably engaged for that one! So somewhere around this time, something happened. I started to look for clues in my Instagram feed, and I realized that the last time that I rode my bike was on April 7th, shortly after writing the Green Beret installment.
And that makes a lot of sense. If you hadn’t ridden your bike in nearly a month, you’d probably be grumpy and sad too (or maybe you still have a few feet of snow on the ground. Whatever. It’s basically summer here).
Now, there is a reason that I haven’t ridden my bike in so long. That last ride was less than stellar, with another Plus sized flat tire leading to a walk out on the Baden Powell Trail and some shooting pain through my knee and groin. After that, I decided that it was probably time for some physiotherapy. I had put this off for a few months because I wasn’t tremendously excited about a thorough investigation of my junk area, or of admitting that the initial source of my injury was a GT snowracer incident several months prior. But eventually you have to swallow your pride and ask for help and I was finally in enough pain to do so.
Heading in, due to my expert level knowledge of the human body (the leg bone is indeed connected to the knee bone), I was 100% certain that my knee pain was related to the issues in my nether regions. But I was wholly surprised to learn that the issue in my groin was actually due to a problem in my hip. This felt a bit like taking your car in to the mechanic and having him explain that you shouldn’t worry about your bumper that has fallen off and is scraping along on the street, what you really need is an oil change. But this was a trained professional and I was more than willing to go along with prodding and poking on the outside of my leg versus the previously assumed alternative. And I’ve happily returned week-after-week to have needles jammed into my body and to get hooked up to some weird machine that sucks on your skin and shoots electricity through the affected region. That, and a daily stretching and exercise regime, has left me feeling well enough that I finally decided to head out for a mellow lap on Saturday afternoon.
Over the course of this ride I really focussed on how I was feeling and where I was feeling pain. It was easy to feel how each pedal stroke pulsated through my thigh and hip. You forget how much of your body is engaged in riding the bike. I kept the bike in an easy gear, limited the amount of effort I put into my pedals, stopped to stretch every 10 minutes or so, and other than a bit of tightness, felt pretty good. It wasn’t until I rode out nose heavy off a wooden rollover after entering with a bit too much speed that I felt any kind of pain. I worried so much about pedalling that I forgot how much you use your hips to actually ride these things.
And then I remembered my trip to Deer Valley last summer. When I hopped on a Plus bike, tried to rail a “berm” that was nothing more than dust and rocks and hit the ground like a sack of discarded pornography mistakenly shipped to a Salt Lake City Safeway. Over the next few days a contusion developed that made it look like an eggplant was emerging from my right hip. My right hip that would then start to act up after an unfortunate GT Snowracer incident, causing my groin and knee to hurt, manifesting in an emotional and physical breakdown due to the frustration of flatting a plus sized tire and walking out on the Baden Powell. See? Full circle. Interconnected. Plus size to plus size. This is the source of my problems. Not you. The tires.
So. Things are looking up. My hip is feeling better. I have nary a plus sized tire in sight. And I don’t think that I need a balancing machine.
I’d give him a couple of weeks to sort this stuff out before approaching him on social media. Still, if you insist… @ReallyUncleDave,(twitter) or @davetolnai. (Instagram) You should however send him some good questions to cheer him up (maybe wheel size?). Fire an email to [email protected]
Dave’s had some rough luck lately, and usually everyone gets a prize but Dave, as he’s fond of pointing out. So, while we’re reluctant to reward that sort of whiny behaviour, we think we’ll try and cheer him up with his very own Loam Ranger Flannel Jacket – modelled below by the lovely Pete Roggeman – for a very generous 10% discount.
Has your body been broken by bicycles?