The Rudi Projekt at Rotary Park, Peterborough, NH

coffeeneuring 2014 (sure, this is #projectfemur, why not?)

Riding in the pursuit of coffee (or reasonable substitutes) is a great way to keep #projectfemur in shape.

Yes, I’m riding my bike again – have been since August 8th – but haven’t written about it. That will come soon, but for now? Let’s talk coffeeneuring.

Once again, Mary G. has rallied the cycling troops for the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge. The basic rules: over seven weekends, ride in pursuit of coffee, tea, cider, or craft soda, document the experience, and, well, end up writing it all up for folks to enjoy.

Easy, right? So here we go!

Stop 1:
Date: 5 October 2014
Location: Country Convenience, Blue Grass, VA
Bike Friendliness: no racks, but safe to lean bikes against front porch of store – guard cat on duty.
Drink: Pure Leaf Sweet Iced Tea
Distance: 89.3 miles
The store cat at Country Convenience, Blue Grass, VA
Notes: This is a favorite ride of mine, especially during foliage season. The second rest stop is at a classic country store, where the store cat is still loving as ever. While the coffee is somewhat blah, I tend to go for cold beverages at this stop (thus the iced tea, which quickly made its way into my bike bidon). The foliage in the Blue Grass valley was stunning and at peak color. The only damper on the day: Chris’ crash only a few miles past the store, which resulted in a broken clavicle (and our having to shortcut the route – and add 500-or-so feet of climbing – due to the wait for EMS to arrive).
Jonathan rides past Blue Grass Valley foliage.

Stop 2:
Date: 13 October 2014 (Columbus Day)
Location: Starbucks, East Longmeadow, MA
Bike Friendliness: no rack, but felt OK leaving bike outside for 5 minutes.
Drink: double espresso
Distance: 22.9 miles
The Rudi Projekt and a double shot.
Notes: This was a recovery ride and foliage excursion the day after the Great River Ride, so the pace was mellow. The foliage at Hurds Lake was stunning (see picture below). I stopped to say hi to Chip at Competitive Edge Ski and Bike (he’s due for hip replacement this fall). As it was late afternoon, I decided to take the most direct route back to Somers on Route 83, which passes a Starbucks. The barista knowingly asked if I wanted a lid for the espresso (I didn’t), and the hand-pulled (!) double shot was very tasty. Glad I had my full set of lights on the bike, as I rolled home after dark.
The foliage at Hurds Lake, Somers, CT

Stop 3:
Date: 15 October 2014
Location: Farm Market, Peterborough, NH
Bike Friendliness: outdoor park, no rack, but no worries about theft.
Drink: coffee bean purchase from Parker House Coffee (micro roaster)
Distance: 6.3 miles
Parker House Coffee beans, Peterborough Farmers Market
Notes: This was a lovely pre-dinner/pre-movie ride with sprite. By exploring the roads heading north out of Peterborough, we experienced a lovely Rotary-kept park with spillway falls and vibrant foliage. We found the local farm market, which moved from its former location in the center of town, where coffee beans were bought from the owner/operator of Parker House Coffee (he had samples of brewed coffee to try, which was a tasty treat). We then rolled to Ava Marie Chocolates for us to enjoy “hot” chocolate – the quotes needed as the milk was barely tepid, so the chocolate flake hardly melted. I chalk this up to a tired staffer who was worried about scalding the milk. After this, we returned to our car, locked up the bikes, and enjoyed our dinner and movie. Dinner was at Harlow’s Pub, featuring excellent food and drink (I really enjoyed my pumpkin black-and-tan with a cinnamon rim), and the movie was the excellent My Old Lady.
Spillway at Rotary Park, Peterborough, NH

Stop 4:
Date: 17 October 2014
Location: Amy’s Bakery Arts Café, Brattleboro, VT
Bike Friendliness: no racks, but lampposts and parking meters for locking.
Drink: maple latté
Distance: 7.0 miles *
Hot beverages (cider and maple latté) at Amy's
Notes: We initially attempted to ride in NH, but the road on the other side of the Connecticut River was a bit too crazy for our tastes, so we rolled back into Brattleboro and had drinks and food at Amy’s. We love Amy’s: great drinks (including the best maple latté you’ll ever have, made with locally-roasted beans from Mocha Joe’s and maple syrup from a local farm), and the food there is equally fantastic. The view from the dining area is a technicolor feast in the autumn. After lunch we rode to Grafton Cheese and the Retreat Petting Farm along Route 30. After rolling a little further out, we turned back toward town. I broke off to see the town ski jump, which is up a steep hill. After re-connecting at the town green, we rolled back into town and had fun at Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, the Brattleboro Co-Op, and Mocha Joe’s.
Harris Hill Ski Jump, Brattleboro, VT
(* – The Strava recording is partial, as the app stopped recording along Route 30 – the full route is plotted here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6315947)
The Rudi Projekt at Retreat Petting Farm, Brattleboro, VT

Stop 5:
Date: 18 October 2014
Location: Hot Chocolate Sparrow, Orleans, MA
Bike Friendliness: on CCRT, plentiful racks at store.
Drink: iced coffee (outbound) and quad espresso (inbound)
Distance: 46.2 miles
The Rudi Projekt outsde Hot Chocolate Sparrow, Orleans, MA
Notes: sprite stopped here en route to Coast Guard Beach via the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I’d already taken said trail to Dennis and then back, and met her here for an iced coffee. After we finished our drinks, we continued to the beach where we saw surfers and seals battling for best wave rides. The water was chilly, but pleasant, though I did nothing more than soak my feet.
Shadow waves, Coast Guard Beach
We rode back into the sunset via Sparrow, where we purchased more hot beverages (tea for sprite, a quad espresso for me) and baked goods (pumpkin coffee cake for me, warm blueberry pie for sprite – both delicious), then charged our phones for a spell. It’s good that we had our lights, as the last few miles back to Nickerson State Park (our campsite) were in the dark on the CCRT.
sprite in sunset light on the CCRT, Wellfleet, MA

Stop 6:
Date: 19 October 2014
Location: Savory and the Sweet Escape, North Truro, MA
Bike Friendliness: no racks, but safe to leave bike outside shop while I ate inside.
Drink: coffee
Distance: 53.7 miles
Coffee, bagel, taillight, Truro
Notes: This outing had multiple purposes. I wanted to see sunrise over a Cape Cod beach (something I last did on my 21st birthday, when I was a student at Connecticut College). This meant leaving camp before dawn and riding the CCRT by headlight, encountering foxes and rabbits along the path – and not a single cyclist. I saw sunrise (muted by low clouds on the horizon), then set off toward my second goal: getting all the way to Provincetown. However, a persistent strong north-northeast headwind (20mph) and a hilly route after the CCRT ended made this a tough go, especially given time constraints (had to break camp and head back to DC). I saw folks setting up the Wellfleet Oyster Festival – something to try next time, I guess. I threw in the northbound towel in Truro at this lovely café, having ridden the whole 32 miles to this point on no food at all. The coffee and bagel were most welcome! On the return ride I enjoyed the tailwind (and a more direct start via Route 6) back to Nickerson SP to strike camp.
The Rudi Projekt outside Savory and the Sweet Escape, Truro, MA

Stop 7:
Date: 26 October 2014
Location: Capital Teas, 8th Street SE, Washington, DC
Bike Friendliness: bike rack outside DC Doughnuts.
Drink: darjeeling tea (hot)
Distance: 10.2 miles
Helmet, doughnuts, teas, Barracks Row
Notes: sprite and I had wanted to try District Doughnuts at their new brick-and-mortar location, so we set off to do just that. When we arrived, the sign said “CLOSED,” but the staffer inside saw our sad expressions and motioned us to enter. Although the shop had technically been closed for 15 minutes, there were plenty of doughnuts, and we bought a half dozen to share with our friend, Sarah, who was meeting us to pick up some unpasteurized cider that sprite had procured for her. We bought teas at Capital Teas, and took our loot to a pocket park at the south end of Barracks Row, enjoying the sunlight and friendship. On the way back to The Burrow, we stopped at the National Botanical Garden and took in the lovely plants and afternoon sunlight.
The bikes and District Doughnut

TOTAL DISTANCE: 235.6 miles

Once again, coffeeneuring was a fun adventure! It was fun to do a few outings with sprite, and fun to visit the coffee venues, new and old.

You can see all of the pictures from the various coffeeneuring stops here.

Days since surgery: 289

starting re-entry… slowly… (#projectfemur)

It’s less than a month until I’m back to riding full-time on the road. I’m keeping busy during that time.

The workouts continue, with increasing intensity and focus. My time in the gym is spent mostly either in the weight room, where I’m building leg and arm strength, or in the stretching area, where I can work on core strength and flexibility. The latter is something I’m working on a lot in PT, where Scott and Megan have been working diligently to make my repaired leg every bit as capable as its healthy neighbor.

Next challenge for that: rotational flexibility. To visualize what that is: I can’t sit cross-legged on the floor right now, as my right leg can’t rotate and lie flat just yet. Soon – just another goal in my sight.

This morning I started the next step in my bike training with Matt at District Cycle Works: morning workouts on a Wahoo Kickr. This is a major step up from the Star Trac eSpinner I’ve been using at the gym, as it allows me to use my own bike for the workouts. It also pairs with my Garmin Edge 500 and my iPhone to record my rides and the associated data, including power output. This opens a whole world of possibilities for my workouts as I head into the home stretch.

Most of all, though, it’s fun to be able to workout with friends who will actually converse with me.

Wahoo!!!

That’s something that’s sorely lacking at the gym, where folks tend to fold into the insular shells provided by the ever-present earbuds.

Just so you don’t think it’s all about the bike (do I owe that Armstrong guy a royalty for trotting out that phrase?), I’ve also spent some time on the beach, where I tested out my run.

Running!

It was awesome!

I’ve also been dipping my toe back into local government – very local, as in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee. Basically, this committee advises the ANC (which is a step below the District Council) in all matters walking, cycling, parking, and parks. While I was brought into the fold because of cycling, as a pedestrian during my convalescence, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of mode share issues that affect this committee. I’ve already penned a letter to DDOT, asking for follow-through on motions passed by the ANC back in 2012, and look forward to doing – and learning – more as my tenure grows.

And I’ve been working with some of my fellow ski coaches to come up with a fitness plan for our junior racers. I’d like to see all of the athletes come into the ski season in peak physical shape, not only to allow them a great chance of meeting (and exceeding) their goals, but also to provide them more safety against injury. Hopefully this will get some traction within the team – I know similar plans helped me achieve my skiing goals when I was younger.

What else is there to say? Sometimes you need to look at the details to see where you need to go…

Shados in surf

Maybe Jimi Hendrix said it best, regarding the impending next steps of my #projectfemur recovery:

“And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually.”

Sandcastle at Bethany Beach

six months and i am impatient (#projectfemur)

It’s been six months (and one day, as I started writing this on the 11th, and it’s now the 12th) since my injury – since #projectfemur began.

I am not, by nature, a patient person. My patience is wearing thin in terms of indoor workouts. I’m riding the spinning bike, lifting weights, stretching, and it’s tedious and boring. Sure, I see and feel positive results, but I’m not sure how gym rats do it all year long.

Yes, I can hike, but I haven’t since the Connecticut trip. I have the Rock Creek Park trails close to home, but I’ve been oblivious to their draw. Perhaps the spate of afternoon thunderstorms has me leery to go into darker, wooded areas. And the mud around here is slick, which isn’t conducive for sure-footed hiking.

And while I’ve discussed the idea of going to yoga classes with sprite, that hasn’t become a reality just yet. Perhaps this coming week, that can be fixed.

I’ll also finally start my indoor trainer workouts on the Wahoo Kickr this coming Tuesday (at *cough* six effing thirty in the morning – a time of my own choosing, I admit), which will mean riding my own bike. And I’ll be riding with friends, riding to some intense workout programs, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll be a better shot of my own version of “vitamin A.”

“Vitamin A” is the adrenaline thing I mentioned in my last post: I crave it, and I’m not getting it from my current high-intensity indoor training, at least not in amounts that register with my psyche.

So I celebrated my six month anniversary of #projectfemur by riding a bike to Friday Coffee Club.

It was on a Capital Bikeshare bike, rolling slowly on the lowest traffic roads between The Burrow and M.E. Swing’s.

It was liberating.

I smiled a lot.

I felt free.

And that’s likely it for outdoor rides until mid-August.

Y’see, I did it on the sly. I didn’t let anybody know until it was over – not even sprite.

It was, any way you look at it, a boneheaded, selfish, childish move.

I didn’t feel like I was in any danger at all. CaBi bikes handle very predictably, are fairly slow, and are perfect for an initial foray into outdoor riding. At least that was my approach to my 1.3 mile ride.

But I hadn’t told anybody I was riding, not even sprite – a big mistake, if you look at my current risk level. I didn’t have anything on my person explaining that I’m on anticoagulant medications, just in case I got into an accident and needed medical assistance.

As I admit: it was a very irresponsible thing to do. And while I enjoyed it at the time, as the day wore on, I knew I hadn’t gone about the ride in the proper way.

So I’m in the doghouse right now. sprite was right to be mad at me, and I don’t expect those feelings to subside soon. What I did was hurtful and insensitive. Given all she’s done for me during #projectfemur, it was a truly dumb move on my part. I am most sorry for that.

I think I’ll stick to the complete mental torture that is indoor workouts – and the occasional hike here and there, with friends – until I’m off these (now likely unneeded) meds. It will do my body good, if not my psyche. And while I can commute via bike, taking the precautions that I didn’t this morning, I can see myself forgetting to let sprite know I’ve made it to my destination. That would be a deal breaker.

We’ll see. All I know is that I caused a lot of grief that I do not wish to repeat.

Days since surgery: 181

these are days… (#projectfemur)

Somehow I managed to not publish any updates in June. I’m not sure how it happened, but it’s not as if I was doing nothing.

The weekend after Memorial Day, sprite and I went to Bethany Beach, Delaware, to get away from things and enjoy the surf. The water was “New England warm” – i.e. 60°F/14°C – and the air temperature was mild (as has been the case with most weekends this summer). We managed to see the sunrise over the water, which was extremely beautiful and worth the pain of rising so early in the morning.

Sunrise over Bethany Beach

Leaving DC for the weekend was effective at getting my mind out of “I’m missing the bike” mode – at least for a little while.

The rest of the month had highs and lows: days where I’d feel like I’m moving forward, and others where I questioned whether there was any point in doing the work needed to get my leg back into shape. Indeed, the nice weekend weather, combined with the fact that my flexibility level and basic leg strength are good enough to get onto a bike, tore at me.

All. the. time.

Yet I soldiered on. I continued with my intensive PT regimen, with Scott and Megan working me, stretching me, poking and prodding me (i.e. dry needling), giving me new “homework” assignments every week. I work hard to “ace” these assignments, and tend to do quite well in exceeding expectations.

And there have been breakthroughs. I can balance on my bad leg:

Balance

And I’ve been working out on a Spinning® bike that I’ve setup to my road bike’s measurements:

Spinning

I do well on the spin bike, but I call it “going nowhere – really fast!” I’ve discovered that I like indoor cycling about as much as I like riding the bus: it’s OK for collecting my thoughts, it is a means to a (fitness) end, but it’s not overly enjoyable. I do workouts that mimic stuff I’d do on a normal bike – endurance riding, working on form, intervals, et al – but it’s not the same as real cycling.

There’s no change of scenery, save for whatever TV program is on the little screen. The tiny little fan on the control panel blows a feeble stream of wind across my brow (no way to setup a good box fan at the gym), and the eSpinning® bike doesn’t react like a real bike. To “shift gears” means turning a resistance knob where the top tube should be, and if I stand to “dance” on the pedals, the bike doesn’t rock under me like a real bike.

Hello, my name is Rudi, and I’m an adrenaline addict in serious withdrawal.

Granted, I’ll be working with a Wahoo indoor trainer starting this coming week (I hope), and that should get things moving in a better direction. I’ve cleaned the drivetrain of the Pedal Force to get it in shape for this next chapter:

Shiny chain

Still, these stationary bike workouts are not analogous to real cycling.

Trust me: I feel like I should be out there on the roads. I know I could be out there, riding safely, and enjoying the hell out of the ride. But it’s not in the cards just yet – thank you, anticoagulant meds. To say I’m displeased is an understatement.

I am finding ways to mix things up. For example, a couple weekends ago, I went on a nice morning hike in the hills of northern Connecticut:

(Click on the picture to see it in a bigger size – it’s a nice view from the top of Soapstone Mountain in Shenepsit State Forest!)

I also built a tiny Intel NUC for sprite’s dad. They are amazingly tiny – and very capable – computers for the money.

Intel NUC vs. CD

(Yes, it is smaller in width and depth than a CD case – very tiny, yet powered by a Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM!)

And I repaired my 9-year-old (!) iPod, replacing its dying hard drive and dead battery. I also replaced the batteries on my old heart rate monitor (to use in the gym), and finally sent my old Garmin Edge 500 (with its blown-out screen) for a warranty repair (hey – GPS data in real time!).

I’ve also has some incredible, high quality time with sprite. Y’see, during a typical summer, I spend a great deal of weekend time away at long bike rides. As she’s not an endurance bike rider, she stays home, while I’m gone for huge chunks of daylight time.

This summer, we’re doing more things together on the weekends. From traveling to the beach, to walking around town, to exploring new places, to simply sitting in the park and reading in the sunshine, I am enjoying this time with her quite a bit.

sprite at the DQ

While it’s not the summer is typically experience and enjoy, it’s satisfying.

I hope that the rest of the summer contains more fun travels. Right now, there are a few variables that need to be nailed down before sprite and I can commit to doing anything more than a weekend jaunt to the beach or the mountains (and if it’s sprite, the beach always wins out).

There are many things left to do. I need to continue with the #projectfemur recovery (which is still on schedule, much as I’m still grousing about it a lot). I want to take advantage of the summer. I want to see my endurance cycling friends (hey guys, it’s me, Rudi – remember me?). I want to hang out more with my DC friends. I want to see movies, eat out, cook out, camp, hike the VA, MD, and WV mountains.

And I want to ride my bicycle.

So there is an upside, right?

Right?

34 more days… 34 more days…

Days since surgery: 175

now it’s getting really tough (#projectfemur)

The end of May has been very, very trying for me.

The weather has turned drop-dead gorgeous. Temperatures aren’t too high, the humidity hasn’t been too thick, and everybody is working out outdoors.

Except for me, that is.

And I’m really in a funk as a result.

It’s really gotten to me this weekend, as today was the Mountains of Misery century, something I’ve done almost every Memorial Day since 2007. It’s typically my first big event ride of the season, and this year it would’ve been the first long event of the year after a handful of road bike races.

But thanks to #projectfemur, I wasn’t there – and it’s crushing me.

I should’ve been out there, but I can’t.

There was a generous offer to head down with one of my friends and either volunteer or “coach” from the sidelines. But that wasn’t what I needed to do – it would’ve been just as tough, I think – perhaps even tougher.

I’ve been working really diligently with my PT to rebuild my strength and flexibility. But improvements are now very minute, less tangible, and less rewarding in the short run.

I realize I’m on my own path this summer, that I can’t gauge my performance against my cycling friends, and that I need to find the happiness where I can. But it’s proving far tougher than I expected.

As I fully expected, working out indoors is proving to be less than ideal. Sure, it is getting me back in shape, and helping to rebuild my flexibility. But I just don’t get the endorphin fix that I get from my outdoor bike rides. There’s a good reason that I steer clear of spin classes, and riding an indoor trainer is proving that, loud and clear.

To me, riding a bike indoors – whether on a spinning bike, an exercise bike, or a bike on a proper indoor trainer – is akin to substituting masturbation for sex (I know, graphic analogy, but as I’m being blunt…). It’s not the same, it provides little of the satisfaction or reward. I’ve not yet done any work on the Wahoo indoor trainer, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s still working out indoors. It’s having a fan blow on me while I physically go nowhere, instead of seeing actual distance pass under my tires, with the wind blowing through my hair, the birds chirping, and so forth.

That said, it’s my only option right now, so I need to suck up and deal.

Granted, the outdoor pools in DC have reopened (though only on weekends until mid-June – not overly useful for regular workouts just yet), and swimming laps will be something I can, and will, do. And I’ve had rowing recommended to me as a good way to keep in shape and address areas that cycling tends to miss (e.g. back and core muscles). So those things are in my future, for sure.

And there will be some hiking, once my leg is a little more stable and sure-footed. That’ll get me out with some of my cycling friends who also like to hike – a definite plus.

But that’s still a bit far off in the future. And I really, truly want to be on my bike, riding in the fresh air, getting the sun and the breeze, and being with my cycling friends in our “native territory,” so to speak.

And it’s not happening. It can’t right now, and there is no proper substitute.

I’m a bit angry with my hematologist for keeping me on the anticoagulant meds for a full, six-month course. If it wasn’t for that, I could commute by bike already. Even that would make life a lot better than it is now. I know it’s petty and a bit myopic, and that I’m being kept on the meds for a valid reason, but the voice that drives my motivation isn’t placated by that at all.

August can’t come soon enough.

And even then, will my riding be up to snuff? I know plenty of friends who I don’t ride with that often under normal circumstances (because my pace tends to be fast), and I’ll be able to ride with them. But when I ride with my normal crowd, I worry they will simply leave me in the dust, heaving for breath to catch up – or that they’ll spend half of the ride waiting for me to arrive.

That isn’t an appealing thought at all.

I know from past experience that I tend to bounce back well from injury, and tend to be stronger than I was before said injuries. But my femur break and surgery are far and away the worst injury I’ve ever experienced, so this is a great unknown. There is no precedent in my life experience for this kind of recovery, and I’m simply not sure what to expect.

Will I be stronger than I was pre-injury? Will I still be as capable of climbing the hills on my bike? Will I still ski with the same confidence and strength? I simply just don’t know.

And given I feel like I’m being left behind, like my improvement is going incredibly slowly, and my patience is razor-thin, having big unknowns in my life leaves me grasping at thin air to find some direction.

sprite has helped me as much as she can to try to keep my spirits up – she rocks. So have many of my friends, for which I’m grateful. But this is still a battle that is very much my own, and one that only I can tackle.

I need to find a way to right this ship and find something positive to go on. I need ideas, because I just don’t have any right now. The lows are outweighing the highs right now, and that needs to stop.

As I said: August can’t come soon enough.

Days since surgery: 134

disconnected (with a side of progress) #projectfemur

Right now I feel like a spectator.

I feel disconnected.

Disconnected from the world I know and love.

Disconnected from many friends.

Disconnected from “normal.”

Things have been going well with my healing. My leg grows stronger every day. I’m to the point where, as long as the surfaces I walk on are fairly smooth, I can walk without a crutch and without any major limp (this crutch-free walk is still very much a work-in-progress). The flexibility I depend on for my agility and power is coming back, bit by bit. I’m putting in the hours on a recumbent stationary trainer at the gym, and am very close to being able to sling a leg over a regular bike, which will open me up to the world of more proper bike trainer simulations. And my outpatient physical therapy is working wonders in getting all the various and sundry pieces of “normal leg function” into place.

Really, I’m happy about this – elated, even.

But it’s still not quite right.

I miss my friends.

They ground me. They entertain, provide a sounding board, provoke conversation, and so much more.

And right now, I feel disconnected from most of them.

I miss my cycling friends a lot. I can follow their exploits via Strava, emails, and whatnot, but it’s not the same.

I’m not hanging out with them like I usually do. And when they go out on an epic ride, or compete in a well-known local race, I hear about it after the fact – sometimes well after the fact.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to know, as it simply makes me jealous and angry that I can’t be out there – rubbing salt in the proverbial wound. But there’s another part that wants to know simply to relate, as cycling is the root of these friendships, even those that have grown beyond the realm of the bike.

So I sit here, stuck. Sometimes, I simply want to throw my crutch across the room in frustration.

My cycling friends are neck deep in training for the big events of their seasons right now, and I don’t want to derail their efforts. All the same, I want to see them, hang out, socialize, even if it’s not on the bike. It could be anything: watching the Giro d’Italia stages in the evening, or going out to dinner or for post-work drinks, even a gym workout – anything would be an improvement.

And my non-cycling friends are similarly busy right now. Weekends are often the best times to hang out, but my close DC friends have a lot on their plates right now, some of them fun, others decidedly not. They were there for me (as were my cycling friends) when I was in hospital and needed the company. Since I’ve been out of hospital, I’m grateful for the times I do get to hang out with them, fleeting as they may be. Perhaps the month of May will settle things down a bit.

But, as I said in the opening of this post, I feel like a spectator to a life I miss. It gnaws at me and makes me feel like things are passing me by, even if they aren’t doing that at all. The feeling of an invisible wall between where I am and where I’d like to be is evident, even on the best of days.

Injury, you are cruel and cunning in your efficient wresting of normality.

Yes, I am more grateful than ever for every step I’m able to take on my right leg, for the fact that I will be back on the bike and back on skis, and that I am still, essentially, healthy. But injury still has me slightly by the scruff in terms of disconnecting me from the things that keep me sane.

I want to re-connect.

I need to reconnect.

I need the balance to return.

And I’m fairly sure I’m the one who needs to make the first move.

ten on tuesday: the great outdoors (#projectfemur)

Carole’s prompt this week is “ten things I like to do outside.”

This is a tough one for me, especially as spring is finally arriving in DC. There are so many outdoor activities that I love, but I can’t do them because of… well, y’know. But I’m happy to say what I love to do in the out-of-doors, if only to remind myself why I’m doing all of the tough-as-nails physical therapy, pain and all.

  1. Ride my bicycle. This should be obvious: I love to ride my bike, and can’t really stand indoor riding. That said, this summer will be full of such activity.
  2. Ski. My first sporting love, and I’ll be back on those slopes this coming November.
  3. Camp. sprite and I really enjoyed camping in New Hampshire last fall, and I always like to sleep outdoors – it re-centers me.
  4. Picnic. My favorite Friday night activity is to gather with friends for a picnic at The Yards Park.
  5. Go to concerts. I love going to shows at outdoor venues, like Merriweather Post Pavilion or Wolf Trap.
  6. Read. Most progress I make in books is done at parks and cafés.
  7. Eat at cafés. DC has many wonderful cafés with outdoor seating.
  8. Go to the beach. And it has to be a real beach – i.e. one with ocean water and real waves for body surfing (which I won’t be able to do ’til mid-August due to my anticoagulant meds). Still: sun, surf, sand, I love it!
  9. Drink. A cold beer, a glass of wine or sangria, an icy daiquiri or margarita – all are wonderful and perfect for outdoor imbibing.
  10. Hike. I love hiking, and don’t do it often enough. And it’s something I will be able to do this summer, once the leg is strong again.

Do you have favorite things to do outdoors? Share ‘em in the comments!

Yards Park picnic

Camping at Mt. Monadnock State Park

getting locally political

I was once a more active political creature in DC. These days, I pick my battles a bit more judiciously, preferring to expend my energy toward things that keep me interested, where the frustrations can lead to progress.

But this current Democratic primary season (yes, I’m a Democrat, though one who’s seldom in lock-step with the local or national party systems), I’ve heard a lot of people try and bend ears with their endorsements. And now, it’s my time to do the same.

(For those looking for #projectfemur updates, more are forthcoming.)
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ten on tuesday: a few updates on #projectfemur

This isn’t the official list topic, but it works for what I have to say with this update:

  1. Recovery continues to go well, all things being equal.
  2. I need to remain on an anticoagulant until at least mid-May mid-August.* Hopefully, that will be the end of it, as I can’t do any high-risk things (e.g. outdoor cycling) while on said medication.
  3. I now have a hematologist who will give me a date certain for cessation of the anticoagulant.*
  4. I saw my orthopedist yesterday. He’s impressed with the bone healing and the building muscle strength in my leg, and cleared me for full weight bearing – woo-hoo!
  5. My outpatient physical therapy is quite challenging. Both of the therapists I’m seeing (my main PT and another PT who previously worked on my shoulder) have me on an aggressive strength and flexibility program. They do deep-tissue massage on my hip and knee to loosen the atrophied muscles.
  6. After all of the workout and massage, these muscles are sore, especially my adductors and iliacus groups. The upside: I see tangible improvement from day to day and week to week.
  7. I’m walking around a lot, and my walking gait is far better as my leg gets stronger and more flexible.
  8. Last week at PT, I was introduced to a Pilates Reformer. It was a good challenge for my still-wobbly leg muscles.
  9. Riding a stationary bike will likely start this coming week, though I’ll know more about this after tomorrow’s outpatient PT appointment.
  10. I return to work on April 10.

I think that covers it, really. Despite today’s snow, DC’s spring seems to be rolling in.

Days since surgery: 72

ETA on 4/18/14: corrected end date for anticoagulant drugs to mid-August.

it’s time to admit something (#projectfemur)

I’ve been treating the entire #projectfemur as a new, positive opportunity. While it’s been a challenge, I’m enjoying the work and trying to channel it into exploring new opportunities in all aspects of my life.

But I have to admit something, a thing that has bothered me for a while:

I miss my bike.

I miss being able to ride it.

I miss being able to even get it down off its storage rack in The Burrow.

As spring approaches, the weather will be perfect for rides all over the greater DC area. Spring is probably my favorite riding season in this area: cool mornings with pleasant afternoons and reasonable humidity. And while the roads show the scars of a hard winter, with tons of frost heaves and potholes on every conceivable paved surface, they are roads that I love to ride. Whether it’s a ride out of Bowie, Maryland, heading to Chesapeake Bay via lovely, gently rolling roads, or climbing the bigger rollers and hills in Loudoun County, Virginia, or zipping along with my friends during the upcoming “Downtown Breakaway” rides on Wednesdays here in DC, I miss all of it.

I miss the camaraderie of the Friday Coffee Club at Swing’s.

I miss my weekend rides with a crew of friends with whom I’ve shared many adventures on two wheels.

I’m missing the inaugural season of District Taco Cycling p/b BicycleSPACE. I was to be part of their roster for this season – another posse of great cycling friends.

I even miss my daily bike commute, even though I’m not yet back at work.

I miss the freedom of simply being able to hop on the bike and go somewhere – anywhere.

My physical therapist at Georgetown University Hospital happens to be a cyclist and a bike fitter – a happy coincidence, and definite luck of the draw. He knows my drive, my desire to get back on the bike and be stronger than ever. He wants me to start working out on a trainer or stationary bike sometime soon – though not soon enough for my desire to simply ride.

But the promise of getting back on the bike is real, and my goal of being stronger than ever is not unreasonable or unattainable. I know there will be some adjustments, but it’s a small price to pay to get back on my bike.

But right now, the bikes hang on their rack, taunting me every time I turn my gaze their way. They’ll get their cleaning, tune-up, re-fitting, and time back on the pavement.

I’m simply impatient. As Queen once mused, “I want it all – and I want it now!”

“In good time,” I keep telling myself.

In good time.

Days since surgery: 54

thoughtful. entertaining. random.