“Anything that happens, happens. Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again. It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.”
– Douglas Adams
Well, this week did not go according to plan. Last weekend’s rides seemed to go off without a hitch but towards the end of that Sunday’s ride, I noticed a slight twinge in my left calf, a feeling all too familiar as I will highlight in my RTYD III post. This was even more noticeable after I took a walk following that bike ride and again when I walked to work last Monday. The twinge was enough to make me skip biking on Tuesday and Wednesday, opting to walk those days, which is not easy for me to do as a person with high expectations for myself. But during that time, I rolled my calf with a foam roller, saw a massage therapist, and generally tried to stretch it out as best as possible.
The tightness and pain is always located in the same spot next to and slightly behind my knee on my calf. The calf was not strained yet, but I knew that any real push would get it there. I tried biking very gently to work on Thursday, opting for the shortest path both ways and then walked to work again Friday. By that time, the calf did not seem to be improving and I decided then that I would not go out and bike the required 70 and 40 miles that weekend.
The most frustrating thing about the calf being in the shape it is currently is that I was taking a concerted effort to prevent this exact thing from happening. The dedication to stretching nightly was directed because of my history with this particular injury. In RTYD III, I had to work very hard not to stress out my calf too much while biking for the entire trip. I know that I can bike with such an injury, but I also know that I shouldn’t and that if I can avoid such injuries in the future, that would be…well, better I suppose. Moving forward, I will need to be even more diligent, rolling my calves out every night, stretching more often and more rigorously. Additionally, I bought a compression sleeve to see if that helps prevent a similar injury in the future.
One bright side to this week and weekend was the procurement of the Centurion from the bike shop. About two weeks ago, I took the bike back into the shop because the initial issue of poor shifting had not been rectified on my previous visit. For some time, any attempt to push hard on the pedals during a climb would result in shifting up to a higher gear unless my finger was directly against the retro-shifter.
This issue has taken about a month to discover and repair. When the shop failed the first time to fix the issue, I took it back in and the shop spent a few days replacing the cassette and tightening the necessary cables. I came back in to test it a second time and found the same problem. The shop owners took apart the shifters and noticed some pretty worn down ball bearings so they replaced the shifters and I was able to pick up the bike on Friday. Barring some unforeseen March snow fall, I will be moving forward exclusively on the Centurion, retiring the Raleigh Misceo Hybrid for the season (unless my wife decides to utilize it for her mile commute to work in the summer).
While at the bike shop this last time to pick up the Centurion, I asked the shop owner about my leg and if anything posture related could explain why that particular section of leg is so susceptible to injury. He could not think of anything except for potentially slipping down the saddle while I ride. I may try pointing the saddle up slightly to avoid this slipping and see if this helps in the future.
Overall, the weekend was a complete disappointment. “Bright Side” mentality suggests looking at the idea that it happened very early in the training process so I have to time to adjust moving forward and hopefully avoid this issue in the future.
For next week, I will try the adjusted saddle, a more strenuous stretching regime, and the compression sleeve to see if that improves the current condition and prevents future issues. If I can get the calf to a normal-ish level by Tuesday, I will pick up where I left off. More likely, I will ease my way back into the general flow of miles and most likely will not hit the 70-40 goal next weekend. Right now, my focus is to get back on track mile-total wise by the following weekend.