Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 14: Pocatello, ID, to Idaho Falls, ID

Today's Mileage: 65
Average Speed: 14.7 mph
Max Speed: 26.2 mph
Average BPM: 120
Max BPM: 160
Calories Burned: 1472
Moving Time: 4:25
Blog & Ride Details

I have been icing my left Achilles Tendon and both knees since Day 6 (as mentioned on Day 6). My knees, which were unavoidably suffering from overuse due to my lack of sufficient preparation for this tour, are feeling better. Still stiff and tight, but better.

I've received some excellent advice from the ride leaders and my fellow cyclists regarding my Achilles Tendon, but I've been following a lax regimen of Ibuprofen, stretching and ice. Because I made the mistake of not meticulously respecting my injury, it has progressively gotten worse, as I discovered this morning when I put on my cycling cleats and the pressure from the back of the shoe caused the tendon to flare.

Luckily for me, today was an easy day with a late luggage load so I had time to ice my ankle again before departing at 8:30am, and I could use the scheduled route as a recovery ride (e.g. "take it easy"). The ride leaders have been incredibly supportive, sharing tales of previous riders with the same injury and giving me a variety of options: ride half the route, ride as little or as much as I can, spend the day in the truck. They responsibly encouraged me most of the latter, of course, reassuring me that plenty of strong riders have taken off-days to tend to injuries. I know there's no shame in not riding every "friggin" inch, but it's difficult to tell that to your heart.

Of course, me - being the hard-headed ... strong-willed ... ok ... hard-headed person that I am, I chose to ride ... as carefully as possible. Mike explained the mechanics of my Achilles Tendon and what pedal positions irritate it the most. Following his direction, I focused on every pedal stroke, keeping my foot in a neutral position, with the sole parallel to the ground. The worst thing I could do was to pedal with my toe pointed downward, which isn't an intuitive technique. Instinctively, it would seem like pedaling that way would relieve stress on the tendon, but it doesn't.

The good thing was that my tendon did not flare up during today's ride. The bad thing was that I really had to focus on every pedal stroke over 65 miles, which meant I had to think more while I was on my bicycle. No zoning out. Today was not a day in which I could zone out anyway - not that any of the days out here really have been "zone-out-able."

It was a remarkable, emotional Fourth of July ride. Helen, Alex and I brought up the rear and witnessed tragedy unfold on a horse farm just after the first SAG stop (Helen tells the tale here).

After witnessing such a horrific event, our moods went from somber to ecstatic about 20 miles later when we saw a bald eagle soar overhead, circle and then land in a tree directly above us. We arrived in Idaho Falls just in time for dinner and delicious chocolate pie. We wrapped up our blog posts for the day and began drifting to sleep with the sound of fireworks exploding in the distance.

It was a great day to be an American cycling across the United States. Unfortunately, I had to ask what the date was this morning, and I asked again when I forgot the date later this evening. Just one of the many symptoms and side effects of daring to cycle across America. Dates and days of the week become largely irrelevant. It's wonderful.

Images from Pocatello to Idaho Falls:

Click here to view my entire album of Day 14.

The Ride Leader's Official Report:
Across America North:

1 comment:

Monique D. said...

With the dates being irrelevant, it's similar to being overseas on vacation & not tending to your phone every 3 minutes. Must be nice. Sorry to hear about the Achilles though... :(