Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Physical Therapy IS Torture

So when people talk about Physical Therapy most of us have images of massage and gentle stretching. That sounds kind of fun. I think the following image may be more appropriate to the actual experience:
Not only is PT hard work, but it hurts. I heard the only difference between visiting a torturer and a Physical Therapist, is that the Therapist has magazines in the lobby. Bart, a Jedi Knight among Therapists, pushes my knee is a direction it isn't supposed to go. It hurts. I try to relax, but seeing the direction he is going it makes as much sense as staring at the sun. I close my eyes and hope no tears escape.
"This is insane," I think to myself.
"Now walk around for me," Bart says like a proud papa. I get off the table and walk without a limp. I smile and shake my head. Bart knows exactly what he is doing.
I then get series after series of exercises that have my muscles quivering. I work and sweat until I receive my reward of an ice pack on my knee. Done. The road to recovery is bumpy indeed. I gotta hook up with Crash John for a ride...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ONLY riding is riding...

The hardman of the modern peloton, Jen Voigt
I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee on the 17th. I woke up in the post op with an ice bag on my knee. I was able to walk out, but the tradition of leaving in a wheelchair seems to be a sacred cow that I decided not to challenge. After Hottie got me home we had a snow storm that was followed by freezing rain and I spent two days at home with my work computer in front of me and a different ice bag on my knee.
Remember that first ride ?
That weekend I spent twenty minutes on the trainer with no tension and it felt okay. I got the stitches out this week and went to physical therapy twice. I got on the trainer again mid week and even went to spin class yesterday. The knee is coming right along and I have been following the direction given me by my doctor and my physical therapist.
Warm sunshine, a tailwind, and all day to enjoy it...
We had a dry day today and I decided to ride a few miles on the road nice and easy, in the daylight. It was such a joy to spin my legs. It was as if I had not ridden in years. I almost felt like singing, but I elected not to ruin the moment for myself and others.
Having so much fun my jersey burst open !!
As Hottie starts her much longer road to recovery, I look forward to her being able to have that feeling of flying when she too is able to enjoy the simple joy of riding a bike.
Soon, Hottie, soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surgeries in the house

What is better than bacon?
You're right; it is a trick question because NOTHING is better than bacon except, of course, more bacon. But if you look closely at this picture you will see Hottie and I had bacon by candlelight. What is more romantic than bacon? Too much to list here.
What is less romantic than bacon. Surgery for sure.
Last Tuesday I had knee surgery for a torn meniscus, and this Tuesday Hottie had surgery to re-attach a tendon in her elbow. My recovery is going well and Hottie has several hard weeks ahead of her.
I'll keep you updated..

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Misery loves company

Misery may love company, but apparently it HATES happiness even more.
In my professional life I am working on a project with an airplane manufacturer. For the curious among you, it is NOT a company located in my home state of Washington.

The nature of the program is iterations. We provide a prototype, they test it and see how well it plays with other systems on the aircraft. Based on those activities, my company is asked to make changes and make them fast.

In my role I have the potentially conflicting objectives of providing realistic expectations to my customer, and keeping that customer happy.

The working environment at the customer's facilities is horrible. Yelling, bullying, petty politics are all alive and well there. Their managers get abused from their superiors and they take every opportunity to pass that grief along to suppliers such as my company.

I discovered that because I failed to complain or show any signs of being upset or miserable, they had concluded my company was not working hard. It seems my upbeat attitude and occasional jokes made those miserable souls I interact with even more miserable. Like I said above; misery may love company, but it just HATES happiness even more.

I consider myself fairly adept at relationship building and have been scratching my head as to how to deal with this situation. If I behave as if I'm miserable, it would demoralize my team here. If I stay happy, my customer will resent me even more.
Maybe I can fake it ?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kevin's birthday ride

It was a great idea; celebrate Kevin's 56th birthday by riding 56 miles.
We met 24 minutes before sunrise and rolled out. It was 37 degrees and raining lightly. Six brave souls were out to honor Kevin.
The rain increased and it seemed to get colder. We were riding amazingly slow but our spirits we high. We were exploring a few hills and somewhat circling Lake Washington. I drank my Hammer products and did NOT mix the Sustained Energy with any simple sugars and all was good. THAT is a lesson that can have nearly crippling impacts if ignored.

As the miles rolled on the rain increased and those who had extra layers put them on. We were all flirting with hypothermia and found ourselves happiest on the climbs. With less than ten miles to go the rain turned to hail and my nose felt like it was raining X-acto knife blades.
As we neared the end, for the first time in all my years of ending the weekly ride at the Volunteer Park Cafe, we took a short cut. The road was snowy and when Tom's rear wheel spun out, he stopped, dismounted and walked the super steep climb. A final right turn and we arrived at the cafe. We were all hungry and cold and wet.
Hank was so cold he couldn't get his blue fingers to turn off his blinking light. We stood in line to order food and everything looked good. I wanted to reach over the counter and start eating then and there. I managed to hold off until I reached the front of the line and it was socially acceptable to chow down. 3,800 feet of climbing. It was fun in a type 2 fun kind of way.

My old reliable PI rain jacket kept me dry and the rain beaded up on my arms like a freshly waxed car. My PI thermal tights were almost okay, but it was not a sustainable situation. I could mumble about "micro-cilmate" but all I would be saying was even when I wasn't cold, I was wet. When we stopped, even for a minute to fish out a snack; my legs started to get cold. My Castelli shoe covers kept my feet dry until my tights got soaked and then the water ran down into my shoes. My secret weapon, Hotties Toe Warmers made the first three hours pretty tolerable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meteor shower ?

You shouldn't leave your observatory open as you might let the stars in, and they make a mess of the carpet

Riding in the dark is always surreal. Those first few minutes when my face is feeling the chill as my eyes adjust to riding in the beam of light from my helmet. Based on the promise of a dry day, I was wearing my warm team jacket in place of a rain jacket. The prospect of a chilly but dry ride had me smiling. I reached down and pulled out my coffee thermos, twisted the cap and took a sip. I am lucky to be able to ride in to work this day.

In front of my face there suddenly appeared something like shooting stars. I later can only guess it was snow or hail. It streaked downward at intervals too infrequent to be raindrops. It continued for the first few miles and then disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I broke the 4,000 mile barrier in 2011. I won't say how many miles I did ride. I think I shall follow in the footsteps of Fat Cyclist and have a contest for my countless readers to guess how many miles I did in 2011.

Write your guess on a $20 bill and mail it to me.

Happy 2012.