Monday, August 20, 2012

De Soto ride

I went out with the Bike Club for a 40 mile ride out to De Soto, KS and back.  It was a beautiful morning, Gentler Readers of This Blog!  and the miles we put in were some of the most scenic I've seen in KS yet!  I stayed in the group (mostly) which meant I could ride faster and work on getting my legs stronger.  Since I've lost all of my cardio fitness it was good to stay in the group--otherwise I'd be struggling in the winds.

We stop for a quick water and snack break just outside of De Soto.

Just about everyone I'm riding with I met in Celebrity Spin class.  Here we're riding from De Soto to Eudora, KS, in some pretty nice country.  Its mostly corn and soybeans out here--and as you can see, there's not much left of the corn crop.  Typically the corn would be emerald green and 9 feet high.  Looks to be only four feet--not much of a crop!

Often the women keep a much faster pace than us fellows--so the get to talking and suddenly they're up ahead of us!

No traffic out here at all--only deer, wild turkey, and thousands of birds chirping and singing. 


I'm feeling okay, but by the end of the ride I must be honest and tell you that I got tired.  Wind picked up and a few times on the hills and I was getting dropped--and I couldn't catch up with the pack.  A few of the guys stayed back and pulled me back up to the group.  I was able to ride back with everyone home to Lawrence!

Cheers!  Bruce

Far From Home

Many "Free Staters" came from New England to settle Lawrence.

Riding my bike to physical therapy this morning, I took some of the new bike path that's just west of Iowa Street, or Hwy 59.  I came upon the often mentioned and read about Pioneer Cemetery by chance, and as I had a few extra minutes I stopped in to look around.

The cane I'm using for physical therapy collapses and rides with me.


There were a few commuters out--this woman was in a hurry--and dressed for Winter!  It was a cool 50 degrees this morning--nice after weeks of 100 degrees, mes amis!

I will take the bike route rather than ride the narrow sidewalk up the hill that's next to Iowa St.

Busy Corner, USA--lots of construction on the sidewalks so I took the bike path--which I found to be mostly under construction as well.  I had to dismount several times and walk--but that was okay because it lead right to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Click to make the photo lager and you can read about the cemetery.   This is were the 150 or so men were buried originally after Quantrill's Raid, August 21st, 1863.


Here's a headstone--I read that Mr. Sargent was holding his infant son in his arms when he was shot and killed--the Raiders spared his son.

I found two of the four headstones, the rest are at Oak Hill, which is not far from where I live in Old East Lawrence.

Civil War Soldiers buried here.

Physical Therapy.  I rode here by bike to warm up and loosen up my legs for my physical therapy workout.

After physical therapy I ride back through Old West Lawrence--mostly on top of Mt. Oread--to get back to Haskell for work.  I could tell I was near Sorority Row because of the speeds at which the women drove through the neighborhood.  The bike route is the back way in to the Houses--and those young women drive super fast--super fast in big expensive shiny cars!  I will avoid this area when ever possible, Gentle Readers of This Blog...

Back on roads I know well--here I am on top of Mr. Oread, which is the KU Campus and my old office.  That's Fraser Hall with the flags.

This is looking East down 14th Street, the street I would ride up every morning to go to work.  I'll cut down 14th then to Barker, and be to work at Haskell in no time.

Back home after work!  Thanks for riding along!

Cheers!  Bruce

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Un-learning How to Walk

I had a set-back today on the road to recovery--I've a torn quadriceps tendon in my left knee--2/3rds--and the surgeon said it would heal back just as good as if he was to go in there and stitch it up.  Not bad and I was feeling pretty lucky.  Surgery meant a longer recovery by many months.

After I got off crutches and gained confidence walking--albeit with an awkward limp--gradually that limp faded and I felt normal.  But still there were times where my leg just seemed to want to give way.

Today I had an errand on the KU Campus and I had to walk about a quarter of a mile--I almost didn't make it mes amis.  About half way through, my jerky limp began to return and I was getting tired.  Really the limp never went away; it just became less noticeable.  I think I ignored or tried to be as normal walking as possible.

I made it to my physical therapy later in the afternoon after the errand, described the situation to Dorian, my new physical therapist (my other ones have moved to the next town) and, well, after running me through the exercises and resistance moves--she had me walking in the halls to diagnose the problem.

So now I'm walking with a cane.

At first I felt this was a bit of a shock--but after a bit of explanation and coaching, yeah she was right--things were out of whack.  Other stronger muscles are making up for the still weak quads--and hip muscles.  I was walking with a slight jerk and locking my hip and knee--doing this automatically and causing muscle that  needs to be strong, to fade and shrink.  Not good says Dorian and she explained I'll blow my knee out if I continue to walk like I am.

I have to un-learn how I'm walking.  I have to use a cane to engage the right muscles and walk with a normal gait.  I need to take that slight bit of weight off my hip and transfer it to my right wrist.

I was amazed how much easier it was to walk with the cane, Gentle Reader of Blog, after I saw and felt the mechanics of what was happening to me.

Just not quite there with the recovery.  But it did feel better to walk normal and without the jerky movement I had been trying to cover up (compensate for).  I was at the point in my recovery where other stronger muscles were taking over and giving me the appearance of walking normal--but at the same time, this kind of walking was wearing me down.

But I am able to ride my bike to work--I'll be able to go out and ride the weekend with the club--that matters to me a lot...

Cheers!  Bruce

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Back on the Road Bike

No pictures from my group ride this Sunday morning, mes amis.  But just want to make note of a great day here for me in KS--I went out with the bike club and put in 30 miles at Perry Lake.  It was a cool, clear, and fantastic morning.  I drove out to the lake and met a few people there, as well as a few that rode in from Lawrence.  All total there were ten riders in our group!

I am happy to report that I was able to clip in, and out--without any pain or difficulty with the knee.  Muscles have appeared again, ever so slowly in the injured leg, and my limp is pretty much gone.  Things still feel stiff, and maybe I think I look like I'm limping along but I'm not.

I've had physical therapy for about three weeks now.  The one thing I will say about it is that both my therapists, Sandy and Michelle (Michelle from Tempe, AZ and doing an Internship) is that what they were having me do I thought pretty conservative--however the last session I got worn out trying to go through all the things.  It showed that I have a ways to go, Gentle Readers of This Blog!

Both of them thought that I should only up my bike miles by a little bit--I've been riding 3 miles a day, a few more when I was riding to work-out with Will at the Gym.  The Jim (Jim Thorpe Fitness Center at Haskell) was closed all of July but is now open.  Anyway, going for 3 miles to 30 miles they said would be too much to try so soon.

Saturday night I committed to meeting up with the club and packed up my gear and laid out my clothes, etc.  I brought up the Mighty Trek from the basement, put air in the tires, and packed her in the car.  I went to bed early--and actually still got to sleep in as the ride didn't start until 9 o'clock!

Sunday was cool and the air perfect.  The weeks of 100 degrees or more has let up here and there for a few days.  It was only about 85 or so when we all started out and I clipped in for the first time in months!  Gwen, one of the bike club ladies said that the last time I had ridden with everyone was April--wow!

All I have to say is that after a few seconds of spin, I was just fine.  I felt safe riding in the group (just in case I needed help or had a problem) and everyone was happy to see me.  My left leg got a great work-out and even this evening as I write this post, the knee is not swollen and does not feel stiff.  I believe what will speed my recovery is to ride more!

However, I've lost, my cardio power I felt I had gained from the spin class this winter--and from the fast rides I did with the club, riding up front with the faster members.  I would ride great with the group but on the hills out at the lake, my heart heart a few time quickly climbed to almost the Max (172 BPM) and I got dropped.  So we start up a modest hill, my HR would climb to like 165 to 167--and I would slow way down--it was work to get up the hill mes amis!  And then, luckily, it would fall quickly when things leveled out and I'd recover--but I would have to work hard to speed back up and catch the group.

All in all it was a good day!  I know that I'll only get stronger as the days go by and I get out and ride!

Cheers!  Bruce