Interruptions in Biking - CycleBlaze

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Interruptions in Biking

John Pescatore

Back in 2012, I tore my rotator cuff at age 55 - a complete, full thickness tear with retraction, essentially the capo di tutti capi of rotator cuff damage.  Not a biking accident - probably more due to lacrosse playing for many years and kayak racing more recently that weakened it. A slip and fall while carrying my wife's Mac in for repair, saved  the damn computer but snapped the tendon!

In early 2013, I had surgery to repair it, which the surgeon described as sewing two pieces of wet spaghetti together. The recovery involved about 2 weeks in a strait jacket kind of harness velcro-ing my right arm to my torso and I think 3 more weeks in a sling,  while still having to wear the straitjacket when sleeping. For the first 3 weeks, I wasn't even allowed to get on an exercycle, then only a recumbent for another 3 weeks, then finally an upright. But, still no road riding allowed (and this was before Zwift!)

At a 6 week visit I was bugging the surgeon to let me get on the bike again. He said something that stuck with me and I've been using this line a lot recently with my wife, my kids, co-workers - and in my own head. He said "The next few months is the only time your shoulder can heal. You will have all the months after that to ride your bike."

I took the rest of 2013 off from cycling and just did spin classes and the stationary bikes at the gym. I got back going with a vengeance in 2014 and in 2015 when I had my first crash in many  years (long story involving a hill and and a bad decision to pass a stopped garbage truck) my shoulder survived the impact. I was back on the bike the next weekend.

I'm trying to think of this period as a similar interruption, with the added benefit of no sling and full use of my right arm! 

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3 months ago
Graham SmithTo John Pescatore

John now I’ve reached a certain age I find myself cycling more cautiously. I still love the thrill of downhill speed, playing confident chicken in lanes of traffic and full speed ahead damn the torpedoes style of cycling, however I know my reactions are a bit slower and my sight isn’t as good as it could be, so I take less risks. Not because the thought of a fall worries me, but the thought of not being able to cycle most days does concern me.  
Thankfully I’ve never had an injury induced break from cycling. I’ve had fall injuries but not bad ones.
One of these days hubris will bring me down. 

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3 months ago
John PescatoreTo Graham Smith

I've never had a biking induced interruption - the rotator cuff tear was described by the doctor to me as like having a favorite pair of jeans that are very comfortable but quite worn in the crotch. One day you squat down and Riiiiiiiiiip! 

But, the recovery guidance definitely changed my downhill biking. I weigh 230 lbs, so gravity used to be my friend at least on the downhill side of hills. Now, much skinnier bikers are passing me! That is part of reason I decided to go with a 1X drive train on my Jamis Renegade that will served as my touring bike - I'm not pedaling going above 24 mph anymore...

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3 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo John Pescatore

I too have had a number of interruptions--pregnancy and small children being the cause of the longest one.  I had to stop riding when I couldn't reach the handlebars anymore, followed by years with very little freedom from kids to do much of anything.  When they were finally in school all day, I spent those hours working.

However, we did get them on bikes early and now each owns multiple bikes (they take after their parents, I guess).  Subsequent interruptions due to injury (not cycle-related) always at least had a light at the end of the tunnel and I had some idea how long the tunnel would be.

Having no idea how long this outside interruption to my cycling will be makes it worse, though I should count myself lucky health-wise (for now, at least).

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3 months ago