Listen to Your Body - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

March 14, 2022 to March 16, 2022

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body, not your mind - such are the wise words from my sister Jeanie.

 The cycling launch to my near year in Europe is Malaga, Spain. The plan was to spend 10 days in Paris, fly to Malaga this Friday where I would stay two nights before starting my tour on Sunday, the first day of spring. My route took me west through the mountains of Ronda and Grazalema, passing through Zahara de la Sierra and Arcos de la Frontera before turning north to Sevilla.

My original route through Spain and Portugal tests my mettle right off the bat
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It is not an easy beginning, even with two good feet. After learning of my ankle injury, Scott Anderson graciously offered to look at my proposed route and offered some suggestions between Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera that would give me options for a bit less climbing at the beginning of the tour. I took his suggestions, and then began looking for additional low-elevation options in case recovery is slower than I'd hoped. However, it is near impossible to cycle out of Malaga without encountering some significant climbing.

March 15 - A New Plan

The ankle is much better than last week, but the rate of improvement has slowed. I’m concerned that climbing so soon after the injury will put too much stress on the joint and will extend the recovery time, which is typically 4-6 weeks for a high ankle sprain. It is time I listened to my body, and not my head.

Today I came up with a new plan. I will fly to Malaga on Friday as scheduled but will extend my stay a couple of nights, primarily resting but taking short tourist forays as my ankle allows. The big change is that I will get to Seville by train, not by bike. After 3-4 days in Seville, I will head south on my bike and rejoin my planned route at El Rocio.

The benefits of this plan is an extra week of RICE. I’m hopeful that I can do a little sightseeing each day, but I won’t be stubborn about it – I’ll listen to my body. When I eventually begin cycling, it will be on pretty flat terrain and I will limit myself to about 20 miles/day for the first three days. After this, I will reassess and make further adjustments as needed.

The downside of the plan is bypassing some very special Andalusian towns that I’d been looking forward to visiting - Ronda, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, and Arcos de la Frontera. Happily, I came up with a way to re-route the end of my trip to include all but Arcos de la Frontera and still make it back to Malaga on the appointed day. All in all I’d say it was a pretty satisfactory solution to an unsatisfactory situation.

Route Plan B - Starting from Seville. Note difference in elevation profiles for the first 150 miles in original vs Plan B route.
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March 16, Plan C?

I finally went to the doctor today, at the urging of my friend and landlady Christiane. She and Betty arrived here from Bologna to spend 10 days in Paris, overlapping a bit with my time here.

The Doctor visit had mixed results, but overall were mostly good. She does not think my ankle is broken, but based on the extent of bruising, my age, and my history of osteopenia she ordered an x-ray. Just to be safe. She also prescribed a stabilizing brace that I need to wear while walking. And she she encouraged me to get out and walk, not to overdo it but enough to keep strengthening the ankle.

She also told me that other than walking, I need rest my foot another 10 days – no sports - no vélo! But the good news is that I can start cycling after 10 days, provided the x-rays are negative. I must start slow, wearing the brace and and limiting the miles/hours on the bike for the first week as I continue to build strength in the ankle. I take this as the glass half-full, the trip is on but delayed and, necessarily, a bit shorter.

My stylish new stabilizing brace
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Lucy MartinPairs beautifully with Allbirds
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4 months ago
Off the couch and ready to go! Well not quite ready, but soon
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My first inclination was to extend my stay in Seville for a few days before picking up my planned route. After more thought, I decided it is prudent to rest here in Paris. No sense risking another injury schlepping around in airports and train stations with my bike and baggage while my ankle is still on the mend.  So instead of flying off to Malaga, I am now  busy canceling/rebooking/rerouting.

Life is never dull, said she who persisted!

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Lucy MartinGlad you are on the mend.
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4 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesWell, thank goodness for a long stay visa. There is still lots of time to rethink and rejig as well as RICE. Take it easy and hoping your journey, whenever it is able to begin is marvellous fun.
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesWhat Steve said. Disappointing as this is, there’s plenty of time to figure out a different plan when you have nine months to play around with. And really, how awful can it be to find yourself forced to walk around Paris a bit longer? Whatever will you find to do?
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4 months ago
Suzanne GibsonWhat Steve and Scott said.
I guess letting go of the original itinerary wasn't easy, but it looks like you are doing a good job at it and making new ones that will work. Better be better by May, though!
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks Steve for your good wishes. And I am indeed thankful that I have both the time and a place to heal properly.
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4 months ago
Rich FrasierThis has got to be incredibly frustrating for you! Your attitude seems good, though. I'm betting you'll be able salvage a pretty good year if you take it easy for a bit longer. Hang in there!
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4 months ago
Sandra LawnHi Susan
I’ve been following your journal since day 1…….rats to your sprained ankle. I was just about to write suggesting going to a Physio for diagnosis and strengthening exercises for a good recovery, having not treated a sprained ankle by a professional twice myself…..silly idea in the long run….. but I see you have been to a Dr and have buth covered. Well done, there was always hoping that you could manage to start touring, a very difficult and frustrating decision to delay your actual start …. you’ll get there.

A few days before I started a European tour I sprained my ankle but managed to limp badly and fly from New Zealand to UK and then recover….the things we do to keep on touring!

Enjoy ‘exercising’ around Pais

All the best from New Zealand
Sandy
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Sandra LawnThanks Sandy for the well wishes from an experienced voice!
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4 months ago
Laura ChiharaInjuries to lower limbs are never fun for those of us who like to keep physically active! Patience---don't rush the recovery. Do any recommended physically therapy diligently. You'll be out on your bicycle in no time (says one who has been there!) :-)
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Laura ChiharaThanks Laura! It's difficult to be patient but I know it's the best course. Wishing you loads of fun on you ACA adventures this summer.
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4 months ago
jill SonnerHello there from Renaissance :) Karla and I got signed up and have now book marked your journal so we can follow you on your adventures!!!!
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo jill SonnerThat’s great Jill (and Karla)! I promise, there will be cycling :)
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4 months ago