Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Montreal-Quebec-Nova Scotia Day 13. "The best-laid plans of mice and men …

Alas, my beautiful plans for a hard core ride in Nova Scotia have evaporated on account of my hurting knee. I spent an uneasy night, now and then with a pang of pain, and in the morning I got in the internet and read about bicycling injuries. The mechanics of pedaling are such, that if your seat is too low, by as little as half an inch, the down stroke (the power stroke) may cause an uneven pull in the muscles of the outside of the leg in contrast to the muscles inside. This puts stress on the tendons that tie to the knee cap (or patella). The patella is pulled subtly off-kilter and forces through the patello-femoral joint increase, causing diffuse pain around the knee-cap (what in the vernacular is called anterior knee pain). The cure is RICE or repose, icing, compression, and elevation.

I had been riding reasonably high, but still moved the seat up by half an inch and went for a trial run to the Chute Montmorency, a rather imposing waterfall about 20 km away. At times it seemed that I could actually pedal OK, but from time to time the stab of pain would come back, to remind me not be cocky about it. On the way back I noticed I was favoring the other leg to provide the power, which is a recipe for hurting the good leg.

I could have rested for a couple of days and see how much I could improve by then, but if I kept up stressing the knee I could pay for it in the form of serious damage that would haunt me for years to come. So, with great disappointment I have decided to cut my loses, stop the trip (I had never done so before!), and go back home to nurse my wounds.

So this is the end of this blog, since I don’t have the heart to chronicle a retreat. I just hope that prudence today will allow me to continue adventuring for many years to come. I leave you with a quote from Pablo Cohelo: “If you think that adventure is dangerous, I suggest you try routine. Routine is deadly!”


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