Sunday, March 27, 2011
Yesterday was the seven month anniversary of my accident and, to celebrate, I decided to suit up and ride my bike for the first time outdoors. I planned a ride with my wife on a local rail trail in order to focus completely on the ride itself and to eliminate any worry of passing cars. The verdict: despite the long time away, riding a bike was like . . . well . . . riding a bike. Muscle memory is robust; it all came back immediately and my comfort level was just where I wanted it to be. Riding felt far more routine and less dramatic than I might have expected. Pedaling thorough the woods with my wife was both comfortable and comforting.
Physically, there were no nasty surprises. My legs and hips felt fine and my balance is solid and steady. Even my left shoulder behaved well; I can now reach the bars without any hesitation or pain. There is some sensitivity in the left shoulder, but I would expect nothing less. It will take some time to increase my range of motion and my strength. I was surprised by how weak my muscles have become. I noticed that my biceps and triceps, as well as the muscles around my knees, for instance, have not been called into service for a long time and therefore are not quite as powerful as they were in months past. It was also surprisingly challenging to maintain a pace of just 18 mph and I will need to rebuild both speed and endurance in the months ahead.
What a great anniversary present! I couldn't have hoped for anything better at this point. I'm off for the week on a school trip but look forward to logging some more miles when I return. My next goal? Spring break "training camp" on Block Island in mid-April. Before that, I'll log some additional rail trail miles to increase my confidence and strength. Onward!