Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mountain biking

It's been a while since I rode my mountain bike. I am still hurting from the somersault I took earlier this year, when I hit a pothole in Redwood Park. I ended up with a mild concussion and a type three acromio-clavicular joint separation (AC for short).

The latter was no fun and kept me from exercising in rather unforeseen ways. Obviously swimming was out of the question. But running for example was not good either. It was mighty painful and I could not really find any position for my arm that was even moderately comfortable. Nevertheless I ran the Boston marathon this way and set a new PR. All the while I was thinking, "let's get this over with so I can rest my arm." I never noticed the leg pain.

Even today, more than six months later, the injury still bothers me. I can put my finger on my clavicle and press it down like a piano key. It comes back up too. My arm tends to get tired easily and there are some positions lying down that are distinctly annoying.

The other lasting impression I got from this incident was that anytime I go fast on my mountain bike I get pretty scared. It is very context sensitive. It only happens on my mountain bike and only on trails. It has little to do with the condition of the trail but everything with the speed of travel. My accident happened on a flat section of trail at fairly high speed. It was what you call a freak accident in a place where you least expect it.

Nonetheless, I went out on a ride today and had great fun. The weather was pretty much ideal and the trails were nearly empty. A road block on Skyline prevented me from going to Redwood and so I went to Tilden and Wildcat. Tilden is a more scenic ride but it has steeper and more slippery descents and lots of gravel. Parts of it are also covered in black clay that turns into deep mud in winter (totally unsuitable for riding) and very hard concrete-like bumpy patches in summer.

I really enjoy mountain biking and today was no exception. However I need to be careful now so I don't get injured before the Ironman in November. That means I will probably limit my trail adventures for now.

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