Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Seven Stages of Cycling Grief -- Part One

Last Saturday, Jeff Bauer and I had a really nice long ride together. This week, I paid for it.

We rode from my house, heading down to Franklin to pick up some friends. The rain started early, but it kept things cool as we headed over to the Natchez Trace and down towards Fly. The sun even came out when we stopped at Garrison Creek, and Jeff tried to catch a wayward kitten.

I'm not sure what he would have done with it, however, unless he'd been able to stuff it in his saddlebag.

Leaving Fly, after enjoying the world's best $1 sandwich, it started raining on us again. We took the Fly Gran Fondo route over the unpaved sections of Leatherwood, then down Hoover's Road to Greenfield Bend. The rain came in hard here, and Jeff and I ended up starting our way east towards my house. We had 130 miles in, most of them in rain or spray, when we finished. On the plus side, it kept the temperatures fairly comfortable.

My band, The Kickstands, played a party that night, and then Sunday I flew down to Naples, FL. I started to notice some discomfort in my lower regions Sunday evening, and the flight back early Monday morning was downright painful. Tuesday was agony at work, and I went to the doctor's Wednesday.

Apparently, doing 130 miles in the rain when you haven't done over 100 miles in the past two months can be bad. I now had a golf-ball sized hematoma above my right ischial tuberosity.

If that whole "tuberosity" thing isn't gross-sounding enough, should you go to Wikipedia and look all of that up like I did, you'll see that it really just means that I had a ridiculously swollen bruise on the right portion of my tush that gets compressed when I sit down. And when I say "ridiculously swollen," I am not kidding. When the doctor saw it, he literally said "Oh, my goodness."

You do not want a doctor looking at your tush saying "Oh, my goodness."

Now, Alan Gosart -- one of the sage heads of ultra-cycling (and I don't just say that because said sage head is covered with gray hair, so he almost looks like Dumbledore) -- once gave me a bit of advice regarding swollen things "down there." He said to just go ahead and bite the bullet and stab it with a safety pin.

"If you want to ride your broom, Harry, you'll have to do something about that saddle sore."

"Unless you have magic, Robert, pour rubbing alcohol on everything first."

Sorry. Gotta stop laughing here, first.

Anyway, I should have taken Alan's advice. Instead, I let the doctor torture my taint and go "Oh, my goodness" over it, and then decide to do the medically sound thing: Nothing.

Well, okay, not nothing. He gave me an antibiotic, in case it either is or becomes infected, and he gave me some anti-inflammatories. Then he told me to take hot baths, use a heating pad, and put a warm compress of epsom salts on it.

Great. I've got a thing that makes it really painful to sit at all, and you want me to try to sit in a hot bathtub, or sit on some heating pad? And, let me tell you, it's not much more fun lying around naked on your belly with a salty washcloth drapped over your posterior.

"And I guess that I don't have to tell you," the doctor added, removing his glove with a snap. "Stay off the bike for at least a week."

Well, okay, he probably didn't need to tell me that. There was no way that I can sit on a bike with this thing, anyhow ... probably. Unless I kind of shifted waaaaay over to the right.

And that, my friends, is a perfect example of the First Stage of Cycling Grief: Scheming.

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