Taking a Break
Owen just got back from his first group ride with the Northfield Bicycle Club. He had a great ride, 33 miles with an average of 16 mph and I’m so happy for him but, I confess, I’m also a little jealous because I didn’t get to ride with him. I’m not just jealous because he got to spend the morning with eight fit guys in bike shorts, it’s because going on a group ride has been one of my goals since I started cycling and I stayed home. And it’s not that staying home is all bad. In fact, I had a great morning and flew my airplane. The real issue is that I’m forced to sit on the sidelines for awhile. Why? because I have a sore bum and, well, other “girly parts” for lack of a better way to say it.
To be honest, talking about my sore “girly parts” is kind of embarrassing and I’ve wondered if I should blog about this at all. But most bicyclist deal with some soreness issues so I’m not alone and I’m hoping writing about mine will help someone else.
I’ve been riding my road bike, a Giant Avail, a lot since I got it in late March. Whether a long ride of 30 miles or a short one, my first 200 or so miles were pain free, something that pleased me a lot especially since I struggled with sit bone pain a lot last year when riding my hybrid, a Specialized Crossroads.
Then three weeks ago Owen and I took a 30 mile ride and I was a little sore afterwards. I was puzzled by it but figured I had some chafing. I applied Chamois Butt’r the next day and rode twice, once on my hybrid and once on my road bike. Still a little sore, I kept riding figuring the soreness would go away. It didn’t.
Fast forward to last Sunday. I rode 18 miles and was so uncomfortable during and after the ride that I decided it was time visit my OBGyn to make sure I didn’t have any female issues. Her verdict? No female issues. Just a lot of external and some internal bruising and swelling, the kind I would get if I fell on the top tube of my bike. She suggested taking a break from riding and giving myself some time to heal.
I’m talking to a few of my bicycling friends and my bike shop to see if they have any thoughts on what caused my problem and how to move forward from here. So far everyone is supportive but somewhat baffled as to the cause. I have some theories, I’ll spell them out later, and some thoughts on what to do to ease back into bicycling after my break. But for now I am doing what my doctor told me to do - I’m taking a break from riding.
On a positive note this time off comes at a perfect time because we’re leaving on vacation, our annual flying trip to the Short Wing Piper Club convention, in a day and I won’t be able to ride anyway. And I read in Bicycling that taking a 7 to 10 day break mid-summer is a good thing to do to “stay sharp all summer” (Hit Refresh by Selene Yaeger). But it’s been difficult knowing my bike is out in the garage and I’m not supposed to ride it, difficult to know Owen is hitting the roads and have great rides without me. As much as I am working to stay positive, I cried on the way home from my doctor appointment and have cried several times since.
My bike - ready and waiting for me to ride it again
I guess the tears mean I kind of like riding my bike. Yes, it’s true - for all the moments when riding has seemed too hard and for all of my complaints, my best times of summer so far have involved riding my bike, especially the rides with my family. I really can’t imagine not riding. But for now I need to give my body time to heal and I want to get ready for a great vacation. My bike will be ready and waiting for me when I get back.