18 October 2005

Arrggh Italy

After a week in Italy, I was starting to get on track for my K2 training, things were starting to fall into place. I had managed to do some pretty long rides, some pretty long steep climbs, and things were looking good, I felt good on the bike, training is a lot easier when you can recover all day instead of working on your feet (you office jockeys get it real easy). I had managed to even put in some sightseeing rides as well, with a few more mountain top cities, a trip to the leaning Tower of Pisa, Lucca, the coolest old city I have seen yet. And a few other towns that most tourists would not even get to see as they are in the middle of nowhere but seem like they used to be really important at one stage. The sun was up every day and there was no sight of rain for the next week that was good. The bike was going well, brakes working fine. I managed to hook up with a few bunch rides with one of the guys I know here, quite cool really as there was at least five pro’s riding everyday, as to their names, who knows, they sounded Italian, I do know what bike they were on though. I was keeping up with them right until we hit the biggest of climbs, then they showed their true calling in life, I pretended not to notice their speed.

The difference with cramming training in for a 200km race and cramming for an exam is that your head won’t explode from too much forced study, on the other hand your body my blow from too much training…. My accelerated training program was going sweet, I was up to 140km in the hills with no real problems, until that is, my legs realised what was going on and retaliated, and they got me good. Exactly ten days into the training, one of my knees, which has been giving me no real problems, started to make some pretty good attempts at trying to make me stop. I had not experienced pain like this before and it seemed to be getting worse with every pedal stroke. By the time that it was warm, it seemed to be fine, so as usual I tested it out by increasing the load on the way home and was happy with it’s apparent miracle repair. The next day it felt sweet under load as long as I was keeping my ankle fluid with every stroke. I found a couple of mountains to climb, they were sweet, but on the way home, the route on the map looked lame enough, through a cool little valley. Looks were deceiving, as within a short distance the climbs in this valley ended up being longer and harder than the hill work that I had done earlier. I climbed for 23km, up to a height of 950m (the cyclists reading will know what this feels like, the rest of you just pick up the broom and beat your legs hard for twenty minutes to emulate the pain), this was supposed to be a recovery ride home. Well 140km later I got home feeling pretty sweet, after 23kms of climbing it was the sweetest 45mins descent that I have ever had, it kind of made things right after the climbing

I took a day off, just for the hell of it, but the next day things kind of caught up with me, I got less than 5km down the road when I had to make the horrible call of turning around (very tough decision for any cyclist). My knee was killing me, not only that my achillis tendon felt like someone had jammed a fork in there, I looked to check, don’t worry. I grovelled home, took as many drugs as my body would allow and rested the rest of the day. That night I searched the internet for the right pages that would not be telling me to get off my bike and rest the achillis for 7-10 days, I could’nt find any. Ice, elevate it and rest, doh.. that’s not what I need to hear, but I listened, they were also saying light cycling would be a great recovery for the tendon, the knee will sort itself out I had hoped, as this was not a normal thing for my knees (it was to come but not this early in life, I told myself). I rested the day and got very bored watching reruns of old programs badly dubbed in Italian, my Italian is not that good yet, so they all seemed to sound the same. The next day the achillis ice therapy seemed to be working, so I though I would give it a run on the bike, I was less than 5 km into it and both injuries were starting to scream at me, not as loud as the other day, so I turned the ipod up louder and continued. I got a little bit further, only 25km before I had to turn around, it’s quite interesting with two injuries as you can play them off against each other…. When one is killing you, just think of how little pain the other injury is giving you, but as that pain increases you always have the other injury to think of and so on. Normally I’m not so lucky as I only have one injury to concentrate on the pain, hey things are looking up.

I’ve got the day off the bike again today, yes resting, but I’m over it already. I resisted the urge to pack my bike up today, as I leave tomorrow for a few days in London. So I’ll give it one more try tomorrow for the last ride here in Italy, if the injuries are still giving me gip, the bike gets packed away until I get home on Saturday. Never to see the streets of London, and probably never to see K2 this year as well, that will teach it a good lesson, I hope.

And for the fist time this blog is up to date, watch out London, I may be off the training when I see you. This could be dangerous…mind you a quick search on Google found 106 bike shops in the confines of London, including a Cycle City, Psycho, Cycle Surgery, Planet Cycles, and you thought they were only in NZ. Also some really cool names like Bob’s Bikes, Bike Shop, Moose Cycles and Two Wheels Good all worth a good look because the shops here in Italy suck…

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