On Monday I was awoken as usual by the cat. I got up and was immediately incapacitated by pain in my lower back. I had been aching for a couple of weeks but that had become the norm as long as I controlled it by stretching which was infrequent at best. I suspect that using muscles that had been dormant for 10 months playing cricket the day before was the straw that quite literally broke the camels back. Not that I did much. It was a development match so us 4 seniors mainly umpired or scored while the juniors killed it while batting. I only fielded, did some running and only bowled 3 balls as I engineered a 42 run win. Humping 2 gaming laptops home from work in my backpack on Friday without stretching afterwards was also a factor. Those things are heavy!
Back pain, cycling and stretching. That was the focus of my painful internet search on Monday morning while I waited for the ibuprofen to dull things. It turns out that I may have been lax and ignorant of my core and back and hamstrings during my ongoing 12 week quest to ride 200km+/week. With being laid up for the day, either walking or lying flat, there was no way that I was riding for at least a day. With cricket back on, a long ride on a Monday would make a good dent into the target so I made peace with the fact that another 200km this week was out of the question. Rest, that’ll do the trick….
Tuesday morning it felt better. Better enough to do planks, targeted stretching and clean a bike. As is my habit, I had to take the bike out to test everything. After 10km and another stretch, it felt OK. I decided to drop the saddle on the crosser and take that out and test the position, sticking the Allen key in my pocket to adjust as needed. After 12km and a couple of stops to fiddle about with the height, I made it home in no less pain than the morning. More of an ache now really. But not enough to prevent me getting stuck into marinating food for the evenings dinner.
Wednesday was back to work and I was not keen to injure my back further. I had made up a plank/stretching programme that made me realise how inflexible my body has become and did not want to risk my long term enjoyment of riding for the sake of more miles in the short term. So I drove in, the laptops considerably lighter to carry on the passenger seat! I packed my riding clothes for another back tester that evening on a loop around local farmland which never eventuated as Mrs B2W had a migraine, was laid up in bed and the boys needed a slave to fix their dinner. Afterward, I did some core exercises and stretches while watching 2 sets of cricket highlights. What started out as a painful chore has become a bit of an obsession and within a short time I have begun to enjoy the burn. But it takes time. Now I know why the cat has been waking me early-he has been nagging me to get up and spend the time stretching to avoid injury! 😂 (bless him).
So this morning, after a period of pre stretching and core exercises I headed out into the day that was already thick with humidity. There was no way that I was going to miss national cycle to work day. I focused on my posture, pedalling smoothly and not rocking my pelvis from side to side. Apparently the rocking is to do with saddle height and tired legs so I kept the journey to a brief 21km although I had to take a detour down Mill Lane in Gaston Green to the river trail to bypass one of the many roads that are closed. There is a lot of laying of high speed Internet infrastructure-such a shame they don’t fix the pot holes while they’re at it. I gingerly wheeled my way through the corridors of high grass that enveloped the trail to the river and was set upon by a fine sort drizzle.
Coated in this refreshing and welcome coolant, I made my way down the river, hopped up to the main road and got back onto the river further down. I was probably riding in the correct posture for three quarters of this ride and when I realised that I wasn’t, it was easy to refocus on getting the gears and pedal stroke right to get back with the programme.
It was drier and warmer on the return journey. The back was no worse for riding this morning but I resisted the temptation to go longer, further and instead focus on what made the ride successful this morning sitting upright and engaging my thighs and pulling the pedal up on my backstroke. With all this concentrating on getting things right I didn’t notice much of my surroundings except for the fields that are being harvested. On one side, a wheat field, shaved by a number one blade of the combine and on the right, waving shaggy crops waiting for the Covid cut.
Home to stretch, feel the burn, core exercises, watching cricket highlights and the bed… 😴😴😴