It irritates, annoys, depresses, and any number of other negative verbs, me to no end that my most limiting factor cycling this spring is my shoulders. My left shoulder is actually doing pretty well following last August's rotator cuff surgery. I still have a lot of strength to regain, but I have good mobility and generally not too much pain. But....
I don't think I told you, mostly because I'm still in denial, that I hurt my right shoulder, too. It was March 18; I remember because it was the day we all went to the college to get Rowan's passport renewed (they do photos and compile applications there). I could see, as I was getting ready to step out of my truck in the college parking lot, that the ice was shiny-slick. I stepped down very carefully and held tight to the door arm rest. Unfortunately, that meant that when my feet slid out from under me, my right hand was still clinging to the door and my arm got pulled up over my head. I can tell from the way it feels that it's likely the same kind of injury as I had to my left shoulder, but maybe not as bad. I suspect it'll need surgery sometime, too.
I don't have time for this! I'm supposed to be doing a 300+ mile bike tour from Fairbanks to Wasilla in June, and then a hiking trek to Machu Picchu in October. Both are going to require some serious training, and I'm not willing to give up either. Unfortunately, riding Madeleine (my road bike with drop handle bars) has been killing my shoulders.
Today was an experiment. I rode ten miles (once again into a headwind, even harder than yesterday's) on Pali, my mountain bike with straight handle bars. I wanted to see if a different hand/arm position would ease my shoulder pain. The good news: straight bars helped significantly. The bad news: I can't ride my mountain bike on a 300 mile tour. I found this result kind of interesting. Last spring, when I was training for my ride in Bhutan, it was straight handlebars that hurt too much, but my drops were fine. Weird.
Hey, maybe there's a silver lining in all this. I can get a new bike, right?! I just might at that. I'll keep riding Madeleine for the next few weeks to see if my shoulders get stronger and less painful, but I'm not willing to give up serious cycling for the season. I think my stable can accommodate another steed. After all, Thane's buying a new snowmobile, and it's way, way more expensive than a bike.
On a completely different front, I saw the coolest thing today while I was riding. A couple of miles away (I won't say exactly where since I don't want to tempt the local trappers), I saw a critter trotting across the road. I thought it was a coyote; we have many in the area. When I got to the spot where I'd seen it, I realized it was still moving across the snow into the woods. It was too far away for me to get a photo to share with you, but it was a lynx! I've only seen a couple of others ever - I was pretty excited. Even on cold, windy days, it's worth it to get out there and ride.