The Cycle of Life

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting Back into Long-Distance Riding

At the end of the 2007 unicycle convention, I asked my eventual teammates, Dave White and John Foss, to join me in making a 3-man team for the 2008 Ride the Lobster race in Nova Scotia. All of us had to train a great deal beforehand, and about a year later, we raced all out for 5 days across that small Canadian island. Over the five days, each of us covered about 180-190 miles, riding all out in stints of between two and ten miles. At the end of the race, I began suffer tendonitis and knee problems, so I didn't do a whole lot of long-distance riding until Dane Smith visited me for 11 days last month. We went on a few rides in New Paltz and NYC, and I found myself having a great time and feeling better physically. So I've decided to get back into riding full time, devoting at least an hour a day to it when possible. My goal is to ride at least 100 miles per week. Primarily I'm using my 36" ungeared Coker at home and my geared 29" Schlumpf in Manhattan.

When I was training for the Lobster, I found myself riding in all sorts of conditions, and sure enough, they all helped out in Nova Scotia. So a few days ago, I had a great ride that reminded me of practically everything our team encountered in Canada.

I took off on my Coker during a drizzle that turned into pouring rain (A) by the time I got 2 miles from home. At that point, my riding went from a flat, paved road (B) to the flat gravel road (C) of the rail trail. I took the trail north out of New Paltz and into some neighboring towns, sticking to the trail just to see how bad the conditions would be. They were pretty bad! At one point I got thrown by the mud and ended up covered in muck. After that, it was hard to remount without getting silt all over my hands. At another point later, my hands were too wet and cold to activate the touch screen on my phone (A). Near the end of the trail ride, the sky suddenly got so dark that it looked like I was riding during an eclipse (A).

The rail trail ends at a point 7 miles later, turning off onto a really steep, paved road (D) that leads down into the next town. I bought some pretzel rolls at a great new shop called Twisted Foods (spending my soggy $20 bill), got them bagged up really well, and headed home. The return route involved a steep uphill that forced me to stand up for each leg stroke in order to make any progress (E); my legs are still feeling that bit. After finally ascending that hill, I decided to take a longer route back that skirted a few ponds and a river (F). The rain finally began to let up (G), and the riding at this point was quite peaceful since there were almost no cars. One lady did slow her car down to chat about getting her young son a unicycle (H). My butt was beginning to get sore (I), but I decided to take the long way home (avoiding a 3-mile shortcut) because I was having so much fun.

When I arrived chez Stone, I was covered in muck, soaked to the gills, and pretty smelly (J). Shirra enjoyed a pretzel roll and I stripped and rushed upstairs for a shower. Shirra later told me that it took two extra rinses to clean out the washing machine after my clothes had been in it (K). My sneakers took two days to dry.

A. Day 2, and especially Day 3 (The time trial). Man, did we get wet!
B. Much of our riding was on those nice, flat roads.
C. ... but there were those gravel roads that I loved, esp'ly on Day 4, where I managed to reach my fastest-yet speed (23 mph) while riding on a lengthy gravel downhill bit.
D. Ugh. There were some pretty crazy downhills during our Lobster ride. I somehow managed to miss the two worst of them -- each of my teammates got one of them, as I recall.
E. Double-ugh. Those uphills were always killing me! So often I had to stand up between strokes just to get another half-rev closer to our support van!
F. I loved those gorgeous flat parts as we rode around water. My favorite was a lake on Day 2.
G. Day 4 we finally saw the last of the drizzle.
H. I loved seeing all the nice people along the ride, yelling encouragement from cars or from the roadside. The best, of course, were the kids outside a school who came to cheer us on.
I. Sore butt! That wasn't a major issue for me, happily, because we took frequent breaks, but there were a few moments!
J. That pretty much described all of us on Day 3
K. ... until we went to that laundromat. I remember the terrible smell of the dryer after we'd put in our socks and sneakers for a bit!

So that's at least 11 different ways that this two-hour ride encapsulated our amazing week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Disappointed: No Love from the Colbert Report

On March 26, I arrived in NYC earlier than usual for a unicycle Saturday. The plan was to meet in the courtyard of the Union Theological Seminary at 11:30 or so. The associate producer and producer were there, along with a cameraman, sound man, and an assistant. It was about 35° outside, but for some reason, they'd chosen this spot for the interview. Planes flew overhead at odd intervals, and trucks rumbled by on occasion, so there were several times when I had to repeat an answer, sometimes more than once. The interview lasted about 45 minutes.

Afterwards, we all made our way to Grant's Tomb, a short walk away. The crew interviewed some of the members, especially the kids, and they filmed us riding around. They stayed for 3 hours, and got some adorable shots of Adam Cohen's son Ziggy, 4, who is the youngest rider on the East Coast. They also asked him a few questions.

Three weeks later, the piece aired. My interview was completely absent, replaced by a kook law professor who thinks that unicycles should be banned from sidewalks because they're as dangerous as linebackers rushing at you. The piece was ok, and there were some funny bits at the expense of the law kook, but I was quite disappointed: I was really looking forward to at least a few seconds of screen time, but they didn't even include more than about 3 seconds of Ziggy, and there was no mention made of the club. The piece was also not especially funny or cute, and it made Kyle look a bit doofy, too, when it could easily have made unicycling look totally safe (by showing more of the club and of Ziggy) or totally crazy (by showing people riding around crowded sidewalks). Instead, it stayed somewhere in the middle.

With the exception of Adam Cohen and, of course, Kyle, I think the members of the club were at least a bit disappointed; after all, there wasn't much to be happy about. I'm bummed that I wasted my time helping out, and I'm disappointed that I got nothing fun out of the experience.

Oh, and if you're dying to see me on TV, I'm the one in the floppy hat on the right side of the screen at the 4:24 mark. Don't blink.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Next Stop: The Colbert Report

I'll be part of a Colbert Report episode next week.

Thanks to the Kyle situation (see the post just below this one), I was contacted six weeks ago about appearing on the Colbert Report. The subject: Kyle's lawsuit against NYC and the safety of unicycling in general. I happily acquiesced.

The associate producer, Kim, emailed me about setting up a date, and initially we were shooting for the first Sunday in March, but the weather didn't cooperate, so we found a date that ended up working: March 26. It wasn't during our regularly scheduled meeting times, but with the excitement about the taping and the fact that it had rained the week before (on our usual day to meet), we had a big turnout despite the near-freezing can't-believe-this-is-Spring temperatures.

Before the meeting, I was interviewed for about 45 minutes. The camera was set up in a courtyard of the Union Theological Seminary on 121st Street and Broadway (I'm not sure why this outdoor spot was chosen on such a chilly day). The producer, a young man named Aaron, was off-camera, asking me questinos that I would then answer by repeating the question within the answer. So if the question was "Would you consider yourself a unicycle expert?" my answer would be, "Yes, I am a unicycle expert." The questions were mainly about how unicycles aren't actually dangerous to pedestrians; towards the end of the interview, I also had to announce that unicycles are not the enemy within. Despite the cold, I enjoyed the experience.

Afterward I thought back to one of the moments during the interview. I'd been asked to repeat a sentence about unicycles and bicycles, and I accidentally said that "a unicycle has two wheels and a bicycle has one." The cameraman caught the error, and I corrected my statement. But it occurred to me that if they wanted to make me look really foolish, they could put together my 'unicycle expert' sentence with the mistake about the wheels. I didn't think that they were going for that type of result, but just to be on the safe side, I emailed Aaron a short note to thank him for the fun day and to ask about that possibility. He said not to worry. I slept a lot better after that!

The show airs soon, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arrested Developments (not me!)

My brother forwarded me a link in some newspaper about a unicyclist who is suing the city over two summonses he'd recently received for unicycling.

Several of us have been pulled over for unicycling, and in rare cases, riders have been given summonses. None of those summonses has stuck. I've been pulled over a couple times, but the officers never gave me a ticket. My friend Joe Merrill once got ticketed, but when he went to court, the judge dismissed the ticket immediately.

There are two laws on the books in NYC that touch on this subject. One, cited below, defines a 'bicycle' as having two or three wheels. The other law has to do with wheel diameter; apparently if it is taller than 26", it shouldn't be ridden on the sidewalk.

Kyle Peterson was riding a small-wheel unicycle when he got ticketed -- twice -- but he decided to fight back with a lawsuit of his own. The problem is that his suit made the news, and I've always advocated that unicyclists NOT draw attention to ourselves. After all, it wouldn't be hard for the city government to simply change the law. That could really put the kibosh on many riders like my brother and me.

Here is an article from a Brooklyn paper called The Brooklyn Paper:

This wheel’s on fire — Cyclones’ unicyclist sues city for $3M over wrongful tickets
By Andy Campbell
The Brooklyn Paper

Unicycle legend Kyle Peterson got two tickets for riding his one-wheeler on the sidewalk. Now, he’s fighting back with a $3-million lawsuit.

Call it a uni-bombshell.

The Brooklyn Cyclones’ juggling unicycle-riding vendor Kyle Peterson is suing the NYPD for $3 million after cops ticketed him twice for riding his one-wheeled wonder on a Classon Avenue sidewalk — even though it’s legal to do because the law doesn’t consider the unicycle a bicycle.

But the precedent-setting uni-lawsuit — which Peterson’s attorney filed on Nov. 15 — isn’t about the money, revenge or even Peterson himself. It’s about ending unnecessary summonses against unicyclists forever.

“And if you were to sue for $5,000, it would have no effect on future illegal summonses,” said Peterson’s lawyer, Paul Hale. “The only way to stop the city’s blatant and illegal activity is by going for the pocketbook.”

The one-wheeled drama started on Dec. 4, 2007, when Peterson was riding home near Madison Avenue at 3 am, according to court documents. Two plainclothes detectives stopped him in an unmarked car, detained him “for approximately 30 minutes in the dead of winter,” allegedly taunted him by singing circus music, then ticketed him for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Apparently, the cops didn’t realize that city law defines a bike as a two- or three-wheeled riding apparatus. As such, Peterson’s case was quickly dismissed at a hearing.

But on Nov. 2, cops again ticketed Peterson on Classon Avenue after they noticed him unicycling on the sidewalk.

“I told the cops that I’d been through this before and that unicycling on the sidewalk is completely legal,” Peterson said on Monday.

But Peterson’s educational outreach blew up in his face — with no other way to summons him, the cops wrote him up for disorderly conduct instead, court papers show.

Peterson is retaining a lawyer for that case, too, and says the “bogus” charge will likely be dismissed as well. But he’s had enough with the summonses — not only because the unicycle is his main mode of transportation, but also because riding on a small, slow, one-wheeled vehicle in the street isn’t safe....

Peterson (whose surname might actually be 'Petersen') made the mistake of correcting the officer who was writing the original summons for bicycling. This meant that he essentially forced the cop to give him a different (and more serious) ticket. Even though the 'disorderly conduct' charge will also be thrown out, the risk is that it won't, in which case he'll have a crime on his record, which is worse than the ticket.

There were many problems with the situation. For one thing, Peterson was not doing anything illegal OR wrong. After all, he wasn't endangering anyone at the time. So the cops were wrong to give him a ticket. But if Peterson indirectly gets the law changed so that unicycling on the sidewalk is outlawed, then he will have done a great disservice to unicyclists all over The City.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Update on the Knees

I had arthro on my right knee nearly two months ago. The surgery went very well, and I literally walked out of the hospital that afternoon (albeit with my wife's help -- I was quite woozy). Within a few days, I was unicycling... gingerly at first, and then with more confidence.

That's when I noticed that the pain in my left knee had gotten a lot worse. It's been a little clunky forever, and it got worse after the Lobster, but in the two years since that race, it seemed to have plateaued so that for the most part, it was ok. Now I'm not so sure.

I went thru several weeks of physical therapy for my right knee after the surgery, and I don't think that I was favoring my right knee or anything, but when I went back for my 6-week checkup on the right knee, my only complaint was the left one. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot. Two days later, it wasn't any better, but now it feels ok. It's possible that it will hurt again after I go riding for any appreciable distance, but lately I haven't had a chance.

I certainly wouldn't mind going in for arthro again -- that was a breeze, and my right knee feels much better. I have a feeling that the problems in my left knee are almost identical and that I'll be going under the knife (or the mini-camera and such) again soon.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

NY Unicycle Festival!!!

In the realm of unicycling, I've had little to shout about lately. I still have a wonky knee -- tho this time it's the left one -- and I haven't been able to ride much lately. On our recent trip to Martha's Vineyard, I brought my Coker hoping, as in past years, that I could ride several miles a day, as I did last summer, but I only managed one painful trip to the local store before putting the big, rusty beast away. So I am thrilled to have some happy news to report on unicycling.

Today marked Day 2 of the first annual NYC Unicycle Festival, and it was a blast. Day One, involving a 13-mile ride across the Brooklyn Bridge and down to Coney Island, was out of the question for me (see above! I had a whole weekend to think about!), but today was the main event: Governor's Island.

The day was organized by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, and they did an incredible job for an inaugural affair. Aided by many volunteers (quite a few from my club), the Cirkus folks arranged a day that didn't rush everyone from one activity to the next but instead allowed everyone a leisurely time that was packed with things to do -- not an easy feat.

Emmett, who just turned 11 while on Martha's Vineyard, rode down with my in the little Smart Car. Amazingly we found a parking spot near the ferry terminal (try that in an ordinary car!). A few minutes later, we were the last people to make it onto the 11:30 ferry. Because I wasn't sure whether we'd need different unicycles for different events, I had each of us bring two unis, but Emmett isn't quite solid enough to ride one while pushing or carrying another, so I ended up holding two unicycles and wearing a heavy backpack full of all of our snacks. I was relieved to be sitting on the ferry, where several other unicycle riders were already sitting. It's a 5-minute ride across the Hudson to Governor's Island.

At noon, Emmett and I joined in with a huge parade processional featuring about 200 riders. I participated in a brief interview with some folks from CBS News and then joined in with unicycle hockey at 1:00. It was low-key, and I made sure not to take too long a turn, but I managed to score a few goals for my pick-up team. At 2:00, there was a unicycle basketball demonstration from some of the members of the King Charles Basketball Troupe. It was exciting for me to be so close to some of the people who had inspired me to ride back when I was in single digits. I also spoke with some other riders who had formed an off-shoot group called the Royal Riders, all of whom started riding even before I did (which was in 1980). The King Charles demo also featured some great double-dutch jump roping on unicycles. This was one of my favorite segments of the day.

Another great time was the pick-up basketball game that came next. To my amazement (and to the amazement of my son), I actually made 4 baskets. Anyone who knows me is aware of my terrible basketball skills. I think that the nets were pretty low -- maybe 9' instead of 10' -- but I was definitely in a one-time-only groove. I shot the winning basket behind my head, throwing the ball up past my face and over my head, off the backboard, and into the net behind me. It was the only possible shot, but there's no way I should have been able to make it. All I could think was that it was nice to inhabit the body of a decent shooter, even for just a few minutes.

Following the basketball games, Emmett and I watched some trials riding. There was an awesome trials course built rather quickly by some of the volunteers. Emmett and I worked on some basic obstacles (like the teeter-totter), but there were some heavy hitters trying out very difficult hops and jumps. Next came some fun relay races, and Emmett and I were able to join or put together some winning teams, including one with my brother, John, on his Coker.

Thruout the day, volunteers were helping newbies learn to unicycle, and I did my part, working with a few folks and offering advice.

Finally, after a ride around the island in a vain search for a snack stand that turned out to be just a minute away from where we were, we joined in with a group photo and then headed back to the ferry. I asked one of the Bindlestiff folks to try to tally up how many riders came out. We were guessing about 300. That's pretty amazing for a first time effort. Well done, Bindlestiffs!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's Official: Torn Medial Meniscus. Surgery Next Month

Since mid-October, my right knee has had pain, swelling, and discomfort, tho not always at the same time. Initially my doctor was very patient; there's little point in performing an MRI if the problem just goes away on its own. We played 'wait and see.' We 'saw' for a long time that while the symptoms had abated a good deal, I still had some pain and discomfort depending on my recent activity level, and I've been walking with a limp for too long to remember. Finally, my doc relented and prescribed an MRI last week. The results are in, and officially I have a 'complex medial meniscal tear' as well as a slight sprain of the ACL. The 'complex' part means only that the tearing is in two planes rather than somewhat flat. It doesn't really add to the problem in a negative way, as the name seems to imply.

Although he was initially reluctant to bring out the big guns early on, the doctor had no hesitation about setting up a surgery date as soon as possible. He was ready to go this Monday! Unfortunately, my schedule is full then, but happily he's free a month from today, and the timing couldn't be better: It's a Thursday, and I have a light tutoring load that week, so I can have the operation, recover over the weekend, and get back into action the following Monday without missing any work.

Apparently the recovery time can be very fast. The doc said that I'd be walking out of the hospital on crutches and that I'd be walking without them the very next day! He anticipates that I could drive as early as that following Monday, but we agreed that a long commute might be too painful, so I'll have to decide whether just to take the bus that day. And then by the end of July, I should be able to engage in sports again. By mid-August, I should be able to unicycle around Martha's Vineyard, as I have done for many years.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hurty Knee

I have a hurty knee. My left knee is a bit cranky, still, but on the whole it's probably as good as it's going to get. My right knee, however, has been mildly achy for weeks.

About 4 weeks ago, I ran around the field to enact situational plays for my son's little league team. No problem. But I had so much fun that I did it again a week later. This time my knee swole up and was almost unbendable. I knew that I'd overdone it, but I was hoping the swelling would subside quickly. Eventually I made and appointment with my knee man, and he agreed that there wasn't much he could do. I seem to have a case of 'old knee.'

I figured maybe some of the problem stemmed not from too much uni'ing but from too little. After all, since I started driving into NYC last year, I've gotten almost no exercise. But my recent riding has only made things worse. I'll keep up with it for a bit longer, but I may have to start thinking about things to strengthen my knee even more gently.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Health Update, Oct 09

My tendinitises (tendinites?) are gone: my elbow is fine, my ankle is fine. Gone for good? I guess that depends on how hard I push myself, but I've been fine for a year, and my 80-mile ride in September didn't cause any problems whatsoever.

My left knee is still out of kilter, but at least it's been pain-free for a long time. It's probably simply settled into a comfortable groove that's not quite what it used to be but isn't going to cause any new problems for a long time. I'm fine with it. When I go for long rides, I wear a soft, hinged knee brace with a cutout for the kneecap.

I've ridden around the Central Park bike loop a few times since the Century ride -- no problems. So I'm excited to keep at it. In the next few weeks (before the ice and snow ruin things for a few months), I'll be riding around the loop a few times a week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Funny Aftermath to My Century Attempt

One of my unicycle brethren from the forum notified me that there were a few Twitter tweets about my ride during the Century ride. One person apparently felt that unicycles shouldn't be allowed. I didn't see that post when I searched for it, but I did find a funny one from 'slothlove' who wrote: "Just ride 55 miles in the #nycentury. Felt pretty good about myself until I saw the guy on the unicycle."

Gotta love that.

I told a few of my fellow cyclists that day that part of what drives me to continue when my body is telling me to take a cab is that it's fun to make the bikers feel like they're not working hard enough. Next year I definitely have to get in shape so that I can complete the full 100 miles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

80 Miles on a Unicycle (an Incomplete Century)

I set out this past Sunday to ride my 2nd full Century. I made it 80% of the way.

I rode my only complete C in 2003. Last year, I had 89 miles under my belt when I had to stop due to a really bad case of saddle soreness. Basically my cheeks looked like Kris Kringle's. I was determined not to let that happen again.

This ride starts at 6 am at the northern end of Central Park, but I took off earlier than that in order to avoid the rush and mainly to give myself a better chance of finishing by 6 pm, when the ride comes to an official end.

I donned two pairs of padded cycle shorts and slathered on enough chamois butter for three people. I reapplied the butter thruout the day, and as a result, I suffered no friction pain during or after the ride. I do, however, have a better understanding of the term 'numbnuts.'

It was a lovely sunny day -- too lovely, in fact, which is how I found myself terribly dehydrated midway thru -- so I was glad that I'd remembered sun block and that the stuff still worked. I applied some when the sun finally showed up at about 7:30 and then again a few hours later. I am not sure how much sunlight can filter thru the slats of my helmet, but I didn't want to end up looking like a zebra-head.

That's not a quick pace, but including breaks, and given how little training and general riding I'd done in the previous 12 months, I was happy with how things started for me. My breaks totaled about 40 minutes by mile 30, but while I was on the unicycle, I had been maintaining a 13.1-mph pace, which is quite fast given the frequent slow-downs and stops along this ride. I mainly stayed in high gear this time since last year's ride produced a catastrophic fall when the unicycle didn't shift gears properly, pretty much ending my ride (along with the raw bum cheeks).

I figured that I had 9 hours to complete the next 70 miles, an easy enough task. I'd felt good riding the 13 miles from my mom's apartment building (81st St off Central Park, Manhattan) to rest stop #1 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn). I felt pretty good riding from there to rest stop #2, 17 miles later. Unfortunately, the ride organizers had shortened the space between stops #2 and #3 without adding an addition stop between #3 and #4. This meant that riders had a 30-mile gap before the next big stop (Kissena Park, Queens). And after another hour of riding, I didn't think I'd ever make it that far.

It didn't help that we had a strong breeze blowing in our faces for most of the Queens segment of the ride. The bikers complained about it, too, but they acknowledged that I probably had it worse because my sitting position (on a unicycle) makes me much less aerodynamic than they are. There were plenty of times where, because of the wind and my exhaustion, I rode in low gear at about 6-8 miles an hour.

At some point I finally realized that my muscles were screaming for more water and more electrolytes, but at the time I just felt like I had lost all of my energy. When it dawned on me that I was dehydrated, I started drinking a lot more from my backpack hydration system, nearly emptying its recently-replenished 70-oz bladder. This meant that from that point on, I frequently had to stop in order to empty my own (less-than-70 oz) bladder, and since the organizers had forgotten to include even one portable toilet between rest stops, I invented quite a few of my own. Sorry, Queens.

I stopped frequently between mile 40 and mile 50, and pretty soon I had most of the gas back in my proverbial tank. During my recovery period of about two hours, I wasn't able to maintain more than 12 mph and at some points had to put the uni into low gear, but after about two hours, I was back to about 80% strength, able to keep up with some of the slower-paced bikers for long stretches.

At this point, it actually helped that I got lost. I had been riding with a pack of about 20 bikers. Whenever we came to a busy intersection, I managed to weave thru the traffic before the rest of my pack; I've been good at reading traffic ever since I began serious uni commuting 10 years ago. The peloton would pass me between stop lights, and then I'd catch up to them, zig and zag thru the cars, and get ahead once more. At about mile 50, I was feeling strong, and as I approached the group waiting for the light, I jokingly announced, "I'm making my move!" as I crossed against the light once again. By the time I looked back, I realized that I'd missed a turn (probably at that light). I was either going to have to find my way back to the course (impossible, since I didn't have a map), return to the spot where I'd gone off course (perhaps adding an additional mile to my ride), or I could ride straight to Kissena Park (rest stop #3), which I discovered was just two miles away. I opted to shorten this part of my ride, and I arrived at the 60-mile rest stop after riding just 53 miles. It was about 11:30 am.

I was more than halfway thru the 100-mile mark in under half the time, but I began to admit to other riders that it was very unlikely that I'd complete the full Century. Pathetically, I managed only 27 more miles in the remaining 4.5 hours.

After Kissena Park, I set out for the Astoria Park rest stop about 20 miles away. I was feeling better thanks to all the water and electrolytes I was consuming, but I still needed to take breaks just to get some blood flow back into my groin. Because of the long pauses I'd had to take earlier on, I arrived at the final stop -- mile 81 or so for everyone else, mile 74 for me -- too late to have a good shot at finishing 100 miles by 6 pm. I chatted with two guys who were riding a tandem (same ratio of rider to wheel as me, I pointed out, but apparently they still had an easier time), and eventually we all headed off.

This last little stretch (of about 5 miles) stupidly involves a bridge that has an incomplete biking section which forces riders to carry their cycles up and down several series of steps. I have no idea why Transportation Alternatives continues to use this bridge on the route, but it was the final nail in the coffin for my Century chances since it slowed us all down as, like little ants carrying grasshoppers to the anthill, we all made our way across the span. Last year it happened to be worse -- there were more of us trying to cross at the time -- but it still took over 10 minutes to get across about a mile of space. I arrived at the finish line, having ridden 78 miles, at 5 pm. I briefly considered pedaling around the park at least once more, to add 5 miles to my trip, but I decided to call it a day and head back to my car, 2+ miles away. It wasn't 100 miles, but I was happy with the ride, especially considering my lack of preparation, the heavy wind for about 20 miles, and my ability to fight back after that dehydration.

I took a strong hot shower (my mom's apartment building has firehouse-power water pipes thanks to old plumbing) and remembered that same experience last year when I could barely tolerate even the coolest mild drip on my ruby-red cheeks. Soon I was driving back to New Paltz, feeling fine. Later that night, I awoke with a weird pain in my wonky left knee, but it went away by the following morning. I have only one muscle that's even slightly sore: my left bicep (!) from holding the extention on my uni. For the first time after a ride over 80 miles, I was able to ride a unicycle the next day.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Getting back in the saddle

I finally had a chance to go for a lengthy ride this afternoon. I forgot to bring a trip meter of any sort, but I estimated the the loop around Central Park (6.2 miles) took 26 minutes. This isn't a great time (averaging just under 15 mph), but it's not bad for my first lengthy ride in months.

My knee is still really clicky, but it rarely hurts. I happened to jog about a half-mile yesterday in Doc Marten shoes on my way to seeing West Side Story with my mom, and that felt a bit uncomfy at the time. Whlie sitting in the theater, I noticed that I didn't have the leg strength to tap along with the music. Man, I'm out of shape!

So being able to ride around the park at a decent clip was all the more of a relief, considering.

I'll have to get back to riding now that the weather has improved.

I also have an appointment with the doctor this Tuesday. Maybe I'll finally get that MRI.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Update on That Knee of Mine

Unforch, not much to reporch:

My knee has remained 'clicky' since I first noticed the problem in late Oct (2008). Physical therapy didn't seem to help with the clicking, tho the swelling is mostly gone and I have little pain, and that only after heavy work or uni'ing.

I'm going to make another appointment with the doctor who barely looked at me and seemed to wave off the idea of anything more invasive (oops -- I mean 'expensive') like an MRI or arthroscopic surgery.

Time will tell.

At this point, I can still walk and unicycle, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming uni convention in late July (in Minnesota). My son and I will be driving there in the smart car!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

To Knee or Not to Knee, That is the Question

My left knee has been to a physical therapist ten times now. It seems to have plateaued. At first, it would clunk every so often as I walked up the stairs or otherwise bent it at the wrong angle. In addition, it was looking pretty swollen (my 4yo daughter called it my fat knee). Within a few visits to the P/T, the swelling was down and the clunking had disappeared.

I went back to the same office where I'd had my first visit. A medico (not an official doctor, but something medical nonetheless) initially prescribed the P/T and a few other things, and when I revisited him two weeks ago, he thought I'd need an MRI and maybe some arthroscoping; maybe even arthroscopic surgery. But first I had to see the head honcho, a Dr. Moscowitz.

Dr M had the bedside manner of a crossing guard. Nonetheless, I still had the feeling that his diagnosis is probably correct: Time heals all wounds. He didn't think I'd need an MRI or any scoping. Because the injury had taken awhile to develop, he said, the healing time will be longer than if it had been due to a sudden fall.

I was definitely looking forward to the MRI and even the scoping, but already my knee feels better. I'll keep giving it time. In the meanwhile, I'll keep riding a few blocks everyday and when the weather improves, I'll take my uni for some longer rides.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Check out our new website!!! Plus, a word about my knee

We've updated the club's website (thanks, Mitch and Ken!). Check it out!!!

In the near future, we'll have even more cool content, and right now you can look at old meeting notes and examine new videos and photos.

In the meantime, here is something you won't learn elsewhere:
My left side continues to heal from that "Ride the Lobster" race this past June. First it was my left ankle (tendinitis), then it was my left elbow (tendinitis, commonly called tennis elbow), and now it's my left knee. Rather than tendinitis, this time the problem is more like arthritis. There was a lot of clunking as tho my knee was out of kilter. At first, I had no pain, but I knew that that state of affairs would change, so I made an appointment with a specialist. After a month of improvement thanks to physical therapy in New Paltz twice a week, it looks like I have some condition I can't recall the name of (femoral patella syndrome, or something like that). Whatever it is, it's not bad, and my prognosis is quite good.

Oddly, I find it easier (less painful) to get around on my 29" uni than to walk, so if I have to locomote more than, say, 100 feet, I'll take the unicycle. This doesn't come up very often, and I'm resting a lot, so I'm sure I'll heal fast. Now if only I could motivate myself to do my exercises more often (STRETCH!!!).

Web Counter
Site Counter