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I crashed and I am so glad I did

Old 01-20-13, 04:57 PM
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gpelpel
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I crashed and I am so glad I did

Well not really a crash... and the bike was not involved.
Yet it all started on the bike and this crash results in making my bike riding so much more enjoyable.
I climbed to the Junction yesterday, the first time in months without fighting back pain.

It all started many months ago, on July 2nd 2011 to be exact. I was climbing Diablo South Gate Road and passed a coupled of young women way below the pay gate. They saw my Death Ride jersey and started a conversation. They were going for their first DR the following weekend. We chatted all the way to the Junction, me so proud of providing veteran knowledge. I then decided to take a breather at the Junction, put a foot down, a something popped in the lower back. Next thing I was lying on the ground and it took me half an hour to feel a bit better and opt for a slow ride back to Lafayette instead of calling my wife for a pickup. That was mistake #1.

A week before the above event I had given my ok to a friend to reserve hiking permits for both of us plus my son to climb Mt. Whitney on July 31st and August 1st. I had been looking for this hike since my son joined Boy Scouts, a trip his troop was doing every couple of years. Due to lack of interest from new scouts we never tackled the mountain. So I wasn't about to relinquish the opportunity especially after my 18 yo son said he would join us. That was mistake #2. For the back that is. We sure went to the top, we had fun, we were all proud of what we accomplished in what was mostly a day hike.

But I paid for it later. A few weeks barely able to walk, then constant pain that slowly subsided with time never disappearing. I went to the chiropractor, sought advise, all pointed to a herniated disk. Best remedy is time, surgery as last option if hernia is too extreme. After a few months the pain was very bearable, never hampered hiking, riding was mostly fine as well. The problem was climbing on the bike, a constant pain going from the lower back to the lower left leg. So most of 2012 I avoided major climbs, a couple of times to the Junction on BF rides plus one summit but that was about it. The fun was killed by the pain and the less I climbed the lower my form was going.

All that changed in a slit of a second. I am still laughing about it.

Last month, early December, I went on a business trip to central Oregon. As an avid photographer I usually combine business trips to side photo shoots. On my way back from Bend I spent the night in Klamath Falls planning for a bald eagle shoot in the early morning. It was cold when I arrived at the hotel, low 20s. I unpacked the car, loaded myself with my 30lbs photo pack in one hand, the computer pack on my right shoulder, and my suitcase in the other hand. Then straight to the hotel door in a hurry. Ooops, I realized too late I was on an ice patch. Next thing I had the reflex to raise my hands to protect the equipment and landed hard on my right cheek. Nothing broken from what I could tell but something was way different, way better than before. The right rear end was hurting a bit but my lower back was feeling so loose it was a chock.

Next day the right side was bruised and aching but the rest was still ok. Feeling so good that two days later on my usual Saturday morning bike ride I turned into South Gate Road and went up to the pay gate. No lower back pain. Wow... could it be?
After the holiday break I climbed again to the pay gate a week ago and to the Junction yesterday. Except for lack of form and regular back muscle strain I had fun. Finally after 18 months I was enjoying the mountain instead of fighting to reach a preset goal up ahead.

The hernia is not cured for sure. I still have soreness getting out of bed and out of my office chair but it's surely not hampering what I enjoy to do. I guess something moved down there releasing pressure from a nerve, the only thing I am sure is that I could have had a worst event to close 2012 than a tumble on an ice patch. 2013 won't be like 2012!
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Old 01-20-13, 09:27 PM
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Hey Georges - that's great to hear, I have my fingers crossed that you'll get a new lease on life - but do us all a favor and consult with your physician to get a set of X-rays/an MRI done to confirm nothing weird's going on.
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Old 01-20-13, 09:31 PM
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Hey, whatever it takes. Back pain is brutal. Gald you feel better, hope to ride with you soon.
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Old 01-20-13, 11:55 PM
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Wow, what a story!
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Old 01-21-13, 12:23 AM
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when I was 14 I twisted my right ankle. I limped for 3 months. My step sister forgot something so I limp ran out to her car, I tripped on a rock and fell hard into the rocks(no grass in AZ) I got up and was like my ankle does not hurt anymore. I literally yelled it like I had won the lotto or something. It was rad
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Old 01-22-13, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by teufelhunden222 View Post
when I was 14 I twisted my right ankle. I limped for 3 months. My step sister forgot something so I limp ran out to her car, I tripped on a rock and fell hard into the rocks(no grass in AZ) I got up and was like my ankle does not hurt anymore. I literally yelled it like I had won the lotto or something. It was rad
Not sure sure about the back, but this ankle story sounds like it could have been release of scar tissue. I knew someone recovering from a broken leg who had something similar happen. Said, "Oh, crap, I think I tore something," and then said, "Wait, I think my leg is now fully healed." I then had to relay my appendectomy story.

1986, right before anyone did laproscopic appendectomies, I had my abdomen sliced. 3 weeks later, the surgeon still orders me not to play softball, not that it will hurt my incision site, but I would be more likely to get hurt in the game protecting my still injured body. Sounded like bull to me. I still couldn't stand straight as I was recovering, but surely I could at least play pitcher in a co-ed rec game. So three days later I was playing against doctor's orders. A chopper gets hit over my head, I instinctively reach way up for it, as a lefty it was with my glove/right hand, and I hear and feel tearing on my right side where the incision was. "Oh @#$%!" And then I realized, I could stand fully erect for the first time since the surgery. I never again felt any pain, limited mobility, or any other issues as a result of the surgery.

Saw the surgeon for one last appointment a week and a half later, never did tell him I got fully healed by disobeying his orders. Maybe I should have.
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Old 01-22-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by blt View Post
I then had to relay my appendectomy story.
I had mine out in 2006, three tiny incisions. Woke up in the morning feeling great, I had signed up for Foxy's Fall Century which was just a few days away and I asked if it was OK to ride. Doctor said "why not? If you feel good, go." But then the nurse said if I crashed I could pop some internal stitches and bleed to death and get septicemia or something so the doctor changed his mind. I was only a little disappointed.
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Old 01-22-13, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I had mine out in 2006, three tiny incisions. Woke up in the morning feeling great, I had signed up for Foxy's Fall Century which was just a few days away and I asked if it was OK to ride. Doctor said "why not? If you feel good, go." But then the nurse said if I crashed I could pop some internal stitches and bleed to death and get septicemia or something so the doctor changed his mind. I was only a little disappointed.
I guess even with a scope there are warnings like that, a friend last fall had similar warnings for his first week or so after the operation. And for similar reasons, 12 days after I was sliced in 1986, the surgeon was still ordering no sex. At 3 weeks I had his blessing for sex, but not softball. Whereas all else equal, I might have been more likely to disobey the doctor for sex than for a co-ed rec softball game, the "you might die" warning with the earlier sex ban was somehow more compelling than the later "protecting your incision makes you more likely to sustain an injury in the game."
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Old 01-22-13, 08:31 PM
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That's great that you found a "cure"! Congrats. I've had quite a bit of back grief during the last few years. Falling on my a** is not something my Dr has proposed yet, but I'll see what he says.

Bob
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Old 01-22-13, 11:49 PM
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Glad you're feeling better, Georges!
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Old 01-23-13, 04:12 PM
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What a great story. The human body is just weird.

Here's my tale (though not as dramatic as yours) : In the 80s I was playing frisbee on a beach in Mexcio. I was fully extended, reaching for the disc while running at full speed when my foot caught the only thing on the beach for miles: a partially buried anchor. I was slammed into the sand and my shoulder was trashed.

It kinda sorta healed, but I lost range and sleeping positions and I alway hurt just a bit. I just lived with it.

In 2005 I started playing tennis, even though I was worried about my shoulder. Tennis cured me! Maybe I just ripped all the scar tissue, but 25 years later I have a full range of motion, no pain, and best of all, have more sleeping positions!

Hope to see you on the mountain!
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Old 01-23-13, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
Tennis cured me!
I love these stories. Exactly what cycling did to me after my knees prevented me from running (college years rugby injury) and caused a lot of discomfort at nights.
Some recommended MRI, surgery... until a friend general surgeon told me to start non impact exercises to reinforce the muscles and tendons holding the knees. That's when I tried a rowing machine and then road biking. After a couple of months the knees were much better and are now pain free 10 years later.
The same friend told me a couple months to avoid back surgery, "you don't them to mess around your spine!" he said. This coming from a surgeon I will surely be patient. Anyway I am encouraged by what happened last month and very grateful to be able to push hard on the pedals without pain.
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Old 01-23-13, 04:35 PM
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What a great collection of stories. I'll throw mine in.

In the mid-'80s I was living in Davis and commuting to Sac. At the end of Fall, I started to have knee pain. At first, it just hurt on the way home (by bike, of course). Then it started to hurt on the way into work. Eventually, I couldn't ride at all for the pain and could barely walk. After four months of this, I had finally had enough. I also decided that if I was going to go see a surgeon, I might as well make the damage easy to find.

So, I got on my bike and took a short, but intense (considering the lay-off) twenty mile spin. When I got home my legs were just about to cramp when a small "thing" appeared on the surface of my knee. It turns out to have been a floating piece of cartilage, a mouse, that had been in a bad place until it was forced out by a bit of inflammation.

Two days later I rode the first half of the Grizzly Peak Century. On that ride, a friend who had paid for the Davis Double Century hurt his knee, so I took his number and rode the DC the next weekend. That is most definitely NOT the way to train for a double century, but I had a good time and was thrilled to be back in the saddle.
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Old 01-23-13, 08:34 PM
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Mon ami, I am glad you are feeling better. No advice, no war story, just happy for you.
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Old 01-23-13, 08:36 PM
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Welcome back!
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Old 01-23-13, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
Mon ami, I am glad you are feeling better. No advice, no war story, just happy for you.
Your crash didn't fix anything? I hope that doesn't mean you have to do it again.
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Old 01-23-13, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong View Post
Mon ami, I am glad you are feeling better. No advice, no war story, just happy for you.
Thanks Lance. I only had an inconvenience, you are the one who went to war!
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Old 02-08-13, 07:21 AM
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Great story Georges. Glad you're feeling better.
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