I have just completed my second big build of training for the 2010 race season. All is going to plan and I'm rather pleased with the way I feel right now...............except that I have a huge hole in my knee.....OUCH!!! I have knocked it again! Why do I do that?!?!
Now as mountain bikers we can't escape the odd scratch, the dirty tumbles and the occasional injuries. It's all part of mountain biking.....every so often we misjudge a trail and the trail wins. But ever since my mother said "I'm so pleased you started riding a bike because running will destroy your knees......".
....NOW time after time whenever I take a tumble you can be certain my knees will take the full force of the battering. When mother dear said those fateful words I bet she didn't touch wood, I certainly didn't and should know better. Ok I admit I believe in touching wood, because it works for me, and for that reason I advise you all to touch wood or be cursed, because my knees have been cursed I tell you!!!
6 years ago I put that phone receiver down. I didn't see any wood to touch, and thought nothing of my mum's comment. It was time to start work. Time for another glorious day of mountain bike guiding on Lefkada Island....10am turned into 3pm and there was one more descent to go down. Soon we would all be back at the resort for an afternoon swim. It was my turn to descend first so I could mark the bottom of the trail for the safety of our guests (a trail I ran up every morning as my pre-ride warm up, so I knew it well), Ian sorted out the jeep and Mark remained at the back of the group. Next minute I see a cute donkey in the corner of my eye (first time I have ever seen a donkey here)....I feel a rope around my waist (oh! OHHH!)...and I'm flung in the air (I'm seriously high). There is no time to search for a soft tuft of grass, this is Greece after all, where the terrain is like a cheese grater. The full force of my body comes crashing down and my right knee takes the battering. OUCH!!!!! And it hurt......ALOT! (gulp)
So I was bandaged up and rushed to hospital....a greek hospital. Now we knew some greek, but at the time the doctor was more interested in leaning towards his nurse rather than listening to my pleading cries, "Do Not Cut THERE!"
He continued to look lovingly into the nurse's eyes, and it was only when I hit him that he realised his scissors were cutting into my wound. I won't go into detail, but the look on his face when he took the bandage off my knee said it all.....In fact when he made those Universal sounds of UGHGHGH!!! I didn't need to know any Greek to understand what he was saying. Yes It was ugly.
However me being me, I was determined not to let my bloody knee stop me from moving, but then the swelling and infection were pretty serious, and the leg was not very flexible, ok I admit it didn't really bend at all.....And I know I did myself no favours trying to walk/run/hop (kind of) around the resort a bit lopsided (when Ian wasn't looking of course) as I was bored out of my brains and no amount of pain was going to stop me from doing just a little bit of exercise....ok I admit I would not reccomend this to anyone, but you have know idea how bored I was, and me being me...yes I'm my worst enemy, enough said!
Two days later Ian and I headed to Chamonix, French Alps to continue our season as guides for a few months. I was back on the bike, but I still had an infected knee that I had to try not to hit or knock in anyway, but me being me, I always seemed to knock it.....the pain was like a knife going through my leg. Everytime I went mountain biking I was reminded about my Mum's fateful words "I'm so pleased you started riding a bike because running will destroy your knees", and the fact that I did not touch wood...oh and the fact that I'm unbelievably clumbsy at times didn't help. Why do I keep banging my knee on the handle bars?!?!
I put up with that pain for weeks on end. But one day I woke up, banged my knee as I did at the breakfast table each morning, and for the first time in weeks there was no shooting pain up my leg. Today was going to be a good day. I was cured! From this day forth, no more knee pain.....and guess who forgot to touch wood?
Later that day my bike decided to miss some bends out on a trail, it (not me) it missed the bends! I just had to make that clear.
IT, the bike, wanted more excitement, and took off down the fall line of the mountainside. Now this is Chamonix, not a gentle slope in the Nottinghamsire Alps (that's for Steve if you're reading). I suddenly realised my brakes didn't work and very soon the fall line of the mountainside would be sheer. So I jumped and landed very heavily on my left leg.
Another OUCH moment and this time a dislocated knee. The doctor said 8 weeks off the bike...I said DEUX! And incase he didn't understand my aussie accent I stuck up two fingers, but not in a rude way mind you....that was to Ian who said I couldn't do anything for 8 weeks.
So I hobbled down to the Chamonix pool every morning to get the leg moving. It was a 10km off road hobble (each way) with crutches that Ian went mad at me for when he found out. But I did what I could to be back on the bike two weeks later....and to the doctor's amazement it was looking good and he actually gave me the OK thumbs up sign to ride my bike on gentle trails....in Chamonix? I couldn't run or walk very well mind you, but I could ride my bike and that was all that mattered to me at the time. Ian called me 'Hop along' when we walked, but I called him 'sloth along' when he didn't keep up with me on the hills....I just had to throw that one in :)
Now let me fast forward to 2010 and to a little biking training session I did with Mr Potter a few days ago. We were doing a specific drill where I had to follow his wheel and sprint past him as fast as I could, knowing that he was then going to counter attack me straight away. We were focusing on my peak power and I was also trying to beat Ian, because I like beating Ian, and it's quite funny seeing how competitive he becomes when his wife is having a good day :)
On this particular day I kept seeing the number 13...then when I looked at my watch it was 13:13 when we started the training session. Maybe I should be a little more superstitious, but at the time I thought nothing of it, and touched wood as I usually do. We were half way through the training session....going for gold I was....and hopefully a higher peak power wattage than the previous sprint....when a car suddenly reversed towards us and appeared to have forgotten to look in both directions (GULP). When this happened I was beside Ian and accelerating swiftly. On my Cotic X the brakes weren't going to stop me quickly enough to miss the car. For some reason the car stopped still and didn't accelerate forward, but I was still accelerating, although brain was in defence mode by this time. Brakes were on, wheels locked up, and it was either hit the car or fall into the loving arms of my beloved husband (well I hoped). I was forced to hit Ian's back wheel. Next minute I'm in the air, sliding along gravel and hugging a wall. I'm in some shock thinking the worst has happened to Mr Potter, and not quite knowing why I'm hugging a wall. Somehow Ian has managed to stay on his bike, but is qickly beside me. He informs me straight away that his beloved titanium Lightspeed road bike is fine and that he prevented her from crashing (mmmmmm, methinks I should be a little jealous) but he is back in good books as he performs first aid treatment on his battered and wall hugging wife, yes for some reason I kept hugging this wall....maybe Ian should be jealous.
Once the shock had died down and I looked myself over properly I realised how lucky I was. I slid quite a way and came off better than I could have done..............EXCEPT MY DARN KNEE!!!!!
I suddenly feel the shooting pain from my right knee as Ian treats the bloody hole and grazing. Very strange as I didn't recall even sliding on my knee at the time. Yet another scar to add to the other biking memories written across both knees. It makes me realise that perhaps I should be thankful for both lovely knees rather than thinking that they have been cursed because although they cop a beating from my biking antics they have saved me from worse ordeals on many an occasion.
The only problem now is that Ian only married me from my ankles upwards because he thinks I have hideous feet or rather that I have hobbit feet. Mr P doesn't realise that every little mark on my toes or on the soles of my feet tell a different life story or event from my running adventures.
Now he thinks he can just divorce my knees because they look cursed and definitely won't make the front page of any beauty magazine...but as far as I'm concerned, and after some deep thought I have come to the conclusion that they are not cursed at all, but an important part of KP biking history. I will show off my tale telling feet and knees when I'm 80 to my grandchildren and tell then about all the biking and running antics I enjoyed in my younger years.....Ian just thinks I'm cruel, not cursed.
So respect your knees and they will respect you. OUCH!!! I have knocked it again! Why do I do that?!?! Or just keep touching wood and hope for the best :)
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