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Sean's Blog

Bringing Bank Backers by Biking

This post officially announces that I’m signed up to ride in the 2013 Will Bike 4 Food event.  As mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t do last year’s ride because of pain in my knee.  However, I have taken steps to prevent that from happening again.  There is now less than a week to go before the big ride, and my knee is holding up fine (it’s been through many miles of pedaling this summer).

As part of the ride, I am asking for donations again to support the work of The Food Bank.  They’re a great organization that does a tremendous job combating food insecurity in Western Massachusetts.  Donations in any amount are helpful and appreciated.  You can donate here at my fundraising page, or contact me to send an offline payment.  My goal is $1000, and if I get that much in contributions from others, I will add in $500 of my own money, just as I did last year.

A couple of years ago, it was a challenge for me to ride 100 miles at all.  I’m going the same distance this year, but I’ll attempt to do it in significantly less time than in the past.  I’m challenging myself to finish the ride within 9 hours of starting (when I first did this in 2011, it took me 10.5 hours).

If you have questions or anything, please feel free to post them in the comments.  Also, watch this space for details on some long rides I’ve done this year, getting in shape for this ride.

Posted by seaking on 09-23-2013 at 11:09 pm
Posted in Biking, News with 0 Comments

Kneecap Recap

It has been quite a long time since I last posted on the blog.  My previous post was about 1 year ago.  There’s no particular reason I went so long – I just kept not getting around to it.  But, now I am back, and will talk a little about what was happening last September.

I had signed up to ride in the second year of Will Bike 4 Food for The Food Bank of Western Mass, and had raised a bunch of money in donations for the event.  The weekend before that ride, I went on a shorter route for the Northampton Cycling Club’s Bikefest.  That took place last year on 9/22, and I was riding 72 miles.

The route covered a lot of roads that I was familiar with, first heading from Florence into Williamsburg, and then north and west to Ashfield (which involves a long, slow hill climb – and I do mean long).  From there it went east on some very quiet country roads into the town of Conway.  The morning was cool and cloudy, and in the section between Ashfield and Conway there was some fog to be seen:

bucklandfog

Soon after that, the route went north into Buckland, and to the Shelburne Falls section of town.  Coming into the Falls, I came to the first of 3 water and snack stops:

1ststopncc

The building is, I believe, a cutlery factory.

From there we crossed the Deerfield River and climbed a bit of a hill in the town of Shelburne.  Here’s a view of the river while heading up that hill:

shelfallsriv

The ride went east for a ways, until we reached Greenfield (this was the part that I had never ridden, and which had some more hills), and then started going south, coming to the second stop, which was outside a bank:

2ndstopncc

At this stop, there were bagpipers:

nccbagpipes

I guess they were there for entertainment.

From here I went south some more, crossing the Deerfield again, and then the ride progressed northeast through Historic Deerfield.  The ride took the bike bridge across the Connecticut River into Montague, and then headed south to the Book Mill.

Just past the Book Mill was the third rest stop.  It was shortly after I left that stop (about 50 miles or so into the ride) that I started to have pain in my right knee.  It wasn’t the usual muscle soreness that one can get on a long ride, but a sharp pain right in the joint as I was pedaling.  I tried to take it easy on that side, but I couldn’t get the pain to go away completely, except by not pedaling.

Fortunately, there were no real hills left in the route, but it was painful to get through the flat areas of Whately and Deerfield before I made it back to the starting point.  I did finish the 72 miles, hoping that my knee just needed some rest.

 

A couple of days later, I rode my bike to work, and experienced the same pain after only a few miles.  At that point, I made an appointment to see my doctor.  He examined me and had me get an xray, and it seemed that there was some misalignment in my knee such that the kneecap was grinding against my femur.  It only seemed to be painful when pedaling my bike, but he thought I would only make things worse by doing any more long rides, so I had to bow out of the Food Bank ride the next weekend, to my disappointment.

I did start visiting a physical therapy clinic, and over the course of 2 months saw 3 different therapists there.  I got mixed advice from them, but they did give me stretches and exercises to do which seemed to help align things better and strengthen important muscles for biking.  I have not had any further problems with the knee.  Another step I’ve taken to help keep my alignment good is to put pedal cages on my bike, which serve to keep my feet in a consistent position on the pedals.  In the past I might have moved them around a lot and had my legs at various angles when pedaling, which probably contributed to the misalignment.

Coming up, posts on this year’s riding.

 

Posted by seaking on 09-15-2013 at 10:09 pm
Posted in Other with 1 Comment

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