Sunday, 28 December 2014

Black Ice, Deep Mud, Froze to the Bone and a Wasp Sting...

I appear to have lost my MoJo, it has been stolen away, so I had to give myself a good talking too this morning and both motivate and inspire myself to ride. Don't get me wrong I love heading out on my various bikes, it's  just of lately I've been suffering a fair bit of pain in my good knee so it's took the shine off riding. After visiting the physiotherapist at my local medical group the other day I was informed I had what was known as Pes Anserine Bursitis, also known as Goosfoot apparently. I mean aww great as if having one plastic foot isn't enough, now I appear to also have a goose's foot. Well now I feel like a proper freak...

The physio gave me some advice on how I can treat the inflammation, basically it's a cold compress after activities, or when I'm getting pain. Also a little Ultra Sound may help and if this doesn't work some steroid injections, however this means no training or exercise for a while. Sod that I stuff to do so that isn't really an option. I'm just pleased it isn't anything serious. I mean yes it hurts, but it's not like having a tumour in my leg thank god, now that really hurt.

So to this morning as I gave myself a mental kick up the arse. Clothing fitted,check,camera equipment sorted check, good leg already attached,check, hop to get my Bartlett Tendon and pop on a Ccccold Liner, Ccccheck!!! Ok leg strapped on. A quick walk to the shed to retrieve my bike...Mmmmm I'll take the bike I'm sponsored on by Bike Swanky the PYGA today. I then propped my bike up against the fence and went to extend my Go Go Gadget Pylon ready for the off and my God Dam foot fell off. Awww crap. Now I really did have to hop to our back door and rang the bell. "Errr Ern we have a problem, my foot has dropped off". Don't worry just a minor hiccup in the testing phase of the pylon, Ern sharp fixed it and I was away heading up our street.  Wow it was cold.

I kind of had an idea of where I was heading to, a place called Hamsterley Mill. I figured i would try and get some nice footage on my new GoPro Hero 4. I really wanted to see what the 4K video quality was like. Ern has just treated us to a new Telly a 55 inch Samsung 4K 3D affair and it's absolutely fantastic. So like I say I thought if I got a good 4K video I could watch it on the new TV.

I won't bore you with the route I took, other than to say part of it was past the 3 stones, which are now only one stone...I know this will mean nothing to a lot of you, however for me as a youngster it was a local landmark, between where my grand parents lived and where we lived at South Moor. I then went down  towards Harperley and came to the cross roads intending heading straight up the bank coming out near Flint Hill. Well as I attempted to ride up the short but steep bank I totally lost all traction and slipped off the narrow country road having to put my good foot on the grass edging. The bank was sheet ice and there was no way I could ride up it, in fact I struggled to walk up it pushing my bike.

Anyhoo at the top of the bank a nice steady ride into Flint Hill and heading towards Dipton I took a right and this took me down a lonely, bumpy side lane all the way down to a farm which is situated at the end of the lane. I had a few styles and gates to navigate before coming to Hamsterley Mill and the woods there. Wow getting over the styles was dodgy, the wooden styles being iced up and very slippery.

PYGA OneTen sponsored by Bike Swanky

The styles were real slippery
Letting the air get to my foot
I began filming just before I got in the woods. As I entered the top end of the woods I could tell I had a very muddy and difficult time ahead of me. At one point I felt something wasn't quite right with my foot, no not my Goosefoot, my plastic one. On closer inspection I discovered a bolt had come loose so I had to whip out my tool kit and set about tightening up the bolt.

Boy today was hard work, shooting a video when you're all alone requires you riding and walking back and forth to set up you're camera and then riding and then retrieving you're gear again, then doing it all over for the next shot, so that you can piece your footage together and hopefully get something that looks fluid and fun. Well let me tell you by the time I had got halfway down through the woods and used up one GoPro battery my heart sank when I noticed my camera was set on 1440/25fps and not 4K. I was gutted. I'm sure I had set the dam thing on 4K a few days earlier. Well this put a dampener on my enthusiasm. I couldn't be bothered to head all the way back up the trail, not only that the beautiful sunshine had faded. So I decided to cut my videoing efforts short, make do with what I had and set off for home.

Whilst riding through the woods on this muddy trail I saw up ahead what looked like a particularly boggy muddy area. I also saw there was a huge tree stump to my prosthetic side. Now all this went through me head in a nano second..."Do I stop and push my bike over?" or "Do I go for it and try to avoid falling off especially on that big tree stump, as I reckon that would hurt if i fell on it". So decision made "Go for it". I pick up my pace,approach the quagmire full steam ahead, hit it and stop almost instantly..."Agghhhh, just a bit further so I miss that big tree stump", yay made it and proceeded to fall off in the thickest, dirtiest mud, coldest mud you have ever seen. My bright green Lumi Troy Lee glove went all the way into the mud right past my wrist. I was lying there fully clipped in and stuck in this geet big clarty mud hole. I managed to un-clip my good foot and had to squirm in the mud from under my bike. When I got to my feet I looked at my gloves, one bright green one and one that was anything but green. "Bloody hell that's cold" I thought.

No more calamities on the way out of the woods. Soon  I was on the Derwent Walk and heading for Consett. It was a good way along here that I started thinking should I just call Ern and arrange a lift home. I just felt knackered and was really cold by now. I hate giving in so just pulled up my Buff a little further, remembered I had my Seal Skin gloves in my bag so swapped my gloves over and put my head down and grinded out the miles.

Soon enough I saw the sign for Consett 1 mile and felt a little better. Still had a fair way to go. I had intended bringing my mp3 player, however it was flat, and as I started thinking of this I got one of the songs from Guardians of the Galaxy stuck in my head, it was  Come and get my Love by Redbone. So from around about Consett this song was on a constant internal loop. I say internal, closer to home I began humming and singing.

As I got home Ern was in our kitchen he immediately came out and gave me a hand get some of my dirty gear off. Boots, Bartlett Tendon etc. He then set about giving my bike a quick wash down. I was way too cold, my fingers feeling like little logs. Everything needed washing including my back pack. By this time I was hopping around in our kitchen, with only my cycling shorts remaining. I found it a bit difficult trying to empty my back pack standing on one leg so sat down on our kitchen floor. This is when I felt a really sharp pain and at irst thought I had pressed the back of my stump onto a sharp staple. It wasn't until I lifted my stump and saw this wasp lying there that I realised I had been accosted. As I gave off a manly man scream, with some choice vocabulary and verbally abused the wasp wor Kyle came trotting down stairs. I immediately informed Kyle of the perpetrator and at this point sentenced the wasp to death, ordering Kyle to "kill it, kill it". I don't like wasps, but in hindsight did feel a tad guilty for having it exterminated. I mean I did attempt to sit on it.

Shortly after this as I was telling my captive audience on Facebook of my encounter with the wasp...I mean come on who gets stung by a wasp at Christmas and in the winter, it could only happen to me I went to pop my good leg back under me as I usually do when sitting in my computer chair and  "Agggghhhh" No i didn't get stung again Pheww!!!, but I did have the worst cramp ever, right in the back of my hamstrings. I proper panicked as it felt like my leg was going to explode or snap or something. Ern to the rescue, helping straighten my leg out...Jeez now that really hurt.

So there's another one of my adventures over, now sitting writing this with one stiff good leg that isn't so good and a really sore, itchy stump where a wasp abused me...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A little more running practice...

As we are in winter and the weather isn't exactly kind I have found it increasingly difficult to get any real running practice in. My dad has been scouring our local vicinity to try and discover a running specific track and we have even looked at  trying to find somewhere indoors, large enough to have a jog around.
One of Ade's images which I played around with using Snapseed

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Saga of my Sandman cranks and bottom bracket, plus a little test ride cut short.

Yesterday I was very pleased to be reunited with my much beloved Sandman Hoggar Fat Bike. Si my new found friend and bicycle mechanic over at Cycle Solutions returned her complete with new e.Thirteen TRS the Hive cranks and bottom bracket.
New e.thirteen TRS cranks and BB

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Decidely dodgy riding weather

My friend John on his trusty steed
My friend John has been going stir crazy of late. It's understandable as he has now been unemployed for over 2 years after losing his job at our local Citizen Advice Bureau. John has to attend this pointless agency through the government. Constantly writing and re-writing CV's and not actually being assisted with finding a job at all. The threat of being sanctioned for the slightest thing hanging over him each day. 

Last visit of the year to the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic

Due to the weather being so horrid, what with this so called 'weather bomb' I simply haven't been able to get out a practice on my running limb. It has been either windy, wet, slippery or freezing. So yesterday was the first opportunity I had had to run since visiting Pace Rehab and Paul my prosthetist over at the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic.

I know it's early days, however I'm a born worrier, yes I said worrier not warrior I'm way to soft to be a warrior. Anyhoo my main concerns at the moment are that I'm not getting enough practice in, my fitness is atrocious and I have this very worrying niggle in my good leg around my knee area. All I want to do is get my head down and get some serious training in, there always just seems to be something that gets in the way. You see there I go again looking at all the negatives. But me being me it doesn't take long to then take a step outside of my sub -concious and give myself a good talking to, some what like what a good friend would do. Trying to focus on all the positives.

Paul tinkered and tweaked a few settings on the running prosthesis and each time I would go for a short run, back and forth in the car park, finally retiring inside the Lombard Clinic as it was brass monkeys outside. Yes I can run on the new blade, it's stable and safe, however Paul is very enthusiastic, has a real passion for his job and would like to get it perfect. So what he was trying to figure out was where exactly the small whip I have going on was coming from.

I am quite different apparently to a lot of AK amputees in that my adductor muscles are very strong. I don't know if this comes from riding bikes for a long period, or if it's my Bartlett Tendon as I work against resistance using that knee. So what Paul was investigating was whether my socket was being internally/externally rotated as I took a running stride. We did quite a bit of work in between the parallel bars, along with Tracy the Lombard Physio. Tracy then gave me some more exercise to do using a Theraband. These would help promote the use of muscles in my glute's and I think in hip abduction. A little while ago Tracy put me on to a very handy little app from Otto Bock, it's like a mini work out with your own personal fitness coach and it's aimed at lower limb amputees. So hopefully if I carry out the exercises in a routine I should see increased strength in those areas where I am lacking at the moment and this should help in my control and position of my residual limb when running.

This was my final visit of the year to see everyone. I now have a month of hard work and will return in January to see the guys, including Donna Lombard's new receptionist who is a lovely lady. Donna always looks after me, giving me the occasional hug and making sure there are plenty of beverages on the go. Just one big happy team really. I love the atmosphere as it is so relaxed and friendly and quite often I get the opportunity to speak with other amputees which I always find very rewarding.

Merry Christmas to everyone at Team Pace and also to the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic and their clients.

Friday, 12 December 2014

MBR Magazine Feature

Say Cheese
A little while ago I got an unexpected surprise in the form of an email from a lovely guy named Jamie Darlow. Jamie went on to explain that he worked at Mountain Bike Rider Magazine (MBR Magazine) and had come across my blog. He asked would I be interested in tbeing featured in an article for the mag, going on to say that he thought it would be an inspirational and interesting story for MBR's readers.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

What a day for my new bikes maiden adventure

Just got my Bartlett Tendon along with new check socket back from Paul over at Pace Rehab on Friday. Due to some technical issues (mainly due to me changing shape in a short period of time) I have been without a riding limb. Obviously this has meant my fitness has dropped off and though I have been out practising both with my running blade and also swimming it's a totally different kind of fitness so today's local loop was a cold, wet, muddy and relatively short 8 miles or so.
John and Glenn