Wednesday, 11/6/17 started out great. A productive day at work and around the house was leading up to the first fat bike, single track, night ride of the winter season (go on, say it five times fast). I was very much looking forward to the ride along with a stop at the local brewery on the way home (ok, so maybe the latter was my main motivation for heading out on the coldest night of the fall thus far).
Prior to the ride I finally found a few minutes to try out a new lighting/battery setup by using one of my water bottles. It was something I thought about awhile ago, but never got around to putting it together. The modifications to the bottle, cables, etcetera went fine and only took a half hour or so. To be safe, I put an extra light on the bars in case something went wrong; a Cateye Volt 1600 (a very nice light by the way). Finally, I headed out of the house into the darkness on my bike to meet up with everyone. I was impressed at the light output of one of my lowest lumen output lights.
After everyone got their gear in order we were off. The ride started off awesome. If you haven’t mountain biked at night, you should. There is no trail traffic, everything looks different and it’s very quiet as you zip through the trees and around obstacles.
Only a couple of miles into the ride some leaves must have been sucked into my drivetrain causing the chain to jump the smallest rear sprocket and get wedged in between the sprocket and frame (of course it rubbed paint off, but luckily not where it was easily seen, it's too new to have bad scratches after all). After removal of the rear wheel, the chain was freed, the wheel went back on and we were off again. Another mile or so and another rider hit a root hard enough to burp most of the air out of his tubeless tire and ding the wheel. After installing a tube and 300,000 pumps of the regular (not fat) tire pump, we were off again.
You guessed it, about another mile down the trail we were climbing a hill when I felt a rather painful ‘pop’ in my right calf. After stopping and trying to put weight on it, I knew my ride was done. Either a rogue squirrel had snuck up and was stabbing my calf with a knife or I had messed something up in my calf. I broke off from the group and limped home, worried that I had done serious damage to my leg and disappointed I wouldn’t be going to the brewery after the ride. When I arrived home, walking was definitely difficult and unpleasant to put it mildly. An hour with the heating pad on high was in order and greatly appreciated by my leg.
Thankfully, the next day I still had discomfort and was limping pretty good, but it did feel better than the previous night. Hopefully that ruled out anything serious (like surgery serious). Throughout the day I would apply the heating pad for a period of time and the healing would continue. By today (Friday), my leg felt significantly better, not great, but I was able to keep the 90 day streak going with some gingerly riding and soft pedaling. In fact, it felt like pedaling was helping loosen things up by getting the blood flowing to the injured area of my calf. I certainly didn’t want to stop riding, even if it was only for a few easy miles each day.
I didn’t want to miss the first day with snow that stuck to the ground and thankfully I was able to get out for an easy ride. It was also the first time I got to take the new fatbike out into the snow. I really wanted to hit the trails, but figured it would be wise to go a bit easy on the leg for a few days.
I was able to squeeze in another ride to stretch out the legs before heading to the CFOs office Christmas party. Snow is in the forecast so I’m hoping they’re right and that my leg continues to improve.
With that, it’s time to start the weekend, hopefully with some fresh powder tomorrow morning. Have a great weekend and a great ride! Be sure to make the time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air this weekend regardless of how many holiday commitments you have this time of year!