More on scratching

Realistically, my race was over before I even finished the first day: I stopped for pizza in Monmouth OR about 20 miles before my intended stopping point, and when I got back on my bike, my Achilles’ tendons were super tight. They got tighter and more swollen with each day. I tried a few things to remedy them, to no apparent avail.

And I know that all racers are dealing with this, but I was not prepared for how much my ass would hurt. And my knees were a little delicate, which made standing to take pressure off my ass a problem.

I called Gwen from my bike and told her “This isn’t fun. This isn’t even type-2 fun.” And I had a moment of clarity later in the day when I realized that I was riding an amazing route through an amazing landscape, and by any reasonable measure, this should be one of them best rides off my lifetime. But all I could think about was pain.

During my training, I had tried to have all my problems before I would have them in the race. And I’m sure there were a bunch of problems I was able to solve in advance. But there were some I could not, and in some cases, I think I was solving the wrong problem.

First of all, there’s no way to train for mountains when you live in the hill country. The experience of a single hour-long climb is just different.

Second, I thought I had more or less inured myself too ass pain through long training rides. Nope.

Third, I was riding harder on my training rides than I did in the race. I thought I had an idea of the aches and pains I’d have in the race based on my training rides. In fact, the pains I was experiencing prevented me from riding as hard in the race as I would on a training ride, so the experiences were pretty different. My average heart rate on a training ride would be in the 120s, which it was for Day 1 of the race. But it went down quite a bit after that, meaning fewer calories burned, less muscle aches.

Fourth, I just don’t know how I could have anticipated or prevented the tendinitis. I’ve never had a problem like that before.

. . .

I don’t regret having tried. I’m disappointed to drop out. But more disappointed to discover that I am not a person who can do this.

14 thoughts on “More on scratching”

  1. Adam, you are still a person that can do this, you just had the bad luck to get an injury that only rest can heal. Sorry to hear you had to drop out, glad you’re ok.

  2. “Adam, you are still a person that can do this, you just had the bad luck to get an injury that only rest can heal. Sorry to hear you had to drop out, glad you’re ok.” — What Dave said.

  3. Echo-ing the above. The extent of pain and the risk of possible permanent damage are not worth it.

    “First of all, there’s no way to train for mountains when you live in the hill country. The experience of a single hour-long climb is just different.”

    ^^^ THIS. Looking at the elevation profiles of that route is just mind-boggling. There are no HC climbs anywhere near Austin. The only one that I know of in Texas is 8 hours away in Big Bend. We only have a couple of synthetic Class 2’s in central TX. There’s not a clear way to train for repeated mountain climbs.

    It takes courage to go after a goal this massive, and it takes grit to keep pedaling through days of excruciating pain. You can be proud of your efforts and all of the training that enabled you to travel, by your own power, hundreds of miles and tens of thousands of vertical feet in such a concentrated time. I hope your tendonitis resolves as quickly as possible so that you can get back to riding and finding some joy there.

  4. You put in a ton of training, planning and thought into the race and gave it a go! I’m proud of you for that, and for being smart and humble enough to stop before it’s too late.And anyone who has shredded an Achilles will tell you how much you want to avoid that!

  5. Mike McShaffry

    I hope at some point the disappointment you feel will fade a bit. Attempting an audacious goal and not completing it is still a journey – and the one you chose was a mighty one indeed.

    Even completing a single day of your ride I’d consider to be a huge accomplishment.

  6. Stephanie Vyborny

    What they ^^ all have said.

    I know it’s disappointing to you right now. I’m still blown away by how hard you’ve worked, how far you’ve come, and I look forward to seeing what you do next <3 It’s been a pleasure keeping tabs on you and your journey. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    For now, get some rest. You’ve earned it. Many hugs.

  7. Ditto the above, and Adam you are a person who can do so many things, don’t measure yourself by one incident. Get home safely!

  8. You did your best. Don’t expect any more than that of yourself. As far as I can discern, you succeeded. I also echo what everyone else has said.

  9. Even if you can’t do this, you’re still superhuman in all our eyes.

    You rode your bike out to Apache Pass on a lark, that’s like 5 times longer than my longest ride.

  10. Adam,
    Echoing what others have said, I know you’re disappointed but you made a wise choice.
    I was looking forward to seeing you in Frisco and trying to keep up with you on the bike.
    You would always be welcome to come to Colorado and train, plenty of loooong hills here.

  11. Sorry to hear it, I was enjoying checking in every day or two! What do you even do with tendinitis other than rest?

  12. Hi Adam, my name is Mike Benigni. I am a TABR veteran from 2017. You are now part of this small group that lined up in Astoria and started the ride. There are a million things that can go wrong in endurance cycling. There’s no question, you’ve seen some things. One does not ride to Bakers City and not. There is no doubt there are something you would do different. So solve them. Revisit your bike fit, reconsider your shoes or your cleat placement. Just don’t give up.

    We have one life. You chose to do something hard and scary. This route/race will be here for you in the future. Get your body and your mind right and come back another time. Until then, when you’re ready, look in on the others and cheer. Just as I have done.

    your friend in cycling, Mike

  13. You are smart, and wise enough to not do permanent damage. No fun is no fun, and you can revisit and perhaps solve all of these challenges at your leisure.

  14. Christie Hollis

    I’m not sure I can add anything that hasn’t been said previously! Good choice to stop. Take care of yourself now & race again in the future. I don’t road ride, but I have mountain biked in Oregon & the climbs are no joke. You gave it a go & made it through some of those beastly climbs! Sometimes, I believe, the hardest part is the preparation & getting started and you got that! It is tough when you decide to stop, so please be compassionate with yourself & turn toward what you accomplished.

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