These days emotionally I am feeling pretty down. The simplest tasks around the house are no accompanied by the uncomfortable pain of a torn ACL. A torn ACL is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament, the piece of tissue that connects your femur bone to the tibia bone. My day job tasks typically include traveling to really remote areas, snowmobiling and lots of heavy lifting. I’m now chained to a desk at the office and spend my days staring at excel spreadsheets and various other make-work projects. My fitness level has definitely dropped off and my frustration is growing with the long wait to see a surgeon and book an operation date.
To combat the seasonal depression and bum knee depression I booked a last minute flight to Mexico. I was able to get in some good snorkelling, fishing and cerveza drinking. It was pretty amazing being reminded how intrinsic bikes are to so many people in their daily lives. Below is just an example of the many cargo bikes I saw in Mexico.
Feeling rested and tanned I returned to Canada to find above zero temperatures. I picked up my phone and got ahold of some riders to hit the trails with this past week before they turned to a slushy mess.
Now you are probably wondering what the hell I am doing mountain biking on the ice and snow with a fully torn ACL. Cycling is a part of ACL rehabilitation, just usually on a stationary bike while you are beginning the process of healing. I don’t exactly like to take it easy and probably do more than I should most of the time. However, for anyone else reading this that may be in a similar situation as a result of skiing or a drunk wedding dance move, riding is good for your knee and range of motion.
Try to avoid riding routes that have hills, as going uphill can add further strain to your knee. Adjust the gears to something very low that allows for higher cadence and really easy pedalling. Work slowly to build up your tolerance for road cycling or mountain biking and ensure that you have spent some time on a stationary bike first to know that you can tolerate riding outside with your injury.
Feeling confident, I aired down the tires for a little added traction, switched out my clipless for some flats and made sure my saddle height was dialled in perfectly. Cycling is thank god, not very hard on my knee. I started my first ride and immediately felt stoked to be back on the trails and behind the bars. I was aware of my knee during the ride without actually being worried about any pain; such a relief from the nearly constant pain I am in these days. It was so satisfying I made plans to ride the very next day. Oh and by the way, I love my 2015 Giant Anthem X 29er.