A while ago, I wrote about the sorry state of my cleats. Finally, over the weekend, I did something about it. I bought new ones.
That night, I sat in front of the TV, diligently swapping out the old, worn cleats for the sharp, bright new ones. I even took time to trace the outline of the old cleats with a magic marker, just like Jeff Hemmel suggested.
Sunday, I did a 33-mile club ride on rolling hills. It was my first time on this route this year, although it’s one we do often. I found that the winter has taken its toll on me — by the time I finished, I was spent.
Monday morning, I woke up and rolled out of bed — and recoiled at the sharp pain in my left knee. Holy cow, did it ever hurt! And throughout the day, it got no better. Walking up and down stairs really was a chore. Downstairs, worse than up.
The biggest problem was, I couldn’t get comfortable with the knee regardless of its position. If I stretched it out straight, it started aching after a bit. If I bent it to relieve the ache, that worked — for about two minutes. Then that position became uncomfortable.
Monday night, I went home and grabbed my left bike shoe. I think I knew exactly what caused the problem. I walk with my feet splayed out a bit. With the old cleats, I positioned the left one so the left foot pointed a bit outwards when clipped in. For some reason, the right foot is just fine pointed dead ahead. But when I installed the new ones, I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention to positioning the cleat so that the left toe would point out a little. Dumb.
This morning, I woke up to more pain in the knee. If anything, it seemed to get worse during the day. I posted my dilemma to my club’s bulletin board, and got a lot of helpful responses, but only one that really addressed my problem. A doctor suggested taking Ibuprofen at the maximum dose. If I could tolerate it, he said the pain would subside after a couple of days.
When I got home tonight, I did exactly that. The Ibuprofen does seem to help. As I write this, I have less pain in the knee than I’ve had, but I’m not out of the woods yet. We’ll see what happens over the next couple of days.
The worst case scenario is, I tore the meniscus in my knee. That’s happened before, in my other knee, about 16 years ago. I had arthroscopic surgery then to deal with it. I hope to avoid another round of that now.
What’s worrying me is that I might be knocked off the bike for awhile. I’ve got the MS 150 coming up next month, and now is the time I have to start building my mileage. A number of other organized rides are on the horizon too, rides that I’d like to take part in. I’ve already decided to skip Pedal Thru the Pines, a wonderful hilly ride through some state parks near Bastrop, Texas this weekend. It would kill me to miss more.
So for now, Bike Noob is out of the saddle. I’m pretty grumpy, and I’m not making things easy on my wife. “For cryin’ out loud, you”re 59!” she told me this evening (my birthday is Thursday). “Stop pretending you’re 29.”
Can’t help it. Biking has made me feel a lot spryer than I’m probably entitled to.
I’ll keep you posted on my recovery.