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Friday, 22 July 2016


I'm in pain. Proper pain. Two Sundays ago I did a great ride with Ben Larzelere for thirty miles. We sailed through it and I would have gone further had I not been teaching later that morning. The following Sunday, I had set myself thirty-five or forty miles as the target for that week's big ride. After ten miles I was going well but at about fifteen miles both knees started hurting. I mean, really hurting. I thought I might have to stop. I nonetheless decided to cycle on and after another few miles the pain went away. I finished the first twenty-mile lap in very good time and decided to do five mile loops just to add onto the total gradually. During the 20-25 loop, I realized that I was slowing down and that my knees were starting to hurt. During the following five, I realized that I was almost at a crawl and my knees were hurting more. Cyclists were racing past me. I had to stop. True, I did cycle thirty miles and that's a good distance but the fact that I couldn't cycle further was concerning.

The next ride was meant to be on Tuesday but I was really unwell and needed to stay in bed for a little longer. Wednesday was also meant to be fifteen miles but once again I needed to stay in bed. My thinking was that at least if I got a few days rest, not only would I feel better but my knees would be able to recuperate. Maybe I was overdoing it.

Today (Friday), I was meant to go out for 15 miles but decided to do a casual 10. The first five were done in good time again - 22:54, which is only about a minute off my personal best. As I set off on the second five, though, I started to feel twinges in my knees. By the end of the ten miles, I was in pain again.

Usually when I ride, I feel great afterwards. Today, I'm in pain. Both knees are properly hurting, and that was only after ten miles. I'm starting to feel like I may have bitten off more than I can chew with a century ride. The pain last Sunday was crippling and I really don't want to have to chug down painkillers just to finish this race.

Suddenly, I'm starting to feel middle-aged. I was 37 years old when I did my last long ride but now, four years on, I feel older. I'm also heavier than I was then, although since training I've lost 5-6lbs, which is definitely progress. The hope was that the less I weighed, the easier this ride would be, especially on my knees, but that seems not to be the case. It's possible that someone might be able to lend me a road bike before the race and that will mean less energy will need to be exerted per mile simply because of the design of the bike. That should also help my knees.

I won't deny, though, that today I'm worried. I'm meant to be cycling 40 miles on Sunday and right now that idea scares me a little simply because of the pain in my knees. I'm going to plod on for now but I can't help but think that I might have to go and see a doctor - and those who know me know that I very rarely go and see doctors unless I think there's something really wrong.

I've even started looking online at how to address knee pain from cycling, although I end up finding pictures like the one above with the cyclist with the painful knee and the disturbingly large head and hands. I'm not sure if that's a site for people or for Roswell-based cycling aliens.

All joking aside, though, this is a worrying time. I've totaled 260 miles in training so far but I now feel like I'm going backwards.
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