I got a fright with a pain in my left knee the day I left Fairbanks. It started out easy enough – flat for 40 miles (yeah!) – just a slight headwind that resulted in a mild discomfort in my left knee. The plan was to go for 70 miles – but the wind changed to a tailwind at this point. As today’s tailwind could always change to be tomorrow’s headwind, I carried on towards a recommended camp site at Quartz Lake (95 miles). It was a bit of a detour to get there (I could quite happily camped by the road a 92 miles!) but the view over the lake was great:
During the day I caught up with a guy called Kye (sp?) who was cycling from Alaska to California. Here’s a photo of him, a dot on the near horizon:
Kye, if you’re reading this and want the original of this photo, send me a message. I also met a guy and two ladies (sorry, I’ve forgotten your names) who were heading from Fairbanks to Tok, with the guy riding all the way (and beyond) with the ladies taking it in turn to cycle and drive a support car. A clever way for cyclists with mixed abilities to ride together. They were looking out for me after meeting up with Dan & Christine (the couple on the tandem). Small world here!
At the campsite, as the evening wore on my knee went from mild discomfort to a pain that prevented me from getting to sleep. This was not good. If it’s stopping me from sleeping, its going to stop me from riding. I tried walking, stretching, massaging, ibuprofen – even niteol to help me sleep – but none of it was working. If I’m honest, I was starting to think the worst – “Is this it? Big trip over already?”, “How come now and not on the many previous hilly days?”, and thinking would I be able to get back to Fairbanks to get it checked out? I eventually got to sleep (paracetamol & dried mango). I woke up the next morning, and my knee was fine – like nothing had ever happened! But I’d been given a fright – maybe this was a one off, getting used to a lesser but constant push into a headwind on the flat. But I didn’t want a repeat of what had happened – so it was a short 10 mile ride to Delta – the end of my first 1000km stage 🙂 I booked into an Inn (a motel, not a pub) and got a good nights sleep and waited to see if my knee is still OK then.
I decided to change the way I cycle on the flat – 30 minutes push (pressing forwards on the pedals, even on down hill sections), followed by 30 minutes rolling (less pressure, using hamstrings for a even, lighter pressure through out the stroke, using any downhill sections as a chance to stretch the back of the legs). Not a hard and fast regime – I’d still stop if there was something interesting, but could be a good way to vary the ride rather than doing the same thing for hours on end. And stretching – much more stretching than I’d been doing before.
After a rest day at Delta, I tried this new routine for the 60 miles to Dot Lake, then the following day on the 70 miles to Mile Post 1290 – and it seems to be working well (or at least not doing any harm!). Fingers crossed the pain in my knee was a one off!!!
(And the bear would look cool where the Xmas tree was, no?)(NOOOO !!!! from Sue )
Also sad to read that Harry Mcalinden (a friend from Jersey) had to pull out of his attempt to run from John O’Grotes to Land’s End through injury. A huge amount of respect to him for attempting such a massive challenge. Get well soon Harry!
June 1st – 95 miles to Quartz Lake. An 11 hour day – with many stops for lunch (with a snooze in the tent – worked well), phones to make call from, chatting with other cyclists and trying to find the campsite!
June 2nd – 15 miles to Delta Junction. Rest day, catching up on sleep!
June 3rd – 60 miles to Dot Lake. Just 5 hours from a late start – getting results from push sessions and knee going well.
June 4th – 70 miles to Mile Post 1290 (half way between Dot Lake and Canada!). Covered the 45 mikes to Tok in just 3 hours, stopped for dinner, then a further 25 miles in 1.5 hours – flying along!